“In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn’t like about Bush’s former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House’s displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn’t fully comprehend — but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.
The aide said that guys like me were ”in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who ”believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ”That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. ”We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors… and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”
…that post, and Robin’s new book, is a quick reference study on the roots of conservatism, and what it means today vs. what it used to mean, which if you are inclined to debate or discuss politics seems fundamental.
“Reality-based community” soon became one of the most cited quotes of the Bush era — a Google search yields 456,000 results; it even has its own Wikipedia page. It is an affirmation of everything the left ever thought about the right: that it lives in a fact-free universe where ideological purity is more important than pragmatic solutions; that it’s revolutionary and radical rather than realistic and moderate; that it’s activist rather than accommodating; that it’s, well… not really conservative.”
it goes on but to be honest i basically stopped reading there because i was sort of reeling from the idea of the use of “reality-based” as a pejorative term by those running the Empire of America (forgive me that i missed this conversation when it happened in 2004).
on the one hand, i find it philosophically beautiful that those running the world believe that Reality Is What You Create, that nothing is static and everything can change on a dime, and basing long term decisions about humanity on anything seemingly factual is foolish, because what might happen tomorrow? Focus On The World You Want To Create. and who can define Reality anyway? what it means for one person or community can be radically different from another.
on the other hand, personal existential philosophies about what determines Reality aside, the use of this term as a flip side to “faith-based” creates a dichotomy in which i would have to side with “reality-based” as being the only way i can imagine organizing a global population. collect data, determine current realities, react, adjust, repeat. “consensus reality” is hard enough to swallow as a middle ground (and also entirely undependable, as it is subjective); “faith-based” seems a foolish path.
but wait – aren’t those the Dreamers? i thought i supported Dreamers. crap. so i guess it’s fair to say that my personal and political philosophies are divergent in numerous ways. but that is not to say that the personal is not political. oh no no.
anyway, i digress. i just hadn’t heard this discussion when it happened and my brain got a little blown for a second just now when i read that and started extrapolating into current life and Realities, which i’ll spare you further uneducated ramblings on. but i assure you the idea of “reality-based community” is permanently in my brain now.
(thx to Lukas for the link.)Filed in culture and random linkage, philosophical ramblings, politics and news | Tagged with dreamers | Comment (0)