The End Time & Government

Michele Bachmann

Michele Bachmann (Photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Michelle Bachmann seems to have claimed that Obama’s support of the Syrian rebels is a sign of the End Times:

“[President Barack Obama’s support of Syrian rebels] happened and as of today the United States is willingly, knowingly, intentionally sending arms to terrorists, now what this says to me, I’m a believer in Jesus Christ, as I look at the End Times scripture, this says to me that the leaf is on the fig tree and we are to understand the signs of the times, which is your ministry, we are to understand where we are in God’s end times history. […] And so when we see up is down and right is called wrong, when this is happening, we were told this; that these days would be as the days of Noah. We are seeing that in our time. Yes it gives us fear in some respects because we want the retirement that our parents enjoyed. Well they will, if they know Jesus Christ.”

While Bachmann’s political star seems to be falling, she is apparently still an influential figure and popular with many Tea Party members. As such, it seems worthwhile to address her claims.

Her first claim is a factual matter about the mundane world: she asserts that Obama is “willingly, knowingly, intentionally sending arms to terrorists.” This claim is easy enough to disprove. Despite some pressure (including some from Republicans) to arm the rebels, the administration has taken a very limited approach: rebels that have been determined to not be terrorists will be supported with defensive aid rather than provided with offensive weaponry. Thus, Bachmann (who is occasionally has problems with facts) is wrong on two counts. First, Obama is not sending arms (taken as offensive weapons). Second, he is not sending anything to terrorists.

Now, it could be objected that means of defense are arms, under a broad definition of “arms.” Interestingly, as I learned in the 1980s when the debate topic for a year was arms sales, “arms” can be defined very broadly indeed. If Bachmann defines “arms” broadly enough to include defensive aid, then Obama would be sending arms. However, this is rather a different matter than if Obama were sending offensive weapons, such as the Stinger missiles we provided to the mujahedeen when they were fighting the Russians.

It could also be objected that Obama is sending arms to terrorists. This could be done by claiming that he knows that what he sends to Syria could end up being taken from the intended recipients by terrorists. This is a reasonable point of concern, but it seems clear from her words that she does not mean this.

It could also be done by claiming that Obama is lying and he is, in fact, sending the aid to actual terrorists. Alternatively, it could be claimed that he is sending the aid to non-terrorists, but intends for the terrorists to take it.  While this is possible (Presidents have lied about supplying arms in the past), actual proof would be needed to show that he is doing this with will, knowledge and intent. That is, it would have to be established that Obama knows the people who he is sending the aid to are terrorists and/or that he intends for terrorists to receive these arms. Given the seriousness of the claim, this would require equally serious report. Bachmann does not seem to provide any actual evidence for her accusation, hence there is little reason to place confidence in her claim.

While politicians tend to have a “special” relationship with the truth, Bachmann seems to have an extra-special relationship.

Her second claim is a factual matter about the supernatural world: she seems to be claiming that Obama’s alleged funding of terrorists is a sign of the End Times. While I am not a scholar of the end of the world (despite authoring a fictional version of the End Time), what she is claiming does not seem to be accurate. That is, there seems to be no reference to something adequately similar to Obama funding terrorists as a sign of the End Time. But perhaps Bachmann has access to some special information that has been denied to others.

While predictions that the End Time is near are common, it does seem to be bad theology to make such predictions in the context of Christianity. After all,  the official epistemic line seems to be that no one but God knows when this time will come: “But of that day and that hour knows no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” As such, any speculation that something is or is not a sign of the End Time would be rather problematic. If the bible is correct about this, Bachmann should not make such a claim–she cannot possibly know that something is a sign of the End Times or not, since no one can know (other than God) when it will occur.

It could be replied that the bible is wrong about this matter and Bachman can know that she has seen a sign and that the End Times are thus approaching. The obvious reply is that if the bible is wrong about this, then it could be wrong about other things–such as there being an End Time at all.

Interestingly, her view of the coming End Time might help explain her positive view of the government shut down. When asked about the shutdown, she said “It’s exactly what we wanted, and we got it.” While Bachmann has not (as of this writing) claimed that this is also a sign of the End Times, her view that the End Times are approaching would certainly provide an explanation for her lack of concern. After all, if the End Time is fast approaching, then the time of government here on earth is fast approaching its end. Bachmann does seem to think it is on its way.

Weirdly, she also seems to think that Jesus will handle our retirement–which is presumably a reason we will not need the government. She says, “Yes it gives us fear in some respects because we want the retirement that our parents enjoyed. Well they will, if they know Jesus Christ.” This seems to be saying that people who believe the End Time is coming, such as herself, will worry that they will not be able to enjoy their retirement. This seems oddly reasonable: after all, the End Time would certainly clash with the sort of non-end-of-the-world retirement our parents enjoyed. But, oddly enough, she thinks that people who know Jesus will be able to have that retirement, apparently with Jesus providing the benefits rather than the state.

As might be imagined, the fact that Bachmann is an influential figure who apparently has some influence on politics is terrifying enough to itself be a sign of the End Time.

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14 Comments.

  1. “But perhaps Bachmann has access to some special information that has been denied to others.”

    The prophet Michele. She’s been having revelations.

    I don’t believe she’s making any attempt to be theologically correct. But that she is using religious sounding idiomatic speech to make a points about the material world. Apartheid era South African Christians (white) referred to Nelson Mandela as the antichrist, and that the end of Apartheid meant the end of the world. There is a little puzzle over Mandela’s prisoner number; 46664. Suposedly this was not intentional. In the American civil rights movement religious metaphor was often used. Did Louis Armstrong really mean Eygpt, when he injuncted Moses to go down, or was it somewhere else.

    Michele is speaking in code to her followers – a gnostic mode of communication only comphrensible to initiates. Angry white middle-class people who are heading towards retirement, and think the funding of Obamacare, will result in them having a less comfortable retirement than their parents. Even meaning instead of strolling gently off into the sunset, they might have a rushed trip down the Liverpool pathway….which isn’t a coach trip for seniors to the city of the Beatles. On this voyage, the boatman of the Mersey never returns with any passengers on his ferry….No stowaways….Nothing.

  2. Mike:

    How can a nut, like Ms. Bachmann, be an influential figure in a country as educated and prosperous as yours is?

    I’m asking seriously.

    Isn’t there something wrong when a country, the U.S., which according to all the indices I’ve seen has many of the best universities in the world, with excellent media such as the CNN, a pioneer in technology and science, with some of the best hospitals in the world, with a very high per capita income (although not a particularly just income distribution, as indicated by GINI co-efficient), home to the most advanced high-tech companies, creative home of the only musical tradition which in quality ranks near to that of the European classics, that is, jazz, etc., produces politicians who would be laughed out of Congress anywhere else in the world?

    I come from Chile, which is much poorer than the U.S., without the same high quality universities. We have rightwing politicians, to be sure, but they aren’t obviously crazy: they just represent a rightwing point of view and
    generally the economic interests of the wealthy.

  3. swallerstein:

    I can only hazard a few guesses, and although I find it less perplexing than you might, don’t think for a moment that it’s any less maddening.

    One reason that contributes is the basic difference of Chile and the U.S.’s population and its representation in government. Your government’s legislative body has (roughly) a per-person representation of 9.2 members per million people; the US by contrast has only 1.6. I’m sure a case could be made for fringe groups being necessarily more vocal to be heard at all, contributed to by a sense of overwhelming disenfranchisement by the state. That’s just speculation on my part, however.

    I suspect it has more to do with differences in the “fourth estate” of journalism as it’s practiced in our countries. The US news outlets have no compelling interest, other than profit, to be truthful or particularly investigatory. Profits are generally unconstrained in their use from either heavy taxation or in their application to lobbying efforts in the government.

    Add those factors together and what you have is multiple news organizations doing their best to outdo one another in presenting programming that people pay attention to, i.e., what their audiences feel are most relevant in their personal lives. Having clowns in government with a say in their audience’s lives plastered on the television or internet is, frankly, and sadly, profitable. That this attention grants these clowns power only contributes to this vicious cycle of the publicity engine.

    Again, though – this is only how I see it, and I’m both left moody and depressed by the entire situation. I’d love to learn a more optimistic or proactive outlook from someone else.

  4. The beliefs of the members of the Tea Party are probably genuine, from their point of view. They believe in predestination, the elect, the end times, and the Rapture. Even those who do not strictly hold these views tend to side with them because of views that are similar.

    The fact that Michele Bachmann was at one point head of The Intelligence Committee brings new meaning to domestic terrorism.

    Their belief in predestination as well as their assertion that belief is all that is needed to be members of the elect means that they do not subscribe to the understanding that ‘faith without works is dead.’

    The only ‘works’ they appear to believe in is the ‘works’ of denying resources to the non-elect.

    We can all consider ourselves lucky if on Thursday, October 17th they fail to accomplish that on a massive scale.

  5. swallerstein,

    “Mike:
    How can a nut, like Ms. Bachmann, be an influential figure in a country as educated and prosperous as yours is?

    I’m asking seriously.”

    But will he answer, seriously.

    It’s a question worth asking – but there isn’t a straightforward answer – it isn’t really one question – it’s not even a question just about America, or this moment in time. But maybe it’s the kind of question contemporary people working in philosophy should be dealing with, but – or should I say But – it’s a far more dangerous territory than long dead Greeks.

    Is Bachmann as stupid and crazy as she looks. She may be, but you have to remember politics, as they say, is show business for ugly people. Knowing where the performance ends and the person begins is just is not that simple. The Republicans very definitely and very deliberately court the stupid. Democrats at a national level tend to have a pipe and bookishness; this seriously alienates the stupid, and leaves low hanging fruit for the Republicans to harvest.

    Are Americans really that stupid. The answer to that question is some really are. But no nation has a monopoly on stupid.

    How can stupid people have so much power and personal prosperity. That is a whole host of complicated questions, that have contemporary relevance. 18th and early 19th century Russia had a vibrant intellectual life (after all they produced Ayn Rand), they had world class scientists, writers, and even philosophers. But everyone was broke, and the agrarian revolution hadn’t really arrived yet, let alone any signs of the industrial one. At certain points under the Soviets, coal miners and dairy workers were paid more than doctors. This reveals something about the nature of material prosperity – if you don’t have coal, milk, and cheese, a doctor will not be much use to you. But to dig coal and milk cows, you really don’t need to be a rocket scientist.

    There is a danger in explanations. Even the ones that seem to cover all bases in their complexity. The Soviets studiously copied American big capitalism. Some of this did work. The SovietKoz farms – that’s the monster size version of the KolKoz – were modeled on American super farms. These did work, and they’re still in operation. But so much else didn’t. And there is a very strong, and unnerving, possibility that much of big capital America, that is assumed to create so much prosperity, is some kind of mirage. It’s unnerving as to there not being an alternative theory to explain American prosperity, and unnerving in that the whole thing may crumble and collapse like the Soviet Union.

  6. JMRC:

    Here are my completely impressionistic reflections on why figures like Ms. Bachmann arise in America.

    In the U.S. the basic democratic principle that each person’s opinion is of equal weight (one person, one vote) has morphed into the epistemic principle that each person’s opinion is of equal worth, when it seems clear that some people are more intelligent than others, some people are more rational than others, some people are better educated than others, some people are more reflective than others, some people are wiser than others and that more rational people tend to have more rational opinions, wiser people tend to have wiser opinions, etc., etc.

    This seems to have its roots in the Puritan idea that each person has a direct line to God, that each person’s interpretation of the Scripture was of equal worth. No more rabbis, no more priests.

    So in the U.S., a country with a very strong Puritan influence, you find a lot of individuals with a direct line to God, while in Catholic countries, in my experience, the Church has a monopoly of weird ideas and being a very wise, Machiavellian and cynical institution (see Dostoyevsky’s Grand Inquisitor), the Church dishes out its weird ideas with care, its essential aim always being to control the masses rather than to exhibit their direct line to the Deity (as Puritans do).

    I was reading a French novel about World War 2. A group of soldiers are cut off from the main force during the 1940 defeat and begin to argue on what is the correct thing to do, in ethical and prudential terms. After arguing for a while, they ask the most educated member of the group, a teacher, what his opinion is and he answers, like Socrates, that he does not know what the correct thing to do is.

    The point is that they all defer to the authority of the most educated member of the group, which is an attitude that I doubt we would find in a similar group of U.S. soldiers.

  7. “In the U.S. the basic democratic principle that each person’s opinion is of equal weight (one person, one vote) has morphed into the epistemic principle that each person’s opinion is of equal worth,”

    This is an unfortunate problem of democracy. And strangely in the American instance, the opinion of the people who are most vociferous in their demands to their equal right to speak and be heard, is that when they speak, they demand the denial of these equal rights to others. It’s paradoxical, like Hitler democratically campaigning on the ticket of abolishing democracy once elected – which is what he did. The problems of democracy are often like Churchill said, that it was a terrible system, but all the other alternatives were even worse.

    But there is a very important legitimacy in letting everyone speak – they will speak eventually. Tito and his legacy held Yugoslavia together for a very long period, in a very complex state controlled manner. What unleashed the beasts was freedom and democracy. There is no known cure for fascism – you can treat the symptoms, you can reduce the infection down to a vanishingly small but yet still lingering corruption. For all our science (political, social, whatever) we still do not know what is at its’ core – or how to drive a stake through its’ black heart – given conditions we do not fully understand, the revenent returns, hail and hearty as ever, for a blood feast. Garlic, holy water, nothing seems to work as permanent solution.

    “when it seems clear that some people are more intelligent than others, some people are more rational than others, some people are better educated than others, some people are more reflective than others, some people are wiser than others and that more rational people tend to have more rational opinions, wiser people tend to have wiser opinions, etc., etc.”

    Yes, but who is to say who is educated, who is rational, and who is wise. Often in the prelude to a civil conflict (even where there is a democracy), the oppressed class with a grievance will have been carefully, and deviously excluded from education. Northern Ireland is an example, the Bantu education system of South Africa another.

    The excuse of being better educated is often the basis for legitimising what is often illegitimate, and self-serving dominance. But this is also a delusion the tyrant comes to believe themselves. The delusion becomes so strong that when reality contradicts it they can only believe something supernatural is happening – something of supernatural evil. And here; Dracula enters, and even Oscar Wilde puts in an appearance.

    Bram Stoker, the writer of Dracula, was an upper-class Irish protestant, a member of the ruling class. Now, in a very compressed version of Irish history. In the 17th century, under British dominance, the education of Catholics was outlawed, only the Protestant minority (the colonial administrators) were to be allowed education. This over time was relaxed – but the Protestants, were always better educated. The lumpen Catholic peasantry were largely illiterate, and didn’t even speak English. The Protestant argument against Irish independence and self-government was that of course if that happened, the Catholics would take control. They were uneducated and stupid – unfit to govern – and had lose sexual morals. And this is something the Irish Protestants, like Bram Stoker, believed themselves – they were all well educated, and wealthy, the Irish Catholics were poor stupid and superstitious – with their ghost stories. But who is really superstitious. There was a growing dread among 19th century Irish Protestants, that they were losing their grip on power, funnily and very Catholic of these sober Episcopalians, they believed there was a corruption in the land, that was supernatural in nature. They were not losing power to those ignorant and stupid Catholics, who obviously would be intellectually incapable of outwitting their better educated masters. Yes, they’re inscrutable, with their strange language. But there must be a diabolical mind controlling them. So even though Bram Stoker, transports Dracula to London, he isn’t coming to London. It’s Dublin; and he has come for power, and Stoker’s women; and these young women are going to like it, as this Irish monster’s sexuality is unfettered and consuming, unlike the proper Protestants, who can deffer gratification and pleasure – this beast will defile their women; and give them the same vampiric lustful tastes as itself – their Christians souls lost.

    And now, how gayily and lightly, Oscar Wilde stepped into a trap – that maybe there was no escape from, even if he had known why it had been set. As Napoleon put it, without public opinion you really have nothing, and Oscar Wilde was a major public opinion problem for the Protestant ruling class (yes Oscar Wilde was a Protestant, but the wrong kind – a little too much native vitality). The continued dominance of Ireland depended on English public opinion. The English public needed to believe the Irish were stupid, and in need of paternal governance. But here was a very obviously Irish man, making them all laugh and entertaining them with his undoubted intelligence and wit. This is even worse than Dracula. He is so very subversive, he even makes the British elites look like idiots.

    And this is very bad, because if this Irish man makes his paternal superiors look intellectually inferior, and their justification for their governance of the Irish man is their intellectual superiority – then they have a very serious problem indeed. So what do they have left. If they can show him to be sexually depraved (and in essence; all Irish people). Then yes, they can admit their stupidity, but they are intrinsically better people, because they have finer sexual morals. What’s really on trial, in Wilde’s show trials is not his sexuality – it’s the whole nature of the Irish person. And their continued need for British upper class dominance. The problem with show trials, that even if the public cannot put their finger on it, they will smell a rat. So even though Wilde is trundled off to reading gaol, even completely unaware that he is a political prisoner – this is a boon to Irish nationalism, and for public opinion towards homosexuals (the public would never have known he was gay, had they not had a trial.)

    In 1922, it wasn’t the military superiority of the Irish revolutionaries that defeated the British. It was the British public had completely lost their appetite for persecuting Irish people, and no longer saw them as sub-humans.

    But then the subsequent problem for the Irish people, after independence. The best educated people in Ireland, aside from the Protestants, were the Catholic clergy. Out went the British, and in came Catholic totalitarianism. The Catholic clergy was dominated by upper-class Catholics, and they used their position to materially benefit this class, and used all the old tricks in controlling the education system as the British had. The Church fought tooth and nail to stop working class people receiving further education – and they were also stridently opposed to socialised medicine. They were very Orwellian in how they conducted themselves – behind the scenes they would fight wicked government who wished to introduce accessible education for working class children – and then when the education was introduced, they would brain wash the children into believing they were charitably providing it too them. And they did the same with medicine.

    Can you see what I can see, that so much of the world you see around you is similar to the world that has gone before. Over the centuries, I occasionally leave my Transylvanian castle, and go on trips with my loyal gypsies – we’ve seen it all before, but there is crucial differences. Could Oscar Wilde be tried today and imprisoned. They certainly would not be able to get away with it, in merry England. And wars; as Baroness Sacher-Masoch* said recently, they can only have them far away. But how long will this far away business last.

    Is education good in itself. It depends, I won’t go institution bashing, but there is a certain kind of institution that is not about to start teaching their students truths that are subversive to administration of the institution – or subversive to the class the institution draws its’ administration from. The opposite in fact – they will inculcate truths, that are not truths at all. There are many institutions with the veneer of lefty-liberalism, but underneath they’re as right-wing and “fair and balanced” as Fox News.

    *Baroness Sacher-Masoch is Marriane Faithful, she recently inherited the title, though she isn’t insisting people call her baroness. It’s interesting and funny, because Leopold von Sacher-Masoch wrote Venus in Furs. Where de Sade gives his name to sadism, Masoch gives his to masochism.

  8. JMRC:

    A very interesting take on the Oscar Wilde trial. I had always seen the homophobic side of his persecution, but had never realized that anti-Irish prejudice played a part.

    Who is to decide who is more rational, you ask.

    I suppose that an open debate of ideas, when possible, is the only means of deciding. There are few unquestionable criteria, besides avoiding fallacies and logical errors.

    We, participants in and spectators of the ongoing debates, are the jury; and the jury itself is an ongoing instance of debate and dialogue.

    When there is no debate or dialogue, what is “rational” tends to be imposed by force.

    It seems to me that Ms. Bachmann, by referring to the authority of Scripture, excludes herself from the rational debate of ideas, while another Christian thinker, say, Aquinas, does not, since Aquinas gives reasons, reasons that don’t convince me much, but he plays the game by the rules, while Bachmann does not.

    Rational thinkers can be found on the left and on the right from Milton Friedman to Franz Fanon.

    I imagine that you’ve already read or read about Mario Vargas Llosa’s excellent novel about Roger Casement, the Dream of the Celt. If you haven’t, I recommend it.

  9. swallerstein,

    “A very interesting take on the Oscar Wilde trial. I had always seen the homophobic side of his persecution, but had never realized that anti-Irish prejudice played a part.”

    Well…To quote the bard himself: “A man can’t be too careful in the choice of his enemies”

    Oscar, was not the kind of person who paid much attention to his own advice. He accumulated and cultivated enemies with reckless abandon. But one subject he studiously avoided, thinking that keeping his nose clean on this one particular issue would keep him out of trouble, was Irish nationalism. His mother, Jane Wilde, was Speranza. A very interesting character in her own right. And she was a fervent nationalist, and political activist. Not to say Oscar was being punished for her activity – but that there was lots of activity.

    But the trial of Oscar Wilde isn’t just about one thing. He had made so many enemies that even he was bewildered as to which axes, belonged to which grinders. They couldn’t get him on the first trial, so they went and had a second one. They were very determined to get him. It was a show trial, and all show trials are inherently political. Later adaptations of the story as an apolitical love story, are funnily political in themselves – but it’s the politics of a completely different time and era. The relationship between Ireland and England is not something that can be dealt with openly, even in the present time.

    The religious language of Bachman isn’t really a patch on Northern Irish Protestant politicians. When things aren’t going their way, everyone is the anti-Christ, and they speak in grandiose terms of the imminent apocalypse. But all smiles when they get what they want. They in fact had a Bachmanesque character, in the form of Iris Robinson, the wife of the First Minister. She tempted the gods by calling homosexual men abominations on the radio. It later immerged, that Mrs Robinson was not the paragon of sexual probity as she was presenting herself to be – the 59 year-old was having a steamy affair with a 19 year-old man.

    Bachmann, disengaging herself from rational argument, is not necessarily the act of someone who is irrational. Being rational doesn’t mean you’re either a good or honest person. If she doesn’t have a leg to stand on, and knows it, she’s not going to concede defeat and give all her opponents a hug. She is stupid, no doubt, but stupid people can have a deviousness.

    She was stupid enough to say when interviewed that getting the shutdown was just what they wanted – which was true, but they were meant to pretend it was all Obama’s fault. But even this act could have been thoughtful deviousness – she may have wished to inform the slow learners of her party that they were up to something.

    But…A ‘but’ that upsets the idea of rational and enlightened argument always coming to a positive conclusion. The dialogue between Socrates and Calicles in the Gorgias. Calicles argues it is better to be a tyrant than to suffer tyranny, Socrates argues against this. The character of Socrates assumes he has won the argument, but of course he has not – Socrates really does not land a killer blow. I really don’t know the answer. On a irrational level I disagree with Calicles, but I can’t fault his logic.

    (A particularly unpleasant person I knew, who attended a boarding school, where bullying was essentially encouraged as a form of character building, was disturbed by their own role. They bullied – but their argument was, that either they became a bully or they were a target. An extra twist being, that they were secretly homosexual while the focus of much of the bullying was homophobic. It did wonders for their character.)

    Michele’s logic could be Calicles’. Indefensible when stated, but not really on the basis of logic, and rational argument. She may even have it one step further – that her role as tyrant, is divinely decreed.

    And something about Michele, is she may be a far more awful person than you even imagine. Her and her husband’s Christian counselling operation could be part of something that in the future will not be judged kindly by history. The gay activists have been quick off the mark, claiming that the counselling centre is/was offering conversion therapy. But, they may be offering something I believe to be as bad as, if not worse: Teen Rehab. Say if you are a fine upstanding upper-middle-class Christian American, and you have a teen who is not blossoming into the kind of young person you’d like them to be. Do not despair – Teen Rehab could be the answer to your prayers.

    Simply put, it’s not therapy or what you could honestly call counselling. It’s torture and brain washing. The centres are very much in the open – and they have websites with photos of smiling caring Christian counsellors. But they’re not really that upfront about precisely what it is they do….or how it is done. The parents are happy with the product – But…

    If you had a poor opinion of Michele to begin with, imagine she might be like O’Brien in 1984, turning Winston Smith into a new man.

    “I imagine that you’ve already read or read about Mario Vargas Llosa’s excellent novel about Roger Casement, the Dream of the Celt. If you haven’t, I recommend it.”

    I haven’t had a chance to read it yet. I have heard about it. I’ll definitely get my hands on it at some point.

  10. JMRC:

    What the English did in Ireland is so repressed from our gentile consciousness that when I was in graduate school (over 40 years ago), I wrote a long analytical paper on Andrew Marvell’s poem, An Horatian Ode on Cromwell’s Return from Ireland, without ever investigating or wondering about or being questioned by the professor about what Cromwell was up to in Ireland.

    I simply had no idea and still have none (I’ll google it in a minute) about what Cromwell did there, although I can imagine that he was not there as a representative of Amnesty International. We read lots of Yeats in the same graduate program, with careful attention to his weird metaphysical system, but without going into his Irish nationalism.

    The thing about Vargas Llosa is that he is a perfect conservative gentleman of the old school in his habits, dress and political opinions, but when he writes novels, he has an unsurpassed ability to put himself in the place of losers, outsiders, rebels, misfits and ever possible kind of queer, in the broadest sense of the word “queer”.

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