Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sufferage Succotash

All behold the latest triumph of democracy and "the right to vote", namely the apparent victory of your friend and mine, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in Iran. It's hardly worth commenting on any longer how non-accepting our government is of results they dislike, even when those results are the product of (allegedly) democratic procedures. It happens all the time in Palestine, and now it's happening in Iran. Of course, any result that runs contrary to what the State Department and the CIA want is immediately condemned as "fraudulent", "fixed", and whatever -- never mind that we have, over the years, aided and abetted the defrauding of probably hundreds of elections, national and local, around the globe. But perhaps a new realism is taking over. Voting has been gradually exposed as a fetish and a fraud in this country, with all of its "democratic traditions" -- so how much better can we expect it to perform in countries with _no_ democatic traditions, other than the ones we force down their throats? But at least the era of blatant hypocrisy seems to have passed -- nowadays, when we don't like the results of someone's election, we just bomb them or have one of our allies do so. That's at least honest.

And really, isn't it still true that, after all, people get the governments they deserve -- or the ones they really want (which may be the same thing)? Americans got Obama the last time around because, on some level, nearly everyone wants socialism in some form and to some degree. And we get endless and pointless wars because we care more about "entitlements" than about Just War Theory. The U.S. doesn't have to be a Wilsonian, meddling, interfering country, except that we keep electing Wilsonian, meddling, intefering leaders. And these days, foreign policy "activism" seems to be inextricably wedded to socialism on the domestic side. There is no theoretical reason why this has to be the case; it just is. We could just as readily believe in socialism for ourselves and laissez-faire for others -- but that would require a degree of tolerance and open-mindedness of which we are apparently incapable. What's good for us _has_ to be good for everyone else -- "or else". This is, after all, how empires are built -- not by being tolerant, but by forcing everyone into the same mold. But, in the long run, it's also how empires are lost -- because sooner or later native pride and core cultural habits will overcome the forces of occupation, as they did in Africa, and we will be thrown back on our own resources, as was Great Britain -- and probably the worse off, overall, for the experience. I have always considered the American Empire not worth the candle -- at least not for the average citizen. For the poor schlump who pays his taxes and dutifully trudges off to the voting booth every couple of years, foreign ventures are all on the minus side; it's only the experienced and high-placed exploiters who realize any tangible gains. So we can take this voting and "democracy" fetish as, basically, an expression of empire-building, and the resistance to it as resistance not so much in principle as to empire, i.e. the new colonialism. Even in the most traditional societies, people have ways of making their wishes known to the powers that be. But the voting scams that we are always anxious to encourage move in, like bad money, and drive out the more authentic, organic means of cultural self-expression, and substitute an aped copy of what we have, and -- heaven knows -- what we have is well on the way to collapsing of its own weight. What country in its right mind would want to emulate American elections? What country would want a ruler who had the powers of the American president? What country would want a Congress that had the utter impotence of the American Congress? If you can find a place that's that foolish, maybe they deserve our system -- but it would be far better to just let them find their own way without our "help".

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