At the heart of Wendell Berry?s powerful Orion Magazine essay is the thesis that George W. Bush has usurped the ?we? in ?We the People,? turned it into the ?royal we,? and in so doing, effectively hijacked democracy. ?The idea of a government acting alone in a preemptive war is inherently undemocratic,? Berry notes, ?for it does not require or even permit the president to obtain the consent of the governed.?
Berry?s masterful polemic transcends that of the garden-variety dissident. He not only argues that our president is an unpatriotic terrorist, he defines these terms so concisely that members of even the most conservative think tank could perceive this as a reasonable conclusion. Berry?s definition of patriotism: ?For a nation to be, in the truest sense, patriotic, its citizens must love their land with a knowing, intelligent, sustaining and protective love. They must not, for any price, destroy its health, its beauty or its productivity.?
About terrorism Berry states:
?[Bush?s] National Security Strategy defines terrorism as ?premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetuated against innocents.? [This] is truly a distinct kind of violence, but to imply by the word ?terrorism? that this sort of terror is the work exclusively of ?terrorists? is misleading. The ?legitimate? warfare of technologically advanced nations likewise is premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against innocents.?
Berry?s gravest concern is not Bush?s use of terrorism to
achieve his own political ends, but rather his refusal to examine
why terrorism exists. ?There is . . . no acknowledgement in The
National Security Strategy that terrorism might have a cause that
could possibly be discovered and remedied.?