Defending the virtues of liberty, free markets, and civilization... plus some commentary on the passing scene.

Freedom's Fidelity

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Reflections, Elections, and Questions for Progressives

You know, its funny how things work out. I remember in January of 2003 I found myself being slightly against the invasion of Iraq, but I thought it would happen never the less. After all, Bill Clinton made it US policy to affect regime change in Iraq, and with much of the left being driven by humanitarian ideals, coupled with their general opposition to sanctions, it would seem that going along with deposing one of the world's most brutal dictators would be a no brainer. Wow, was I wrong on both counts. I had no inkling that the left would sell out their values just because the guy in the White House isn't their guy. I had no idea that, under the guise of cultural relativity, they would become apologists for those wretched societies in the Middle East that stone gays, oppress women, and commit gross human rights violations on the whims of a dictator. Apparently the neo-Nazis have some company.

Much like Afghanistan, the dire predictions of the streets flowing with the blood of infidels and collaborators failed to materialize in Iraq. Instead, like Afghanistan, the election was an overwhelming success, and I am absolutely underwhelmed by the left's denigration of it all. John Kerry warns us not to "overhype" the elections, while Ted Kennedy calls for withdrawal, declares the war lost and elections impossible just days before they happen. This is the Democrats reaction to successful Iraqi elections?

If the left wants to hold Bush to his promise, hold him to the promise of freedom and liberation for the people of Iraq - it was a key element of the pre-war case. It seems to me that the only proposal coming from the left is abandonment. How does that come close to improving anything other than the gratification of their own anti-war egos? The more the so-called progressives allow an international push for freedom and democracy to become political property of the right, the further they marginlize themselves. For how is the advancement of human rights overseas not a progressive cause? How is it that reactionary support for a state that tolerates suicide bombings, but not homosexuality a progressive cause? It begs the question, does 'progressive Democrat' have any meaning at all, or is it simply a self-applied word in an attempt to dignify their own political identity? In two short years one of the worst nations in the Middle East has taken a major step towards becoming one of the best. The Iraqis seized their opportunity to join in the march of human progress - from living under tyranny to giving birth to democracy. It was truly an extraordinary event.

Perhaps Lee Harris best sums up what I am trying to get at (emphasis mine):

We are now living in a world where decent and sincere men and women attack the United States for removing Saddam Hussein, the archetype of the ruthless gang leader, who brutalized twenty million human beings for three decades. They condemn the United States president for declaring a war on terrorism -- which is simply the contemporary form of the age-old war on the cult of ruthlessness, a cult that is the enemy of all the diverse and distinct cultures of mankind.

Here is a good way to tell whether you are standing on the right side of history. Do you want to see the rule by gang go the way of slavery and be driven from the face of the earth, or do you believe that rule by gang is a natural right? Those who argued that the United States should not attack Saddam Hussein's Iraq because of the sacred right of national sovereignty should perhaps remember the reputation today of those who in the past justified the property rights of slaveholders. What is the difference, except scale? There may be good conservative reasons for preserving a wicked status quo, but there are no liberal progressive ones. And while it may well be prudent in some cases to try to contain ruthless gangs that are in power rather than to remove them, this can at best be an act of expediency, and never one of morality.

A fundamental test for slavery is this: Do you live under the will of another man or your own? Clearly the citizens of Iraq, lived under the brutal will of Saddam Hussein, if they lived at all. It would seem odd that progressivism would fall on the side of maintaining this status quo, so what principle of progressivism is it that provides the rationale? Or is it exclusively driven by Bush hatred?


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