Saturday, July 05, 2008

Chimpish ignorance and superstition

Language Log takes Bush to task for selectively quoting from a Thomas Jefferson letter in his July 4th speech yesterday in a way that distorted its meaning. Here’s the full quote, with the words Bush for some reason skipped highlighted:
May it [the United States] be to the world, what I believe it will be — to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all — the Signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government.
Today, Bush’s Indy-Day-themed weekly radio address claimed that “human freedom is the birthright of all people and a gift from the Almighty” and concluded, “And with the protection of Divine Providence it will continue to shine brightly for generations to come.” He may talk about liberty, but it’s always in that tone of monkish ignorance and superstition. People who don’t believe in liberty as being maintained solely by the thoughts and efforts of mere mortals, as opposed to “Divine Providence,” do not understand liberty.


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