Wednesday, November 09, 2011
Republicanism, not democracy, is what we should be promoting in the Middle East
The framers of our Constitution were highly suspicious of democracy, which they often denigrated as "mob rule." To them democracy was a necessary evil. If we must be ruled, let it be by ourselves. But there are many ways in which we are not supposed to be ruled at all, but are supposed to be free, according to natural law (i.e. according to what can be understood about right and wrong on the basis of moral reason, regardless of whether our capacity for moral reason comes from God or from godless nature).
Hence the enumeration of limited federal powers in Article I of our Constitution, and the enumeration of individual rights in the Bill of Rights (explicitly incomplete). Unfortunately, our Democratic Party seems to take its name literally. They have been systematically breaking down constitutional limits on majority power since the New Deal, when FDR tore down the Constitution's system of limited federal power.
With the Democrats in control of all of our information industries (academia, news and entertainment media, all of our biggest philanthropies, all of our professional organizations), the priority of liberty is no longer widely understood. As a result, democracy is often held up as a first principle, when in our system it's value is purely instrumental. It is valued as a way to secure liberty, and it is without value if it fails to be advantageous for that purpose.
Our loss of understanding of the priority of liberty leaves the nation standing perplexed as the Arab world falls in a single sweep to popular tyranny. Democracy—our supposed criterion of right—is leading to the most evil outcome: the empowerment of al Qaeda and Iran in country after Middle Eastern country, while America mumbles half a cheer and a lot of quiet fretting.
Daniel Pipes on the disastrous consequences of regarding democracy as principle in the Middle East
Pipes has a nice piece on our state of impotent discombulation. He does not say anything about democracy not being the correct criterion of legitimacy—very likely he does not understand this point himself—but he nicely sums up the confusion that is created when U.S. policy-makers treat democracy as principle in the Arab-Muslim world:
•Democracy pleases us but brings hostile elements to power."As interest conflicts with principle," says Pipes, "consistency goes out the window."
•Tyranny betrays our principles but leaves pliable rulers in power.
But is inconsistency really the problem? Obama has actually been perfectly consistent. Where dictators are friendly or pliable, he throws them to the wolves (demanding that Ghaddafi and Mubarak leave). Where they are hostile to the U.S. and not at all pliable, he is silent and unmoved when protesters are slaughtered en masse (Iran and Syria).
The obvious explanation is that Obama himself is not just a Muslim, but is an Islamofascist. (The evidence for both is overwhelming.) He skillfully uses the Democratic Party's immoral priority of democracy over republicanism to advance democracy where the outcome will be anti-republican, and suppress it where republicanism is likely to prevail.
The key is Iran. A democratic Iran would almost certainly embrace liberty/republicanism, but so long as it remains in the hands of the Islamofascists, it can usurp every populist movement in the area to the Islamofascist side. Hence Obama's determination to see that Iran gets The Bomb.
Assert republicanism over democracy
Faced with a president who is actively making use of the errant principle of democracy to undermine the national interest, it is not enough to advocate some wise balancing of democracy and interest. Instead, it is necessary to clarify and insist that republicanism, not democracy, is our principle, and that democracy should only be advanced where doing so advances the cause of liberty. Until we get regime change in Iran, that means no-where else in the Islamic world should we be pressing yet for democracy. Iran has to come first, or it will usurp every other attempt at democratic reform.
This strategy would expose Obama for what he in fact is doing, using a false principle to advance the Islamofascist cause. Pipes, in contrast, casts Obama as a bumbler, presumably well intentioned. Would that it were the case. Pipes' suggestions for how to deal with the conflict between democracy and interest are fine as far as they go:
Aim to improve the behavior of tyrants whose lack of ideology or ambition makes them pliable. They will take the easiest road, so join together to pressure them to open up.If Obama was merely a bumbler, he could learn from this advice. Since he is actually an Islamofascist, the only counter is to assert correct moral principle: that our goal is to advance liberty, and that democracy is only on the side of principle where it serves to promote liberty. Otherwise Obama can just continue to pretend to be acting on American values as he helps elevate Islamofascists to power across the Middle East.
Always oppose Islamists, whether Al-Qaeda types as in Yemen or the suave and "moderate" ones in Tunisia. They represent the enemy. When tempted otherwise, ask yourself whether cooperation with "moderate" Nazis in the 1930s would have been a good idea.
Help the liberal, secular, and modern elements, those who in the first place stirred up the upheavals of 2011. Assist them eventually to come to power, so that they can salvage the politically sick Middle East from its predicament and move it in a democratic and free direction.
Addendum: the New Deal actually ushered in a new (and un-ratified) Constitution
Since everything affects interstate commerce in some way, post-New-Deal Supreme Courts have held that Congress is empowered to regulate anything and everything under its power to regulate interstate commerce. Pre-New-Deal Courts had rejected that interpretation on the grounds that it violated Justice Marshall's first principle of constitutional interpretation:
It cannot be presumed that any clause in the Constitution is intended to be without effect; and, therefore, such a construction is inadmissible unless the words require it. [5 U.S. 137, 174 (1803).]Allowing everything to be regulated under the commerce clause did not just render one clause of the Constitution without effect, it vitiated the entire system of limited enumerated powers.
That system of limited enumerated powers stood in the way of FDR's desire to implement a Soviet-style command economy, where the government dictates to industry the quantities that it will produce and the prices it will charge. Yes, Roosevelt did actually try to implement such a system, dictating prices and quantities to every major industry in America. That was the job of the NRA (the National Recovery Administration), created by the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 (NIRA). (See FDR's Folly, by Jim Powell, chapter 9.)
NIRA was struck down by the Supreme Court, prompting FDR's infamous court-packing scheme and "the switch in time that saved nine." Intimidated by a popular president during a time of national agony, the Supremes agreed to abandon the Constitution, and we have never gotten it back.
UPDATE: Secretary of State Clinton endorses Islamist regimes, calls their ascention to power a triumph for freedom
Robert Danin lists some main points from Hillary's November 7th speech:
– reaffirmation of the “Freedom Agenda” and America’s commitment to democracy in the Middle East, exclaiming “What a year 2011 has been for freedom in the Middle East”Islamofascist triumph in Tunisa, YAY! But while the Islamofascists are making great headway in Egypt, the military is threatening to block them from taking complete control, BOOOOO! The worst bit (via Barry Rubin) was her opening:
– a headline grabbing pledge for the United States to work with the Islamist al-Nahda party in Tunisia
– an oblique reference for the need of “unelected officials” (read: the military) in Egypt to relinquish their role as the most powerful political force lest they plant the seeds for future unrest
Not all Islamists are alike. Turkey and Iran are both governed by parties with religious roots, but their models and behavior are radically different. There are plenty of political parties with religious affiliations—Hindu, Christian, Jewish, Muslim—that respect the rules of democratic politics. The suggestion that faithful Muslims cannot thrive in a democracy is insulting, dangerous, and wrong. They do it in this country every day.Actually, as Rubin notes, all Islamists ARE alike, as Obama's Turkish hug-buddy Erdogan proves every day. ("Erdogan is openly taking steps to transform Turkey into an Islamic state along the lines of Iran," summarizes Carolyn Glick.)
Certainly faithful Muslims can thrive in a democracy, and they might even respect the rules of democratic politics, where doing so is an effective way to advance Islam, but they can never be small "r" republicans, at least if they are orthodox, and that is what matters.
The bold ruthlessness with which the Obama administration is using the false principle of democracy as a weapon against the genuine principle of republicanism could hardly be more explicit. Clinton actually declares unabashed tyranny of the majority—the electoral triumph of unabashed totalitarians—to be a triumph for "freedom." This blatant dishonesty invites the obvious and correct response. Yes, "freedom" is the right criterion, but no, totalitarianism is not freedom.
RELATED: How the Democrat-endorsed Occupy morons are explicitly calling both for tyranny of the majority and for the destruction of liberty. It's right in their two names: "the 99%" and "Occupy." They are urging everyone not in the top 1% of earners to Occupy (to take over, to confiscate) what the 1% has.
Of course that is very far from a majority opinion. It is more like a 1% opinion, or at worst (I hope) a 10% opinion. But as an expression of their anti-republican ambition, the label is appropriate. What a heap of moral trash, and they look like it too:
An island of human flotsam planted with an America-hating upside-down flag and the blood red flag of the left's favorite sadistic communist mass-murder, plus cheery slogan.
Good for Newt for shaming these idiots:
There is no such thing in America as 99 percent. We are all 100 percent Americans.Of course they think they are just the loveliest people:
From Zombie, who notes:
Rule #451 of protest sign-making: If you put a unicorn on it, no one can accuse you of malice.What a cute little liberty-hater:
The male-looking masked coward seems to have poop on his pants.
UPDATE II, 11-25-2011: Obama still pushing hard for Islamofascist take-over of Egypt
The only hope for Egypt not to go to the bin Ladenists is if the Egyptian military re-asserts control and forcibly suppresses the Muslim Brotherhood (which is trying to forcibly suppress everyone else). So what does our Islamofascist president do? Exactly what you would expect:
The White House demanded the transfer of power to a civilian government in Egypt must be "just and inclusive" and take place "as soon as possible". "Most importantly, we believe that the full transfer of power to a civilian government must take place in a just and inclusive manner that responds to the legitimate aspirations of the Egyptian people, as soon as possible," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a statement.To our democratic but not republican president, the "legitimate aspirations of the Egyptian people" is whatever the Islamofascist majority or minority is able to impose through elections, however corrupt. He already proved in Iran that his criterion of democratic legitimacy is not an honest election, but just the outcome of the de facto election process, whatever that may be. His only proviso there was that not too many of the people who were protesting the stolen election should be murdered in the process:
My understanding is, is that the Iranian government says that they are going to look into irregularities that have taken place. ...He doesn't care whether their votes are counted correctly. He just doesn't want too many of them to be stifled (or killed, which is how the Iranian Mullahcracy "stifles").
I think it's important that, moving forward, whatever investigations take place are done in a way that is not resulting in bloodshed and is not resulting in people being stifled in expressing their views.
See also "False AP report." (No, Obama did NOT say that Iran must respect voters' choice.)