This from Brooks’ column yesterday. Inspired by this.
>[H]is self-confidence survives because it flows from two sources. The first is his unconquerable faith in the rightness of his Big Idea. Bush is convinced that history is moving in the direction of democracy, or as he said Friday: “It’s more of a theological perspective. I do believe there is an Almighty, and I believe a gift of that Almighty to all is freedom. And I will tell you that is a principle that no one can convince me that doesn’t exist.”
I missed the part in the Bible about history moving in the direction of democracy. That idea–democracy–was someone else’s. I’m also uncertain whether the dispute about Bush’s belligerent and counterproductive policies primarily concerns whether or not certain principles “exist.” Whatever the source of such foundational principles of value (divine beneficence, common agreement, or whatever), there will always remain the question of how to apply them. Claiming that they’re divine, in other words, tells us nothing about how to apply them.