Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Primacy of Consciousness President

The Harry Binswanger List continues to be one of the most important forums in Objectivism and I heartily recommend it. Recently, Objectivists at HBL have been debating the nature of the Bush presidency and its impact on America. Here I stand with Objectivist and historian John Lewis on his point that Bush is not about advancing individual rights domestically or defending America internationally.

The effect of the war has been worse then had it not been fought at all. America is not more secure as a result of Bush's expeditionary campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan when the jihad still survives, when both nations can vote themselves into Islamic republics and when Iran—the fountainhead of Islam and America's key enemy--remains unchecked.

Objectivists who are sympathetic to Bush argue that he represents both the best and the worst in the "honest American" while his cowboy demeanor depicts the vibrant American spirit. If only. The more realistic appraisal is that that Bush's cowboy persona runs only skin-deep, while his neo-conservatism (a literal cross of both liberalism and religion) has advanced some of the worst ideas to be offered in American politics since the rise of the New Left.

Bush spent months begging the UN for permission for the US to protect its interests, only to couch that interest in sacrificial language. Bush's "Ownership Society" died stillborn for want of a moral argument. The "Forward Defense of Freedom" assumed that the liberty-hating people of the world nevertheless desire freedom and that it is for America to bring it to them. The Bush administration and the Republican congress can't even find the sauce to abolish the NEA, let alone correct any substantive spending injustice--or prevent the rise of new ones. And don’t even ask me about antitrust or fundamental tax reform under Bush.

All the while, Bush has been energizing the wing of the Republican party that seeks to establish theocracy in America. The White House doesn’t call an Objectivist when it has a problem--it calls an evangelical preacher. The Bush presidency is a disaster.

People animated by a revolutionary philosophy such as Objectivism ought to be highlighting these facts and explaining the principles that drive them. This debate goes far beyond the question of which political party can do a worse job--it's a question of what Objectivists have to say about the current state of the world and how we will publicly present our antidote to today's unabated orgy of irrationality and sacrifice.

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