Monday, July 17, 2006

I Don't Get It

William Kristol says it again here, and it's a statement that deserves some scrutiny.
(Kristol also says that all the problems in the world are the fault of the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran, sorting of glossing over that the reason for the Islamists' popularity was the American-backed coup of the democratically-elected Iranian government of the early 1950s and the installation and American support of the Shah's 25 years of brutal dictitorial repression. When Bush rambles on about how a democratic Arab nation will change the Middle East, remember that there was one 50 years ago until the West overthrew it. But I digress.)
While talking about the current war in Lebanon, Kristol says, "Better to say that what's under attack is liberal democratic civilization, whose leading representative right now happens to be the United States."
I don't get it. How do you quantify the statement that the US is the leading representative of democracy? They're sure doing a good job -- Be Nice To America or They'll Bring Democracy to Your Country!
What about that other chestnut that America is the "freest nation on earth." Again, how is this determined? Does Time publish some sort of "freedom index"? Is it determined by a straw poll of Fox News correspondents? Don Rumsfeld's tea leaves? Or by reading the pattern of buckshot left in Dick Cheney's hunting victims, er, partners?
It is a strikingly American perception that somehow the USA is rightfully the leader of the democratic world. Only in the US is the President often referred to as "The Leader of the Free World," and it is done as if it was the obvious natural order of things.
I don't recall when this was decided. Did I miss a meeting? Was I on vacation that week? If we're in the free world, and the free world has a leader, shouldn't there be a vote or something like that on who leads us?
I know I didn't vote for him.

1 comment:

  1. Freedoom is the myth that Amerika tells itself. Admission that they are the world's greatest economic imperialist empire isn't what sells at home. The fact of the matter is, they are what has been dubbed a "Fascist" state--Mussolini called it the "Corporatist" state. That is, a country run for the benefit of the corporations that own the ruling class, and a ruling class that exploits the country for the benefit of the corporations that own it. Pretty much every other country recognizes that there have to be restrictions on corporate power and the wealthy in order to improve the lot of the entire country--that the aims of the country as a whole and the wealthy are not the same.
    These restrictions are often to level the playing field--which serves the general interest over the specific. But this is the rising tide that lifts all boats--not the unfettered, so-called "free market" that exists in Amerika. The evidence is all there; the standard of living that really hasn't risen since the 70s if you discount the move of spouses into the workplace (the second income is all that has kept thier heads above water), the widening of the gap between rich and poor, growing disparity in every economic indicator. But they have the best, absolute BEST, propaganda machine ever. Filom, TV, radio, all are bent to telling Amerika that it is the best country in the world when in fact it scarcely makes the middle of the pack in UN ratings (check the infant death rates compared to other industrialized countries!).