Friday, April 18, 2008

Stupid President, ooh! I Hate Him So Much!

Most of the time, I try to approach our president with a kind of zen attitude. Sure, he's horrible and hateful and has ushered in a disastrous age for America, but after seven and a half years of anger and bitterness, I decided that it was best to just try and relax and not get so worked up over the things that he says and does. After all, all that being mad does is raise my blood pressure and increase the odds of me meeting an early death.

But then he goes and gives a speech so dripping in utter hypocrisy and deceit that I can't help but shake my tiny fists in rage and then go on a very long drinking binge until I drown out all of the stupidity and inanity that pervades our nation and makes myself want to bathe in, as Chaucer said, sweet liquor.

The source of my anguish this time was Bush's speech welcoming ex-HJ member Pope Benedict XVI to the White House. If you're a masochist like me, you can find the text of the speech here, but if you really want the full effect, you should watch the video here. But if you absolutely have no time to spare, which is unlikely since you're reading this (GET BACK TO WORK!) let me give you the proverbial highlight reel:

BUSH: Here in America you'll find a nation of compassion. Americans believe that the measure of a free society is how we treat the weakest and most vulnerable among us. So each day citizens across America answer the universal call to feed the hungry and comfort the sick and care for the infirm. Each day across the world the United States is working to eradicate disease, alleviate poverty, promote peace and bring the light of hope to places still mired in the darkness of tyranny and despair.

This isn't so bad, except for the fact that it isn't true. This administration has probably done more than any other administration in our history to ensure that the weakest and most vulnerable among us are forgotten and that the hungry, sick, and infirmed stay that way. But this is just par for the course for Bush. In the "How Audacious is He?" this rates a mere 3 out of 10. But it gets better.

Here in America you'll find a nation that welcomes the role of faith in the public square. When our Founders declared our nation's independence, they rested their case on an appeal to the "laws of nature, and of nature's God." We believe in religious liberty. We also believe that a love for freedom and a common moral law are written into every human heart, and that these constitute the firm foundation on which any successful free society must be built.

This passage doesn't get my blood worked up as much on the moral audacity level (although I feel that Bush's concept of "religious liberty" is just a little, um, anti-liberty) as it is philosophically bizarre. Do we welcome the role of faith in the public square? Is our nation rested on natural laws? You can't really blame Bush here for asserting controversial arguments as if they were universally held beliefs. After all, logically speaking, the proposition that "All men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, and that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." is a self-evident truth is well, wrong. Very wrong. "All triangles have three sides," now THERE'S a self-evident truth! Also, while I'm here, I want point out that the last sentence from this quote might as well come right out of The Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals. I didn't know that Bush was a Kantian - oh, wait, we're all Kantians. But I digress.

In our nation, faith and reason coexist in harmony.

No they don't!

In a world where some invoke the name of God to justify acts of terror and murder and hate, we need your message that "God is love." And embracing this love is the surest way to save men from "falling prey to the teaching of fanaticism and terrorism."

Okay, so this is where the Audacity Level kicks it up a notch. Who do I know who invokes the name of God to justify acts of terror and murder and hate? I mean, no Christian could ever do that. And he's saying that the surest way to save men from falling prey to the teaching of fanaticism and terrorism is to embrace the message of the Pope? Next thing you know, the White House will be releasing those photos they obtained of Osama bin Laden playing bocce ball with Satan himself. In the streets of Tehran. With Ahmadinejad serving them tea and crumpets. And Nancy Pelosi was invited, but she was too busy trying to turn America's youth gay. (Sure as Hell that never happened to Germany's youth!)

Does Bush realize that no matter how much he kisses the Pope's... ring, Catholic dogma still says that he is Hellbound? And, by Dante's count, that he technically has qualified for circles six, seven, and eight already? That's like, the triple crown of damnation. But again, I digress.

In a world where some treat life as something to be debased and discarded, we need your message that all human life is sacred, and that "each of us is willed, each of us is loved" -- (applause) -- and your message that "each of us is willed, each of us is loved, and each of us is necessary."

Yeah, yeah, Blah, blah, blah. Life begins with conception and ends by lethal injection. I also like how the people at made sure to include the spontaneous applause in their official transcript of the speech.

So Bush has covered all of his bases so far - God = good, terrorism = bad, America = good, abortion = bad, and thereby, through his expert use of logical syllogisms, concludes that abortion=terrorism. His usual schtick. But then he goes into his grand finale, and even I have to admit that I didn't see this coming:

In a world where some no longer believe that we can distinguish between simple right and wrong, we need your message to reject this "dictatorship of relativism," and embrace a culture of justice and truth. (Applause.)

"Dictatorship of Relativism"? "Dictatorship of Relativism" DICT-ator-SHIP of RELATIV-ism
Really, Mr. President? Really? That's what I need to fear and loathe today? Not Islamic Fundamentalism or Terrorism but Moral Relativism? Granted, Bush is borrowing this phrase from the Pope - whose fatherland, I might add, has always been on the frontlines of resistance against the Dictatorship of Relativism - but it seems to me that the belief that we cannot distinguish between SIMPLE right and wrong has not caused most of today's problems in the world.

In the grand scheme of things, I feel that Moral Relativists aren't amongst the movers and shakers of world affairs. That is to say, they're not in the powerful positions to make the crucial decisions for America or the world. They're not, shall we say, "the deciders". And even suggesting that there could be such a "Dictatorship of Relativism" is absurd, like saying there's a Church of Atheists, or the Anarchist Party.

Etymologically, a dictator is someone who dictates, who speaks. It's his job (sorry feminists, no lady dictators) to say what is right and wrong, what is true and false, to give laws, and to generally tell people what to do. But Moral Relativism (at least the kind I am acquainted with) holds that no one can ever know right from wrong. So what on earth would a relativist dictator say? "What is your bidding, oh benevolent leader?" "I don't know." "Oh, ok... I'm going to get a snack pack, then." "Cool." It would be a very inefficient way to govern.

A better way to govern - or at least, more efficient way - would be to tell everyone that there IS a moral right and wrong, that you know it and have special access to it (say, like, a voice in your head tells it to you) and that there are bad and dangerous people out there who are to trying to convince the people that there isn't such a moral authority and want the people to think that you (benevolent leader and conduit for the higher moral Truth) are full of shit. And that these people are only out for power and don't actually care about the people the way that you and your magic friend do. Oh, and your magic friend sometimes gets cranky and starts smiting people because it is all powerful and all-knowing. So watch out. Stop masturbating.

I guess that I just want to know more about this Dictatorship of Relativism. Who are its citizens? Intellectuals, I bet. And atheists. And Jews, too, although only the bad Jews from Hollywood and Manhattan. Not the good Jews in Jerusalem. And homosexuals. And the Communists were invited, but they wouldn't shut up about some other Dictatorship they were working on. And those filthy Papis....oh, nevermind. And who is the Stalin-esque dictator of this dictatorship? Zizek? I bet it's Zizek. If nobody has any objections, I am hereby nominating Zizek to be the dictator of the Dictatorship of Relativism.

Our next meeting will be Thursday at 5 in the Old Grange Hall.

Punch and pie will be served.

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