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You Gotta Have Faith

Why is George W. Bush, the "simple-minded" president, getting nearly everything right? He's got something the pointy-heads don't understand.

11:01 PM, Feb 28, 2002 • By DAVID BROOKS
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His faith also provides him with a developed moral sense. Bush has used the word "evil" repeatedly during this conflict, and many people have cited this as evidence of his simplistic view of the world. But where on earth does anybody get the idea that to call something evil is to make a simple statement? Evil is a complex concept, containing notions of sin, temptation, the possibility of redemption, and much else.

Bush also seems to feel that it is a sign of decadence to wrap one's true meaning in a fog of legalisms or diplomatic formulas. With its bold, morally charged statements, Bush's State of the Union address can be read as one long effort to offend the State Department sensibility, which is rationalistic and calculating. It's as if Bush has instead adopted the epistemological style of the gospels, which are straightforward, but not simple.

Since September 11, a lot of intelligent and learned people have said a lot of idiotic things. Meanwhile, George W. Bush, lacking both deep learning and wide experience, has made a series of smart decisions. Maybe it's time we reconsidered what it means to be intelligent.

David Brooks is a senior editor at The Weekly Standard.