April 9, 2005


The Vultures of Life (Brian Cook, April 8, 2005, In These Times)

It’s apparently not enough for George W. Bush to have taken the words “freedom,” “liberty,” and “democracy,” and perverted their meanings beyond any recognizable definition. His latest lexical transformation targets nothing less than “life” itself.

The president has been on the stump touting the “culture of life” and we can cheerily look forward to being saturated by the term for the indefinite future. The death of Pope John Paul II provided Bush both an occasion to hail the phrase’s progenitor and a political opportunity to “stay on message.”

What is that message? According to Bush, it is a culture “in which the strong protect the weak.” It’s tempting to suggest that “protect” here means something akin to “feast on the vanquished flesh of.” But perhaps it’s wiser to take Bush’s meaning at face value, and note that his usage precludes the possibility of empowering the weak. The unspoken assumption is that the strong must continue to be strong and, more significant, that the weak must continue to be kept weak.

The administration’s proposed budget spelled the logic out clearly. Strengthen the strong—tax cuts for the rich and budget increases for their military “protectors.” Weaken the weak—budget cuts to education, housing subsidies and other social services.

Education and housing vouchers, HSAs and privatized SS, and the Faith-based Initiative are all about empowering the poor. The Left may oppose such market-oriented solutions to poverty but they are very much a part of the Culture of Life. Meanwhile, we know this much: their statist approach has been an abject failure.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 9, 2005 6:21 AM

But OJ, what if the Dems never wanted their "war on poverty" to succeed?

What if it was just a way to, say, keep, oh, blacks for example, out of white liberal neighborhoods, without jobs and upward mobility, and grouped together, near at hand, where they could be put into vans on election day and sent to the polls to pull the lever for . . . guess who.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at April 9, 2005 8:53 AM

You are being too charitable (at least to this sneering fool). He is just mad because his feasting days are over, and because the lies of the Left have been exposed.

But it seems he is most upset because his disdain for life is now in the spotlight. Too bad.

Posted by: jim hamlen at April 9, 2005 9:11 AM

We've had over a half century of the approach advocated by this dinosaur, yet poverty is not appreciably reduced. Perhaps another policy is in order.

Posted by: bart at April 9, 2005 2:02 PM

The nature of "empowerment" is precisely the issue. In part, there's honest disagreement between Left and Right on what it means, but the former is psychologically and institutionally over-invested in the notion that it simply means "helping".

Posted by: ghostcat at April 9, 2005 2:08 PM