,Malaysia, Nicaragua,adultery

Friday, December 16, 2005


A Giant Among Pygmies - William J. Fulbright (1905-1995)

Author of "The Arrogance of Power"
The death of former senator William Proxmire from Wisconsin on December 15th has been widely reported. Adam Bernstein of the Washington Post covered it well. As is the norm on such occasions, there was a rush by politicians to offer eulogies. The event triggered a few of my friends to comment about another senator--the late William Fulbright of Arkansas. This what they said.

"Back in 1987, Senator Fulbright gave the commencement address at my graduation from U of Miami. It was an excellent speech that revealed a level of understanding of world affairs that is rare among the corridors of power in this country. After a 30-year Senate career, he died in 1995 at the age of 89.

"Excerpts from the Arrogance of Power are given below, which has striking relevance in the context of the current Iraq misadventure.

"On American foreign policy:

  • Throughout our history two strands have coexisted uneasily; a dominant strand of democratic humanism and a lesser but durable strand of intolerant Puritanism. There has been a tendency through the years for reason and moderation to prevail as long as things are going tolerably well or as long as our problems seem clear and finite and manageable. But... when some event or leader of opinion has aroused the people to a state of high emotion, our puritan spirit has tended to break through, leading us to look at the world through the distorting prism of a harsh and angry moralism.

"Fulbright also related his opposition to any American tendencies to intervene in the affairs of other nations:

"He was a strong believer in international law:

Sources: Wikipedia.org CommonDreams.org
K.C.R responded:

"It is a good thing the good senator is no more. Today's powers-that-be would have branded his words above as irresponsible, unpatriotic, unchristian, UN-loving, terrorist-supporting, michael moore-like claptrap. His tax records would have been audited by the IRS and his phones tapped by the FBI. O'Reilly would have called him 'Frenchie', Cheney would have called him 'dangerous', Rice ' a friend of Saddam', Limbaugh 'deliriously left-wing' and Gary Bauer 'gay'.

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