Wednesday, January 12, 2005

President Bush and Faith

The Washington Times has a feature on the role of religion in President Bush's life. The President was about as articulate as usual, but I think I understood a couple of pretty ridiculous suggestions anyway. Some quotations:
"I think people attack me because they are fearful that I will then say that you're not equally as patriotic if you're not a religious person," Mr. Bush said. "I've never said that. I've never acted like that. I think that's just the way it is."
This would be really funny if that's what he really meant to say. "I'm not saying, nor have I ever said, that p. Also: p." But probably there's another more cumbersome, more charitable interpretation available. But for this one, I think the absurd reading is the only one available:
"This is a country that is a value-based country," he said. "Whether they voted for you or not, there's a lot of values in this country, for which I'm real proud."
Yeah... it doesn't matter whether they're good values or not; as long as there are values, this is a great country. I'm pretty sure terrorists have 'values' in this sense, too -- and they probably hold them a lot more strongly than most Americans hold thiers.

1 comment:

  1. I took 'that' in 'I think that's just the way it is' to be referring not to the thing he's never said or acted like but to the fact thay some people will say things about him that aren't true. That's just the way it is. It's not very clear, but I think that's what he meant. Otherwise it doesn't make any sense at all.

    I think he uses 'values' as shorthand for 'good values'. He's not the only one I've seen doing this, and I can't figure out where it's coming from. I've heard even philosophers saying things like 'Truth is a value' to mean that truth is something objectively valuable, which is not at all how I would have taken such a statement. If that's what he's saying, it's not as ignorant or tautologous as it sounds. He's saying that people who voted against him had good values behind why they did so, even if he thinks they were misguided in applying them.