Reblogged from RHPolitics.
September 10, 2011, 6:04pm
Reblogged from whip or will.
“In international strategizing, as in life, we tend to have a better sense of ideal outcomes than we do of possible, if second-rate, ones. Just as little girls dream of being prima ballerina at the Bolshoi and not members of the corps de ballet at the Kentucky Ballet Theatre, policy-makers tend to hold up the bright lights of Sweden and Denmark when articulating the hopes for crippled states like Zimbabwe and Cote D’Ivoire. With a nudge here and a nudge there, goes the common parlance, Mali can take a cue from prosperous Netherlands and Iraq can democratize in the image of Canada. This is our Bolshoi fixation.
The reason to call on the middle countries when imagining the futures of the most broken ones is that the questions most relevant to the 20 or 30 weakest countries can’t be answered through the examples of the 20 or 30 strongest. How can peace be maintained in the wake of a rigged election by a megalomaniacal leader? How can economic prosperity improve despite the presence of outrageous levels of corruption? How much violence is enough violence to declare a power-sharing arrangement dead?
These answers can only come, in practical terms, from places that have confronted civil war, authoritarian leadership, a breakdown of law and order but have still, through various strategies, improved their lot. An understanding of these strategies is an invaluable asset.
So while it is tempting to view the state-building project through an ideological lens (a state after all is an idea, as are its virtues: liberty, equality, etc.), more immediate benefit will come from utilizing a pragmatic one. This is not to advocate for subpar governance. But where a liberal, democratic, prosperous, and stable state might be the ideal goal in every case, it can’t be the proximate one for Sudan, Haiti, or Liberia. Ballerinas, after all, clock thousands of hours in front of audiences before even auditioning for the Bolshoi.” —Mary Albino
WOMAN: “I think that she would, um, acknowledge a system of government in the United States, uh, rather than focus an [sic] administration of czars.”
INTERVIEWER: “What are some of your problems with czars?”
WOMAN: “I’m an American, we don’t have czars in America.”
Sometimes I get angry when I think about the country that we could be rather than the country that we are. I forget that people like this actually exist, that these sorts of opinions from the “Average American” are actually revered. Can’t you just feel the anti-intellectualism seeping through? Those who try to understand a bit more are met with a sort of hostility, that sort of “who-do-you-think-you-areness” that keeps most people relatively ignorant of even the most basic social and political issues. It makes sense that the least aware are usually the most abused/manipulated by the system.”
This NYT article about the book-signings is also chock full of amazing quotes:
“He can’t even make a simple decision about what to do in Afghanistan. We’ve got men and women fighting overseas. Either man up and fight the war to win it, or get out.”
At this point, I’m starting to believe that willful ignorance expressed as certainty is a form of stupidity. These people don’t even KNOW they’re being manipulated by their own team. And yet their votes are as valid as mine and yours. Ugh.
Augh. Indignant opinions with no factual basis. Besides voicing their conviction that Palin is fantastic, the default answer to questions concerning policy stance or what actions they would like to see is a “I don’t know much about that.” What exactly are they voting on then?
(The use of the term “socialism” here reminds me of the comments left at this Telegraph article.)
PURE SOCIALISM: You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else’s cows. You have to take care of all of the cows. The government gives you as much milk as you need.
BUREAUCRATIC SOCIALISM: You have two cows. The government takes them and put them in a barn with everyone else’s cows. They are cared for by ex-chicken farmers. You have to take care of the chickens the government took from the chicken farmers. The government gives you as much milk and eggs as the regulations say you need.
FEUDALISM: You have two cows. Your lord takes some of the milk.
FASCISM: You have two cows. The government takes both, hires you to take care of them and sells you the milk.
PURE COMMUNISM: You have two cows. Your neighbors help you take care of them, and you all share the milk.
RUSSIAN COMMUNISM: You have two cows. You have to take care of them, but the government takes all the milk.
CAMBODIAN COMMUNISM: You have two cows. The government takes both of them and shoots you.
DICTATORSHIP: You have two cows. The government takes both and drafts you.
PURE DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. Your neighbors decide who gets the milk.
REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. Your neighbors pick someone to tell you who gets the milk.
BUREAUCRACY: You have two cows. At first the government regulates what you can feed them and when you can milk them. Then it pays you not to milk them. Then it takes both, shoots one, milks the other and pours the milk down the drain. Then it requires you to fill out forms accounting for the missing cows.
PURE ANARCHY: You have two cows. Either you sell the milk at a fair price or your neighbors try to take the cows and kill you.
LIBERTARIAN/ANARCHO-CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.
SURREALISM: You have two giraffes. The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.
May 10, 2009, 1:38pm