Semi-Daily Journal Archive

The Blogspot archive of the weblog of J. Bradford DeLong, Professor of Economics and Chair of the PEIS major at U.C. Berkeley, a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Evil Deeds by Nixon and Bush

Mark Thoma finds Bruce Bartlett thinking about religion, Andrew Sullivan, and George W. Bush:

Economist's View: Religion in Government: Like him or hate him, Bruce Bartlett says what he thinks:

God and Government, by Bruce Bartlett: When future historians try to explain the presidency of George W. Bush, his religious fundamentalism unquestionably will be a central focus. It has made him certain about the correctness of his policies, especially the Iraq invasion....

Few writers feel comfortable discussing this aspect of Bush.... Implicitly, we are ... led to accept that we cannot judge others on the basis of their religious beliefs, no matter how crazy they may be....

Consequently, I am grateful when those who are religious raise the same questions I have in my mind about what motivates Bush and how his religion influences his policies. One who has done so is the well-known writer, editor and blogger Andrew Sullivan...

Basically, Sullivan's book is a brief against fundamentalism. As fallible human beings, we simply cannot know all the things that fundamentalists are absolutely certain about... fundamentalists... reject reason, in practice... making rational debate impossible. How can you argue with someone who believes that he knows absolute truth because it has been given to him directly by God through prayer or a sacred text? The answer, of course, is that you cannot....

[T]rue conservatives should just as strongly oppose Bush's religiously based expansions of government as they would those promoted by liberals...

I'm coming around to the view that the most evil of Richard M. Nixon's many evil deeds was what he did to the Republican Party. Before Nixon, it was still recognizably the Party of Lincoln. Nixon played the biggest role in turning it into what it is today: the party of people who don't like (a) Manhattan, (b) Hollywood, (c) San Francisco, and (d) Black people.

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