The NY Times editorial board has the awesome job of producing thoughtful and thought provoking commentary on the issues of the day...every day. There is a whole team devoted to the task and all in all they aren't bad at it. They are better than typical bloggers, a little. And they accept comments to the opinion pieces. Todays topic is how unwelcome and/or unsuccessful US attempts to force democracy on other countries has been. I provided the comment below but it had not appeared for over 12 hours.
Whatever your particular culture's notion of fair self-rule is, [we call ours democracy because of its deep roots in Greek culture...but that is OUR history], it is the height of arrogance and stupidity to presume that notion is right in other nations with vastly different cultures.
One of the most harmful of the mistakes made by neoconservatives is to compound the garden variety jingoist "we are better than those guys" by going on to "and we ought to do something about it for there own darn good". Trying to analyze their real motives for passing such thinking off as a basis for foreign policy is nasty fun and I shall refrain here.
I found this statement leading an opinion piece by Jonah Goldberg in a certain west coast newspaper [What rule obliges otherwise excellent news organizations to publish words by these fellows?]:
"Promoting democracy throughout the
world has been a driving force in U.S.
politics since the country's earliest days."
That is so wrong in so many ways that I don't have to write a word against it but point readers, and that bewildered commentator, to George Washington's Farewell Address. In that document, which ought to be as good a text to cite as any regarding the politics of the country's earliest days, there is clear admonition to do no such butting in to the political lives of other nations.
What was good enough for Washington then is good enough for me now. We have problems as it is just living up to our *own* constitutional ideals and cultural claims about granting the rights and exercising the responsibilities of citizenship by all Americans. Perhaps when we figure it out, we can show it to the world...they might follow if only we would lead.
I honestly suspect that we began to feel the need to force others to adopt our ways when our failures to adopt them ourselves crept into the back of our consciences, unsettling some of us greatly enough to cause us to compensate.
Eventually it showed up, and so did a lot of other comments most of which complimented the editors on calling BS on the "giving democracy to other nations" line of crap. The thanks they get for this? I did not take the refunded balance of my "Times Select" subscription. And they get to wear the proud label of "liberal east coast establishment press" while retaining Mr. Kristols talents.
[This post was modified slightly to reflect developments in what I took to be a static situation]