There once was a village where the town fool was called Stupid George. One year a bear attacked and ate one of the villagers. A few years later Stupid George ran into the town square and announced that he had heard the man-eating bear snoring up in a tree. The villagers followed stupid George into the woods with their guns.
Stupid George went in some bushes and shot his shotgun, yelling “I shot the bear.” The villagers followed and saw that Stupid George hadn’t shot a snoring man-eating bear but instead had shot a buzzing hornet’s nest out of a tree. Stupid George was poking the hornet’s nest with his gun and saying “would you look at that bear?”
The hornets began to fly out and began to sting everybody. Of course all the villagers began to run, except Stupid George who yelled “Are you people going to cut and run? You cowards.”
The village wise man appeared and said: “You people were foolish to follow Stupid George in the first place. Only a fool fights hornets with shotguns. Leave them alone and they will leave you alone. If you listen to his childish taunts about cutting and running you may be even stupider than he is.”
All the villagers left, except a few foolish teenagers known for their trouble making (sic) and their poor judgement and the smiling shopkeeper who made a good business selling shotgun shells to Stupid George and his fools.
This is simply embarrassing to submit before the public. You will note that the little parable lacks a certain literary delicacy which is recommended when imitating Swift. It is ham-handed, over-obvious. Stupid George, for example, is the name that a sixth-grader would give. By highschool, students would at least attempt the irony of George the Genius or some such. Perhaps my friend believes that a large percentage of his readers - the ones he hopes to persuade - will be unable to understand unless it is spelled out. Well, even intelligent people miss satire from time to time; but why alienate the portion of your audience that has wit?
I think the analogy of the bear and the hornets inapt, but such things are permissable in the genre. If I don't like it I can go write my own fable with my own analogy I like better. No objections there. But the use of "coward," as if this is an accusation that Bush has come anywhere near making is a straw man; or worse, a projection.
My response was brief
Well, when you get to construct your own analogy it saves the trouble of conforming the story to the events. That's the beauty of fiction.
His response was also brief, echoing the style of my comment.
When you get to make up your own facts and arrest whoever you want who says it ain't so and make up your own laws - well, that's the beauty of dictatorship.
This is merely lunatic, however common it is currently. (Note: if it is already clear to you why this sort of hyperbole has no place in serious argument, you may skip to the end. It's going to be tedious otherwise.) "...arrest whoever you want who says it aint so..." is there even one example in the last five years of someone being arrested for disagreeing with George Bush, or for disagreeing with anyone? I think the accusation may stem from two current issues. People suspected of aiding terrorists, including two American citizens, are being held under premises that some Americans consider insufficient. The rhetoric of hyperbole accompanies the complaint, so that terms like fascist get dragged in, but that is the point of contention. There are offered constitutional and legal justifications for the surveillance, arrest, and incarceration of these individuals. Courts have upheld some of these interventions and disallowed others, and the legal decisions are being appealed by everyone. But the assertion "...arrest whoever you want," as if neocons were patrolling the streets pointing out folks they wanted locked up is just ludicrous. The left might predict that such things are next if we let Nefarious George proceed unchecked - and I welcome that trivially easy debate - but there is nothing like that now.
The second issue tied in may be that George Bush has answered his critics publicly, and this is thought to be a chilling silencing of dissent. People disagree with Bush and he has the temerity to answer back. And some of his friends even call names, too!
"...make up your own laws...," I imagine, refers to those places where the administration has claimed constitutional authority that precedes the legislative authority of Congress on a related but not identical issue. In making this claim, the current White House is following the precedents of all previous holders of the office, including most especially his immediate predecessor Bill Clinton. As to degree, Dubya does not come close to the overreach of authority attempted by Clinton, Carter, Johnson, Kennedy, Truman, and Roosevelt - the most recent Democratic presidents. He is not even on the scoreboard with those guys.
"...the beauty of dictatorship." Does this even need comment? These days, I suppose it does. I would hope that even the most deranged Kossack does not believe we are currently in a dictatorship.* The argument must be that we are on the path to dictatorship, which is gradually coming upon us unawares. Creeping fascism, perhaps. My brief scan of the rise of dictators in the past century suggests that they come to power amidst a good deal of violence and bloodshed. Pol Pot, The Russian Revolution, Castro, Pinochet, Mao - they didn't quietly assume power and then methodically strip the citizens of rights. Even the major exceptions, Hitler and Mussolini, were bumping people off pretty regularly within a year. If Bush 43 is trying to become a dictator, he's running out of time.
"...make up your own facts..." In light of the above, that shoe seems to be on the other foot.
*I was wrong here. There was a poll over at Daily Kos that over 80% of those who answered believe we are under fascism in all but name. The words fascism and dictatorship now officially have no denotative meaning. They are now meres words of connotation: Bad. Category: Political.