Wednesday, March 02, 2005


Just when you thought it was safe to criticize Bush, the NYT publishes some rosy-cheeked, gutless, pastoral romantic jibber-jabber exclaiming that 2005 thus far has been "a year of heartening surprises," given all the bubbling democracy in Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt maybe. Well now.

I am indeed excited by what seems to be a sudden turn-around in the "political climate" of certain areas in the Middle East, and, without any evidence, it would be sophistic of me to claim that said turn-around has nothing to do with what we're doing in Iraq. However, to suddenly view this year as one of surprises wrapped in joyous sun-rays and red ribbons and other such fascist symbology, is to buy into the mystalogical power of this word "democracy."

Certainly, democracy is better than autocratic, murderous oppression, but democracy is not a cure-all, and it is not even an "it." Two things one must consider:

First, what will solve a host of problems in the Middle East and U.S. relations with the Middle East is sustainable democracy, with a certain type of leadership in control. There is a history of plebiscites which bring nothing more than authoritarianism in sheep's clothes. The first stirrings of voting for new governments does not prove or promise that what we would hope for in a "democracy" is ever going to occur. Furthermore, we do not know if these nascent democracies, if they get that far, will or will not be forever constricted by their scene of conception: just because "there could have been no democratic elections there [Iraq] this January if Saddam Hussein had still been in power," as the Times so tautologically elucidates, does NOT mean that the environment American policy has created is the sufficient or necessary means for an actual, stable democracy. Rather, no one, not even the Times with its massive stores of fair-weather, reactionary, hyper-capitalist augury, knows whether these signs of democracy unfolding bear significance in relation to a future, stable Middle East. Or whether some other method could have achieved a better, long-term result.

Second, even given that these democratic possibilities come to fruition in stable, democratic, popularly-supported governments, there has just been a ton of dead people, that no one, including the New York Times, was ever comfortable with reporting. Perhaps the analytics can offer me a proper weighing of individual death with socio-political change -- I cannot think of one. I do not say this derisively. I am not sure what the answer is. But it seems to me that tens of thousands of people have been killed, and lots tortured, etc. etc., and no person or organization can be allowed to take a triumphalist position concerning any change in the makeup of an abstract state without first confronting and bearing the burden of countless lost lives. Democracy will do us no good, in the end, in an age when calamity is responded to with calamity and the multiplication of death is our only answer to the deficit of freedom.


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At 1:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 1:09 PM, Anonymous Andrew Sullivan said...

This is a disgusting piece of invective. Shame on you, you quasi-communist freedom hater.

At 2:49 PM, Blogger the actual rod said...

fuck andrew sullivan regardless of whether he posted that.

we have been misled. democracy or not, more people are also impoverished or without providers now than under saddam, as much of a greedy bloodthirsty coward as he was. that does not lend itself well to future stability. i love democracy more than you can know, but BASE, NOT SUPERSTRUCTURE!

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