Monday, October 18, 2004

Doppler Shift

When we look at the night sky, we're not seeing how the universe looks. Because of the vast distances light must travel to reach us, we're seeing the universe as it once was. Ron Suskind seems to have a similar approach to journalism. An excerpt from yesterday's magazine article on President Bush:
In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend -- but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.

The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''
Now, go back and read the first line again. In the summer of 2002. A White House aide expresses a belief in the ability to create realities and that's not news?

Certainly, journalists exercise much more restraint than the public generally gives them credit for in discussions with public figures, and it seems Suskind is justifying his public reticence concerning this gem by allowing that he "didn't fully comprehend" the remark. I understand this was two years ago, and that the full delusional circus of the Bush administration was not yet on display, but how hard is it to "comprehend" a White House aide saying, in effect, "Reality doesn't matter. Power creates whatever reality it desires."

Omnipotent, omniscient power can create whatever reality it desires. I think this aide to Mr. Bush, in this remark, answered the question on a lot of people's lips the past four years:

Who do these guys think they are?

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