Wednesday, January 28, 2004

A Central European Intellectual

James Glassman had a piece in the American Standard today that slammed George Soros. No surprise there. Soros is a sworn enemy of the administration and a major source of funds dedicated to defeating Bush. The nature of the attack was peculiar, however. Soros was denounced as a hysterical ideologue and Bush hater. Now anybody who has ever toiled through a couple of pages of Sorosian prose knows that his utterances are extremely guarded. He writes like a German philosophy professor. You keep wishing he’d just get to the point instead of piling one more qualification on to the enormous pile of ifs, on the other hands, althoughs, and to a certain extents that define his style. These are not the literary habits of hysterics. They come more naturally to a moralist who takes things very seriously indeed and subjects his own beliefs to relentless criticism. Which is why his most recent statements, which have indeed become much more direct, have impressed me so much. It takes a great deal of anguish to make so cautious a man strident. The American Standard guy is also wrong about the Bush-hating bit. Bush, in any case more contemptible than hateful, isn’t the basic problem. Writes Soros:

“If Bush is rejected in 2004, his policies can be written off as an aberration and America resume its rightful place in the world. But if he is re-elected, the electorate will have endorsed his policies and we will have to live with the consequences. But it isn't enough to defeat Bush at the polls. The US must examine its global role and adopt a more constructive vision. We cannot merely pursue narrow, national self-interest. Our dominant position imposes a unique responsibility.”

Pretty hysterical.

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