Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Manly Nihilism of Mansfield's Machiavellian Presidency

The Wall Street Journal (May 2, 2007) has published Harvey Mansfield's defense of President Bush's exercise of "one-man rule," which is a reprint of an article previously published in The Claremont Review of Books.

According to Mansfield, the "rule of law" is defective because it does not recognize "the need for one-man rule" in those circumstances where we need "the living intelligence of a wise man." He then goes on to defend President Bush's exercise of such "one-man rule." His only complaint is that Bush's policy of imperialism is not really imperialistic enough. "I believe too that the difficulties of the war in Iraq arise from having wished to leave too much to the Iraqis, thus from a sense of inhibition rather than imperial ambition."

Previously, I have written about Mansfield's assertion of "manly nihilism" as displayed in the American presidency. Some of these posts can be found here, here, and here. My post on the Iraq war as a utopian folly can be found here.

Mansfield's article confirms my earlier assessments of his position. He looks to the American presidency as an expression of "manly nihilism" that denies the rule of law in the "assertiveness of executive power." This becomes utopian because he looks to "one-man rule" and "the living intelligence of a wise man," so that there is no need for a system of checks and balances to restrain this "wise man" in the pursuit of his "imperial ambition."

Doesn't this show once again that conservatives need Darwinian conservatism?

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