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« Has U.S. Gen. John Bednarek given up on a democratic Iraq? | Main | Should U.S. drop U.N. for a pro-democracy ‘Anglosphere’? »

August 30, 2007



Frank, this is off-topic, but I was hoping you might look at this. It sounds like a fantastic way to blow off the UN and start a United Democracies type thing. I'd be interested in your opinion. And anyone else's of course.

On-topic: Capitalism is the key to freedom. Any other system is controlling someone in some way. Even capitalism as practiced in the US uses forms of control (crop subsidies, price-control on utilities, SEC/FCC/FDA/ABC doing ANYTHING they do. But the other systems are even more invasive.

Freedom is the ultimate goal, but capitalism is the route to that goal. He is not as incorrect as you think.

I am as sad as you that the communists took the country, but as we see now, capitalism has taken root over there. Communism won't last much more than a decade with capitalism around.

To be fair, I also predicted that the end was near for the insurgents in Iraq in December 2005 :(.

Frank Warner

That capitalism-produces-freedom theory has been banging around for years. There's something to it: If free markets require private property, it logically (and inevitably?) requires the private property owner's right to decide basic things about his property and his life.

Nevertheless, we have yet to see a totalitarian police state switch to free markets and suddenly feel the pressure to free its people, too.


At least two sets of fingers ARE crossed though.


Nothing on the idea of joining the Commonwealth of Nations though? It sounded like such a brilliant idea. No communists, no tyrants, no islamic fundamentalists, and no France!

The things it could do.

jj mollo

The absence of nutcases in government is what allows countries to become freer -- that, and time for compromise.

Religious nutcases will proscribe relatively harmless behaviors, which generally causes more wild behavior and associated hypocrisy than they could ever imagine -- but underground, where it can subvert citizens and spawn new hidden black-market economies. Economic nutcases, such as communists are basically no different from religious ones. Extreme policies make for suffering and repression. The third kind of nutcase, of course, is the egomaniac. They're pretty easy to spot if you're reasonably sane yourself. Stalin, Mao, Hitler of course. Pol Pot might have been the worst with Saddam and Kim Il-Sung/Jong Il close behind. Others are Mugabe, Chavez, and Putin. (Though I think there may be some hope for Russia.)

Examples where reasonably sane people have practiced unworkable policies in support of misguided philosophies have generally mellowed with time. Israel, for instance, was initially filled with communists, but communists who believed in tolerance and compromise. Eventually they drifted away from the extreme ideals, more toward capitalism, and each step away from communist principles led to a better performing economy. Singapore, which began and continues as an authoritarian state, began with very right wing capitalist principles, but wise, decent and flexible leaders. It has become richer and more reasonable year by year in its approach to social control. People who live there like it.

IMO, the secret is honest, flexible leaders who are willing to learn and compromise. How do you create a state that maintains a steady supply of such leaders? In the US we do it by pitting the ambitious against the ambitious and making them follow the rules. The members of Congress, subclinical though they may be, have to compromise continually. The stress often pushes them over the edge, many into corruption, which is then revealed to the press by their enemies, and then we get to throw the rascals out. The structure of the Constitution seems to keep them in check and the people benefit. We do have the other kinds of nutcase , too. There are many religious nutcases and economic nutcases in this country who have excessive influence, but forcing them to compromise, or at least making them live with one another, has the effect of ameliorating their worst endeavors.

There are, on the other hand, many societies that do not permit wise and decent people to move up the ladder. In these places, if you are not willing to kill more than your adversaries, you won't get anywhere. These kinds of places have to be torn down and rebuilt. How many people wanted to get rid of Saddam for how many years? Now they are leaning that religious nutcases are just as bad. How obvious is it that Mugabe must go? But it cannot happen without outside intervention. The Soviet Union might have gone the way of Israel if not for Stalin. Certainly France mellowed after its revolution.

I think that good leaders can only flourish in peculiar situations. Sometimes people are smart enough to grab the brass ring and leverage good leadership into a good society that is self-perpetuating and economically sound. Europe, S. Korea, Japan, and now Eastern Europe come to mind. We will see about Turkey. Most of the time, however, there is no hope. That's when the free countries need to act.


Unfortunately in America, we now seem to be less and less about pitching the ambitious against the ambitious, and more about pitting the ambitious against the courts :(.

Excellent upbeat comment though. If Turkey slowly returns to reason, I'll jump on the bandwagon with you. Crossing two MORE fingers :).

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