Sunday, January 29, 2006

Just the Right Amount of God

Reposted as history. Originally posted in January of 2005.

by Joseph Bottum - January 31st, 2005 - Weekly Standard

This is an article that has to be read twice to really appreciate. There are times when someone logically analyzes something brilliantly, but does not explain the analysis as clearly as the logic works. Bottum does that here. Perhaps if you get the gist of the logic on first reading it will be easier to follow on the second reading.

Still, all that God-talk--all that natural-law reasoning--was heading somewhere in Bush's speech, and the president's cultured despisers, those who tremble or rage at any trace of divinity in public, are right to be afraid. Just not for the reason they think.

It would take an act of perverse will to suppose that the 2005 inaugural address signaled the onset of a Christian theocracy in America. Every rhetorical gesture toward God was either universalized up into a sectless abstraction ("Author of Liberty"? Which faith group can't say that?) or spread down in careful pluralistic specificity ("the truths of Sinai, the Sermon on the Mount, the words of the Koran, and the varied faiths of our people").

No, President Bush's opponents should be afraid of this speech because it signals the emergence of a single coherent philosophy within the conservative movement.

If conservatives follow Bottum's suggestion, they can change the face of the Republican party, and create consistent governing policies that embrace classsical conservatism and the new conservatism in a fashion that will be popular with the vast majority of Americans. It creates a clear moral basis for the good, effective, government that we all need.


At 2:34 PM, Blogger David Williamson said...

Thank you for posting such as fascinating article. I have added it to my own blog (

Though there has been much laughter about the "Bushisms", your president has delivered some of the most extraordinary oratory of any modern political leader. This has been completely overlooked in Europe, but I've been amazed to witness his weaving of Christian ideas, images and aspirations into rhetoric. Nothing like this ever happens in the spiritually barren legislatures of the secular west. Regardless of the merits of his government programmes, it is a thrilling surprise that such discourse can take place today.

Incidentally, my home town in Ireland is called Coleraine. Perhaps some "freedom loving" Irish pioneers found their way to your beautiful part of the world. I'm also delighted you enjoy The Quiet Man. It was written by Maurice Walsh, a grand-grand uncle.

Warm regards,
God bless,

David Williamson


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