Save Far Left Ideologies from the Trash Heap of History!

Ancient Athens is revered as the birthplace of both democracy and all of Western civilization. During its democratic period of the 5th and 4th century B.C. both its power and cultural achievements were at their height. Even the word “democracy” (demokratia, literally “people power”) is rooted in the Classical Greek language. But in 338, Phillip II of Macedonia (Alexander the Great’s father) conquered Athens and much of the rest of Greek world. It was under Macedonian rule off and on until 228, and democracy was never to take hold again in the Greek classical period.

Also, Ancient Rome was first ruled by a king but then also moved to a democratic, republic-form of government. But in the latter stages, power struggles amongst the elite led to the tyrannical rule of Julius Caesar. And you know what that led to from the pages of The 12 Caesars.

So, what is the point of this shockingly short and incomplete summary of the democratic periods of both ancient Athens and Rome? The reason is that the American Founding Framers took their inspiration from the Classical period in creating and founding the United States of America. They did not say, “Democracy failed in Athens and Rome, therefore we should throw into the dustbin of history.” No, they saw the good and bad parts of each period and drew from the best of their ancient liberal values.

The most often used criticism of radical leftist political philosophies is, “Communism failed in the USSR. It will never work.” But does that mean we should throw way the whole model? I do not believe so. The Founding Framers learned from the failures of the ancient democratic regimes of both Athens and Rome. Therefore, should we never try to install a radical leftist government again if we learn the lessons of the failed Communist experiments of the past?

I hope you answer, “NO!”

Romanticizing the American Revolution to Criticize the Arab Spring? Not so Fast

Live TV gives political pundits all kinds of opportunities to make silly observations about the world.  On Real Time with Bill Maher this past Friday night, conservative writer Charles C. W. Cooke made one of the strangest and silliest I’ve witnessed in quite a while.  When discussing the ongoing battles over new governments in the Arab Spring countries, Cooke made the following point:

You have this revolution in America in which the British fight the British and then they codify classical liberal values into a constitution and it’s great. But that’s not how it goes down normally. Normally there is bloodshed and its horrible and especially in the Middle East what they want to replace their dictatorships with if you look at the polling it’s Sharia law…What the Americans did was a massive step forward. It wasn’t perfect. It was resolved in a Civil War that was bloody and awful. But if we are going to write off the greatest revolution, the greatest constitution in the world because it was imperfect and it was flawed then we should all go home.

The implication being made here is that the immediate aftermath of the American Revolution was mostly “great” until the Civil War and then it was really “great”.  Gutsy claim, particularly when he was sitting right next to an African-American with lady parts who then proceeded to give him a bit of a verbal smacking around for his statement.

The reality about the American Revolution is that we would be appalled by the rights given to people in the immediate aftermath if a new country began that way today.  And let’s not forget that the first government structure the U.S. formed, the Articles of Confederation, failed and was replaced by the Constitution less than a decade after ratification.

That being said, let’s take a look at some of the “great” conditions in the aftermath of the Revolutionary War:

  • If you were a slave, even if one of the Founding Fathers owned you and did naughty stuff with you, you were still a slave.
  • If you were a woman, you would be allowed to get a college degree…just a little over five decades later.  (This to go along with some other equal rights violations noted here.)
  • If you were a homosexual in most of the country, you would not be given equal marriage rights…wait, we still haven’t fixed that one?  Seriously?
  • How about some voting facts.  If you were a white, land-owning, 21+ year old man, you got to vote.  If you did not fit that description, no ballot for you.
  • If you were a woman, you would be granted the right to vote…132 years after the Constitution was ratified.
  • If you were Native American, you would be granted the right to vote…159 years after the Constitution was ratified.
  • Asians-Americans followed five years after Native Americans.
  • We are all aware of the Civil Rights movement needed to grant African-Americans the right to vote without being oppressed in the mid 20th century.
  • 18 year olds would have to wait nearly two centuries to be granted voting rights despite being “allowed” to die for their country.

The list could go on and on.

The point being the American Revolution has worked out pretty well but it has taken quite a while for this to happen and the conditions in the country were downright disgusting, in some cases, for many, many decades.  To expect the countries that were a part of the Arab Spring to magically be anything resembling “ideal democracies” after such a short period of time is lunacy and shows no understanding of history.

With the ease in which information travels now, it should be expected the Arab Spring countries will improve their democracies much quicker than the United States.  But we must recognize it will take quite some time, just as it did (and continues) with America.

Stalin and Modern Russia

05iht-edrachlin05-articleLargeA great piece in the NYT on how the Russian people have struggled with Stalin’s legacy over the decades. He was a tyrannical pragmatist who killed 32 million of his own people through purges, farming policies, and the NKVD, who were the secret police and forerunner of the KGB (at least Hitler was an ideologue who murdered perceived “others”). But he also industrialized the Soviet Union, built great cities, and furthered the cause of Communism. A great piece to be read.

Read Here.