Bush’s condemnation of slavery
President Bush’s first speech in Africa, an extended condemnation of black slavery
. Leaving out any mitigating factors, he essentially portrays the entire early America as an empire of evil, an evil we are still guilty of today. “The racial bigotry fed by slavery did not end with slavery or with segregation,” he declares. Yet at the same time he lauds Africans for their belief in liberty.
This is far worse than President Clinton’s comments in Africa. Clinton simply said that slavery was wrong. Bush has removed any moral value from early America, except for liberty-loving slaves and the whites who opposed slavery. But none of this is wholly surprising. His inaugural address, which conservatives for some unaccountable reason found inspiring, was a portrait of America as a collection of suffering victims. We need to remember that Bush is at bottom a liberal—not conservative—Christian.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 08, 2003 01:00 PM | Send
Mr. Bush’s basic attitudes are identical to the typical guilt-mongering liberal. He is enthusiastically supported by publications who were supposedly created to oppose liberals of this very type. Another indication of how completely we have lost.
We need to remember that Bush is at bottom a liberal, period. I do not think his political foolishness is attributable to the sort of Christianity he professes (which is not the same as mine, so I’m not making excuses). It is an aspect of what he really is: the scion of a long line of establishment Yankee liberals. The West Texas accent is a fig leaf. The Northeastern WASP’s peculiar form of mush-headedness has been on display in both major parties for a long time now.
Mr. Bush seems to have contracted the same disease that afflicted his predecessor (and in his sphere, the incumbent Pope): acute apologitis. It proceeds from the same fallacy that underlies affirmative action and slavery reparations: that people alive today can offer valid apologies for the misdeeds of people long dead, and that blameless descendants of dead miscreants owe tribute to unsuffering descendants of dead victims.
Mr. Bush drains early America of moral content, as Mr. Auster notes. He then contradicts himself. After castigating his country and his people for their racial sins and insensitivities, and confessing that we’re not over them yet, he bluntly asserts imperial America’s mission to bring peace, hope and liberty to the benighted wherever he and his advisors deem it warranted. He also shows himself laughably ignorant of modern African history and the realities of decolonialisation. Does he really imagine that such as Nkrumah, Kenyatta, Selassie and Sadat were “heroes of liberation”? His genuflection to Mandela, while not very accurate, is now a requirement for any white politician calling in Africa, while his compliment to Senghor was politeness to his hosts. Senghor was not as bad as the others, but still was a president-for-life, in African style. At least Bush didn’t add Amin, Bokassa and Gaddafi to his list, but I wouldn’t have been surprised. I’m surprised he left out Nasser (Grover Norquist will be furious).
I think that Bush is doing three things with this speech, all of them bad for America. He is indulging in a little of the racial self-flagellation that makes white American liberals feel good about themselves. He is pandering to black Americans in the runup to 2004, in the same way as he panders to Hispanics. He is setting the stage for an American intervention and occupation of Liberia (an American “obligation,” we’ll probably be told, because of Liberia’s origins as a home for freed slaves from America).
Do we begin to see a two-pronged approach to American foreign policy as the election nears?: Invade Afghanistan and Iraq to get the terr’rists and please Middle America, while intervening in black Africa to please black Americans and placate liberals. There is a certain sickening BushRovian consistency to it. Just a hunch… HRS
“He then contradicts himself. After castigating his country and his people for their racial sins and insensitivities, and confessing that we’re not over them yet, he bluntly asserts imperial America’s mission to bring peace, hope and liberty to the benighted wherever he and his advisors deem it warranted.”
It’s not a contradiction within the terms of Bush’s speech. The speech has a unified theme that goes something like this: There was this evil, it went on for a long time; the liberty-loving blacks all opposed it; some white people opposed it, then more and more white people opposed it, though it is still with us. The truth that the opponents of slavery recognized, the truth that stands against the evil of bigotry, is not of America, it is of God, it is universal, it is in every human heart. And it is America’s role to represent this truth, trying to bring it into fullness both in America and around the world. America’s struggle against its own historic sin is of a piece with its crusade to enlighten the rest of the world.
Not surprisingly, Bush had nothing to say about Sudan. The only African problems he alluded to were AIDS and hunger, and he was too circumspect to suggest that Africans might have had a hand in causing those crises.
I take Mr. Auster’s point, and I think his analysis of President Bush’s thought, such as it is, is accurate. The contradiction persists, though. The president never explains how our blood-stained republic has overcome its sins sufficiently to become the chosen salvation nation for all the world; indeed, he is at pains to say we are still sinning. I suppose the “proposition nation” notion so beloved of his neocon advisors is left unstated by his speechwriter in this speech.
I am not an anti-American American, but I know from experience that this is exactly the sort of thing that sets intelligent, not necessarily anti-American, foreigners to grinding their teeth. HRS
I’m not suggesting there is not a contradiction here, but trying to explicate the world view contained within Bush’s speech.
Bush’s position is clearly more contradictory than that of the neoconservatives. Unlike Bush, the neoconservatives downplay any racial sins in America’s past. They see America in purely a-historic terms, as “a country in which race and ethnicity have never mattered” (a phrase they use over and over), with of course the exception of slavery which has been taken care of and no longer matters. Neocons cheer America the proposition nation and downplay any criticism of America. Bush, by contrast, simultaneously excoriates the historic America in the manner of an anti-American leftist, even as he pushes the neoconservative celebration of America as salvific proposition nation for the world.
Yet I would argue that within the terms of the world view laid out in Bush’s speech there is no contradiction. On one hand there is the universal idea of truth and freedom, the proposition of the proposition nation. On the other hand there is the actual country which has an awful history and which is not yet perfectly conformed to that idea. The project of America is to bring the actual country more and more in line with the proposition country. At the same time, even as the proposition country America operates to transform the actual country America, it also projects its influence around the world seeking to bring other actual countries in line with the proposition as well.
In short, while there is a contradiction between the proposition America and the actual America, there is no contradiction within the proposition America itself. And Bush’s job is to represent the proposition America to the world.
Hmmm - “Clinton simply said that slavery was wrong”. Ironic!
Clinton spent a good part of his political life “in the wrong” - in more senses than onw!
For a full transcript of the astonishing ‘CLINTON CHRONICLES’ video, go to http://www.survivalistskills.com/clinvid1.htm
And for a series of revealing quotes on Clinton, cocaine, and CIA drug smuggling through Mena Airport, Arkansas, go to Lhttp://www.survivalistskills.com/MENA.HTM
We shouldn’t forget, of course, Ron Brown - who, before his untimely death, seemed set and determined to bring Clinton dowm. See http://www.survivalistskills.com/brown.htm
His globalist, New World Order attitudes and convictions helped disarm America, build up China, and erode American sovereignty - but, in that at least, he had company! See http://www.survivalistskills.com/NWOHIST.HTM and http://www.survivalistskills.com/quinn-p.htm
And his mentor, Professor Carroll Quigley, spilled the beans publicly when he wrote ‘TRAGEDY AND HOPE’, a warning if ever there was one! See http://www.survivalistskills.com/TRAGEDY.COM
So he thinks that “slavery was wrong”? Heck, Bill Clinton was helping to lead us ALL into slavery!
Slavery does perform one useful function for neocons (and liberals - about this there is no difference) pushing the Proposition Nation fiction (henceforth, the PN). To make the PN plausible, one must ignore the fact that an actual race of people created the American nation we call the United States, and that those people’s descendants still make up rather a large section of the country’s citizens, even if they are collectively almost entirely supine today.
I speak, of course, of the much-derided WASPs (and Maryland WASCs and New York Dutchmen) and Scots-Irish who had settled the Thirteen Colonies starting in 1607, then declared independence in 1776, won the Revolutionary War, wrote and ratified the Constitution, et seq. For simplicity’s sake, let’s lump all those racist primitives together as “WASPs.” The nice thing about having slavery as a stick to beat WASPs with is that is allows proponents of the PN to say that the United States springs wholly from wonderful, universal principles, while denying that in fact the country has distinct ethnic national origins, as do less marvelous nations (say France, to pick the current object of ritual vilification). At least, PN proponents use slavery as evidence that those origins are accidental and irrelevant, since WASPs clearly have failed to honor the Proposition themselves.
Ergo, as long as one pays homage to the Proposition, it makes no difference (indeed, is beneficial) if one eliminates the cultural legacy and habits of those who actually founded the place. Ergo, again, it is marvellously beneficial to the PN to repopulate it from time to time with virtuous aliens who are more likely to appreciate the blessings of the Proposition than jaded natives (especially undeserving WASPs, the bearers of America’s original sin). Naturally, one cannot question whether the Proposition can survive the bedlam of Babel that will result.
Perhaps these thoughts are merely overheated conspiracy-theorizing by a disaffected WASP, but I think there is something to it. (I am reminded of a wonderful observation by one or the other of Irving Kristol and Norman Podhoretz, which I’ll probably misquote: “The Civil War? That’s about as relevant to me as the Wars of the Roses.”) Scorning WASPs surely is one of the moral underpinnings of affirmative action.
The irony, and perhaps my grumblings’ only relevance to this thread, is that - if I am right - 100% Yankee WASP GW Bush has been totally suckered and co-opted. Thus can we dub W a “self-hating WASP.” HRS
It is an interesting juxtaposition. Liberals, including the ones we call “neocons”, consider propositional liberalism to be virtue and concrete real people and culture to be oppressive and evil. They have it exactly backwards; they have indeed exchanged the truth for a lie.
Repeat after me: “Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”
“Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
28 Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” Romans I
I might go one step beyond Howard Sutherland, here. The Proposition Nation not only must scorn WASPs in order to construct its semi-Marxist ideological superstructure, it must eradicate them. Such certainly seems to be the attitude amongst the likes of George Will and William Kristol, both of whom have pronounced the Supreme Court’s recent decision on affirmative action as unimportant, due to continuing patterns, they hope, of intermarriage amongst the various races. Gleeful they are at the prospect of a new racial composite, it seems, where WASPs will be no more. Indeed, it all sounds a bit like the “Bronze Nation” espoused by “reconquistas” determined to construct their state of Aztlan out of the American southwest.
And what to do with the WASPs who refuse to assimilate? Well, after the Supreme Court has just made them second-class citizens, eventually about the only profession open to them will be the combat branches of the armed forces. Will WASPs provide the canon fodder for the Proposition Nation’s Napoleonic “Wars of Liberation”, conveniently killed off in Afghanistan, Iraq, Liberia, and God-knows-where next? Judging from PBS, of all places, that appears to be the case. For the News Hour on PBS has been running photographs alongside the names of the American soldiers killed while “pacifying” Iraq. The faces are almost all white, while the names consist of an overabundance of people whose lineage is Ulster, Germany, and England. Apparently, death in Iraq is one area where “diversity” is ignored, where the body count does not “look like America”. How convenient.
“I might go one step beyond Howard Sutherland, here. The Proposition Nation not only must scorn WASPs in order to construct its semi-Marxist ideological superstructure, it must eradicate them.”
This is exactly right as far as it goes, and it goes farther still. Since the only legitimate authoritative discriminations are the ones that the PN pretends it isn’t performing, everything else that represents an authoritative discrimination must either be completely eradicated or must be made to have no public consequences. This includes (among other things) race, family, and religion. In order to eliminate the authoritative and discriminatory public consequences of these things they have to be wiped out of existence.
“Apparently, death in Iraq is one area where “diversity” is ignored, where the body count does not “look like America”. How convenient.”
I don’t have a comment on this, I just wanted to see it repeated.