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May 25, 2004

Faith and work(s). Jean-Paul Spiro remarks on the nonsense of David Brooks:
Brooks has faith—literally—in democracy: “if we muddle through in Iraq and some semidemocratic nation slowly emerges, it won’t be because of American skill. It will be because the democratic creed is so strong it can withstand the highest incompetence.” He believes in American democracy the way an evangelist believes in his religion—which is exactly how the American Founding Fathers didn’t believe in democracy. Brooks seems to be saying that if we can make democracy work, then it works because it didn’t need us to make it work. This, of course, doesn’t make any sense. Then again, it’s quite familiar. Imagine the professional athlete who trains his whole life and then wins the big game, only to turn around and say “I didn’t win this. God wanted me to win.” Um, no—you trained really hard. If you didn’t train really hard, you wouldn’t have won. God is rather irrelevant. Likewise, if democracy works in Iraq, it’s because everybody made it work.

I don’t think any idea is so good that “it can withstand the highest incompetence.” Jesus didn’t tell his disciples to sit around and do nothing: he gave them specific instructions and he told them that His message would only take hold if they made it work. Mohammed was the same. Faith is not enough. It may be well and good if your idea has transcendent validity, but in the end it will only appear transcendently valid if some very competent people put it into practice with skill and precision.

Work like you were living in the early days of a better nation. [09:52 PM]
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Comments on Faith and work(s).:

Claire ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2004, 10:58 PM:

Work like you were living in the early days of a better nation.

God, I am trying so hard these days. It is a true thing that we need to fight for our right to be free. Especially from those who are trying to take that right from us. I am valiantly trying to keep from slipping into despair. Staying mad is the way to go.

Avedon ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2004, 02:30 PM:

I thought "God helps those who help themselves." Silly me.

Meanwhile, Claire, take heart, and listen to a lot of Fats Waller. (Also, the Rascals' "Ray of Hope" is good.) It's the price of liberty, you know.

Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2004, 03:21 PM:

"Brooks seems to be saying that if we can make democracy work, then it works because it didnít need us to make it work."

Sounds like the concept of marriage that so often leads to divorce.