Sunday, August 24, 2008

Skewing a Few Facts

Having determined that democracy is the government of choice of all the world's autocrats, the author of history's sad ending, Francis Fukuyama, capsulizes the appeal of autocracy:

The so-called Beijing Consensus, which mixes authoritarian government with market economics, is popular in many developing countries, and with good reason: Under Beijing's rules, national leaders can just do business and make money, without being hectored about democracy and human rights.

To backtrack a bit, the same author totally ignores the fact that China had agreed to give freedoms a chance as a prerequisite of hosting the games, an agreement the leaders ignored, and concludes that the appeals of democracy are shown in China's lipservice to democratic ideals and throws in a few other questionable examples.

Despite recent authoritarian advances, liberal democracy remains the strongest, most broadly appealing idea out there. Most autocrats, including Putin and Chávez, still feel that they have to conform to the outward rituals of democracy even as they gut its substance. Even China's Hu Jintao felt compelled to talk about democracy in the run-up to Beijing's Olympic Games. And Musharraf proved enough of a democrat to let himself be driven from office by the threat of impeachment.

Democracy has a great appeal for us masses, who expect, and need, government to serve the public interest. The underside that has been so misused by our present autocratic leaders is that the masses can be swayed by lies.

The appeal that Fukuyama sees as autocratic governments' reasons for giving outward appearance of democracy looks more like accession to underlying agreements that are often ignored in the actual daily operations.

The return of actual powers of government into the peoples' hands seems to be about to happen here, and the results appear tied to the economic disasters brought about by the present ruling autocrats. How much greater the events would be if they were an overthrow of the torture and war leanings of the criminal elements, than a rejection of their failure to keep a sound economy.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I saw that article this AM, I was struck by the fact that none of the despots and tyrants in the accompanying picture was Dick Cheney.

Also funny in today's WaPo was George Will accusing Obama of being a windbag.

10:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alway, I find myself enjoying the superb writing and, clearly, I feel that the posters have almost identical views to mine.

This does not necessarily applies to more detailed issues. It is far from sure that Obama is going to win. Without accusing innocent people of racism, he seems inept and almost clueless. His choice of VP is astonishingly cowardly and a real miss of a major opportunity.

The idea of postpartisanship is a clear phony. I am far from sure that he'll be a real progressive and worried that he might be autocratic (although an insane one).

10:54 AM  
Blogger Ruth said...

Obama isn't everything we would like, and neither was Bill Clinton. I think NAFTA is a really bad idea, and disapprove, just as I think the FISA vote from Obama was a mistake. What our country needs, though, is their main concern - in complete contrast with overthrow of the public interest - the occupied White House's orientation. We are going to have to cut some slack, which I would rather be total approval, for complete commitment to progressive political goals. I'm not throwing the baby out with the bathwater, though.

11:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am far from sure that he'll be a real progressive and worried that he might be autocratic (although an insane one).

10:54 AM

You're losing me here, lakelobos. Obama has ALWAYS been a middle of the road Democrat.

Sadly, it seems we're still a long way away from having progressives even get a fair share of air time in the tv/press, let alone having one run for preznit.

But I don't see the reason to worry about Obama being autocratic.

We do have actual evidence of Republican governance to look at for that.

3:14 PM  
Blogger tech98 said...

Shorter Mr. End-of-History--No-Really-This-Time:
Pretend Democracy is as good as the real thing!

Corporations wield disproportionate power in the world, and anyone who has worked for one can tell you they are heirarchical and authoritarian, nor deomcractic. So naturally they prefer governments of the same stripe.

7:55 PM  

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