January 15, 2007

Religion is a Great Buffer From Reality

Time and time again, we've seen examples of religious people who have successfully managed to wall themselves off from reality. Sometimes it appears that the person has a desire to escape and is using religion for that purpose; other times it appears that religious brainwashing has actually destroyed any connection with reality, leaving the person in a state of delusion. It now appears that President Bush has managed to separate himself rather completely from reality. Given his personality, this often comes across as a willful stubbornness, but I suppose only those who know him well can tell us how much is intentional and how much control over it he may have.

With his approval rating sinking to new lows, Bush seems unfazed. He plans to continue with his Iraq escalation strategy regardless of what Congress does (see The Raw Story). CNN reports that Bush told 60 Minutes that the Iraqi people should be thankful for what America has done for them and that he's "proud of the efforts we did."
"We liberated that country from a tyrant. I think the Iraqi people owe the American people a huge debt of gratitude. That's the problem here in America: They wonder whether or not there is a gratitude level that's significant enough in Iraq."
When confronted with his dismal popularity and the vast evidence that his leadership in Iraq has led to one mistake after another, one would expect Bush to be at least somewhat affected. "Quite the contrary. My spirits are strong, and I'm-- I'm-- I'm-- I'm blessed to be the president."

It appears that no degree of separation from reality is too great for a mind influenced by religion. It is tempting to reject the possibility that Bush can actually believe what he is now saying. Surely, he must simply be trying to save face, protect the institution of the Presidency, etc. But we must remember that this is someone who claims to be "born-again" and who manages to believe all sorts of other nonsense. Perhaps religion, or at least religious extremism, is toxic to the mind.

You can find the full transcript of the 60 Minutes interview here along with a great translation at Daily Kos.

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