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Jason Kuznicki

Jason Kuznicki is a research fellow at the Cato Institute and contributor of Cato Unbound. He's on twitter as JasonKuznicki. His interests include political theory and history.

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19 Responses

  1. Avatar greginak
    Ignored
    says:

    That’s a good rant by IOZ. I think a better point might be that having an election is just one small part of an actual democratic, free government. One election is great but do you have another election, and who gets to run, and are the elections fair and open, and how much do fear and threats of violence affect the election, and judges, and laws, etc, etc.Report

  2. Avatar Rufus F.
    Ignored
    says:

    It is a good rant. What he’s talking about strikes me as more bizarre in rural Afghanistan, where you see these premodern, pastoral villages and we’re dreaming that having them mark a ballot will somehow open to them the full experience of human freedom. I keep thinking it’s as bizarre as sending in the troops to get the goat-herders trained in operating a vacuum cleaner.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Rufus F.
      Ignored
      says:

      Often as a pasatiempo in the afternoon, Sweets brought out the vacuum-cleaner and leaned it against a chair. While her friends looked on, she pushed it back and forth to show how easily it rolled. And she made a humming with her voice to imitate a motor.

      “My friend is a rich man,” she said. “I think pretty soon there will be wires full of electricity coming right into the house, and then zip and zip and zip! And you have the house clean!”

      Her friends tried to belittle the present, saying, “It is too bad you can’t run this machine.” And, “I have always held that a broom and dust-pan, properly used, are more thorough.”

      But their envy could do nothing against the vacuum. Through its possession, Sweets climbed to the peak of the social scale of Tortilla Flat. People who did not remember her name referred to her as “that one with the sweeping-machine.” Often when her enemies passed the house, Sweets could be seen through the window, pushing the cleaner back and forth, while a loud humming came from her throat. Indeed, after she had swept her house every day, she pushed the cleaner about on the theory that of course it would clean better with electricity, but one could not have everything.

      John Steinbeck, Tortilla FlatReport

  3. Avatar Koz
    Ignored
    says:

    Ugh.

    You don’t have to be an enthusiast of George W Bush’s theories of democracy everywhere to have far different views on the Iraq war than IOZ or Daniel Larison. Saddam Hussein was both a cause and a symptom of pathologies of the Arab world in general and his existence was not our fault. Many of the other nations who could have played a constructive role in the situation were bought off or were otherwise compromised, leaving the United States to handle the issue as best as we could and did.Report

    • Avatar Freddie in reply to Koz
      Ignored
      says:

      his existence was not our fault.

      It’s impossible to say, but it actually might have been, considering the fact that Iraq was losing the war with Iran, and Saddam losing the confidence of his generals, until the United States stepped in to fund and arm him– because, of course, we had to rebuke Iran and the mullahs, who took power in a revolution that was a direct result of the incredible oppression of the Shah’s government, a government we (whoops!) reinstalled at the behest of the British and their petroleum concerns.

      Many of the other nations who could have played a constructive role in the situation were bought off or were otherwise compromised, leaving the United States to handle the issue as best as we could and did.

      The “issue” was not ours to handle. The only possible way to believe it was is if you think that the United States has the right to enforce its whims anywhere in the world.Report

      • Avatar Koz in reply to Freddie
        Ignored
        says:

        “….we had to rebuke Iran and the mullahs, who took power in a revolution that was a direct result of the incredible oppression of the Shah’s government, a government we (whoops!) reinstalled at the behest of the British and their petroleum concerns.”

        So what? That doesn’t mean that everything that happened follows from that. In particular, the problems with Iran started with their capturing our embassy and holding hostages.

        “The “issue” was not ours to handle.”

        Sure it was, and it’s not at all a matter of whims. The rest of the world expects us to handle issues like these, and gets very upset if we don’t.Report

        • Avatar Freddie in reply to Koz
          Ignored
          says:

          In particular, the problems with Iran started with their capturing our embassy and holding hostages.

          That’s a very interesting definition of “the problems with Iran.” I’m sure there are quite a few Iranians who would say that, for example, dissidents being tortured to death by Savak was a problem. I don’t support kidnapping or embassy invasions, but chickens have a way of coming home to roost.

          Sure it was, and it’s not at all a matter of whims. The rest of the world expects us to handle issues like these, and gets very upset if we don’t.

          I’d like to know under what philosophy the issues was ours to handle; I’d like to know why we saw the vast protests of the invasion, on both the level of foreign governments and on the street, if the world wanted us to invade; and I’d like to know under what definition of geopolitical ethics the opinions of the rest of the world can override the elementary right to non-interference.Report

          • Avatar Scott in reply to Freddie
            Ignored
            says:

            Freddie:

            What does the US’ actions in Iraq have to do with our dealings with Iran. The Iraq intel may have been faulty but the civilian command authority of the US felt that it was in our national security interest to take military action. The US does not have to wait until the rest of the world decides that we are justified in taking action to protect ourselves.Report

            • Avatar Freddie in reply to Scott
              Ignored
              says:

              Koz said that we weren’t responsible for Saddam’s dictatorship. I’m asserting that we are indeed partially responsible, because we propped him up with money, weapons, diplomatic assistance and intelligence. We did in part as a check against Iran, whose Islamist government we are largely responsible for, as we sponsored a coup against the more-or-less democratically elected Prime Minister Mosaddegh. This is one of the most consistent lessons of our foreign policy over the last half-century or so: there is a butterfly effect to manipulating the affairs of foreign countries. Far better to stay out altogether.Report

              • Avatar Scott in reply to Freddie
                Ignored
                says:

                Yes, we are in part responsible for Saddam, however, the US didn’t make him invade Iran, he chose to do that on his own. Yes, he needed our help to get him out of that bad choice but I’m not going to cry over all the Iranians he helped kill. As far as interfering in other country’s internal affairs, yes we do it but so did the Soviets and besides we have to protect our national security interests. I wish we didn’t but then again there are a lot of things I wish we didn’t have to do.Report

          • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Freddie
            Ignored
            says:

            I’m basically with Freddie on this one. I’d add that I don’t really care what the rest of the world expects of us. Have you looked at our defense budget lately? They already expect, and we already deliver, far too much.Report

            • Avatar Koz in reply to Jason Kuznicki
              Ignored
              says:

              Actually I agree to a significant extent. I wish we would take a much more parochial view of American interests, if for no other reason to show we can and get the other industrial democracies of the world off their asses in terms of being able to provide security.Report

          • Avatar Koz in reply to Freddie
            Ignored
            says:

            “That’s a very interesting definition of “the problems with Iran.””

            No, that’s a very obvious definition of the problems with Iran. There have been many revolutions and coups in the world. It’s not at certainty that the embassies of foreign nations are ransacked and hostages taken.

            “I’d like to know under what philosophy the issues was ours to handle;…”

            The philosophy that the likes of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein are not the only or inevitable political representation of the region.Report

  4. Avatar Scott
    Ignored
    says:

    The US is not buying their suffering with elections. They are getting their self determination and autonomy back. What kind of a life is it knowing that your government can take you away and kill you at any time? Frankly, I think they are getting more out of our liberation of their country than we in the US are.Report

  5. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    It’s our version of cargo cultism.

    If we just build enough election boxes, the democracy gods will start dropping care packages again.Report

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