Tuesday, March 27, 2007

George W. Bush and the Death of Reason

The political philosophies of Franklin, Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Washington and other influential early Americans were firmly grounded in the principles of the Enlightenment: i.e., the power of reason (belief in science) and respect for individual liberty. It is not surprising that these progressive liberty ideals infuse the Declaration and Constitution; and it is no exaggeration to say that America itself is based upon these foundational principles.

In this sense, George W. Bush is a most un-American president, as attested by his and his administration's Orwellian attempts to deny scientific evidence that does not further his neo-con agenda ("forget the data, the truth is what we say it is").

All presidencies enjoy the perquisites of political patronage with political appointments, etc.; but this administration is unprecedented in its purging of individuals who express any sort of independent view, to be replaced with empty suits whose only job qualification is loyalty to the president and willingness to chant the Bush mantra. The current brouhaha over the firing of a number of U.S. Attorneys who refused to do the bidding of Bush, Cheney, Rove, Gonzalez, and the rest of the Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight is only the tip of the iceberg - the practice pervades all levels of this administration. The practice is an unacceptable abuse of power, and rewards gross incompetence (Who can forget "Brownie, you're doing a heckuva job" after the administration's failed Katrina response?).

Thomas Friedman reports in today's New York Times that the person in charge of the final edits on government reports on global warming over the past few years, who systematically sanitized the reports to deny and contradict empirical scientific evidence proving the human impact on global warming, had absolutely no scientific training (and came to the Bush administration from, no surprise, Enron; and left the administration to join, no surprise, Exxon Mobil.). This, too, is just par for the course for this presidency.

I've said it before: This apple is rotten to the core.