President George W. Bush: The “Manichean Warrior”

December 14, 2008 | By | 1 Reply More

What does it mean to call President Bush a Manichean warrior? Glenn Greenwald explains, in this interview with Bill Moyers:

Well, the idea of being a Manichean comes from this third century BC philosophy that–or religion really that–basically understood the world, a never-ending battle between the forces of pure good and the forces of pure evil. And all human events could be understood said adherence to this religion through that prism.

And it was a very simplistic idea that even early Christianity rejected as not appreciating the complexities of how the world actually is and the ambiguities, the moral ambiguities that characterize who most of us are in most situations. George Bush views the world and his followers viewed the world through this lens of pure good versus pure evil.

And it’s not me saying that. He said that in virtually all of his speeches. And when you see the world that way what it means is that if you’re on the side of pure good, as he asserted that he was and we are, it means that anything that you do, no matter how limitless, no matter how brutal and immoral, is inherently justifiable because it’s being enlisted for service of the good.

And by contrast, anything that you do to those on the other side is inherently justified as well because they’re pure evil. And from the war in Iraq to the torture camps and secret prisons that we set up all of the things that have done so much damage, I think that’s the mentality that lies at the heart of it.


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Category: Politics

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Luc P. says:

    While I agree about the George Bush part, the manichean religion is a lot more complex than what you imply : the pure evil and pure good principle fight inside every human, who, in turn, are of different shades of grey.

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