The Corner

Re: Can We Have A Dubya-Love Moment?

I dunno about a Dubya-love moment, K, but I had a Dubya-upchuck moment last week reading this:

President Bush has posted a message on a “wishing tree” at the G8 summit in Japan and, true to the aims of his second term in office, his main desire is for a world free from tyranny.

Hung in the branches of a black bamboo in Toyako on the northern island of Hokkaido, the Tanabata message is handwritten on a simple paper hanging with an embroidered border. Mr Bush writes: “I wish for a world free from tyranny: the tyranny of hunger, disease; and free from tyrannical governments. I wish for a world in which the universal desire for liberty is realized.” …

His message echoed that of his second swearing-in in January 2005, when he declared: “The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.”

[Me]  Personally I wish for a world in which free nations keep their coasts and borders well-guarded, enforce their laws, maintain a stable currency, cherish their constitutions, ensure their defenses, keep a watchful eye open for the machinations of hostile powers, foil those machinations fiercely but briskly when spotted, and leave aspirations for world peace to beauty-pageant contestants.

Liberty survived in our land for 200 years while its fortunes fluctuated widely elsewhere. There is no reason this state of affairs should not continue.

And please, cut out the glib stuff about “the tyranny of hunger, disease.” Tyranny is a political arrangement, with no necessary connection to nutritional or medical matters. This is a bit too reminiscent of (if memory serves) a certain mid-20th-century dictator who responded to mentions of freedom by scoffing about “the freedom to be unemployed, the freedom to be hungry.” Freedom is freedom, tyranny is tyranny; hunger, sickness, and unemployment are varieties of neither.

John Derbyshire — Mr. Derbyshire is a former contributing editor of National Review.

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