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In the Way of Political Freedom. Uncommon advocates and adversaries in an undecided struggle ^ | March 13, 2005 | Bruce S. Thornton

Posted on 03/14/2005 5:49:29 AM PST by Tolik

Those of us who enjoy political freedom often take it for granted, considering it a sort of natural resource that can be simply handed over to those peoples who lack it. But such freedom had to be invented in a particular time and place, and then tended, nurtured, and argued, fought and died for. In order to flourish, political freedom demands certain kinds of values, certain ways of looking at the world and regarding human beings, that have not existed in all times at all places, and so must be borrowed, learned, practiced, and reinforced. For though the desire for freedom is natural in every human being, it still has to compete with other powerful values and goods and needs just as natural and insistent, such as security or religious meaning or the sheer power to dominate others.

Yet despite these difficulties, despite the long, slow struggle of freedom over the centuries, despite all those times it seemed freedom would wither and die, in the last fifty years we have witnessed a flowering of political freedom throughout the world, with the result that now more humans live in free states than in unfree ones.

...Freedom can, in the long run, win out, but the struggle will be difficult, marked by setbacks and violence and a chaos that will make some long for the days of a tyranny that at least provided order and security. For the other historical truth about freedom's progress is that it usually requires the violent repudiation of those alternatives that conflict with freedom.

... The success of this progress, however, is in no way assured; we are now witnessing not the end of tyranny in the Middle East, but at best the beginning of the end.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Philosophy; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: brucesthornton; brucethornton; islam; islma; middleeast; mideast; politicalfreedom is a MUST EXCERPT website
1 posted on 03/14/2005 5:49:30 AM PST by Tolik
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To: Lando Lincoln; quidnunc; .cnI redruM; Valin; yonif; SJackson; dennisw; monkeyshine; Alouette; ...
Bruce S. Thornton:

...True, nothing like the nuclear-armed Soviet military behemoth of those years exists to resist our efforts, yet in many ways Islamist terrorism is more difficult and insidious than was the Soviet Union, whose jaded ruling elite were motivated by material benefits and power, and so in the end could be swayed by a material calculus. The Islamists, on the other hand, are driven by a vision of ultimate spiritual reality, one so powerful that it justifies the slaughter of innocents. In this they resemble more the Japanese imperial militarists or the Nazis, true believers that only utter and complete destruction could disabuse of their beliefs. The battle against Islamist terrorism, then, will require even more commitment over a longer span of time than the struggle against Soviet communism did. Time will tell whether our democratic politics is compatible with such a lengthy commitment.

Now is not the time to celebrate, then. The struggle has just begun, and the years ahead will be marked by setbacks, mistakes, and at times bloody chaos. Whether we will succeed or not—that is, whether freedom wins out or not—is still an open question, as it has always been.

Nailed It !

This ping list is not author-specific for articles I'd like to share. Some for perfect moral clarity, some for provocative thoughts; or simply interesting articles I'd hate to miss myself. (I don't have to agree with the author 100% to feel the need to share an article.) I will try not to abuse the ping list and not to annoy you too much, but on some days there is more of good stuff that is worthy attention. I keep separate PING lists for my favorite authors Victor Davis Hanson, Lee Harris, David Warren, Orson Scott Card. You are welcome in or out, just freepmail me (and note which PING list you are talking about).

2 posted on 03/14/2005 5:54:44 AM PST by Tolik
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To: Tolik

"We were fortunate, then, to have had a President like Ronald Reagan, who increased military spending, forged ahead with new military technologies that would give us an overwhelming advantage over our adversary, sent Pershing missiles to Europe, and most important, had a moral clarity about the stakes and the costs of resistance to tyranny, a clarity evident when he called the Soviet system an "evil empire" or in Berlin dared Gorbachev to "tear down this wall." Reagan understood that the desire for freedom is inherent in all humans, but that for freedom to compete on a level playing field with those other human needs, all those who held oppressive power by exploiting such needs had to be made to fear the credible threat of destruction that would follow their continuing assaults on freedom. For once freedom has a chance to be exercised, it usually wins in a fair fight.

But remember the resistance within the West to Reagan's policies—the derision he faced from the intellectual elite about the "evil empire" speech, or the massive protests against deploying the Pershing missiles or against resisting Soviet adventurism in Central America and Afghanistan? This brings us to another powerful impediment to the spread of freedom—the intellectual and moral pathologies of free Westerners. Taking for granted the political freedom and material prosperity they enjoyed, many in the West no longer wanted to pay the price of defending and advancing freedom."

Shameless plug

Surprised? (You shouldn't be)
Tech Central Station ^ | 3/10/05 | Pejman Yousefzadeh

"The night the Berlin Wall came down, I was glued to the television coverage and watched ABC's Prime Time Live engage in real-time reporting of the breach of the wall and the spread of democracy to Eastern Europe. Sam Donaldson -- who had served as the White House correspondent during the Reagan Administration -- was one of the co-hosts of the broadcast, and at one point during the coverage, he had a chance to interview his old rhetorical sparring partner -- former President Ronald Reagan.

Donaldson was warm and gracious to the former President as they both watched history be made. Several times during the interview, Donaldson credited President Reagan for having worked to set up the conditions for the fall of the Wall and the commensurate collapse of communism. Donaldson also spoke to the amazement that many people felt at seeing the Berlin Wall finally breached. Surely, he seemed to indicate, no one expected to see the eventual destruction of the Cold War order and the victory of the forces of freedom and democracy in this twilight struggle. Judging from Donaldson's questions and the tone and premise implicit in those questions, the decision by Eastern Europeans to agitate for their freedom and take their destinies into their own hands sprang out of the blue and was an entirely unanticipated phenomenon.

President Reagan entertained all of this commentary and questioning, and then, at the end of the interview, he asked for a little extra time to say something. The former President freely admitted that the events going on in Eastern Europe were momentous. But he asked why it was that anyone should be surprised that a people enslaved for over four decades should want to agitate for their freedom. The surprising thing was not that people wanted to be free. Rather, it was that they were enslaved in the first place."
/Shameless Plug

3 posted on 03/14/2005 6:06:59 AM PST by Valin (DARE to be average!)
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To: Tolik


4 posted on 03/15/2005 12:16:48 AM PST by lainde
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