Blogs > Cliopatria > 2+2=5, or the new Prometheus

Jul 12, 2007 2:43 am


2+2=5, or the new Prometheus



According to The Onion,Tom Hanks will be sitting in as president this week. One can only wish.

Former Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona’stestimony to Congress is only the latest in revelations that the Bush administration wants its scientists to say that “2+2=5” whenever it pleases.

Surgeon generals have never been free of politics. One need only remember the fate of Joycelyn Elders, Bill Clinton’s first appointee to that office. Ronald Reagan appointed C. Everett Koop, at least in part, to place a pro-life advocate in that position.

But Koop’s stand on AIDS, which was highly unpopular in conservative circles at the time, is an example of what Surgeon Generals are supposed to be: truth-tellers on issues related to medicine regardless of the politics. I have no idea what pressures may have been brought on Koop in private, but he did issue his report, and to my knowledge, Reagan did not force changes. Koop continued in his office until fall of 1989.

Our noble editor had an entry recently on Bush’s Serenity in the face of facts in Iraq. I don’t know if Bush’s war on scientific independence is a result of the belief that he is doing God's will or is the result of something more cynical.

Or maybe it is something else, something almost Promethean. I do remember that one of Bush’s neo-conservatives, back in the heady days leading up to the invasion of Iraq, made the point that Bush’s firm actions would reshape reality and his critics would simply have to catch up. (If anyone knows who said that and what the exact quote is, please share.)
Added later on July 11: My thanks to Jonathan Dresner for this source for the quote.

At one level, that is true. Large-scale actions do reshape reality, and the opponents and supporters alike do have to keep up. This invasion has reshaped reality for millions, and we may have a whole generation of catching up to do.

Maybe this is symptomatic of the entire Bush approach to the world. Reality is what you make it. Period.

I don’t think this is Christianity. Nor is it necessarily cynicism, these constant attempts to reshape the world in the face of reality.

It's 19th century Romanticism come again. Really, it’s almost pagan.

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Oscar Chamberlain - 7/12/2007

Thanks!


Jonathan Dresner - 7/12/2007

I think the quotation you're looking for is the one referenced here.

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