Come for the Politics, Stay for the Pathologies

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Democracy Today: Dumb and Dumber

On the heels of BHO’s non-triumphant state visit to Russia, Daniel Henninger writes about the dumbing down of democracy as displayed by nations across the Organization of American States, but exemplified by Putin’s Russia.

Henninger relates how Vladimir Putin’s main press spokesman responded 2 years ago to questions from the WSJ editorial staff about the Putin government’s control of the media and their actions against political opponents:

With a calm and confident smile, Mr. Peskov replied: "Ours is a different system of democracy." That was it. He stopped talking but kept smiling. The message sank in….He couldn't have been clearer: We are changing the rules. Get over it.

So Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s statement with respect to Iran’s repression of the protests against the election should come as no surprise: “No one is willing to condemn the election process because it’s an exercise in democracy.” Or at least an exercise in Russian democracy.

A greater surprise was the comment by our own President: “America cannot and should not seek to impose any system of government on any other country, nor would we presume to choose which party or individual should run a country.” Henninger calls this “political equivalence” and as such it entails the same fallacies and pitfalls of moral equivalence. Not surprisingly, it, too, has been warmly embraced by many Western intelligentsia.

This is definitely not your founding father’s democracy. Or even your father's. It seems obscene to even refer to it as a derivative. If we are to protect our liberty and Lockean democracy, we are simply going to have to do better than our President’s mealy-mouthed responses to the Iranian “election” and the Honduran constitutional removal of their president. We need to elect someone next time around that believes in promoting the principals of Democracy – at home and abroad. If we don’t, we may discover that our country’s motto “E Pluribus Unum” - Out of Many, One - applies to our enemies too.