In Dostoevsky’s novel [The Possessed], that fire in the minds of men is not a yearning for liberty, but a nihilistic will to power that can only end in destruction. Put in George W. Bush’s mouth, those words are not a paean to freedom, but a manifesto of pure destructionism. Like Governor Lembke, President Bush has no dearth of hardline advisers who counsel him in ways calculated to provoke a violent reaction: unlike Lembke, however, there is little chance George W. Bush will learn his lesson, even if it comes too late. ~Justin Raimondo

I was very glad to see that Mr. Raimondo knows his Dostoevsky well and recognised the call to universal anarchy that Mr. Bush proposed in his inaugural address. As Mr. Raimondo correctly observed, the ‘liberty’ Mr. Bush referred to is not any liberty that Americans respect, but precisely the maniacal, violent overthrow of whole social and political orders that characterised the French Revolution and so horrified our wiser Founders. As I will be developing soon in one of the forthcoming, occasional themed columns I hope to add to Eunomia, Mr. Bush’s call for spreading fire throughout the world is not the language of a sane or responsible statesmen of one of the major powers of the world, but the cry of havoc from the anarchist who wields the arsonist’s brand and maintains, along with Turgenev’s Bazarov, that what will be built after the destruction, er, liberation is none of his concern. As a nihilist, Bazarov’s purpose is to tear down the existing order–building belongs to someone else. Mr. Bush’s attraction to revolutionary tactics and politics has gone beyond the merely offensive into, as Dostoevsky might well recognise, the realm of the demonic.

When I say the realm of the demonic, this may be likely to cause some consternation, so I should explain that every urge to usurped mastery by man in defiance of God, from the ancestral sin till today, and every drive towards disorder is demonic and leads, as it must, to self-destruction. It is the story of the Gadarene swine that Dostoevsky cited at the opening of his novel (and the Russian name of the novel is more precisely translated Demons), wherein Christ cast out Legion into the swine and the demons drove themselves over the cliff. The swine represent, in relation to the novel, those seduced by the dark call of the revolutionary, who brings only chaos, murder and treachery.

Needless to say, I found the inaugural address dreadful and rather terrifying (and I only read it in transcript). Though Mr. Bush was able to provide us with some laughs when he referred to Social Security as part of a “broader liberty,” the joke was quite unintentional and so all the more worrisome. Crackpot Wilsonianism was bad enough, but now it has mutated into a full-on, revolutionary ‘total critique’ of the existing state of half the world. ‘Total critique’ is the method of the extreme revolutionary left. The fact that its targeted is limited only to non-democratic states is not in the least bit comforting.