Self ordered society vs. the State
Posted by aogMonday, 23 June 2003 at 16:13 TrackBack Ping URL
As noted in the previous post, in my opinion it is far more important to get a self ordered society running in Iraq than to end the occupation or even reconstitute the federal government. However, much of the Left seems to think that creating national government is more important. This is not terribly surprising since the progressive project has from the beginning been opposed to civil society. The problem with a self ordered society is precisely that it is self ordered. A civil society based on private associations and local government tends to be very resistant to direction by social elites. The leftist view is that all good things flow only from a strong central government (particularly for those in that government).

The fact that Iraq has suffered for decades from too much central government and that the Kurds, once freed from that government, have done much better seems a lost lesson. I believe that the continued insistence on reconstituting the Iraqi federal government as the first step (rather than as the end point of the reconstruction and occupation) is also abetted by two other memes that infect the transnational progressive mindset.

The first is the tribal view of mankind, where the units of will are tribes, not people. It's hard to justify the imposition of multi-culturalism and "cultural preservation" if people can freely choose how to live rather than having it predetermined by their tribe. So despite the fact that Iraq is a construct of the Great Game that was imposed on the area, it still constitutes a "tribe" that must be preserved even against the wishes of the inhabitants. And to do that, it's necessary to have the tribal leadership (incarnated as the central government) around.

The second is soft bigotry of the tranzis, where the ignorant Iraqis are simply incapable of ruling themselves without the enlightened guidance of their betters. Why, the Iraqis are so incapable that they might well choose to adopt American customs rather than preserving their existing culture in toto.

Finally, I wonder just how much of this is all due to the unglamorous nature of reconstructing a self ordered society. There's not much scope for grand gestures, lavish conferences and dramatic statements. The reality is far more quotidian demands of the bourgesios. It is the same as the difference between an affair and a marriage and we know the tranzis view of those.

Tracked from Low Earth Orbit: What's in it for me? on 23 April 2004 at 08:13

Belmont Club has an analysis of what many of we supporters of our current actions in the Middle East worry...