Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Newt is nuts

Newt Gingrich is still mentioned as a Republican presidential hopeful. He did an interview with National Review. It's worth a look for an understanding of how Newt thinks and by extension what the people who love Newt might think --

Obama, Gingrich adds, “is a radical in the sense that the victory of those values would mean the end of American civilization as we know it.” ... One editor asked Gingrich why America took such a sharp cultural turn after the Second World War. “I think it’s actually, in a bizarre way, the victory of the European intellectuals,” says Gingrich. “It would be interesting to go back and do a study of how this evolved. You have two streams coming together. You have an anti–middle class intellectual elite in the United States. You can go back and read, for example, Sinclair Lewis’s Babbitt and Main Street, etc. And you have the European refugees, who bring a very left intellectualism.”

Er, Newt, do you have any specific group in mind for those "refugees" who brought a "left intellectualism"? At least he didn't refer to them as Bolsheviks.

Anyway --

I keep arguing that the most important political phrase of the next ten years is that ‘two plus two equals four,’ which the Poles used against the state. It partly came out of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, where the state torturer says to the citizen: ‘If we tell you that two plus two equals five, it equals five. If we tell you that it equals three, it equals three,’” he says. “Deweyism, in that sense, wanted to create plasticity. William Ayers in that sense is a legitimate disciple of Dewey. How do you get to a revolutionized society? You make sure the people don’t know anything.”

Gingrich likened this to the Left’s current strategy of “saying that $10 trillion in debt doesn’t really matter because you won’t really notice it, and anyway by the time we get to that, something good will have happened.”

Got that ... arguments about public finance are just like the totalitarian state in 1984, because Newt says they are.

Then there's Newt and his favourite refugee left intellectual, Jesus --

Gingrich, a new convert to Catholicism, says that his recent documentaries and books, as well as his own faith, have influenced his politics and philosophy. “I think the centrality of the Eucharist in the Catholic experience, and the degree to which you’re directly infused with Christ, gives me a much higher appreciation of the cost of a totalitarian state on an everyday basis,” he says.

Every day is like Sunday, or something.

“If you read [George] Weigel,” he says, “and think about the points he’s driving at, and then you look at the passion of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to try to destroy every public cross in the country, to try to destroy every reference to religion, you begin to see this intense competition between this secular bureaucracy that literally is terrified of the sight of religion and the desire of humans to have access to being able to approach God without being constantly pressured by the state.”

You'd think that if "you're directly infused with Christ" from the Eucharist then whether or not there's a cross in a desert somewhere really wouldn't matter that much, but it's all clear in Newt's head.

Looking to Afghanistan, Gingrich says, “the real underlying challenge is that this is a much bigger problem than people understand. You can pull out of Afghanistan, and then what? You want to pull out of Pakistan? Fine. And then what? We pulled out of Somalia, and now we have pirates. You think these guys are going away? Or, do you think that this will become a bigger problem? It’s like dealing with Iran. The last few weeks have been worse than Chamberlain. This is Baldwin in 1935, just willfully blind because he didn’t want to tell the British people the truth because it would offend them.”

If things are so dire, then where is America’s Churchill? “I don’t know, we’ll find out,” says Gingrich. “I hope that we can find one.”

The Baldwin reference is a bit strange and at the very least, Baldwin's hesitancy on rearming was reflecting the pacifist mood of the public at the time. But where is the new Churchill? The Christ-infused Newt is too modest to tell us.

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