What do history's most notorious despots have in common with many of the flag-waving, patriotic politicians of our day? Both groups rise to power through the exploitation of fear, which has become a societal plague. There have been widespread casualties. We need an antidote. Feardom offers its readers a much-needed immunization.
photo credit: David B.
In the latest display of foreign aggression and intervention, we see another example of our government dictating what other (sort of) sovereign states should do.
Remember the purple fingers? What once was sold to the American public as “progress” and “democracy in action” has now devolved into a display of American interventionism.
Elections, it appears, have increasingly become a tool used by authoritarian leaders to claim legitimacy.
It is a conclusion that may well have roots in Washington, where officials have frequently pointed to elections as a barometer of progress, but it may contribute to tarnishing the concept of democracy, diplomats and democracy advocates in the region agreed.
Iraq, where a freely elected government has been paralyzed by sectarian disputes, stands as a particularly damaging example. “Democracy itself has lost credibility as a way of government,” said a Western diplomat based in Algiers, speaking on condition of anonymity, following customary diplomatic protocol. “I think the Iraqi experiment, and the purple finger, didn’t help anything. People now say this democracy is not the answer to anything.”
The purple finger had initially been a symbol of pride in what was hoped to be Iraq’s nascent democracy. Millions turned out to cast their ballots in the first post-Saddam-Hussein election, dipping a finger in ink to prevent double voting.
Rightly or wrongly, the purple finger has become a symbol of failure. (via New York Times)
And now, throwing democracy (and hence, the voice of the people) to the wind (as our government has done many times already), the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Carl Levin (D-Mich) has declared Iraq’s government “non-functional” and called on the Iraqi parliament to remove the Prime Minister from office.
So much for what the people want.
Our government wants us all to chant the words “Uncle Sam knows best” until it becomes ingrained in our minds. Democracy, dissent, and different forms of government are not to be tolerated.
Today, freedom — political, economic, and individual freedom — lies destroyed or is in the course of being destroyed over great areas of the globe. And it has been destroyed and is being destroyed in the name of freedom…. A ruthless dialectical battle is being waged against the Christian way of life, against political liberty, against individual freedom, and it is being waged in the name of Freedom. Black becomes White; Tyranny becomes Freedom; The Forced Labor Camp stands for Liberty; The Slave State is represented as Democracy. (David O. McKay, via Quoty)
Or, in other words:
War is Peace
Freedom is Slavery
Ignorance is Strength (via)
Or, in the words of Edward Bernays, the father of propaganda:
Ours must be a leadership democracy administered by the intelligent minority who know how to regiment and guide the masses. (Edward Bernays, via Quoty)
It would seem that Senator Levin and his like-minded colleagues follow this line of thinking and consider themselves to be members of this elite, intelligent minority.