Monday, July 26, 2004

Is this what will replace Saddam?

AlterNet: War on Iraq: Iraq's new S.O.B

I think one of the things that we have to fear the most is that our effort to replace Saddam will eventually result in a new dictator. When you're dealing with a country unused to democratic ways and one in which religion and government are intricately entwined, it may be impossible to prevent. The ease with which this can take place is the reason that our Constitution and its accompanying documents spell out that we should be free from established religions. No matter how well-meaning the effort, people with a strong religious bent have no problem telling other people what to think, what to feel, how to act, and what is moral. Leaders who want to be democratic may find that revolution and terrorism make that impossible. That kind of opposition seems to require a strong response (reference the Alexanders of Russia during the last half of the 19th Century). I think that most of the religious right (neither religious nor right) in this country should read a couple of the books of that great Libertarian and absolutely anti-liberal writer, Robert Heinlein: Revolt in 2100 and Coventry. They were scary when I read them (about ) 50 years ago and they still are. I have hated religious involvement in our public life ever since my catholic grade school days and my public high school days when we had to sing out of the Methodist hymnal and nobody raised a ruckus about it.


Blogger The Liberal Avenger said...

Not to beat a dead horse, but we have a legacy of poor leadership choices when "nation building" in the Middle East, do we not?

And this poor choice from the candidate who ran with a "no nation building" plank in his platform. Of course, everything promised in 2000 had to be scrapped because our country is under siege by shiftless, falafel-eating, mediterranean-types who HATE FREEDOM.

At least today's dictator-in-waiting is a half-notch higher on the leadership scale than the previous dictator-in-waiting, Mr. Chalabi, our $400k/month consultant on all things Iraq.

10:19 PM  
Blogger G-man said...

Gee wiz, Chuck, you have a problem with religion don't you. Don't we live in a free society where anyone has a right to voice their opinion in the public square? As a liberal, don't you embrace multicultural diversity. Oh, but multicultural diversity means everyone has a place at the table EXCEPT for conservatives, Christians, etc. I have every right to tell you what to think, what to feel, how to act, and what is moral! I long as I don't FORCE you to do what I say. I consider myself a libertarian conservative because I believe that the inculcation of morality in society ought to come through persuasive, non-governmental means. I don't even think the public schools should be teaching morality -- leave it to me, the parent. Heck, I think we ought to privatize public education. Anyway, let's contrast your liberal mentality with my "anything that's peaceful" mentality. You don't directly tell me what to do. Instead, you use the coercive power of gov't (law) to tell me what to do. You FORCE me (not tell me) that I have to give up the fruits of my labor to support a social welfare system in its multifarious forms -- welfare, Medicare, Social Security, CHIP, etc. etc. etc. Sure, there are right-wingers who want to control you through the force of law, but the fact of the matter is that you're doing the very same thing. Are you any different or morally superior than a right-winger? In principle, NO! I recommend you read the following... One more comment, you go from talking about a potential dictatorship in Iraq to a discussion of the ills of "religious involvement in our public life." Talk about a non sequitur!

10:03 AM  
Blogger Chuck Rightmire said...

Yes, I do have a problem with religion G-Man and, no, you don't have the right to tell me what you believe as well as not have the right to force me what to do. The Constitution affects only the states and the federal government in that freedom of speech. Telling others what to do is what religion is all about, however, trying to tell its members what to do, especially sexually, and trying to force those beliefs on others such as wanting to teach "Intelligent" design in schools or to force its beliefs into the contest of civil unions, which is what marriage is about. It is not a non-sequitor to go from Irag's new situation, which is strongly about religion, to our own freedoms because we want to make the world do it the way we have been doing it at the same time we seem to be trying to do away with it here and put religion into a strong position in government. I also agree with you that people should be allowed to do their own thing as long as they don't swing their fist in a crowded room or yell "fire" in a crowded theater. What government is actually "forcing" you to do through taxes and whatever, is to pay for what you get, like streets, schools, registration of your property rights, formal recognition of your marriage, etc. Believe me, when my kids were younger, I looked at the price of sending them to private schools without, I admit, serious considered it, but there was no way I could have afforded it, even if I had all the money that I had to give the schools in taxes. And they have gotten a good education, even if it wasn't as good as I would have liked. I have to admit, however, that I think Libertarianism, at the present time, is what Don Quixote would have called an impossible dream. It may be possible sometime in the future when humans have come to realize that morality requires them to become their brothers' keepers and that we can only live together well if every person accepts the rights of others to certain basics and to grow and develop on his or her own. Until then, Libertarianism is nothing more than an invitation for warlords and tyrants to seize control over others. As long as people accept that they have that right, they will band together to protect and aggrandize themselves and assume power over others as they have done in the past, at least until all of us have an epiphany and realize we have to live in a cooperative world, not a competitive one. What the Libertarians don't seem to realize is that they have benefited from the work of others and will continue to do so all their lives, in one form or another, even if it is just in that their neighbor is able to keep his house up or his field harvested so his family doesn't starve. Or that a voter in their community favored an increase in fire department spending so a house didn't burn down. In rural communities you see that kind of banding together. It was also true in the frontier spirit that was carried through in Montana's first Constitution. People worked together and cared for each other. I tend to think then, that in this world of so many people, that Libertarianism sounds great, it is an ideal worth striving for, but it works out, in this stage of human development, like so much pie in the clouds. p.s., Look up the meaning of non sequitor. And I when you start putting comments on your blog site, I will tell people where you are.

1:30 PM  
Blogger Chuck Rightmire said...

As I thought more about this issue, I decided I wanted to mention that Ruy-lin Lin, University of Montana Billings sociologist, in an unpublished paper, noted that people of differing talents do better in differing societies. He compared the scholar's place in old China (see also 1412, The Year the Chinese Discovered America), among others, with their place in the world today. Different strokes. Knowledge was power in that society. Today money is power. And I doubt that many of the powerful people in this society would have been powerful in the other. In that case, perhaps the society we evolve that lets some people success while others fall through the cracks should ensure that the less successful at least survive without want?

7:51 PM  

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