This and That

I’m having trouble finishing things these days. Some of you may be saying *tsk tsk* since the Rallye Monte Carlo started today, and I’ve gotten one team preview out. I’ve got two half-completed previews, and a rally preview. In case anyone cares, Sebastien Loeb is leading the rally, with Francois Duval and Marcus Gronholm close behind.

So, instead of being profound, I’ll just link to some other profound people. First, Slate has several interesting reactions to George Bush’s inargural address:

His Latest Mission from God: Democracy

Freedom on a Budget

Fred Kaplan points out a problem with Bush’s view of America’s purpose and ideals:

In his speech today, President Bush constructed a syllogism: (A) Spreading liberty reduces resentment, hatred, and violence in the world. (B) Resentment, hatred, and violence threaten our vital interests. Therefore, (C), as he puts it, “America’s vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one.” But this is a clever evasion. If it wasn’t, then Bush would have cut off relations with a dozen or so governments, including all three of those mentioned above (China, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan). He’s not doing that because he and the people around him know that the gesture would harm U.S. interests much more than it helped those countries’ dissidents, if in fact it helped them at all. At least since 1945, American statesmen have grappled with the dilemma between our interests and our ideals. To pretend that we’ve vanquished the dilemma?that our ideals and interests are monolithic and identical?is at best a delusion and at worst a hindrance to devising smart policies.

The Burkean Canuck also has a few things to say.