Tuesday, July 22, 2003

LT Smash provides a few comments on Tony Blair's Address to Congress on July 17.

Now, I have to keep reminding myself that hardly ANY politician writes his/her own speeches. Speech writers are highly overlooked people. The speech GIVER gets all the credit for a well-delivered, well-received speech. The speech GIVER nearly always also gets all the blame for any mistakes in a speech.

(Aside ... folks, do you really think that President Bush himself actually carefully read the entire, final draft of the State of the Union speech ahead of time? Its possible, but I doubt it. I bet he trusted his staff to do their jobs, and they trusted others to do theirs, etc. I believe its possible that Bush was reading his State of the Union speech in its final, entire form for the very first time when he stood up at the podium and looked at the teleprompter. You're of course welcome to your own opinion.)

Back to Blair's address. You know how the media is upset about the "Bush 16-Word Scandal"? Let's invent a new one here. Unfortunately, we only have 12 words, so this will be the "Blair 12-Word Scandal". Here's the quote:

We're not fighting for Christianity, but against religious fanaticism of all kinds.

dictionary.com defintions of fanaticism:
1) Excessive enthusiasm, unreasoning zeal, or wild and extravagant notions, on any subject, especially religion; religious frenzy. (from Webster's)
2) excessive intolerance of opposing views [syn: zealotry] (from WordNet)

So what is religious fanaticism? Who gets to be the judge of what is and isnt fanatical? Trust me, God's definition of religious fanaticism is different from an athiest's. What is "wild or extravagant" to one person, is reasonable to another. Who's to say that (say) God's intolerance of sin is excessive?

In the rest of the speech, Blair talks about nice safe things like liberty and freedom. And his writer should have stayed that course. Because America's freedom of speech and freedom to practice religion is ALL ABOUT allowing me the freedom to have fanatical views about anything I want (including religion), as long as I don't impinge someone else's freedom to have their own fanatical views about anything (including their own religion).

So to say that we're fighting religious fanaticism of all kinds is, IMO, a bit fanatical of a statement. How about instead saying we're fighting those who forcefully impose their fanaticism upon others who aren't at liberty to express their own opinion.

Hmm... play devil's advocate for a moment. Is the mantra of freedom and liberty a type of religion or creed? If it is a creed, are we imposing our fanaticism about freedom and liberty upon others? If so, is that a bad thing? If it's not a bad thing, then not "all kinds" of "religious" fanaticism are evil and his statement is again out of line.

America's roots were HEAVILY based on (what many parts of the modern world would call) Judeo-Christian religious "fanaticism". So if we're to fight against that, then we need to tear down the morals and ideals that built America and made her great. Hey, wait! We're already doing that. Interesting that our decay of Judeo-Christian morals is a (tiny?) part of what the Islamic world says they hold against us and gives them a right to attack us Infidels.

Perhaps the subtle message is that the only way to avoid "religious fanaticism" is to have no religion at all.

So there you have it. A mostly nicely written speech with 12 little fanatical, scandalous words embedded in it.



1 comment:

danielnikel@hotmail.com said...

Hello Lynellen,

I have enjoyed reading a few of your comments and will like to read more.. I typed Obscure things into google..and found your page..I agree with the speech writing comments words are a very powerful thing..

regards

Daniel