sexta-feira, 21 de janeiro de 2005

W and Dostoevsky

"Midway through his inaugural address, when the president proclaimed "the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world," I wondered if Bush or his speechwriters knew or cared how alien this ultra-revolutionary rhetoric would seem to conservatives of the old school – and soon had my answer:

"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 – surely, I thought, Bush's speechwriters can't have inserted this phrase without knowing its literary origin. It is taken from Dostoevsky's novel, The Possessed, a story set in pre-revolutionary Russia in which the author chronicles the intrigues of the emerging revolutionary movement: one of the main characters is based on the infamous nihilist Sergei Nechaev, whose aim is to make a revolution of such destructive power that bourgeois society will be completely destroyed. Their strategy is to provoke a violent crackdown on all dissent – which will then spark an explosion of revolutionary violence. To this purpose the nihilist Peter Verkhovensky worms his way into the confidence of Lembke, a provincial governor, convincing him of the need to crush rebellious workers who are distributing revolutionary leaflets and generally agitating against the government. The result is an uprising of murderous anger, a volcanic eruption of nihilistic violence that consumes the provincial capital in a great fire." Justin Raimondo

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