Three Monkeys Online

A Curious, Alternative Magazine

The President of Good and Evil – The ethics of George W. Bush

Bush has made no secret of his religious faith, and its importance in his life and his administration. Indeed, Singer has analysed his speeches in office, and found references to ‘Evil’ in 319 of them. Within those references, ‘Evil’ is used as a noun in the overwhelming majority of them as opposed to its adjectival use. So we can safely see Bush believes in ‘Evil’ as a tangible force in the world. Singer criticises Bush's Christian values, particularly in his reaction to 9/11, when, as described in Bob Woodward's book Bush at War instead of turning the other cheek, he &ldquowas tired of rhetoric. The President wanted to kill someone”, flatly against the teachings of Jesus and Paul. &ldquoMy point was simply that Bush, does not simply take his ethics from what the gospels report Jesus as saying. He uses his judgment to decide which aspects of the gospels he will follow, and which he will ignore. That means that his ethics are not really based on the gospels”. This however seems to completely miss the deep mix of old testament and new testament beloved in particular of certain branches of Protestantism. To say that it's contradictory is not a revelation and certainly won't impress readers in the Bible belt.

So in the final analysis, an important book, that will upset, antagonise, and in some cases convince both pro and anti Bush supporters. Singer's inability to shy from an argument is its biggest downfall, as there are moments when the most committed anti-Bush supporter will paradoxically end up feeling some sympathy for the President as he's examined under the spotlight. It's no less than you would expect from this prolific and brilliant writer. And should Kerry win the election, will there be a sequel? &ldquoIf Kerry talks as much about right and wrong as Bush, it's a possibility&ldquo.

The President of Good and Evil is published by Granta.

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