Thursday, September 11, 2008

How Democracies Perish


Jean-Francois Revel had your point of view in mind when he wrote How Democracies perish, 1983 (English edition 1985). He described democracy as “the first system in history which, confronted by a power that wants to destroy it, accuses itself. . . .

“The distinctive mark of our century is the humility with which democratic civilization agrees to disappear and works to legitimize the victory of its mortal enemy. That communism shall have been more clever and effective in its offensive would only be one additional example of one power being a better strategist than the other. . . . It is less natural and newer that the targeted civilization should not only judge that its defeat is justified, but provide its partisans as well as its adversaries with ample reason to regard all forms of self-defense as immoral, or at best superfluous and useless, if not downright dangerous.”

These words were quoted in one of the obituaries I read. Are they not still applicable in our struggle against Militant Islam?

Revel had the Leftists in view when he wrote those words. Since I am not a Leftist I cannot get caught up in the angst you and Lefty display. I don’t agree with it. I don’t blame the U.S. I don’t consider the Militant Islamists as being morally equal to the U.S. The idea that we should allow Rogue Nations to have nuclear weapons because we have them strikes me as suicidal madness.

Before you begin frothing and rush to produce a list of things the U.S. has done wrong, all nations have made mistakes, but the U.S. has made fewer than the others and the American motives are more benign than any of the others.

As to your question about what I would do if I were King of the world, I don’t believe in Monarchies; so I can’t imagine an answer to it. Take it that I think Liberal Democracy is the best form of government that has ever been developed in the world and the U.S. the best exemplar. There are a lot of things in our society I am unhappy with – too many Leftists in it for example -- but not so much that I would want to move to any other.

Lawrence Helm

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