The Corner

Notes on the End of Bush Derangement Syndrome

Given Climategate II, no noticeable heating of the planet during the last decade, and all sorts of questionable research on supposed problems like polar bear population declines and Himalayan glacier melting — not to mention the wind and solar debacles here and in Europe — the man-made-global-warming movement is about done for now. We sometimes forget that the fad gained its traction during the Bush years, fueled in large part by the myth that a Texas Bible-thumper was going to prevent wise technocrats from saving the planet from the neanderthals. 

The years 2001 to 2009 saw a lot of that — hysteria attributable to Bush derangement syndrome. I say hysteria because, like global warming, there no longer seems to be much furor over, for example, guidelines on stem-cell research. Iraq has become one of the administration’s “greatest achievements.” Afghanistan is no longer the “good” war that we “took our eye off.” Renditions, Guantanamo, tribunals, preventive detention, Predators, and the Patriot Act are no longer destroying the Constitution. Bombing a Muslim oil-producing country is no longer a war crime. 

It is as if all these -isms and -ologies of the early 21st century — and their representatives, from Al Gore to Michael Moore, Cindy Sheehan, and Sean Penn — were entirely negative, not positive developments, valid simply because they were the opposite of what Bush was (or supposedly was) for or against. With Bush removed from the calculus, the progressive community is silent and sometimes even embarrassed about the issues that once inspired them.

In psychological terms, there was some sort of deviant paranoia in which the progressive mind felt that all sorts of terrible things were happening beyond its control and, by blaming all of them on Bush, gained a sort of release from examining any of these things on their merits. Obama was a creation of this malady: Just as Bush had cooked the planet, so Obama would cool it and the seas would recede; just as Bush had destroyed civil liberties, so Obama would restore them by stopping renditions and closing Guantanamo; just as Bush was anti-science, so Obama would promote scientifically “proven” man-made global warming; and just as Bush had polarized the world, so Obama would reset relations and win over unduly snubbed Russia, Iran, Syria, Venezuela, China, Cuba, etc.

But because there was never any real Bush illness, there could not be any real Obama cure — and so the hysteria quietly subsided and is now being Trotskyized away.

Victor Davis Hanson — NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author, most recently, of The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won.

Most Popular

Culture

School Shootings and the Incentives of Violence

Today’s Morning Jolt discusses school shootings and the common difficulties of the teenage years, and I thought of another aspect that I forgot to include -- the degree to which our society, in its reaction to violence, inadvertently rewards that violence. Every teenager wants attention, to be recognized, to ... Read More
NR Marketing

Down the Home Stretch

Our Spring 2018 Webathon winds up this week. El jefe, Mr. Lowry, makes the case, wonderfully, for your participating, even at this final stage. In case you need some visual inspiration, we’ll use this horse race image from the novel Ben Hur (you'll remember the 1959 movie version starred the late NR ... Read More
Immigration

On a Willful Lie from the Press

This claim is omnipresent on social media and beyond: Trump lashed out at undocumented immigrants during a White House meeting, calling those trying to breach the country’s borders “animals” https://t.co/aQNeu29T6e pic.twitter.com/ogrFKaWyDZ — The New York Times (@nytimes) May 16, 2018 Peruse ... Read More
PC Culture

The Nature of Progressive Insensitivity

Former vice president Joe Biden is back in the news yet again. For a second time, he seems surprised that poor residents of the inner city are capable of doing sophisticated jobs: We don't think ordinary people can do things like program, code. It's not rocket science, guys. So, we went and we hired some folks ... Read More
Culture

The Feminization of Everything Fails Our Boys

Let me share with you two troubling — and, I believe, closely linked — news reports. The first, from this weekend, comes courtesy of the American Enterprise Institute’s Mark Perry. In one chart, he highlights the dramatic and growing gender gap in higher education. In short, women are dominating: ... Read More