Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Pen Pals or Love Letters?

I confess a certain liking for Andrew Sullivan. In fact I'm in a real bind here because of it. Mr. Sullivan will be speaking at a conference in Amsterdam in August and I really, really want to go. It's just affording the admission fee. And not only will Sullivan be there but Bruce Bawer, whose book on radical Islam in Europe ought to be read by every, will be there along with several other people I want to see including Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of the blaspheming South Park show. At least 3 or 4 friends are on the agenda as well. Adrei Illarionov, the former Putin advisor who has blasted the Russian government for the direction they are going will be there. I actually met Adrei for the first time about a week ago. And Johan Norberg, whose book In Defense of Global Capitalism I enjoyed immensely, is also speaking. So I have plenty of reasons to go and 425 not to (dollars). Anyway I digress.

As I was saying I really am starting to enjoy Andrew Sullivan a lot. I think him wrong in several areas but he often says things that are right on the money. Over the last day or so I was contemplating what I wanted to say about the letter from Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to George Bush. The letter is interesting because this Islamic radical sees similarities with Bush that he wishes to exploit. Now I have said there are similarities between Christian fundamentalists like Bush and the extremists within Islam. And for someone like Ahmadinejad to say it is actually important. And then Sullivan comes out and writes precisely what is about this letter that disturbed me and he did it better than I would have thus leaving me with no recourse but to quote him and applaud him.

"Ahmadinejad writes to Bush as a fellow religious fundamentalist, a true believer. He seeks common ground based on the notion that "liberalism" and "Western-style democracy" do not "realize the ideals of humanity." Because Bush has staked the U.S.'s global position and moral authority on religion, he has given Ahmadinejad a rhetorical opening to do the same. Since American democracy is, in Bush's eyes, a manifestation of God's will - not the construction of human beings alone - Ahmadinejad has an interlocutor who speaks his own theological language."


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