A vehicle for venting on philosophy, religion, and the general state of things. Proprietor: C. W. Powell

Thursday, November 20, 2003

National Review Online ( "As you know, NR's Richard Brookhiser is not only a crack journalist, but a crack historian (and, no, I'm not referring to his elegant broadsides against the illegality of drugs). Rick is the author of many books, on Washington, Hamilton, the Adamses, and others.

And he has an amazing talent for coming up with an exact and arresting historical analogy. It doesn't much matter what the subject or event is, Rick will find just the right parallel. And on this matter of Bush's reception in London - and the British intelligentsia's furious and fevered contempt for him - he has come up with a beaut. This is, really, the aptest thing you ever saw.
It comes from The Education of Henry Adams. Listen to this, folks:

London was altogether beside itself on one point, in especial; it created a nightmare of its own, and gave it the shape of Abraham Lincoln. Behind this it placed another demon, if possible more devilish, and called it Mr. Seward. In regard to these two men, English society seemed demented. Defence was useless; explanation was vain; one could only let the passion exhaust itself. One's best friends were as unreasonable as enemies, for the belief in poor Mr. Lincoln's brutality and Seward's ferocity became a dogma of popular faith.

There was an episode in which W. M. Thackeray utterly lost it, so disturbed was he about President Lincoln:

On quite insufficient evidence, he burst into violent reproach. Had Adams carried in his pocket the proofs that the reproach was unjust, he would have gained nothing by showing them. At that moment Thackeray, and all London society with him, needed the nervous relief of expressing emotion; for if Mr. Lincoln was not what they said he was - what were they?"

Yes, what were they? Apologists for, and twice-removed perpetuators of, slavery? And if Mr. Bush is not what "they" say he is — what are they? Apologists for, and twice-removed perpetuators of, terrorism and the dictatorships that abet it?

Nice going, Rick. Really nice going.
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