So What

PapaPaul febboy at IX.NETCOM.COM
Sun Feb 15 03:50:44 MST 1998

Some of those who say "he lied but so what?" are proudly affirming a
particular notion of cultural maturity. These Americans -- Clinton's
Europhile constituency -- endorse the European condescension that recurs
when Americans worry about whether politicians should be exemplary
individuals. Europe, and Americans who to take their intellectual bearings
therefrom, say:

Grow up, Americans. It is immature to judge politicians by other than
quantifiable public consequences, such as the growth of GDP. Your quaint,
ridiculous political sensibility, reflecting residual puritanism, prevents
mature acceptance of this fallen world's naughtiness.

To which, this riposte is apposite: Europe's political sensibility,
sometimes called "realism" and accurately called the de-moralization of
politics (politics in which the only important questions are, Do the trains
run on time? Do the autobahns get built?), has been no impediment to the
emergence of Lenin, Stalin, Mussolini, Franco and Hitler. So spare us your
tutorials on political sophistication.

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