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US: Imaginary Bush message by Stuart Rawlings
Americans feel strongly about President Bush. One whose feelinga are negative in Stuart Rawlings, who became a target for Bush-loving WAISers. Dwight Peterson said: "I question whether the World Association of International Studies should be a forum to vent our frustrations with this country's political diversity of thought". Miles Seeley says: "My answer to Dwight Peterson is, "Yes, WAIS should be exactly that kind of forum. We will love some postings and hate others. Every member should feel free to express himself/herself freely. Personally, I learn more from postings that I disagree with, than those that echo my thoughts. Dissent, even ridicule, are not unpatriotic in my view."
To balance the attacks on Stuart Rawlings and In the interest if fairness, I post this defense of him by Tom Sancton: "I not only agree with most of Stuart Rawling's imaginary message from President Bush, which is in the eminently respectable intellectual tradition of political satire going back to Jonathan Swift and far beyond, but I find it incredible that Dwight Peterson would want to censor him. It's a sad comment on freedom of expression when a member of a scholarly formum wants to gag another member because he doesn't agree with his opinions. As for the idea that one has to blindly "stand behind the President in times of crisis," though I would agree with that in the heat of a genuine emergency, it should not be a blank check for a president who declares a state of permanent crisis and keeps the country on a war footing for reasons that are, or at least should be, debatable. What has happened to the concept of a "loyal opposition" in the U.S.? Not only do Republicans call any criticism of administration policy "treason" (sic!), but the Democrats are so cowed by Bush's popularity and by the blind support of the flag-waving multitudes that none of them are willing to step up and ask the kinds of tough questions that are essential to the democratic process. Democracy calls for serious debate, not blind loyalty. I would have much preferred to see what Mr. Peterson had to say in an intelligent point by point rebuttal than to read his petulant tirade".
RH: Stuart Rawlings and Dwight Peterson are both generally esteemed. Peace be unto them both. Peace be unto all WAISers. WAIS is a refuge from the intolerant outside world. The problem with "freedom of the press" is that most people only listen to the speeches and read the papers which reflect and reinforce their views, making them even more intolerant of opposing viewpoints. Civilized debate has largely disappeared from our society, alas.
Ronald Hilton - 1/11/03