Thursday, October 27, 2005

Prompted by "The Ethics of Belief" by Peter Singer

Singer notes:
Even if 90 percent of Americans share Bush's naive beliefs (and I hope that the figure is significantly lower than that), the rest of us need to ask what we are to think, ethically, of someone who bases his or her life on unquestioning faith.
Yes, well...

Everybody supposes that President Bush's faith is real. "The Jesus Factor" episode of PBS' Frontline seemed to depict a genuinely faithful individual. I have yet to see one syllable questioning the President's faith among all the other critiques of him. He seems like a genuine guy.

Somehow, though, I just don't buy it. I tend to think it's more likely that he's just another Machiavellian:
A prince must take great care never to let anything come from his mouth that is not full of [saintly bullshit], and he must appear to all who see and hear him to be completely pious, completely faithful, completely honest, completely humane, and completely religious. And nothing is more important than to appear to have that last quality.
I'm not blasting Machiavelli or Machiavellians; rather, I'm wondering whether it's more likely that:
1) President Bush is a talented Machiavellian, or
2) President Bush is a type of useful idiot.

Mr. Singer's question assumes the latter (in far different terms, of course). Seems I tend toward the former (though at times it seems nobody could be that good).

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