Friday, 28 March 2008

President Aurelius

There is one thing about which one can say that John McCain is principled.  "His politics," says the New York Times, "are best understood as a decade-long attack on the individual."  It's telling that this is recognised even in the pages of the New York Times -- no slouch when it comes to attacks on individualism.  Says Matt Welch, writing in the Times,

Mr. McCain’s stump speeches, as well as his five books, are chockablock with calls to elevate national greatness, collective duty and Washington rejuvenation over whatever individual roads we might be pursuing. In “Worth the Fighting For,” he wrote that “our greatness depends upon our patriotism, and our patriotism is hardly encouraged when we cannot take pride in the highest public institutions.” These institutions, Mr. McCain wrote, should “fortify the public’s allegiance to the national community.”

Like many country-first, party-second military officers who began second careers in Washington, Mr. McCain is often mischaracterized as a politician without any identifiable ideology. But all of his actions can be seen as an attempt to use the federal government to restore your faith in ... the federal government. Once we all put our shoulder on the same wheel, there’s nothing this country can’t do.

It can be a bracing approach when his issues line up with yours — I, for one, would welcome President McCain’s unilateral wars on pork-barrel spending and waterboarding — but it’s treacherous territory for those of us who consider “the pursuit of happiness” as something best defined by individuals, not crusading presidents-to-be.

emperor senator-john-mccain-thumb I don't know about you, but the more I see and hear of the future President McCain (left), the more I think of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (right) and his paeans to "a government of service and duty."  Former German chancelllor Helmut Schmidt was once asked to name his favourite philosopher. "Marcus Aurelius," he shot back. "He taught that we must do our duty above all!"  I fear that same deaf and blind heel-clicking tone will soon be occupying the White House.

One fears that Robert Bidinotto might be right; that "regardless of the election outcome, I can't see how the 2008 election will have anything but the most dire repercussions for [America's] future. With McCain, Hillary, and Obama in the race, all we need is one more horseman and we've got the Apocalypse."


  1. What are you doing reading the NYT?

  2. It would have been a better fortune for St Paul to have stood in the court of Marcus Aurelius than Nero.
    Marcus Aurelius spoke of Duty to truth and justice. He knew he was but a fortunate mortal. These are virtues for us all esp rulers.
    With Stoic wisdom he belittled the baubles of office and human ego.
    Due to hatred of Christianity by the heathen, Aurelius was deceived into believing Christianity was a cult of child sacrifice and so opposed it.
    This error of judgment appears insufficient grounds for PC’s respect I suspect because he still preached about Providence, temperance, modesty, honesty etc … "Never let an untruth pass your Lips"
    We all know this stuff is dirty religious superstition to an Objectivist.
    Rand said she owes no one the truth… Esp. not God. There is no providence according to Rand and so no divine arm to save. She denies any higher ethic than the self, She sanctions every means necessary to survive… lies and all esp. as in her atheist mind there exists no higher goal or law for the egoist nor any Providence to judge their actions contrary to absolute Holiness.
    I think Marcus was far closer to the truth!
    Tim Wikiriwhi

  3. Tim,

    This is even more unhinged and untrue than normal.

    If you can't think before writing, or check the truth of what you say before you say it, then please consider doing your writing and talking elsewhere.

  4. That is no arguement PC.
    Yet I shall leave you and your precious Ego to it.
    I shall not waste another pearl nor
    say Good bye as you would probably take offence to it as it means God be with you.
    Tim Wikiriwhi


1. Commenters are welcome and invited.
2. All comments are moderated. Off-topic grandstanding, spam, and gibberish will be ignored. Tu quoque will be moderated.
3. Read the post before you comment. Challenge facts, but don't simply ignore them.
4. Use a name. If it's important enough to say, it's important enough to put a name to.
5. Above all: Act with honour. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.