News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: Bush's Vices

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Bush's Vices

The growing quandary that Bush idol worshippers face is the utter defeat of that idol's image of being a virtuous man. Bush ran on a platform that he was more virtuous than Clinton. Yet, his own unvirtuous behavior far outstrips Clinton's sexual pecadillo. ...

In his study of virture, Aristotle notes that there are two main categories of virtues--the emotional and the intellectual. A perfectly virtuous person will exhibit all of these virtues at all times in all circumstances and in the right degree.

Clinton's sexual indiscretion falls under the vice of continence; it's a virtuous failing with regard to the balance that a virtuous person is supposed to exhibit between the emotional and the intellectual.

Bush's vices, however, fall under the category of the intellectual virtues. While few, if any human, can approach the ideal set out by Aristotle, it seems beyond question that intellectual vices far outweigh the emotional vices.

The intellectual virtues include theoretical and pragamtic elements. The theoretical is not simply the kind of exercise that Einstein might practise. It also includes holding to truthfulness and awareness of what truth means and entails. Bush's failings in this regard continue to come to light. The perception by the everyday Joan that Bush is a liar undermines his appeal to this virtue.

Another aspect of virtue is the practical, also called prudence. Bush's miscalculations and mismangement of the so-called "war" against terror have demolished any notion that he is a prudent person. He lacks, therefore, both of the most improtant virtues that a leader must exhibit.

One can sense the growing despair of the Bushites as more and more of Bush's failures in prudence and truthfulness come to light. In attacking the Reps, the Dems should not simply, therefore, dwell on Bush's prudential vices. They should also show his glaring intellectual failures--which is, I think, what Feingold and others do by calling the President on his duplicity with regard to the NSA program(s).

The question the Dems should pose to the voter is the following: how and why do the Republicans continue to support a man whose truthfulness and prudence have been shown to be negligible? Their support for his vices must reflect back on their own failures in these virtues.

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