26 August 2003

Bush's Messiah Complex | February 2003 issue:
There's also the risk that Bush is so convinced that God's on our side that he may commit a blunder of horrifying proportions.

In a democracy, the fateful decisions of war and peace are not supposed to rest in the hands of one man. Today, they do. And what a man to entrust them with. Lacking intellectual curiosity, he boasts of an infallible gut. Desperate not to be trapped by 'the vision thing' that ensnared his father, Bush embraces a huge global mission and couches it in fundamentalist language. And he has assigned the Pentagon the primary role in carrying out this mission.

This is way too much power to give to anyone, and George W. Bush has the arrogance that comes with such power. 'I do not need to explain why I say things,' he told Woodward. 'That's the interesting thing about being the President. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation.'

When his crusade goes terribly wrong, as it is likely to do, Bush will owe a lot of people an explanation. Meanwhile, we must do whatever we can, nonviolently, to oppose this military messianism.

Neoliberalism is morphing into a new Byzantium. Byzantine emperors were regularly acclaimed as 'isapostolikos' and 'cosmocrator' - equal of the apostles and ruler of the world. Because the emperor was Christ-appointed any unsuccessful attempt at his overthrow was not just treason but apostasy. Success meant only that Christ had elected a new emperor. Bush claims to have been appointed by God.

When Margaret Thatcher first declared that there is no alternative to certain policies she laid the intellectual foundation for this nonsense. Bush effectively declares that there is no alternative to one person, himself. Further he ignores traditional Christian authorities such as the Vatican or the leadership of his own church in favour of his own direct relationship with God. That strikes me, apart from being very bad politics, as simple blasphemy.

Link courtesy of Orcinus.

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