thoughts and observations of a privacy, security and internet researcher, activist, and policy advisor

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Open Letter to George W. Bush

Pavel Mayer has written an open letter to George W. Bush that is worth reading. It is an attempt to explain why even a person like him ("who enjoys a comfortable life in a western european democratic society (...) grateful for the peace, liberty, security and the comparatively high standard of living") is deeply concerned about where the world is heading under George Bush's leadership. It is not the usual open letter, as it is quite long. This is just a short quote:
Extraordinary power requires an extraordinary noble character - normal humans easily get corrupted by it, so the arrogance of your administration is just a normal human reaction. It does not mean that you are all bad guys. It just means that you were not extraordinary enough to be up to the gargantuan tasks you faced, and when you felt it deep inside, you couldn’t admit it, because to admit your failures you all would have needed even more nobility of mind than would have saved you from failing in the first place. So you lied to yourself until you all believed that you are doing a great job, while the gap between reality and your perception widened.
The whole letter has a nice mixture of sober analysis and a certain candor in style. It reminds me of what Hannah Arendt used to call the "power of judgment".

I especially like the introduction, where he brings an argument from democratic theory:
like most people on this planet I never had a chance to vote for or against you becoming president, although your decisions have quite an impact on my life and the society I live in. Therefore I feel to have the right to question your actions and address you in person
We have been working on the normative aspects of global governance in our research project, and the question of how to ensure the legitimacy of global policies under circumstances short of a world government is not easy to answer. An emerging global public sphere like the blogosphere is certainly one step in the right direction. I hope this letter gets enough attention so at least the spin doctors in the White House and many American voters read it and think about it.

But see for yourself. And please digg it or spread the word otherwise.

PS: For those of you who have been following the discussion about if "we lost the war" against the police state or not, Pavel also wrote a concise reply: "Why we have not lost the war".


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