Reverend Donald Sensing wrote a post that I disagreed with in his comment box. The Reverend responded quite reasonably that America represents the best of what free and open societies offer and that the American world view of freedom and liberty will be super important in the near future. I understand his major premise but still disagree with him with the minor premises.
I sent Geitner the link with some comments. He kindly wrote back chiding me for my fixation against Locke. He reminded me of one of my articles on the Anglosphere that for some regions/countries, they'll need to refer to their own philosophical heritage that's non-Lockean. Geitner's point is that who cares if a country refers to Locke or not; what matters is that the country encourage indivdiuals to pursue their goals under a rule of law and with a generalized decency in society.
Geitner's chiding reminded me of the Lord Acton institute. I remember reading its Religion and Liberty news letter as well as the in the Liberal tradition columns at the website. By chnace, I came across an article by Michel Novak on the spirit of democratic capitalism.
Novak provides a necessary alternative to the Locke fetish that grips too many Anglophones.
Reading through the article, I was struck at how within the Anglospheric tradition I'm a Catholic whig. Interesting as I've always viewed myself as more a protypically clichéd European conservative with some 'progressive' tendencies. Maybe I'm more multifaceted that I want to admit considering that I straddle the Anglo, Ibero and Francospheres. Even more fascinating is reading through Novak's intellectual evolution, it parallels a bit of mine as well. From someone who was quite skeptical of capitalism to one who accepts that it's not that bad an system with which to distribute goods and services and disseminate incentives. That latter point is in contrast to Novak's; he's fully embraces capitalism, I prefer to remain more circumspect but still mainatin an open mind about it..
Nonetheless, I do appreciate Novak's writings on capitalism and I'm struck at how he and Peter Thomas- he of the In search of excellence fame- arrive at the same conclusion about democratic capitalism from radically divergent research projects in mind. In fact it was Peters that began my evolution to reevaluating my hostility towards capitalism. Novak provides me with the Catholic rationale for conditionally supporting democratic capitalism.
I came across James Bennett's latest article on European anti-Americanism. He introduces an interesting premise: the Industrial Counterrevolution on the continent sought to reverse the programs of the democratic and industrial revolutions.
I'm unconvinced because James doesn't elaborate what exactly is this Industrial counterrevolution and where it originated. He's simply contest to cite a quasi-Marxian reason that n European sought a substitute to the extended family's security that continental industralization destroyed. That presumption is far too vague and unpersuasive. To me, he completely downplays 2 seminal events in European history that sent it towards the abyss: the Enlightenment and the French Revolution.
My regular readers will undoubted roll their eyes but it's quite important to refer time and time again to the Continental Enlightment. If only to remind the Anglophones that unlike theirs, the continental Enlightenments were a very mixed legacy. Personally, I view the Enlightments as disastrous but not catastrophic as some conservatives claim. The elites- the intellectuals and the absolutists monarchs- each though they could control the Enlightenments and in the end, they didn't.
In the case of the intellectuals, they presumed that if they overthrew the Ancien regime's legitimacy of Throne and Altar, the population would be so grateful that they'd let the intellectuals rule over them and implement their various utopian schemes. In a manner the intellectuals succeeded and become the subsequent nightmare of the Terror, naziism and communism.
The absolute monarchs, or more accurately, the first ministers, presumed that they could modernize the economy while leaving intact the political structures. Unfortunately, in their drive to reform their societies, the ministers managed to alienate the population and as well as conservative elites. In the Catholic countries that alienation took the form of suddenly telling the population that their religious heritage wasn't a positive legacy but an outright impediment to modernization, industralization and reforms. The population was understandably bewildered by the dizzying reforms and mixed messages. They were Burkean but without a Burke to articulate cogently to the ministers that a society's past, its culture, religions, tradition, its sentiments constitute a complex ecology that can't be slashed and burned without serious repercussions. The Ancien regime slit its own wrists when it suppressed the Jesuits. It gave the anti-religious intellectuals open ground to progate their ideas without opposition. The Jesuits would've represented the most credible intellectual antidote to some of the intellectuals crazier ideas. Unlike many of them, the Jesuits had a more realistic anthropology, thanks to their missions around the world, and would've been able to refute some of the more vapid presumption of humans as machines or whatnot.
The French revolution was the logical terminus of the growing radicalization of the Enlightenment. Contrary to its adherents hope, the revolution succumbed to a paroxosym of violent irrationalism. Indeed, the revolution went in the opposite direction to what their adherents advocated.
The issue of the Jews in modern Europe is an interesting one but I must admit that I don't grasp the connection between a free, prosperous country and respecting the Jews. Unless, the lesson is when countries treat their minorites as citizens and allow them to preserve their uniqueness, the country is doubly enriched.
I've read in several blogs that John Howard, Australia's prime minister, proposed, yet again, booting France off the Security council. Un-huh. Ya know, I'm fed up with this bullying from the Anglosphere. Why is France singled out? (though to be fair to Howard he did admit that convincing the other Security council members to give up their seats would present a challenge). To me, it's just plain nmeaness, a gleeful vindictiveness to knock France and other opponents of the war with a 2 X 4 beam on how wrong they were. Great way to persuade reluctant countries to reform the UN and Security council.
Indeed, I'm struck at the patronizing tone some commentators wrote in the comment boxes as to which countries should members of the reformed Security council. Honestly, the the attitude that pervades with many of the commentators and bloggers merely reinforces my deepseated skepticism that the Anglopshere is nothing more than a snooty, exclusive club rather than a network of likeminded countries.
In any case, until there's an attitude adjustment by the Anglospheric politicians, the UN and the Security council won't be reformed.
One last thought. I'm struck by how many commentator become cognitively dissonant with respect to France. On the one hand the country is treated as the next Soviet union ready to unleash a new cold war while simultaneously gloating that the French economy is so inferior with its corrupt, statist, dirigiste economic foundations that America would outproduce in a day what France makes in 2 years. In any case, my view is that France can't be a non-threatening menance.
Hier j'ai écoute les nouvelles de comment l,Administration américaine dénoncait la Syrie et la menaçait avec des action militaires. Cette attitude aggressive aura consterné beaucoup les Britanniques, qui par l'entremise de son Sécrtaire des relation étrangères Jack Straw, avait assuré publiquement le régime syrien qu'il n'avait des plans d'invasions.
D'un point de vue strictement pruentielle, ces menances sont mal-considérées. Les accusations ne sont pas la réalité à moins que la preuve amène à une personne raisonnable de conclure c'est plus probable que quelque chose aurait arrivée (o omise de faire) que son contraire. Pour l'instant, il n'aucune preuve que les irakiens ont transférées leurs armes de destruction massive et la possibilité que des dirgéants irakiens aurot fuit au pays voisin ne justifie pas une invasion (une poursuite au chaud peut-être)
Bush i Blar han capgirat el dret internacional. A través l'invasió d'Irak i el desfet subseqüent del règim bassista, un a nova doctrina soreix: d'ara endevant quansevol règim representa una menaça a la pau internacional les EE UU- representant ací- la comunitat intrnacional té un deure a revessar-lo.
Personalment, n'est molt conflictat. ¿ Com per exemple es podrà determinar de manera objectiva què constitueix una menaça al ordre internacional? Oswald Sobrino forneix uns criteris Tanmateix tinc molts pressentiments dels qual es més important es l'inconstància d'applicar aquest nova doctrina.
¿Es què EE UU i Angleterra son realment compromesos a envahir Zimbabwe per exemple? Segons els criteris presentats pel Sobrino, Aqueix país no presenta problemes. Ans el contrari, seris un acte de misericodria d'intervenir i ressar el règim i arrestar el govern. Mugabe per orgull i prepotència ha destruït un país que s'en sortia. Però dubto que li passarà res. D'una part s'explica que els països democràtics son son interventionista en si mateix. Prefereixen, com diu Jean-Français Revel, a girar vers l'intern pr ameilorar el país. L'altra explaciació es el culte de la sobirania nacional. Un del peçes angular del sistema internacional post 1945 es que els països no enhaviexen els altres per solucionar disputes polítics. La guerra del golfe de 1991 ratificà aquesta peça angular.
S'haurà de justificar aquest canvi radical del ordre post 1945 sobretot pels països democratics. SI més no de persuadir de cóm intervenir en altres països lluyans no els corrompran.
As I discussed in my Catalan article above, my greatest concern about this new doctrine developed by Bush and Blair is how won't it corrupt the democracies? Indeed, we find ourselves in a paradoxical situation in which the democracies impose their constitutional polities by force of arms. It isn't the first time but since Japan and Germany, there haven't been much successes in imposing democracies elsewhere.
Another misgiving is moral consistency. Will the democratic countries intervene in Zimbabwe,. Cuba and North Korea? Surely everyone agrees that they're abominal regimes that have oppressed their respective populations under some of the most horrifying regimes. Surely each country fulfills the criteria that justify humanitarian intervention. So if the democracies are unwilling to invade those countries why not? What factors don't justify military intervention at this time? WHat threshold must be crossed? I'm not opposed to humanitarian intervention per se but I don't see how it works in the real world.
Ya sé que es raro que escribe artíticulos por la bitacorna en español. Sin embargo las noticies que el regimen castrista ha reprimido la disidencia con sentencias carcerales fuera de lugar y la execución de 3 secuestradores después de un procedimiento judicials bastante somario para no decir de minimis, me ha inspirado a escribir este artículo es español.
No me sorprende que Castro ha recurrido a la distracción de la guerra en Irak para reprimer la disidencia que crecía progresivamente al país. 40 años de un totalitarianismo ferrero ha dejado un país pobre, desanimado y, sobretodo, carceral. Es algo fuera de lugar a ver de cómo una isla que exporta musicos, atletas, novelistas así como sus productos naturales a través el mundo que les permetía un estandar de vida bastante alto, Hoy Cuba es una isla que no exporta nada de valor otro que su gente y a pesar de eso, el regimin fastida sus ciudadanos en obligarlos a quedar al país contra su voluntad
¿Cómo se atreve quitar el parásio proletario dónde represente el perfeccionismo? La gente no es estupida y concoza que muchos países vecinos les sobrepasen en toda índice. Hasta los pobres centroamericanos son más ricos que sus propria clase media. Es obvío que el regimen castrista tiene mucho medio de sus población sobretodo cuando rechazen tan rotundamente sus dirigentes. La libertad es sólo por el Partido; los ciudadanos son peones demasiados ignorante para que se les confían este 'regalo.' Si hemos visto de cómo los iraquíes han reaccionado tras la caída del regimen bassista;imaginate como los cubanos exprimíran su rechazo del regimen.