About Rationally Speaking

Rationally Speaking is a blog maintained by Prof. Massimo Pigliucci, a philosopher at the City University of New York. The blog reflects the Enlightenment figure Marquis de Condorcet's idea of what a public intellectual (yes, we know, that's such a bad word) ought to be: someone who devotes himself to "the tracking down of prejudices in the hiding places where priests, the schools, the government, and all long-established institutions had gathered and protected them." You're welcome. Please notice that the contents of this blog can be reprinted under the standard Creative Commons license.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Yet another one on "compassionate conservatism"

Excellent commentary by Daniel Schorr on National Public Radio's "Morning Edition" the other day. Schorr is clearly a moderate liberal, but he rarely directly attacks the Bush administration, or Republicans in general. On this occasion, however, you could hear that the guy was getting mad (in a very low-key, gentlemanly fashion, of course).

Schorr pointed out that Bush stood in an abandoned New Orleans after the Katrina hurricane, bravely saying "we will do what it takes" (a phrase reminiscent of the Iraq-related rhetoric), but that in fact neither he nor the Republicans in Congress have done much, even a month after the disaster. At the moment, there still is no legislation proposed to deal with the aftermath of Katrina, and House Republicans are actually planning to offset any expenses related to the hurricane by cutting federal programs (such as Medicaid) that are in theory "mandatory."

Moreover, Bush is considering tax cuts for local businesses, rather than direct aid to the families struck by the hurricane! That is, Republicans -- as usual -- refuse to even consider the possibility that a direct intervention of the government may be beneficial, at least under some circumstances (and these are certainly rather exceptional ones). Accordingly, the Republicans have rejected a Democratic plan to temporarily extend Medicare benefits to victims of the disaster, suspicious that (God forbid!) that would open the way to more permanent "socialist" programs to help the poor and needy.

As Daniel Schorr says at the end of his commentary, Bush says that he cares, but how much can be done on caring alone? Pretty much the same that could be done with a faith-based missile defense system, if only Bush were consistent enough with his principles to actually take that route!


  1. Bush cares about one thing and one thing only: Bush! His Christianity is a nothing more than a ploy, a means of gaining and retaining power. But it sure has worked for him.

    Anyone that claims Christianity as his creed or waves a flag can get Americans to follow him anywhere, do anything. Re: Jim Jones or the comet/spaceship dudes in California several years ago.

    The gullibility of the American public is appalling.

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  3. "If hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virture, compassionate conservatism is the policy hypocrisy uses to disguise economic vice" Kevin Phillips, American Dynasty

  4. What a bunch of blather. I guess I'm feeling a bit uncompassionate today. Maybe because I'm having a hard enough time keeping a roof over my family and food on my table. I'm not about to send my hard earned money to support fools and I don't want the government to send it either. New Orleans should have spent more money on levees and less on parades. That they didn't do so is not my fault and shouldn't be my problem. And anyone who lives 9' below sea level along the Mississippi Gulf Coast should damn well be prepared for a flood. Giving them special consideration after the inevitable just fuels their idiocy. Bush is an a-hole for many other reasons but in this case he's giving too much not too little.


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