Democrats & Liberals Archives

Arrogance, Hubris or Stupidity?

It is becoming part of life to sit and watch people grow more and more arrogant in public. There used to be something called good taste that was supposed to govern such behavior. TV and Radio have completely eliminated that oddity from our public culture and that is OK as long as both still have a dial, or at least some way to turn them off. My idea of torture is to be trapped in a New York City Taxi with Howard Stern blaring on the radio and no common language with the Taxi driver. How I know that is it has happened to me on an endless airport run in rush hour traffic. It is one thing when a breed of cat so arrogant as to call themselves “Shock Jocks” stretches the limits of acceptable social behavior. In a way that is their niche in our cultural ecosystem. It is another when a President who has asked us to swallow a war that many of us think is a mistake then jokes about it in a public forum. That is I think a little beyond arrogance even and lines up with hubris quite nicely in my internal eye.

Now I have long ago decided that this President is a gross misrepresentation of what bad things can happen when blue bloods breed among themselves. We have two bluebloods running for President, one is so sedate that people check to see if he is still alive when he isn’t speaking and the other is a Frat Boy Prankster. Normally this would be the source of endless amusement but the arrogance here is misplaced. The Frat Boy is the one who is both arrogant and effusive. The Sedate candidate appears to have a real lack of arrogance and an excess of self reevaluation in his character. I don’t want John Kerry to reinvent himself; I just want him to kick the Frat Boy out of the White House. Looking for WMD on his hands and knees is the subject here. The only thing missing from this picture is Condi Rice and her leathers and whip following him around. Even Chris Matthews took a little time off his running critique of the Democrats to beat up a publicist for W about this little “joke”. Now if Bush were trying to make people hate him he could not have found a better way to do it. I will never hate the man, I have known dogs more worthy of my hatred but I am beginning to despise this weasel in a way that I don’t like.

You may have missed this event because it was at a national dinner for correspondents where Presidential candidates often make fun of themselves. It is interesting that Bush thinks that looking for WMD on his hands and knees is funny. At first it is funny until it grabs you how arrogant this jerk really is. Then if you have any idea how much power he has at his command you start to get a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach. Having read both the book by Ron Suskind about Paul O Neil’s time in this White House and the recollections of Richard Clarke about the development of the terrorist threat through four Presidencies I am becoming too knowledgeable about Bush for my own good. I have always found him hard to like but he has mostly been a person who occupied places in the world that belongs to those born of wealthy parents. I would never have worried much about him if he hadn’t decided to take up the family mantle and become President. Now he has started to worry me a little more. He thinks taking us to war on false pretenses is funny?

Isn’t this a little too much like Caligula’s sense of humor for a Democracy? Emperors are supposed to be the only breed of human where when they laugh everyone else laughs too, no matter how inappropriate the subject might be for laughter. Democracies mostly call that kind of people bully’s; or if you can find a little more out about them the term is often psychotic. There is a book out about Bush’s ethical basis that I am going to have to read now. I was hoping to escape without doing that. This event makes me curious if there is a real basis for thinking that this Frat Boy has gone around the bend too far to find his way back. It is easy to do so if you surround yourself with people who believe too much like you and never accept criticism. It is not helpful if you say one thing and do another so often that it becomes a pattern of behavior. The level of cognitive dissonance this induces takes a strong mind to overcome. The imbalance of those who manage to live in that way for a long while is a real study in insanity. The easiest way to make someone insane is by removing all semblances of reality from their presence. Even the Roman Emperors were supposed to have someone whispering in their ear little reminders about their mortality. This was done in order to reduce their tendency to engage in hubris every now and then.

Usually a President can avoid this kind of feedback gap because they come in contact with so many people who disagree with them. It is awfully hard to create an environment so far removed from reality, if you read the newspaper or even watch TV enough to know what is happening in the world outside your door. Of course now, it is a lot easier with channels like Fox News and with a President who doesn’t read newspapers. The real question about psychosis is; can you get enough people to go along with your psychotic behavior to make it look like you are normal? Of course Bush has half this nation convinced that he is a brave and heroic leader in this war on terror. Is his war on terror just another part of his delusional world that we are buying into because of a few Terrorist events like 9/11 and the train bombings in Spain? We know that there are terrorists out there but is our current war on terror a delusion? I do think that the war in Iraq is a delusional break with the real war against Terrorism that we need to be fighting today. You notice that “War on Terror” is a phrase that has no real meaning unless you are at war with “an extreme emotional response to fear induced by events outside of your control”. It is a strange, strange, strange world our little Frat Boy in a cowboy hat is assembling around us all.

I really do think that laughing about a war that was entered into on false pretences, whether it was done by mistake or by intent, is crazy. If you don’t then of course you can giggle away while our troops are having a barrel of laughs in Iraq. Remember how Frat Boy went to Iraq for Thanksgiving for a helping of Halliburton bird? I saw a photo in which he was laughing but the troops around him were all glaring at him. Maybe they don’t all share his sense of humor about the missing WMD since they are paying the price for that little Frat Boy prank with their flesh, blood and bones.

It would truly be sad to contemplate a world in which the most powerful man on the planet cannot grasp the idea that humor has limits. When you are powerful those limits do exclude making fun of yourself about mistakes you made that cost people their lives. Of course then there is the alternative world in which that same powerful man made no mistake and lied about the WMD in the first place. That world would be more congruent with one in which he makes jokes about it. Neither one is the best of all possible worlds. God bless you all and keep you safe from the humor of any bullies that make it out of the schoolyard. (©Henri Reynard/GoldenBrush Interactive)

Posted by Henri Reynard at March 26, 2004 12:12 PM