Meditations: Protests Flatter Bush's Vanity

Published: Fri 21 Nov 2003 12:27 AM
Meditations (Politics) - From Martin LeFevre in California
Protests Flatter Bush's Vanity
So we've come full circle--the Queen of the old word order toasting the King of the New World Order. With polished insincerity, Queen Elizabeth droned: "as your father [Bush the First] said, we know what is right; freedom is right."
Thus the last a vestige of the British Empire, a remnant of monarchism (which an upstart United States fought a grueling revolutionary war to free itself from) bowed obsequiously to the pipsqueak president of the new realm. God has a wicked sense of humor.
Bush, with his usual shameless impudence, spoke expansively in his toast about liberty, thereby managing once again to make all freedom-loving people cringe. He began his little yarn by going all the way back to the Magna Carta, stretching history with plausible elasticity to the Declaration of Independence before snapping all threads of reason with his absurd reiteration of how the US and UK are engaged in a similarly "noble causeŠon a mission of freedom and democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq."
The founders of the United States are rolling over in their graves. Bush inverts everything they labored and risked their lives for. Thomas Paine said that "it is evident that England and America belong to different systems-England to Europe: America to itself." Now England belongs to America, while America still belongs to itself, though in a perversely different way than Paine meant.
My thoughts turn to the thousands of protesting Brits who share my aversion-make that revulsion-for this marriage of Christian conviction (both Bush and Blair are born-again believers), and cynical convenience. I stand with the protesters, and would walk with them if I were in London.
But the conscience of the American Revolution is again worth quoting: "nothing flatters vanity or confirms obstinacy in Kings more than repeated petitioning." (How many times has Bush, scurrilously standing above it all, mocked opposition to his hateful policies by saying things like "democracy is a wonderful thing; now Iraqis can protest too.")
In considering where the opposition of the decent and the living is to go from here, we should reflect on the remainder of Paine's thought on petitioning and protesting against powerful monarchies. "Nothing hath contributed more than that very measure to make Kings absolute."
What then will stop this juggernaut of darkness and deadness posturing as freedom and democracy? What will repair the fragile chords of civilization, which Bush and Blair, in their self-righteous certainty, have so rudely ruptured?
Just as no solace was gained by knowing that the New World Order was stillborn when Father Bush first uttered the words, so too we cannot be satisfied with indignation and protest. The worldwide opposition must forge a new concord, write a new charter, and convene a new body.
Queen Elizabeth unintentionally expressed the fear behind Blair's motivation and strategy when she praised the United States for being the prime builder of "the international/multilateral world order." Not seeing any alternative to the hollow empire, much of the world is making the same pact with the devil.
It never pays. The international/multilateral world order is already finished, merely running on fumes. Lacking insight and imagination for a new order, Blair and his ilk delude themselves into thinking that Bush and his henchmen act in the long-term interests of all nations. But Bush is a dyed in the wool nationalist, and he only cares about American interests as he defines them.
The world faces a challenge in terrorism and Bushism more demanding of new thinking and architecture than at any time in human civilization. Building a Global Polity is the alternative to American power maintaining a decomposing international/multilateral world order.
- Martin LeFevre is a contemplative, and non-academic religious and political philosopher. He has been publishing in North America, Latin America, Africa, and Europe (and now New Zealand) for 20 years. Email: The author welcomes comments.

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