December 26, 2003

Democracy is For the Long Haul

James Pinkerton believes that democracy shouldn't be for everyone. He picks out Jordan as a country that has a relatively moderate king with a relatively moderate government that is riding herd on a populace that would elect a government much less to our liking. Pinkerton's making a couple of mistakes here.

Unrepresentative governments infantilize the people. The people don't have to be responsible so they can spout off and advocate all sorts of foolish things that they won't have to deal with the consequences of. Democratization in a country like Jordan is likely to take a path somewhat like the UK with a constitutional monarchy riding herd and gradually ceding power, making sure that the people grow up and take responsibility for their actions. Errors will be made by any newly freed people but with a wise king, these errors will be small and not fatal to Jordan's future.

Democracy is a system that provides long-term benefits, not necessarily short-term ones. The US may be unhappy with the Schroeder govt. in Germany but it would certainly prefer the pain of such a Chancellor to an undemocratic Germany which would be nothing but trouble and with no end in sight.

Having a prickly, democratically elected government is not such a bad thing over the long haul if that prickly government peacefully yields the reigns of power to a new government after it has lost its mandate in free elections. Dictatorships just kick the can down the road so the problem will be solved by the next generation. Saying "liberty in Jordan would not spell progress for the United States" is admitting that all you're talking about is today and tomorrow. Next year is beyond your calculation and the next generation is beyond your conception.

The security problems we face are bad enough now but technological progress means that they are just going to get worse. We need to think beyond the next quarter or even the next year. Democracy across the globe is the right long-term solution. If we keep to that, we keep faith with our own founding fathers.

Posted by TMLutas at December 26, 2003 09:38 PM