Bush Signs U.S. Up For “Global Democratic Revolution.”
order Sam Francis` new monograph, Ethnopolitics:
Immigration, Race, and the American Political Future]
"When a term has become so universally sanctified
as `democracy` now is," wrote the poet and
social critic T.S. Eliot in 1939, "I begin to
wonder whether it means anything, in meaning too many
things…. If anybody ever attacked democracy, I might
discover what the word meant."
Eliot would have discovered little about the meaning
of democracy had he lived to hear President Bush`s
sermon about it last week before the
National Endowment for Democracy, a federal agency
devoted to spreading what the president calls "the
global democratic revolution" across the planet.
"Democracy" as Mr. Bush used the term seems to
have something to do with elections and competing
political parties, but also with what he kept calling
"liberty," yet another word he never defined.
Whatever they are, it is the business of the United
States to spread them across the world, and already
amazing progress toward that goal is taking place.
neighbors just better watch out.
The cult of "democracy" as the centerpiece of
American foreign policy has been snooping around the
corridors of power since President Jimmy Carter
jabbered about promoting "human rights" (yet
As Mr. Bush acknowledged last week, it is a cult that
President Reagan, who should have known better,
helped promote, and today the cult reigns supreme as the
unofficially established religion of the U.S.
The chief theologians of the democracy cult these
days are the neoconservatives, who themselves reign
supreme within the Bush administration, and as recently
as September, neo-con Joshua Muravchik, writing in
Commentary magazine, declared that "enthusiasm
for democracy" is a distinguishing characteristic of
conservatives are more likely to display an ambivalence
toward this form of government, an ambivalence expressed
centuries ago by the American founders.
Neoconservatives tend to harbor no such doubts." [The
Neoconservative Cabal, By Joshua Muravchik,
Commentary Magazine, September, 2003]
Moreover, as liberal columnist E.J. Dionne
writes this week about Mr. Bush`s speech, "the
president embraced much of what liberal human rights
advocates have been saying for years."
It ought not to be a secret, though it seems to be
unknown to most self-described conservatives these days,
that "making the world safe for democracy," let
alone actually imposing democracy by force, is not a
conservative idea. It descends from
Woodrow Wilson, has grandparents in
Franklin Roosevelt and
Harry Truman, and was peddled by
John F. Kennedy and
Lyndon Johnson (as well as Presidents Carter and
Clinton) long before it began to twinkle among the brain
cells of Mr. Bush.
The reason it is not a conservative idea—and indeed
why it is a profoundly stupid and dangerous idea—is that
conservatives grasp what the left cannot—that what we
call "democracy" in this and other Western
countries is a product of
It does not exist in nature and is not a
"Democracy," if it means what I think it
means, is culturally unique.
Mr. Bush last week (and the neoconservatives who
write his speeches and have taught him his lines) was at
pains to deny this.
"We believe that liberty
is the design of nature; we believe that liberty is the
direction of history. We believe that human fulfillment
and excellence come in the responsible exercise of
liberty. And we believe that freedom—the freedom we
prize—is not for us alone, it is the right and the
capacity of all mankind."[Full
Very eloquent, no doubt, but is it true?
Not exactly. If "liberty" (which the president
seems not to distinguish from "democracy," a
vital distinction of classical political thought) were
the "design of nature" and the "direction of
history," it would be far more universal than it is
or ever has been, and other cultures would be far more
receptive to it than they are.
The truth is that "democracy" and "liberty" as most
in the West understand them have flourished only in the
West and only in fairly recent eras.
And what that means is that attempts to implant,
spread, or enforce democracy where it has no historical
roots and doesn`t belong will not only fail but will
most likely create chaos and eventually tyranny—which is
why such policies are a stupid and dangerous idea.
Mr. Bush`s worship of the liberal idol of
"universal democracy" has already helped sink us
into the murderous
quicksands of Iraq.
Real conservatives—if any remain—need to resist and
reject his ill-advised call for yet more global
adventures with his faithful neocon companions.
CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
[Sam Francis [email
him] is a nationally syndicated columnist. A selection
of his columns,