Bertie's faith-based initiatives
In 2004 columnist Ron Suskind hit the nail on the head with a piece in the New York Times about the faith-based presidency of George W. Bush.
It was the most singularly frightening political article I'd read in years–not the Enron scandal, not the war profiteers, not even the macaca thing–but this philosophical piece on 'defining reality.'
He quoted a Bush aide who claimed that journalists like Suskind 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
What other kinds of people could there be, I wondered. Surely if you want to know what to do next, you must examine what you know about the current situation, and devise a reasonable plan of action.
That's not the way the world really works any more. 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
Creating new realities? What on Earth does that mean? There is no 'truth' any more, only opinions.
Readers of this site will no doubt be familiar with my various anti-religious jibes and rants. The main argument I have against religion is that it defies reason (our most impressive God-given characteristic as humans). Insisting that adults believe ludicrous fairy tales, encourages them to give credence to all sorts of other baloney and eventually blurs the line between fact and fiction.
Bush's administration is predicated on the notion of divine instructions which are given solely to GWB himself. In a private meeting with Amish farmers, Bush reportedly said
I trust God speaks through me
Naturally, Bush was referring to Dick Cheney, the Dark Lord of the Sith who masterminds every evil twist in a plot to dominate the world for fun and profit.
But their method is refreshingly simple: Act as if facts don't exist. If you repeat a lie often enough, and confidently enough, people will begin to doubt their own sanity. Whoever projects the strongest reality wins.
This is where Bush has the edge. As the Dunning-Kroger effect suggests: the less you know, the more likely you are to be convinced of your own correctness. And who knows less about everything than George W. Bush? Of course he's confident.
The political machinations and verbal acrobatics of Bertie Ahern suggests to me the perfect synthesis of the Bush/Cheney ethic. He has long used the NLP tactic of 're-framing' to steer/dominate any potentially harmful discussion.
He makes far-reaching claims, utters nonsensical tautologies, blusters bizarre untruths, yet never offers any correction when caught out. Bertie has wisely determined that the era of fact-checking is dead; not to mention long ago witnessing the final demise of accountability.
Where there were facts, now exist only conflicting viewpoints. Thus, ironically, with so many facts/opinions to choose from, the Information Age has rapidly become the dis-Information Age.
Bertie relies on you to just accept his word for it; to take it all on faith. Lucky for him there are still a few gullible religious people left.