Taking the slow road instead of going off a cliff
Posted by aogTuesday, 01 March 2005 at 20:44 TrackBack Ping URL

Having had to accept the moderately successful elections in Iraq, the fellow travelers of the Caliphascist are now spinning the line about “what if we [the USA] don’t like the elected government of Iraq”?

Well, what if we don’t? Many of us don’t like the elected governments of France or Germany, but somehow we manage to get by without threats of war, civilian massacres, and invading neighboring countries. Most of the commentors are missing the point I raised in New Model Empire, that while desirable it is hardly critical to the success of American foreign policy and security concerns to have literally friendly governments elected. It is, rather, the very existence of a self-ordered nation that provides the contraints on behaviour that benefit the security interests of the USA.

What this brings to mind is also the typical immediate gratification that seems so abundant in the Modern American Left these days (so far from the days of the five year plans, eh?). The problem with self-ordered societies from the point of view of the utopians is that it is not only messy but slow. Of course, the Founding Fathers considered this a feature, not a bug, because it is most frequently the momentary passions of the mob that lead to trouble. Moreover, that kind of society and government is a lot of work. How much easier to simply decree the desired end without the muck of intermediate means!1

As an example of this are some legitimate concerns about the imposition of more legal restrictions women in Iraq that were not present under the Ba’ath regime. While I would find the success of this effor very disappointing, there are several problems with this complain.

  • The success of this effort is far from obvious. For all we know, it’s just Old Media propaganda.
  • It’s not clear that it’s worth the cost of a regime like the Ba’ath to overcome it. It’s another example of wanting the end without the hard work of the means, which is truly changing the opinions of society.
  • If a more sexual equal society were possible by fiat (which is what complaints of this nature require as the solution) then why would there be a problem now after all those decades of Ba’athist rule? Why would a far more weakly imposed American set of laws be different? What level of violence would Mr. Spencer be willing to commit to prevent this? One notes from the article that the USA already tried to prevent it by the mandate of ⅓ women in the National Assembly. If the restrictions come to pass, what more could be done?
  • Finally, the Ba’ath regime was not well known for its respect of its own laws. Regardless of what was on the books, to what extent were women really equal?

I have little doubt that in the long run, true Shari’a will be impossible to maintain, for much the same reason that Jim Crow was. Unfortunately, there aren’t any shortcuts that work out better than the slow hard road.


1 Quite like the “self-esteem” movement. Better to hand out self-esteem than to try and get the kids and teachers to go through the hard work of earning it.