Thursday, September 20, 2007

We Do Not Ensure Freedom by Holding Elections

Recently, I read a comment by someone that said, democracy is two wolves and a lamb deciding what to have for dinner. A popularly elected government does not necessarily create the ultimate in good government. We should not forget that Hitler was popularly elected.

Also, we should be mindful that it can be difficult to impose freedom on a country that does not have the basic building blocks to support it. As much as we may wish it was so, not everyone everywhere is ready for democracy. We must realize that some nations are only nations because people who have little in common are held together by brute force and suppression as was the case in Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, and Ethiopia.

In the following article Thomas Sowell explains why “nation-building” can be folly. It is too late to apply this lesson to Iraq, but hopefully we will learn this lesson before we are tempted to “liberate” the next country. Below are excerpts from the article.

Mugged By Reality: Part III
By Thomas Sowell
Thursday, September 20, 2007

If nothing else comes out of the Iraq war, it should banish the concept of "nation-building" from our language and our minds.

You cannot turn a territory and its population into a functioning nation with the stroke of a pen or the drawing of lines on a map.

Real nations evolve over time out of the mutual accommodations of peoples, not by imposing the bright ideas of theorists from the top down. No small part of African nations' problems comes from the fact that most became nations only in the sense that conquerors carved up African territories among themselves to suit their own convenience.

Democracy means voting. It does not mean freedom. When we lump the two ideas together, we confuse ourselves and others.
To read the full article: Mugged by Reality

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