Fighting the better with the perfect
Posted by aogThursday, 18 November 2004 at 22:37 TrackBack Ping URL

Harry’s Place has another whine about President Bush’s ” hypocrisy about promoting democractic change”. The basis is the standard “better to curse the darkness than light a single candle” argument, i.e. if Bush doesn’t push democracy everywhere then it’s pointless, fake or cynical. It couldn’t possibly be making the best of limited means. Clearly the intent isn’t to make a fair analysis of whether Bush is overall contributing advancing civilization, but a means of raising the bar so that no matter what Bush does, he’s doing wrong.

for all of Bush’s soaring rhetoric, he sees democracy mainly as a club to wield over unfriendly or uncooperative regimes. It’s not that the people living under these regimes don’t deserve demoracy — of course they do. But are those whose rulers currently please us any less deserving?

This just illustrates the search for failure. Isn’t it better to use democracy as a club on unfriendly or uncooperative regimes than none at all? And what does the fact that others are as deserving of democracy as others? Should I stop donating to charities because I can’t donate to every one that is deserving? Or should I help the ones I can, selecting them on the basis of personal preference or alignment with my beliefs?

If objectors like this were truly concerned about the spread of liberal democracy, first off they’d fight the European Union. But beyond that, perhaps they should encourage the rhetoric so any succeeding USA President would find it much harder to not continue the effort. Or, they can just carp and moan to demonstrate that no matter what is done, it won’t be enough.