A Straussian Interpretation of the 2006 SOTU

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We are all trying to decipher last week’s State of the Union. We are a nation, it seems, where the enemy lives and thrives among us. Something must be done. But what?

According to the 2006 SOTU, one of these enemies from within is the vibrant national movement for American isolationism, a movement that dominates both political parties at the grass roots. Led by the overwhelmingly popular American Conservative magazine, and fueled by the robust and militant Murray Rothbard/Garet Garrett fan club, Bush believes that this resurgence of the Old Right will sweep the 2006 elections. This is an extremely dangerous situation for government, for Bush himself, for the existing Congress (to whom Mr. Bush was speaking) and for the military industrial complex in a time when we "are eating our seed corn," as Paul Craig Roberts explains.

The enemy, beyond the isolationism on the minds and lips of every American, also includes any and all critics of George W. Bush. Dangerously, these critics of Bush are evolving, and may even include new human-animal hybrids. Look, I’m not making this up — it was all there.

Osama bin Laden may not be a friend of our way of life, but his most threatening role seems to be that of glory-hungry runner-up to Scooter Libby, current grand champion in the category "Mystical Images in Letters, Worldwide." While the latest Osama tape was indeed poetic and moving, I frankly see no competition for Libby’s stirring "aspens are turning" composition. Like his artful rival, Scooter stands indicted for endangering American national security. Must be that artistic temperament, or perhaps a Straussian gift.

But no, the real problem facing Bush is that so many of us are just not paying attention to the real problems facing Bush! We are concerned about jobs, inflation, government growth, government abuse and infringement of our unalienable freedoms and rights, and government debt. But, as George W. Bush repeatedly repeats over and over, the dangers are none of these things!

Instead, the danger is people in this country talking to each other, promoting dangerous and unstable ideas like peace and isolationism, drawing cartoons, creating websites and blogs that challenge the veracity of the government media machine and expose the lack of constitutionality and rule of law in Washington. Plus, we are host to an underground movement dedicated to the creation of human-animal hybrids, for what purpose the government can only imagine.

Many of you will find this description of the real threats difficult to accept. However, your persistent stubbornness only proves my point that you have been seduced by the enemy, and duped. Allow me to refer you to the logic of former Chairman of the Defense Policy Board Richard Perle, who stated just this week (in a debate over when to invade Iran) that, "If you want to try to wait until the very last minute, you’d better be very confident of your intelligence because if you’re not, you won’t know when the last minute is…. And so, ironically, one of the lessons of the inadequate intelligence of Iraq is you’d better be careful how long you choose to wait."

One mustn’t think rationally, one must simply follow and comply.

Perle’s logic, like Bush’s repetitive SOTU this week are very helpful in understanding our current government. But to fully appreciate the SOTU, we must all become junior Straussians, and seek to distinguish the exoteric from the esoteric meaning.

Let us examine what seems to be the most curious idea introduced in the 2006 SOTU — human-animal hybrids. Like "aspens turning," the human-animal hybrid will someday have an important historical place in understanding the Bush administration. Exoterically, Bush is mad at the mad scientists, and wishes to see them reined in for the good of the country.

But esoterically, Bush has an entirely different meaning. While the president simultaneously alarms and comforts us common people, in fact he speaks powerfully in code to his real audience — those who understand him esoterically.

I invite you to join me in this Straussian excursion. In the final chapter of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, we find this paragraph, which has long been recognized as a key to deep understanding of political process:

It was just after the sheep had returned, on a pleasant evening when the animals had finished work and were making their way back to the farm buildings, that the terrified neighing of a horse sounded from the yard. Startled, the animals stopped in their tracks. It was Clover’s voice. She neighed again, and all the animals broke into a gallop and rushed into the yard. Then they saw what Clover had seen.

It was a pig walking on his hind legs.

Yes, it was Squealer. A little awkwardly, as though not quite used to supporting his considerable bulk in that position, but with perfect balance, he was strolling across the yard. And a moment later, out from the door of the farmhouse came a long file of pigs, all walking on their hind legs. Some did it better than others, one or two were even a trifle unsteady and looked as though they would have liked the support of a stick, but every one of them made his way right round the yard successfully. And finally there was a tremendous baying of dogs and a shrill crowing from the black cockerel, and out came Napoleon himself, majestically upright, casting haughty glances from side to side, and with his dogs gambolling round him.

He carried a whip in his trotter.

This Orwellian text is immediately followed by the deep meaning resident in the Bush SOTU, the one received and acknowledged by the chosen few.

There was a deadly silence. Amazed, terrified, huddling together, the animals watched the long line of pigs march slowly round the yard. It was as though the world had turned upside-down. Then there came a moment when the first shock had worn off and when, in spite of everything-in spite of their terror of the dogs, and of the habit, developed through long years, of never complaining, never criticising, no matter what happened — they might have uttered some word of protest. But just at that moment, as though at a signal, all the sheep burst out into a tremendous bleating of-

“Four legs good, two legs better! Four legs good, two legs better! Four legs good, two legs better!"

I must humbly reveal that I had help in discovering the critical Straussian key. Bob Cesca, in a HuffingtonPost blog, paved the way for my deeper understanding with his exploration of the dangers of the Pigman.

Thank you Bob, and thank you President Bush — I must say, since my discovery, I am beginning to feel, oh, I don’t know, more equal somehow. How about you?

Karen Kwiatkowski, Ph.D. [send her mail], a retired USAF lieutenant colonel, has written on defense issues with a libertarian perspective for militaryweek.com, hosts the call-in radio show American Forum on Saturday nights, and blogs occasionally for Huffingtonpost.com. To receive automatic announcements of new articles and upcoming guests on her American Forum radio program, click here.

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