Brought to you by: Pat Buchanon's "American Conservative" (Go, Pat, Go!)
Bush may not have read Dostoyevsky—but his speechwriters have.
by Justin Raimondo
In a world aflame with war and terrorism, George W. Bush’s second inaugural address was a match flung onto an oil slick. By the time his 17-minute peroration reached midpoint, it was clear that was his intention:
"Because we have acted in the great liberating tradition of this nation, tens of millions have achieved their freedom. And as hope kindles hope, millions more will find it. By our efforts we have lit a fire as well, a fire in the minds of men. It warms those who feel its power; it burns those who fight its progress. And one day this untamed fire of freedom will reach the darkest corners of our world."
“A fire in the mind”—such a felicitous phrase. It aptly and succinctly describes the feverish mental state of our neoconservative policymakers, who set out to build an empire in the Middle East and now, with this speech, clearly envision much more. It also describes the mental state of some of the characters in Dostoyevsky’s The Possessed (or The Devils), from which the fiery metaphor is taken. Michael Barone pointed out the allusion in his U.S. News column, wherein he described Dostoyevsky’s work as “a novel about a provincial town inspired by new revolutionary ideas. After a turbulent literary evening, a fire breaks out, and one townsman says, ‘The fire is in the minds of men, not in the roofs of buildings.’”