Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Celebrity Monday

Last night I went to see an intellectual rock star. Andrew Sullivan the uber-blogger and author of a really great book, "The Conservative Soul: How we lost it, how we get it back." It's been clear that the current occupant at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and his Republican towel boys in Congress are not conservative. They hardly believe in balanced budgets or small or limited government. They have exploded spending, balloned the debt and deficit and want to act as the nanny and secret police for everyone in the country. Increasing spending 37%, taking the national debt from $5.5 trillion to nearly $9 trillion, never vetoing a spending bill, expanding entitlements, going from budget surpluses to deficits, taking unfunded government mandates from $20 trillion to $43 trillion in six years, banning internet gambling, trying to amend the constitution to ban flag burning and gay marriage, trying to pass a pledge of allegience, under god of course, law, taking jurisdiction away from courts whose decisions you disagree with, getting involved in one family's end of life decision (Schiavo), wiretapping without warrants, passing a law to end habeas corpus so that despotic powers are now in the hands of one man are many things but it is not conservative. That's the nutshell of Sullivan's new book. It is a convincing case that these "theocons" divinely believe they are right and in possession of the "truth." Once you have no doubt about what you are doing whether it be spending unprecendented amounts of money or wiretapping your own citizens or ending habeas corpus or invading countries that never attacked you then the rest is easy. God told you to do it. Hard to argue or reason with faith. Faith cannot be reasoned or argued with it can only be asserted, Sullivan says and he's right.

The book is easy to read and follow and I recommend it highly for anyone who wants to understand the religious fundamentalists who have hijacked the Republican party and how they are no different in their belief of divine truth and divine purpose than Iran's President or other religious fanatics. The end of the path of "my truth is the one truth" is a bloody one. Just take a look at the Sunni and Shiites who are ready to tear Iraq apart.

I didn't have chance to buy his book at a discount so I paid full price and had him sign my book, "Thanks for paying full price! Andrew Sullivan." He came early and spoke at length with everyone. He is one of only a few writers I would go and buy their book, read it and then show up at a discussion/book signing. It was worth it. Rather than spew talking points this Oxford educated, Harvard Ph.d. actually is able to talk at length about history, religion and politics and make a coherent and persuasive argument. I did challenge his assertion that conservatives balance budgets and are for smaller, limited government, freer trade and restrained foreign policy. Not even under Ronald Reagan did that happen. Democrats have smaller increases in spending, smaller deficits and over all better economic record - growth, inflation, recession, etc. It was President Bill Clinton who ended welfare as we know it. It was Clinton who gave us surpluses rather than the deficits of Reagan, Bush and Bush Jr. It was Clinton that shrank the size (employees) of the federal government. In short, all the talk of Republicans, whether they are Reagan or Bush Jr. conservatives, is simply nonsense. They have never delivered on any of the pie in the sky free lunches they peddle. It's just a matter of who is worse for the nation fiscally, domestically and foreign policy-wise. Without question it's the religious fundamentalists who now run things.

I disagree with Sullivan but not on his critique of the radical theocons controlling our government. When he talked about the recent end of habeas corpus he choked up. He was born in Britain but is now an American citizen. His reaction is one I haven't seen from anyone here. Maybe if we did that rather than yawn as our rights and freedoms are banned and taken away by the religious fundamentalists running the nation we wouldn't have to take our country back. It would still be the a nation committed to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."


Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

Nicht wieder mit dem buchstabierungsprobleme!

It's Über, of course - or Ueber if you can't find your Umlaut, but why insert a German word for super when super is superior? This is Amerika, dude - not Deutschland.

Der Überkapitain Fogg

3:42 PM  
Blogger d.K. said...

I pre-ordered and read Sullivan's latest book and I agree. I don't echo all his views, but he has the virtue of conviction, and the willingness to change course when all that is obvious presents itself. I find myself strangely longing for Barry Goldwater as the "reasonable" adversary with which to debate. The "absolutely convinced" crowd now are impossible to engage. And they are at the controls - what could be scarier?...

1:39 AM  
Blogger Reign of Reason said...

"Faith cannot be reasoned or argued with it can only be asserted"

And that's why it has NO place in public policy decision making.

Good post... I too disagree with Andrew on several topics -- but respect his position in that he defends it intellectually and rationally.

12:24 PM  

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