October 10, 2004

The Dubya Code

... or, "Steward's Folly" ...

Oh, we should have know better.

But no, the Confidence Man, smug in his cosmopolitan, secular-humanist aspect, misread the situation entirely.

We said, once upon a time, that Bush's use of the term "steward" in regard to his role in despoiling the environment was merely silly and aggravating.

But when Bush conspicuously used the term again in the same context in the second debate, we realized that perhaps there was something more to it.

As with Bush's deployment of "Dred Scott" as a placeholder for "Roe v. Wade," his use of "steward" in relation to "the environment" is as a precise code word to his base of fundamentalist free-market zealots.

In this context, "steward" means specifically that Bush will allow property rights in all instances to trump environmental concerns.

Check out a representative explication of Biblical "stewardship" of the environment:

Man's relationship to the world is that of a steward, not that of an owner. ... This basic perspective - that the creation serves man, but that man is bound to use the creation as a steward - is filled out in detail throughout Scripture. ... private property is basic to a Biblical view of economics ... Private property rights set up boundaries that stewards have an interest in guarding. Without property rights, there are no boundaries to guard, and environmental catastrophes are more likely.

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