Quote of the day

I know, I’ve been silent for days, and it’s not changing anytime soon. Meanwhile, Andrew Sullivan has written a breathtaking post on Bush’s Messiah complex and how he sees himself as commanded by God to bring “freedom” to all people – something that is not in his job description. These delusions would be droll if people weren’t dying because of them:

Such delusions actually destroy lives, liberties, societies, civilizations. And what has this messianic maniac in the White House done? He has set loose a fantastically murderous war in Iraq, he has sacrificed thousands of young Americans with the result not of restraining but empowering our enemies, he has done incalculable long-term damage to the country’s fiscal standing, he has indirectly caused the massacre of tens of thousands of innocents, he has come close to wrecking the military of the United States, and he has robbed the United States of its long and hard-won record of humane and decent warfare.

This is not the work of a conservative statesman; it’s the mark of a delusional fanatic. If you define liberalism broadly as the belief that human society is perfectible, that heaven can be created on earth by force of will, then Bush is one of the most recklesss enemies of conservatism who has ever held high office in America. It is a conservative duty to expose and restrain him from any more mischief in his final months. He has refused every olive branch toward sanity. He has balked at every face-saver. So he must be stopped. Above all else, he cannot be allowed to determine the future of this country’s foreign policy in the Middle East. He has done enough damage already.

“Read the whole thing” if you haven’t yet overdosed on reports of Bush’s insanities. This is our president. Eighteen agonizing months to go. My trip to America last week confirmed my belief that this is the best time ever to be living abroad.

______________

Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 29 Comments

I saw a bumper sticker awhile back that said: “Be nice to the United States or we’ll bring Democracy to your country.”

July 18, 2007 @ 8:58 am | Comment

While curious George runs around with his flaming bibles, Darth Cheney secures profits for his corporate heathen swarm.

July 18, 2007 @ 9:11 am | Comment

Uh, why is there an Ann Coulter ad beneath your article? No, I’m not kidding.

July 18, 2007 @ 10:04 am | Comment

It is a conservative duty to expose and restrain him from any more mischief in his final months.

See: Ron Paul

July 18, 2007 @ 10:09 am | Comment

Uh, why is there an Ann Coulter ad beneath your article? No, I’m not kidding.

Posted by: Dave at July 18, 2007 10:04 AM

Nope. He wasn’t kidding.
Never thought I’d see Richard promoting Ann Coulter on his website.

Have room for Michelle Malkin?

Just kidding!

July 18, 2007 @ 10:53 am | Comment

As I think everyone knows, the ads are placed there by Google’s infallible bots that prowl around looking for places to insert contextual ads. Bush…conservative…Coulter. Makes sense.

July 18, 2007 @ 1:32 pm | Comment

Are you kidding, man? Everytime I land in the States, I feel like kneeling to kiss the ground. And believe me, I NEVER check to see who’s in office first. I don’t think it’s any better to be living abroad now than under any other admin.

That messianic thing is worrisome, though. But wait, wasn’t it all about the oil? Oil, or Jesus, or could we maybe go for both?

July 18, 2007 @ 6:44 pm | Comment

Sam, all my worst memories of my last trip to the US were amplified this time. Iraq. That’s all that America is about now. And the total failure of its president. It’s bad enough reading about it from halfway around the world. Being there, I felt a sensory bombardment, and an almost surreal attitude among my more conservative friends, who seem dazed and bewildered that this could actually have happened to our country. My liberal friends have been feeling this way ever since Abu Ghraib. Now it’s everywhere, a sense of disbelief, like it can’t really be happening.

July 18, 2007 @ 7:19 pm | Comment

Hey Richard,

What you described above, at least it’s real, it fits the bill anyway. It sounds refreshing to have a reality check in the USA. Yeah your president is stupid, hey thats life these days, so why not just accept that crap happens and just quickly repair the damage and work on not making the same mistake again. Sometimes if your really dumb, you need something like this to happen before you get the will to wise up, sorta like the hitting rock bottom for an addict…

In China however every one remains in denial and actually ACCEPTS propaganda as opposed to accepting that bad things happen. So if you dont accept that bad stuff happens. like in China, you dont learn your lessons and you dont develop the will to fix them problems,

So as far as Im concerned, USA can recover, they just have to admit to the truth and deal with it.

Thats what China has to do as well, I mean how can you solve a problem if you dont meet it head on?

Richard, can you imagin the CCP doing something as stupid as Iraq? Like freaking of course right, but how would they deal with it? How could you prefer the darkness and sneakiness and propaganda of China over the freedom of speech and rights to information in America?

July 18, 2007 @ 10:35 pm | Comment

Iraq. That’s all that America is about now. And the total failure of its president.

Is this breathless hyperbole, or were you in one of those towns that’s all about politics, all the time? I just got back from a month in the US, and it still seems to be about more than the above, just like always. I mean when America was “all about” Clinton’s blowjobs, I think everybody knew that was the chatter of the political class and the media. People managed to have lives regardless of what the chattering classes thought was important!

July 18, 2007 @ 11:36 pm | Comment

Since the American people were hoodwinked by the election reprobates, the US has never been the same, economically, militarily, and internationally.

As a nation under a despot ruler who suffers from delusions of grandeur, many of its citizens have suffered needlessly in its concentration camps as they are smeared metaphorically and figuratively with the fecal rhetoric of this administration.

Its airports are hot beds of totalitarian human right violations.

The nation is filled with immigrants daily from other shores, whom filled the customs with smiles and grins as their passports are stamped and they begin new lives in this hellish wasteland.

I deemed such willing participants as US citizens and it’s only by expatriation on the shorts of some distant undeveloped nation with a surplus of defective and counterfeit products, a woefully dismal education system and corrupt officials where the US true saving grace lies.

If the US is to survive in this dynamic age of toleration and love, we must embrace those tenets of liberalism–our subjective alliances to those thoughts and actions can show no patience to those delirious syncophants of conservative and neo-cons whom rife and pilfer the US shores sending its true conscientious citizens to live in other countries as millions of US citizens mow their grass, punch a time card, camp, hike, go to ball games, and still manage to get a bead on the political situation by political pundits whom have graciously step down from Mount Parnassus to educate the errors of its ways.

Oh the horror! We have truly lost our way!

Come back little Sheeba! Tell us how to think!

July 18, 2007 @ 11:40 pm | Comment

Jimbo, have you been on the sauce again?

July 19, 2007 @ 1:50 am | Comment

I have to agree with Sam here. I ‘m finally going back to the U.S. for good next month after five years in China and I simply can’t wait. Bush or Clinton or whoeverthehell just do not affect my feelings about America. Maybe that’s Babbitt-like drivel. Who knows? Talk about very different perspectives, indeed.

July 19, 2007 @ 9:11 am | Comment

Richard, ditto on Sam and Snow. But Sullivan’s piece is a good one, and thought provoking. Perhaps if Britain had enjoyed a robust parliamentary system at the time of the revolution, we might have adopted that, instead of a fixed term president. But we did, and have never changed it, except to limit the number of terms. By the way, it always great to be living abroad, particularly if you carry a first-world passport. And the U.S. passport, whatever the criticisms of our fellow members of the chattering class, remains the most sought after.

July 19, 2007 @ 11:27 am | Comment

“I just got back from a month in the US, and it still seems to be about more than the above, just like always.”

Sam_S, I’m going to make a guess that no one in your family is currently serving in the military.

Tens of thousands of American families have now had a loved one killed or wounded in this war.

I’ve got two nephews and a couple cousins in the service My step-brother (Navy) is in the Green Zone in Baghdad now through next May. I know for my family at least, times are definitely not “just like always”.

July 19, 2007 @ 12:30 pm | Comment

@ Shanghai Slim:
When are times EVER “just like always” for military families?

July 19, 2007 @ 3:30 pm | Comment

Richard,

My trip to America last week confirmed my belief that this is the best time ever to be living abroad.

Americans don’t suddenly change their behavior after presidential elections. Everyone here is doing just fine. Everyone I know is working hard at their jobs, raising their families, and relaxing a bit on the weekends. For us, living in our own country is good no matter who is in the White House. We know that another election will come and we’ll vote for the candidate we think will best lead us over the next stretch. No politburos, dictators, or coups. We rely on our Constitution. It’s guided us through good times and bad times for over two hundred years now.

As I said before, your claim that suddenly America is not a good place to be is bogus. If you don’t like the current elected president, just say so and STOP trying to tell the rest of us that we are somehow living in terrible country. I’ve lived in Asia and Europe and I know that the US is a fine place to live, no matter who is in office.

If everyone left the US when their chosen candidate did not win an election, then there would be NO AMERICA TO RETURN TO.

*

July 20, 2007 @ 1:08 am | Comment

Jeffrey, it’ how I feel. It isn’t bogus at all, you just feel differently. I see China in a way that is different from how some others see it, and the same with the US. Luckily we are all free to have our own perceptions and draw our own conclusions. The America under Bush is a more frightened and ugly country. That’s what I see. It can’t be “bogus” or “true” – it is how I feel. Deal with it.

July 20, 2007 @ 9:57 am | Comment

My, my. Where did all this realism and perspective come from?

Slim: got a close family member I care deeply about in service, and I find it a bizarre leap of logic that it would change “what America is about.”

Richard’s dirty little secret is that he’s a patriot, which makes me think that if he thought about it a bit, he might amend that particular statement. He knows I have “issues” with overblown rhetoric, because I think it wipes out credibility, but it’s campaign season, and Partisan Derangement Syndrome is in full bloom, so I guess we can expect much more about the shredding of the constitution and the End of the Republic.

July 20, 2007 @ 10:13 am | Comment

Off topic, this is about canada/China relations:

http://www.macleans.ca/article.jsp?content=20070709_107121_107121

July 20, 2007 @ 10:45 am | Comment

Off topic, this is about canada/China relations:

http://www.macleans.ca/article.jsp?content=20070709_107121_107121

July 20, 2007 @ 10:46 am | Comment

Snow:

good article, get it around as much as possible. Beijing has played everyone for fools and I sincerely hope that the “olympics” are a suitable payback.

People like Richard can stay in China and pretend everything is wonderful, I would rather be part of the solution even if only through rigorous debate and my vote than run away to a country where one holds a special place because of their skin color. That is called “living a lie”.

Bush and Cheney are hardly the first of their kind in US history, after the founding fathers died or were too old, we had quite a stretch of tyrants, God-complexations and some who just sat on their butts for 4 years. The government had to really take the Constitution seriously when things got out of hand in the late 1800s to early 1900s when Americans put their second amendment rights to use.

Then came women, MLK and wave after wave of lawsuits by native american tribes.

We can take pride in what we’ve done in just under 300 years what some societies, including other western ones, still can’t do after 500 to a few thousands of years.

I do sincerely believe that Obama will bring about a paradigm change, Hillary is just power hungry.
Obama ’08

July 20, 2007 @ 11:45 am | Comment

#1: I’m willing to bet good money that Obama wouldn’t be a president to bring about any kind of so-called “paradigm change”.

#2: “Expat” is not a dirty word. American expatriats to Europe during the interwar and postwar periods did more for Western culture in general than complacent Americans ever did back at home.

#3: God forbid Richard expresses a sentiment other than “America, A-Okay” on his own blog. Because we wouldn’t want “overblown rhetoric” now, would we.

#4: Please learn to differentiate between Richard’s “escapism” and, say, the hypocrisy of Phillip Cunningham.

July 20, 2007 @ 12:42 pm | Comment

Sam_S, to explain my “bizarre leap of logic”, I was trying to say that for my family back in the USA (and I think for many others across the country) things really are different now.

I’ve seen the changes in my family since the war started, and I see nothing at all good about them. I mean things beyond the dread that a family member will be maimed or killed in a historically foolish war. I’m thinking of how my kindly 70-year old mother now supports American use of torture. That was unimagineable just five years ago.

But I also see other disturbing changes not related to the war. I see ugly, borderline racist sentiments toward immigrants festering in my family (extra surprising given my family includes two inter-racial marriages, one of them Mexican-American). Those feelings weren’t there before, either.

To me this says that whatever America is about, it has somehow changed in some way (American moms supporting torture? How can that be?) I hope my family is exceptional in this regard, but frankly I’m worried it’s not.

July 20, 2007 @ 1:24 pm | Comment

nausicaa:
#1 Then who would? Or have you given up all hope to justify your existence in China?

#2 The expats in Europe after WW2 (many of whom were soldiers) were probably a much different breed than those now (curiosity seekers and profiteers). Some of the expats in Europe before WW2 supported the Nazis.

#3 Richard is free to express his opinion and others are free to express disagreement. Perhaps you’ve adopted the CCP’s mantra of “harmoniousness” and applied it to bloggin?

#4 Which Phillip Cunningham are you referring to? The accordian player, religious author or Earth Sciences professor?

Shanghai Slim:

I think we’d all be shocked at what lied beneath the warm, smiling exterior of our grandparents.
Are you sure she didn’t support the internment of Japanese immigrants? Jim Crow laws? The WW2 generation accomplished alot but the idea of social progress was not one of their strengths.
And being against illegal immigration is not racist, would you leave your door unlocked and let whomever wander in and out unsupervised?

July 20, 2007 @ 1:49 pm | Comment

As Obama has been a publicity hound throughout his adult life, how on Earth does he represent any “paradigm change?” If anything he personifies the current paradigm of American politics. Consider this: George Washington never published a book, and of special relevance here is that he never wrote or published any autobiography. Yet Obama – whose accomplishments (and personal character) pale alongside George Washington – has written two, including his autobiography when he was barely past adolescence. There’s nothing wrong with that per se, but there’s something very wrong with America’s body politic mistaking it for some kind of accomplishment or qualification for high office.

This is how far we’ve sunk, mistaking publicity for real achievement and merit. Washington had three horses shot out from under him in combat (he always faced the same gunfire in the front lines as his troops did) and commanded the American Army when he was Obama’s age. He didn’t need any artificial publicity. The contrast between him and callow publicity hounds like Obama reminds me of how – oh, say until around 1870 in America, and until around the 1930s in Europe – if a product was advertised, people assumed it must not be very good.

As for nanhey’s other remark: “The WW2 generation accomplished alot but the idea of social progress was not one of their strengths”,
nothing could be farther from the truth. A belief in “social progress” has been America’s cardinal creed from approximately the early 1900s to today, and it has not been a uniformly wise or practical creed, nor an entirely honest one. Much, or perhaps most, of what today is commonly mistaken for “progressive” thought is just a rehash of ideas and beliefs which became fashionable around the time of the First World War and the 1920s, and the American idea of “progress” has made very little progress since then, except perhaps in the one way which matters most now: a growing awareness of the limitations of material progress and its destructive effects on the environment. But that’s something very different from the paradigms of “social progress” based on Darwin and Freud and Marx which became fashionable around the 1920s, which continue to inform so much of so-called “liberal” thinking today.

July 20, 2007 @ 2:37 pm | Comment

#1 Then who would? Or have you given up all hope to justify your existence in China?

I’m for Gore. But I think it’s far too optimistic to expect a paradigm change, no matter which candidate you are supporting. Improvements over the current degenerate adminstrative though, yes.

Btw, I’m not American. And some wouldn’t even consider me an expat.

#2 The expats in Europe after WW2 (many of whom were soldiers) were probably a much different breed than those now (curiosity seekers and profiteers). Some of the expats in Europe before WW2 supported the Nazis.

Yes, but one Ezra Pound does not negate the significant contributions the expats made to the arts and humanities. But that is beside the point, which is this: being an expat because you are disillusioned with your native country does not make you a coward. Conversely, staying in your native country and wallowing in comfort and complacency does not make you a patriot.

#3 Richard is free to express his opinion and others are free to express disagreement. Perhaps you’ve adopted the CCP’s mantra of “harmoniousness” and applied it to bloggin?

No, but I never cease to be surprised at how irate some Ducklings can get over Richard posting his personal feelings about why he can no longer stand to live in America.

#4 Which Phillip Cunningham are you referring to? The accordian player, religious author or Earth Sciences professor?

Google “Philip Cunningham” with “Peking Duck”
and you’ll get your answer.

July 20, 2007 @ 2:48 pm | Comment

As for a paradigm change, look no further than Ron Paul.

July 20, 2007 @ 3:22 pm | Comment

t_co:

Ron Paul won’t make it past the Republican primary, otherwise he might have a chance, especially in this election.

July 21, 2007 @ 6:08 am | Comment

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