March 10, 2007

A reminder

Sometimes there is more than just a random clue, here or there, hinting at futures to be written. Sometimes there is ice cold water splashed in our face, stinging our eyes and forcing us to acknowledge what must very likely come to pass.

Paul O'Neill knew back when he served as Bush's Treasury Secretary. Ron Suskind knew when he wrote the book documenting O'Neill's travails. And many who hadn't known already realized it when they read this chilling passage from Suskind's book The Price of Loyalty:
In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend -- but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.

The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off.

''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''
We knew that we were in for more trouble from an already troubling administration. We knew that the problem didn't begin and end with Bush. There were credulous, pseudo-science peddling, faux anti-elitist, short-sighted posers all through the administration. People who believe the right things for the wrong reasons are scary enough. But people who believe the wrong things for the wrong reasons are downright dangerous.

This is what we need to try to ensure never happens again.


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