The Grim Secularist
February 17, 2004
Its always amusing when
people carry their
arguments to absurd lengths. For example, in the debate over whether the
works of William Shakespeare were written by William
Shakspere of Stratford or by the Earl of Oxford, Shaksperes
partisans feel they must show that their mans lack of formal
education wasnt a serious disability.
Thus Professor Stephen Orgel
assures us that Mr. Shakspere
received in the Stratford grammar school a formal education that
would daunt many college graduates today. Well, maybe,
considering that George W. Bush is a Yale alumnus. But Orgel neglects to
mention that weve no record that Mr. Shakspere attended that
school at all, or that he owned a single book, or that he was even able to
sign his own name!
Orgel goes on to assure us that
Oxford was not particularly well educated. No? He was
educated at the royal court by the best tutors in England, studied at
Cambridge University and the Inns of Court, and spoke and wrote fluent
French and Latin.
Yet to hear Orgel tell it,
youd think Oxford would have been better equipped to write
Hamlet if hed attended the Stratford grammar school!
In the same spirit, Republicans
are now arguing that John Kerrys war record is unimpressive
he only received three lousy little wounds! whereas young
George W. Bush showed courage by training in
dangerous military aircraft.
Only one conclusion is possible:
Kerry volunteered for combat duty in Vietnam in order to evade serving in
the Alabama National Guard!
long ago, Republican Guard meant Saddam Husseins notorious
security forces; now it means where todays war hawks spent the
Kerrys candidacy, the
increasingly ugly occupation of Iraq, and the revelation (for anyone who
was deceived) that Saddam Hussein had no weapons that could threaten
the United States all these have conspired to undercut what Bush
thought would be his greatest strength in the 2004 election: his record as
a war president.
Bush never looked more pathetic
than when flailing vainly at Tim Russerts softball tosses in their
recent interview. He kept repeating his final remaining justification for
the Iraq war: that Saddam was a madman who was somehow
dangerous even without the weapons Bush had
formerly insisted there was no doubt he possessed and was
poised to use against us.
Bush so richly deserves to lose
this years election that it would be a sweet pleasure to say Kerry
deserves to win it. Unfortunately, he doesnt. He would merely offer
a different set of evils.
A few months ago, though it
already seems longer, the Democrats, alarmed by Bushs appeal to
Christians, were flirting with religion. Even Howard Dean was advertising
his spiritual life, in the realization that God has a good reputation among
None of that false piety for
Kerry. He represents the grim secularism his party stands for a
party organized around the principle that abortion, or feticide, the killing
of human fetuses, is a basic right. You can hardly even call
him nominally Catholic. He doesnt bother with the old dodge of
being personally opposed to what he politically supports.
Unlike Bill Clinton, he doesnt quote, let alone carry, a Bible. For
Kerry, religion is such an irrelevance that even lip service to it is
The Democrats have abandoned
even moral ambiguity about abortion. They regard it as a good, pure and
simple. No opponent of abortion can think about seeking the partys
presidential nomination. Admitting the slightest reservation about it
would be fatal.
Of course Bush attaches no
urgency to abortion either. He lets on, to his Christian supporters, that he
is more or less against it; and unlike Kerry he wont appoint overtly
pro-abortion people to the Federal judiciary, hoping that this will be
enough to satisfy his base, who by now have learned not to expect much.
But Kerry is an aggressive
secularist, as his positions (we cant call them convictions) on
various issues show. This is no longer regarded as very scandalous or
alarming. Its taken for granted. What else would you expect from a
Massachusetts Democrat who habitually votes with Ted Kennedy and
This is what the two-party
system has come to. If Kerry is the alternative to Bush, we must think of
alternatives to voting.