Thursday, March 01, 2012

Good news-Bad news?

In something of an ironic twist, Syrians are giving their lives in battling for liberty, against tyrannical government. Most of the world is aligning itself with the Syrian rebels. Assad's sole supporters now seem to be Russia, China, and Cuba. The values being fought for are fundamentally those that America was built on, and regardless of how Syria's nightmare turns out, these values seem to be ascendant -- the oft-suggested alternative of authoritarian "capitalism," as in the China model -- is not... not even in China.

The ironic twist is that a sizable share of the American electorate seems to be in the grip of an opposing set of values -- those of authoritarianism. Consider that a fair number of Republican voters appear to be delighted with Rick Santorum, the candidate who explicitly denies that individuals should be free to make their own decisions. The "God given rights" he prates about are, to him, the "right" to obey God's commands, nothing more, and it is the job of the state to be sure that we do. Of course, since God is not saying what this entails, it's the job of Rick and his fellow annointed ones to decide for us. In other words, in a Santorum regime, we'd all have the "right" to obey the moral law Santorum lays out for us.

It's understandable that these kinds of crazy ideas still have currency in an isolated, undeveloped, wartorn, utterly backward place like Afghanistan. It's much harder to fathom how they could have any support at all in the country that was born as the home of individual liberty, the country based on unalienable rights that supersede any and all government power or authority.

It's clear that there's no future at all in the tyranny and oppression promoted by madmen like Santorum and the Taliban. These ideologies cannot sustain a civilization, and in the end, freedom is much more appealing to most people than coerced "morality." If America were to elect a Rick Santorum as President, we'd be placing ourselves on the wrong side of history. Of course, Santorum has no chance of winning the GOP nomination, much less the Presidency. But it's not so clear that this is because Americans are deeply committed to liberty, and unfortunately his dangerous rantings are pushing the Republicans closer towards embracing religious tyranny. And as Santorumitis and other strange delusions grip the core of the Republican electorate, the majority of Americans, who still seem to be relatively sane, will have no alternative but the Democrats, who at least pay nominal respect to freedom, to reason, to science, but who -- like Santorum and his ilk -- will also be only too happy to expand the size and scope of the state, given the chance.

It's very possible that American values could be on the ascendancy, while they are being permanently discarded at home.

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