Monday, May 29, 2006

Liberal Internationalism

An absolutely fantastic post by "Go on and Bleed" defends the votes of Michael Ignatieff and Scott Brison, and condemns the anti-war leanings of the other nine candidates.

The money quote:

"A Liberal government sent Canadian forces to Afghanistan. These forces helped remove the Taliban – described rightly as one of the “foulest regimes on earth.” Canadians and Liberals could be proud of this achievement. With one vote all that success was ceded to Stephan Harper."

I myself am personally skeptical of the international liberalism espoused by Ignatieff, though it is useful in demonstrating that Ignatieff's ideology is liberal internationalism, which is completely different from the neo-conservatism he is so often lumped in with. Liberal internationalism has as its goal the spreading of liberal values throughout the world, the liberation of people from oppressive regimes, and the propagation of human rights for everyone regardless of national borders. That's a far cry from neo-conservatism, which preaches many of these things, but really cares far more about military dominance and imperialism. When neo-conservatives like David Frum and Dick Cheney talk about "spreading freedom," what they really mean is "spreading American dominance," which is hardly the same thing. A liberal internationalist is someone in the vein as John F. Kennedy, a liberal Democrat, who truly believed in liberal nations using military force for the sake of liberal values.

As I mentioned, I'm skeptical of this ideology, especially with regard to the Muslims. It is based on the flawed assumption that since the Germans and the Japanese took to liberal democracy so well, other conquered nations will do so as well. I used to be a proponent of this theory, that since the natural state of man was freedom, man would naturally gravitate towards it; that if given the choice of oppression or liberty, any rational human being would take liberty. I made the mistake of thinking everybody valued freedom; to be more precise, I made the mistake of believing that the majority of people are rational. I have since become far more cynical about the state of human beings, and now hold some very classically conservative views about the ability of liberal nations to share liberalism with nations that don't want it. To put it bluntly, the Middle Eastern Muslims en masse and writ large do not want to be free, and while I admire both Michael Ignatieff and Scott Brison's determination to continue with the mission of liberating the Afgani people from the Taliban, the fact of the matter is, they don't want to be free - the fact that they were a hair's breadth away from executing a man for converting to Christianity just a few months ago shows how far they have to go.

But - perhaps the skeptic could think of it this way. With the Taliban in place, that man WOULD have been executed for converting to Christianity, and probably tortured first. The desired change can't possibly happen all at once. The odds of the Afghani people, say, democratically legalizing gay unions, or granting women complete equality within the next decade are absolutely nil. But within the next five decades? Who knows. There will be people living there, though, in five decades who will either damn us for the blood we spilled, or praising the names of our soldiers in gratitude for granting them the free society in which they live. Given that a lot of them currently damn us, along with the rest of the west anyway, is that a gamble worth taking?

Brison and Ignatieff both seem to think so, and it's completely unfair to vilify them as co-conspirators in a global neo-conservative plan because of it.


At 5/29/2006 11:42 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

ignatieff and brisson, broke the rules, they showed support for a corrupt regime that sells drugs, pander to war criminals, and that is hated by the population, u and ur friend have no idea whats ur talkin about, other than u feel important bloging, to say anything without first lookin into the situation. heres another point, are u willing to pay the price of Canadian children on our city buses, just for red neck opinions. Because the more we associate ourselves with the buffon american army, who go out killing anything that walks, eventually, the enemy will come here, just like england and spain....and ur buddy look of age, how come ur sitting on ur asses, all comfy, bitching in front of ur monitor? why dont u go to afghanistan and be a man...instead of a coward....

At 5/30/2006 12:50 a.m., Blogger Clear Grit said...

I'm very wary of somebody who would condemn the next generation, and the generations after that, of a country to perpetual tyranny just for the sake of anti-Americanism. Just as wary as I am of the neo-cons, in fact.

At 5/30/2006 2:11 a.m., Anonymous Loony in LotusLand said...

Blue grit you are stuck with the path that diverges between Hobbes and Locke, and what is the nature of man. I personally preferred Calvin and Hobbes the comic strip but that is another issue. The live hypothesis is: do Muslim Arabs prefer totalitarianism in the form of a theocracy because they are genetically disposed to it or culturally indoctrinated to it from birth? From the 15th to the 20th century European colonial powers accepted the genetic analysis; having to civilize the barbarians, convert the heathens, and impose the more advanced culture upon the colonized (as the Muslims did from the 7th to the 13th century). It was indeed the white mans' burden. The current western small L liberal belief in tolerance and egalitarianism dictate that all men/women, cultures, and religions are not only created equal but must be morally equivalent. There is no right or wrong only differences that must be tolerated.

PS Forgive the spelling. It is late.

At 5/30/2006 3:48 p.m., Blogger c-lo said...

"I used to be a proponent of this theory, that since the natural state of man was freedom, man would naturally gravitate towards it; that if given the choice of oppression or liberty, any rational human being would take liberty."

The natural desire of man is security first and foremost. Freeedom can be a part of that, but not necessarily.


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