Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Are the Bush Republicans Really Maoists at Heart?

Wow, you say, the Republicans hate communism, so how can they be adherents of Mao Zedong (former chairman of China’s Communist Party)? Simple: it’s the political process!

Let’s consider two examples of how the Bush Administration followed Mao’s principals.

Maoist Principal – The Party Line Comes First and All Serve the Party Line
Fundamental to Mao’s politics was the process: first one must develop the correct party line. From the party line, all else flows. And, all the party faithful must serve the party line. Thus, the arts, literature, political discourse, government programs, and even science must serve the party line.

Let’s consider science. How many times has the administration looked to have science serve the party line?

Take global climate change, for example. The concept is bad news for the oil business. So we hear Republicans in the administration and their spokesmen on talk radio tow the line “There’s no evidence of climate change” or “maybe it is getting warmer, but that’s just a natural phenomenon and it’s not due to the use of fossil fuels.” They also used their allies in industry to disinformation campaign to mislead the public, and reduce political pressure to reduce carbon emissions.

Rolling Stone reported on how the White House censored global-warming documents in 2005. The Bush administration installed an industry lobbyist to head the Council on Environmental Quality, a division of the White House that coordinates federal environmental efforts) and used the CEQ to ensure that only “science” that adheres to the party line on climate change would see the light of day.

[Sidebar: Why do you think opposition to evolution has such traction in the Republican Party? Does it come from the deeply held religious belief of party leaders? Nah. It’s a wedge issue. Rove and associates realized that if many of the party faithful reject the theory of evolution, they can use this to create a groundswell to challenge other scientific theories that don’t conform to the party line (i.e., climate change, pollution impacts of expanded drilling for oil, endangered species, etc.). If the party faithful are willing to challenge the scientist on evolution, then they can be convinced to challenge scientists on anything contrary to the Republican Party line.]

Just like Mao, the Bush Administration and faithful Republicans used science to serve their party line.

Maoist Principal – Loyalty to the Party Line Comes First before Technical Expertise
Mao also said that loyalty to the party line trumped technical expertise. Wow – can you say FEMA and Michael Brown? Can you hear Bush saying "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job” while the levees in New Orleans crumbled?

Now I’m an engineer, so if I was staffing FEMA and they had to move in after disasters and rebuild, I’d think of someone who knows about 1) construction 2) engineering and 3) emergency preparedness. But Brown was a lawyer with no experience in any of the above. So, contrast these results:

---FEMA: delayed response, city floods, thousands homeless, and those FEMA trailers with high formaldehyde levels
---Railroads: As reported in Railway Age, before the storm, they retreated inland beyond the storm’s reach. They hired all the contractors they could. After the storm subsided, they were in there rebuilding and most lines were back in use in a week or two.

The railroads understood emergency preparedness and how to rebuild after disaster. They learned their lessons over the last 150 years, from wars (Civil, WWI & II, etc.) and from disasters (floods, hurricanes, etc.).

Bush’s crony Brown didn’t have a clue.

[Interesting sidebar: In the Great Leap Forward, Mao attempted to implement untested and unscientific agricultural techniques. This included canals, dams, and other infrastructure projects. However, on ideological grounds, Mao rejected the use of trained engineers to implement these projects. Rather they were implemented by the party faithful. Mao had his own Michael Browns. Needless to say, the projects failed.]

As an engineer, this pisses me off! You need expertise to understand the laws of physics to build a dam, canal or levee. You can’t BS the law of gravity. Gravity wins every time. There are times when technical expertise must outweigh party loyalty.

Just like Mao, Bush prized loyalty over technical expertise.

These are but a few examples of how the Bush Administration and faithful Republicans adhere to political principals of Mao Zedong.

So I say the Bush Administration and its Republican Followers are Maoists at heart. Mao failed. And we can count the days until the failed Bush Administration is finally history!

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