Saturday, July 19, 2008


Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has called President Bush a "total failure":

"You know, God bless him, bless his heart, president of the United States, a total failure, losing all credibility with the American people on the economy, on the war, on energy, you name the subject," Pelosi replied. She then tsk-tsked Bush for "challenging Congress when we are trying to sweep up after his mess over and over and over again."

Pelosi's outburst was a departure. Her usual practice in public has been to call Bush's policies a failure - not his presidency or him, personally. Pelosi's remarks are the latest evidence of the Democrats' throw-caution-to-the-wind approach to Bush in the waning days of a presidency weighed down by an unpopular war and soaring gasoline prices.

President Bush's approval ratings hover around 28%. The Congress which Ms Pelosi leads is at 8%. Congress has done nothing since Pelosi took the reins except try futilely to defund the troops in Iraq, harass Bush administration officials, and obstruct whatever the President has attempted to do. Even in these dubious pursuits she has had few successes, and yet she has the chutzpah to call Bush -- a man who has liberated 50 million people from oppression, rescued millions more Africans from the ravages of disease and starvation, kept the U.S. free for seven years from a terrorist attack, kept an economy which has experienced several critical shocks from going into recession -- a total failure.

Ms Pelosi has given us a good example of how little people sometimes try to make themselves look big and important by tearing down those who dwarf them.



Charles Krauthammer is not Senator Obama's biggest fan, but he has an idea who is. Read his clever and amusing essay to see who gets his vote.


Post-modern Crackup

A student of mine, Tim, reminds me of this 2003 article in Christianity Today by Chuck Colson who writes about what he sees as the post-modern crackup. I recall that Brian McLaren took exception in CT to Colson's analysis of the faults and future of post-modern thinking, but McLaren's writings on the subject suffer from the fact that he never seems able to bring himself to define exactly what he means by "post-modern". As a result, his critique seemed unfocussed.

Anyway, I couldn't find McLaren's piece so I can't link to it and won't say any more about it.

In Colson's essay he points out that people cannot live with the assumption that there's no ultimate truth, that the only truth is what's true for me and the group I identify with:

Is postmodernism-the philosophy that claims there is no transcendent truth-on life support? It may be premature to sign the death certificate, but there are signs postmodernism is losing strength:

I spoke at my alma mater, Brown University, in June, arguing that without acknowledging moral truth, it's impossible for colleges to teach ethics. I've been saying this since the late 1980s, all over America, and I've yet to be successfully contradicted. Whenever someone claims his alma mater teaches ethics, I ask him to send me the curriculum, which invariably turns out to be pure pragmatism, utilitarianism, or social issues like diversity and the environment-good things, but not ethics. At Brown-one of the most liberal campuses in the country-I was shocked when the professor who introduced me acknowledged that he could no longer teach ethics, adding: "Chuck Colson will explain why."

Read the rest of what Colson says at the link. He talks about how young people seem to be abandoning the assumptions of post-modernity for something more solid, but I'm not so sure this is really happening today. Barack Obama, for example, has waged a campaign that appeals to all of society's post-modern impulses - his campaign's emphasis on style and image over substance, their shifting truth claims, etc. - and young people are soaking it up.

Even so, Colson's piece is a good read.

UPDATE: Byron has sent along links to McLaren's response to Colson along with Colson's reply. Check it out here. RLC