“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Antonio Stradivari's secret and George W. Bush.

An interesting article on the Stradivarian violin caught my attention. It got me thinking about some other things.

For some time scientists and music officianados have been attempting to discover the secrets to the Stradivarius violin. In a broader sense it is a question we all ask from time to time about how certain people achieve remarkable success, whether they be a Don Imus, Bill Gates or Antonio Stradivari.

Usually in most human endeavors the results of success are obvious at the time of their accomplishment. That is not often so in areas of philosophy, politics or diplomacy.

Truman and Nixon were hated. Eisenhower and Reagan disparaged and Winston Churchill was hated and reviled by the English voters before and after WWII.

Today George Bush is a much reviled man, yet George W. Bush is not an evil man. He may be naive. IMO he has put too much trust and faith in friends and advisers and has a stubbornness that borders on denial. His plunge into Iraq uncovered a mess that existed before he got there with American forces and our allies. Only time will tell if any good comes from this and that will be constantly debated.

In general, time is not very kind to politicians in the short term, but later even a rough wine can develop into something worthy. Remember that. I try to do so.

Would I bet that the Bush Administration will mellow into a Stradivarian time in US politics? No. But will some of us, rightly down on him now, someday think, "Good old George?' Maybe. Stranger things have happened. More about the violin.

Row over Stradivarius 'secrets' BBC

In May, a Stradivarius violin called The Hammer sold for $3.5m. The professional descendants of "the king of violin-makers" have dismissed research that claims to have unmasked Antonio Stradivari's secret. The Italian crafted over 1,000 violins, violas and violoncellos in the 1700s.

Experts have struggled to explain why the instruments sound so much better than anyone else's.

Researchers in the US said this week they believe a Stradivarius owes its distinct sound to a chemical treatment designed to kill woodworm and fungi.

But the BBC's Mark Duff in northern Italy says today's violin-makers in Stradivari's hometown Cremona - a small city in the floodplain of the river Po - are unimpressed.

One current violin-maker and restorer said it was absurd to try and reduce Stradivari's unique musical gift to a chemical reaction.

"What was the point of trying to dissect the beauty of a Strad?" asked another.

"To do so would be like trying to fathom the depths of Michelangelo's genius."


  1. Let us not discover the reasons, let us only enjoy the superior sounds?

    Never to replicated.

    Let us not look to past success, but start a new with each successive generation.

    Look not to the US Founding Fathers for lessons on building a working Republic. "What was the point of trying to dissect the beauty of a Strad?" or a republican government.

    That, in truth, is Mr Bush's major failing. He did not look to our past success to build a successful future. Not to Mr Madison nor Mr Lincoln or even FDR & Truman.

  2. Comparing Bush to Stradivarius :

    The violin is merely an inanimate thing of wood and metal, the genius was in the man Stradivarius who made a magical instrument out of ordinary material.

    Bush is not genius, indeed he is rather ordinary. However, the genius lies in getting such a mediocre man elected to be POTUS. Rove may be remembered as an evil genius, but more Machiavelli than Stradivarius.

  3. Desert Rat said, "That, in truth, is Mr Bush's major failing. He did not look to our past success to build a successful future. Not to Mr Madison nor Mr Lincoln or even FDR & Truman."

    Post-war nationbuilding efforts work in places that had previously constructed V2 rockets and Mitsubishi Zeros, but they are destined to fail in places which reward the end of occupation by kidnapping people living over the border and launching rockets at hospitals.

  4. Before the Nation building began in places that "constructed V2 rockets and Mitsubishi Zeros" those Peoples had been beaten into the ground, their cities ground to ash and dust.

    Then "Nation building" moved forward, those defeated Peoples ready for another "way".

    This lesson was lost upon the Leaders of the post modern World.

    Ms Rice says "Liberating" an entire Country is difficult and error prone, they just quoted her on FOX. Defeating it's Peoples first, that would have been a start.

    Instead of "Liberating" them. Then becoming upset with the results of the liberation.

  5. DR,

    The unalloyed hubris of these people is without peer.

    "Ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind"

  6. DR,

    An idea I have yet seen in the blogospere: Is the reluctance of this administration to use tried and true methods due to a belief that our ancestors who did were evil?

  7. Agree!

    Bush is not "evil". In fact, this one area (probably the only one) where I agree with those stinking LIBERALS. Bush is an idiot, not evil.

    Ivy league schools don't make you smart, they make you an intellectual - they're's quite a difference 'tween the two!

    Churchill & Bush? Absolutely NO COMPARISON - CONTRAST, yes!

  8. tiger,

    The higher up the ladder, the taller the "dunce cap".

  9. from Allen's article,..."As Christmas approaches, bishops would do well to focus on the traditional Christian virtues of faith, hope and charity. The greatest of these, said St Paul, is charity, or love."

    Not hate, revenge, jihad and martyrdom.

  10. Deuce,

    The bishops, by "focusing" on all manner of things, find themselves alone. Who knows, a John Wesley may come to the fore; stranger things have happened - like the Great Awakening. Oh, the bishops didn't like that much either.

  11. Deuce,

    I was referring to the whole disjointed business of revenge, jihad, and martyrdom, heretofore unknown among Christians.

    The bishops would say they have been focused on faith, hope, and charity, and perhaps they have. Given the sorry state of European Christianity, was the past focus Christian?

  12. We should all be ashamed. As we prattle on and on and begin to luxuriate in the Holiday season, one of the Earth’s truly great citizens is fighting against imminent shocking by the Grim Reaper (Repress, if you please). Of course, I speak of none other than Comrade Fidel Castro. The good man was too ill to attend his own birthday parade and deliver his customary four hour indictment of the West. He will be missed.

  13. Continuing in the charitable spirit of the season, this piece should be of special interest as we of the West sincerely attempt to reconcile our culture to that of our brothers in the ME.

    Saudi Head-Chopper Discusses His Craft

    H/T LGF and MEMRI

  14. It seems only 'Rat and I are suitably impressed by a history of either repeating actions that do not work, or making changes that only make things worse.

    War is about killing people and breaking things.
    Defenders of GWB continue to give reasons why he can not do this and cannot do that.

    ...which is what they have BEEN doing for the last three years!

    For three years they have mirrored each other:
    Repeating the same things over and over that have failed before.

    'Rat has occasionally taken the time to cite examples out of the BC archive.
    The rest act like history does not exist, and like 'Rat says prefer to act like we are re-inventing history with each dawning day.

    Bring back Normie Minetta to install those Muslim Prayer Rooms in all OUR Airports!
    (won't get to say that for much longer)

    Kinder Gentler, more Compassionate, new-toned, blah, blah, blah.
    Tell that to the parents of a warrior killed by a twice released terrorist.

    Tell that to the families of the thousands killed and maimed year after year IN THIS COUNTRY
    by the Illegals that George has so persistently and consistently refused to deal with effectively, even when that means he rewards lawbreakers while punishing the law abiding.

    Even if that means he persistently does not enforce the very laws he took an oath to defend.

  15. doug,

    That makes me chopped liver?

  16. Political Correctness is killing us!
    Let's get rid of it; the sooner the

    Opera Cat

  17. Allen,
    I was going to credit you,
    but I was afraid of the Jew Hater's reaction!
    (actually, I forgot, sorry!
    You have been a good soldier
    in the noble Bush-Bashing Brigades!)