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The President of Good and Evil Taking George W. Bush Seriously
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The President of Good and Evil Taking George W. Bush Seriously

3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  154 ratings  ·  17 reviews
President Bush talks constantly about ethics and values. They underpin all his public pronouncements, whether he is declaring war on the 'axis of evil' or announcing tax cuts. This book is an attempt to hold his policies and actions as a president up to an ethical standard, including his own.
Paperback, 256 pages
Published April 17th 2004 by Granta Books (UK) (first published 2004)
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Brad
Admittedly, my reading of The President of Good and Evil is a touch belated, but in many ways I am glad it is because I was able to appreciate Peter Singer's work more for what it does than who it is was written about.

Singer's discussion of the failure of Bush's ethics came as no surprise to me. Indeed, there was very little in Singer's argument that I hadn't already considered. The hypocrisy, the lies, the fundamentalism, the arrogance, the vengeance, the stupidity, it is all covered in well a...more
Tim
The problem with this book, which is very well written, is that it shoots itself in the foot. Singer starts out by saying he's going to take Bush's statements at face value, to try and discover the philosophical consistency or otherwise of the president's beliefs. His readers nod tolerantly at this conceit and wait patiently until page 209 for him to finally raise the idea that Bush's ethic is intuitive and basically, therefore, not a systematic philosophy at all. Well, blow me down, Mr Singer....more
Andrew Abruzzese
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Moira
Great! Recommended for anyone who wants to have an informed opinion on how to analyze a person's ethics - separating what he says from what he actually does. If the two are not in agreement, then that person has a moral failing on that issue.

Bush evoked the language of good and evil often, and Singer offers a clear and fair ethical analysis of Bush's presidency, and evaluates if Bush lived up to his rhetoric. Topics: tax cuts, life before birth, stem cells, choosing who to marry, choosing how t...more
Carla Mitchell
I realize that George Bush is no longer president, but I will read anything by Peter Singer. A modern day philosopher and ethicist whose writing is clear and understandable to the general public. I suppose you'll like or hate this book according to how you felt about Bush as president. I always believed many of his decisions conflicted with each other and his espoused values, and the Peter Singer shows in this book exactly how true that is. He demonstrates how Bush's words and actions didn't mes...more
Matt
If there were a thesis statement for this book, it would be "The moral values of President Bush are inconsistent." Not much of a shocker there. It was still a worthwhile skim (not necessarily full "read") though - points I found most wortwhile were summaries from Bob Woodward's recent books (Bush at War, etc) and analysis of anti-stem cell research arguments.

Also, he uses the Catholic Church's doctrine of "justifiable war" as a lens to look at the decision to invade Iraq, something that would se...more
Will Byrnes
What if we take Bush at his word. Does he mean what he says? Is there consistency to his ethical view of the world? Nah. But this book goes through the exercise of looking at many of the statements he has made and the broad values he supposedly espouses to see if there is a consistent worldview, an ethic that might, under some view be defensible. You might want to read this for completeness, but it’s like a novel in which we know how it will end far too long before the climax.
Mark
If I were the Karl Rove of the Democratic Party, I would have had a copy of this book and Wendell Berry’s “Citizen’s Dissent:…” in the hands of every religious leader in America. This book takes on an exhaustive moral dissection of Bush’s policies and lays bare the hypocrisy, inconsistencies, and well... evilness. Well worth a second glance at some point when it isn’t too painful.
Matthew
Ethics are consistent set of principles, applied consistently, which establish the moral status of actions. This book, by one of the most influential philosophers alive today shows that, for a man who couches the world in black and white moral language, President George W. Bush is surprisingly inconsistent in his ethics. Outstanding read.
Angela
This book got shipped home in my move, so I have to wait to finish it, and am therefore moving it off my "currently reading" list. Peter Singer is my favorite philosopher and ethicist, and I've really enjoyed his approach in the book so far. The book is a bit outdated but it's nice to look back at his thoughts on the Iraq war and such...
Lori Michael
Not exactly a pro or anti-Bush book. It actually is a very, well-balanced approach of his policies, philosophy, and understanding the methodologies used in his decision making/politics. A great book to read and then discuss with a very staunchly Republican friend or a few. This coming from a moderately liberal/Independent.
Jamie
Now, I'm giving this a 5, but in fairness, it's been a good few months since I read it. What I love about this book is it is not content to poke fun at Bush, which is easy, but tries to understand his ethical system. Singer is a master - he makes elegant, understandable arguments.
Karen
Ivy League bio-ethicist examines the disconnects between the words and actions of the Bush administration. A thorough and clearly stated evaluation of multiple situations. Bottom-line, the president has the emotional maturity of a 12 year old boy.
Ike Sharpless
Peter Singer, one of the most philosophically consistent thinkers out there (for better and for worse, many would say), discussing the inconsistencies of Dubya's ethics. This book is pretty much what you think it's going to be.
Kristina Klausser
This book is interesting and pretty much what you'd expect from Peter Singer. I could see it being boring to people with little interest in ethics but it does raise some interesting points.
Rich
I kinda wish that there was also a followup to the second Bush term.
Hannah
Hannah marked it as to-read
Aug 26, 2014
Chris
Chris marked it as to-read
Aug 13, 2014
Michael Mcdonough
Michael Mcdonough marked it as to-read
Jul 28, 2014
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Peter Albert David Singer is an Australian philosopher. He is the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University, and laureate professor at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics (CAPPE), University of Melbourne. He specializes in applied ethics, approaching ethical issues from a secular preference utilitarian perspective.

He has served, on two occasions, as chair of phil...more
More about Peter Singer...
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