This blog contains material I wrote and posted on between the years 2005 and 2011 only. It does not contain any new material. For newer writing, please check my main blog (Bill the Butcher).

Monday, 26 November 2012

Bushism As A Religion

From Dec 2006:

Some are born crazy, some achieve craziness, and some have craziness thrust upon them. Little can be done about the first and last of these three types – as for the second category, though, it’s an entirely different kettle of fish. People who are willfully crazy need to be treated with some caution. Lunatics usually aren’t dangerous, but sometimes they can be.
The more I come across unrepentant Bushites, the more convinced I am that these people are representatives of that second category. One can argue till the cows come home; one can confront them with all the evidence at one’s disposal, on the net, hard copy, the evidence of the person’s own eyes - and still it won’t make any difference. These persons will so openly refute reality that one is left wondering whether it is oneself who is the crazy one.
I was wondering about this one day when I had an epiphany…
"Ah…I see it all now. I see what makes them behave this way."
Bushism, you see, is a bona fide religion.
It’s all there – faith as opposed to reason, the insistence on perceptions and preconceptions rather than empirical evidence, the close-shuttered refusal to use the mind, the constant and uneducated reference to what the speaker thinks is Holy Decree ("It's so because God/The Easter Bunny says it is").
Back when I was in school, I had this teacher of physics (he was a Catholic monk of part-Portuguese origin, one Gomes) who was introducing us to the galaxy. Astronomy was Brother Gomes’ particular hobby-horse. So, he was going on about the numbers and varieties of stars in a galaxy, about pulsars and quasars and neutron stars, about white dwarfs, red giants, and black holes. And pretty much every other sentence would end with "And still the fools say there’s no God!"
Now if I were in Brother Gomes’ shoes, I’d be inclined to be convinced that any God who would confine humanity to an insignificant corner of an insignificant galaxy, revolving around an insignificant star, couldn’t be much of an important deity, if he/she/it existed, and the sheer variety and scale of stellar evolution would persuade me of the non-existence of the "fall of every sparrow" cataloguing divinity. Not for the Gomes of the world, though. Everything that happens will either reinforce their preconceived ideas, or it will be ignored. Facts to the contrary will never be acknowledged to exist.
It’s the religious version of the Domino theory. Let one doubt through, let one teeny weeny doubt be acknowledged, and who knows what might not follow?
Then we have the allied phenomenon of the acolyte who chooses to be more loyal than the master he is serving. In standard religious terms this is exemplified by Mel Gibson and his clique of nutjobs who deny the Second Vatican Council and reject catechism in languages other than Latin.
We find absolute evidence of both features in Bushism.
Let the levees break on Lake Pontchartrain, let the Iraq quagmire suck in an entire generation of soldiers, let the economy shudder to its roots, let the nation stride eyes wide shut into another ruinous war against Iran, and the Bushies will find goodness and meaning in it. If you point to the death toll in Iraq, they will quote flaky propaganda which claims Iraq is "improving". If you talk about the civil war, they will say Muslims enjoy "killing each other", and so it’s in no way Bush’s fault. If you point to the widening rich-poor gap, they will deny it exists (I have not yet seen one seek refuge in the Biblical "The poor you have always with you", surely the capitalist’s escape hatch, but it’s just a matter of time) or try and obfuscate the issue by pointing at other countries. Try and point out that Bush’s attitude towards Iran is actually making sure that nation will now construct a nuclear arsenal as fast as it can in simon-pure self defence, and they will talk irrelevant natter about Ahmadinejad being "Hitler", and so on and so forth, not stopping to notice that Ahmadinejad came to power because of America’s refusal to engage Iran. Talk about Katrina, and they will talk about how the blacks of New Orleans are a subhuman species who ought to have walked to safety. Talk about surveillance, curtailment of civil rights, and torture, and they will say this is necessary for a strong nation. And so on.
There were those who talked about Bush’s fight against "Islamic Fascism". Assuming such a creature exists, it must be overjoyed with Bush for removing the secular Iraqi regime and handing over that nation to jehad on a platter; for converting Al Qaeda from a hated fringe Sunni terrorist group of hardly any presence into a global franchise which can claim to be the Defender of Islam; and for giving electoral victory to fundamentalist groupings everywhere in the Muslim world. Do the Bushies understand this? Not on your life.
I have heard of Bushies supporting Bush because he "advocates free trade". All right, I asked them, please explain how crony capitalism and no-bid contracts can be reconciled with free trade. Also please explain why right wingers of impeccable free market credentials like Justin RaimondoLew Rockwell, and Jacob Hornberger(of the Future of Freedom Foundation, an organisation devoted to free trade) are, if anything, even more anti-Bush than us lefties. No answer. I might as well not have spoken.
And there are all too many of them who stick to the party line when the party line has moved on. Bushies I encounter online every day still insist that the US has found WMDs in Iraq, "just not as many of them as it had thought it would find"; that Saddam Hussein had organic links with Al Qaeda, "they just hadn’t carried out any joint operations yet"; that victory in Iraq is being won, "it’s just that the liberal media is acting as a mouthpiece for the terrorists." All these, I’d like to point out, are positions from which Bush himself has retreated. Not his followers. His current attitude is not Bushist enough for his acolytes.
Indian Bushies are a most peculiar, and extremely common online, species. This lot is generally half-educated about Bush, holds most peculiar ideas (like he’s "reduced terrorism worldwide") and is a gang of craven chicken hawks to a man. Many of them are the sort of fundamentalist Christian who makes the average Catholic wince, but the majority is Hindu. All are happy to fight to the last drop of someone else’s blood.
Sometime back I challenged a group of them on a pro-Bush site to join the US Army (or Marine Corps if it would have them) and do a stint in Iraq in return for US citizenship. I pointed out the advantages:
  1. India would get rid of them, so we would be happy.
  2. They would, if they survived, get US citizenship, so they would be happy.
  3. If they got US citizenship (and this particular group was going on about how it was the duty of immigrants to vote Republican) they could vote for the Republicans, so the neocons would be happy.
  4. And if the Iraqis blew them away, the world (except their families, but I’m coming to that) would most certainly be happy.
  5. And their families would receive Purple Hearts and be able to boast of the war hero in the gene line (no matter that any wound – or death - inflicted by enemy action qualifies for a Purple Heart) so even they would be happy.
A win-win situation, in other words.
Response? "We’d rather fight for India. Bush is pro-India." (No use pointing out the massive American arms sales to Pakistan to these people., They would never acknowledge it.) So I asked, "How many of you are doing, or would under any conceivable circumstances do, military service in defence of India?"
Do you think I got any coherent response?
Compared to this lot, Timothy McVeigh looks normal. At least he was prepared to put his…er, detonator … and, later, body, where his mouth was.
Bushists have the faith that moves molehills, but are too cowardly for that.

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