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Monday, July 31, 2017

The Washington Post: Opinion- Sheri Berman- "Some Argue That The West Should Limit Democracy To Save Liberalism: Here's Why They're Wrong"

Source: The Washington Post-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

America and to a certain extent Europe, has a long history of subsidizing authoritarian regimes in the Middle East and Africa (specifically) for their own national interests. The thinking being that if they don't subsidize these authoritarians whether they're monarchs, theocrats, or Nationalists and let those regimes collapse with democracy taking over, that the opposition would be worst for Western interests than the current regime. The thinking being that the current regime is the best that they can do as far as the West. And at least the West would be able to work with these authoritarians on issues relating to terrorisms and combating other states where they share mutual enemies.

Well, anyone familiar with the 1979 Iran Hostage Crisis and what led up to that Iranian authoritarian monarchy under the Shah of Iran knows that subsidizing dictators and authoritarians has it's limits. The 1979 takeover of the American embassy in Tehran was partially to the American and British subsidization of an unpopular authoritarian regime in Iran.

Democracy has it's limits and everyone familiar with democracy knows that. Which is why democracy in itself is not a strong form of government, because it would always be held hostage to the popular will of the time and people would have a very hard time governing and making tough decisions for fear of losing their jobs. Which is why I don't believe in majoritarian or social democracy, with no set constitutional rights that can be thrown out simply because one person no longer believes in them or supports one of them, more than the people who do support those constitutional rights.

Which is why I'm instead a Liberal Democrat who of course believes in free and fair democracy to choose our leaders, but that goes along with the rule of law and checks and balances that protects our liberal individual rights and liberty in general. Liberal democracy and social democracy, are not the same thing. Once you put basic constitutional and individual rights at the will of the current majority, is when those rights can be put in jeopardy. Especially when there's a rise of populism from either the Far-Left with Socialists who do don't believe in the rule of law and checks and balances, because it limits their big government agenda. Or Nationalists who don't believe in the rule of law either and oppose individuals rights and the ability for people to protest their politics and policies.

The rise of right-wing authoritarian nationalism whether it's the Donald Trump movement in America , or with Vladimir Putin in Russia and other nationalist government's in Eastern Europe like in Hungary and Poland, doesn't mean that liberal democracy and liberalism in general is failing. Or with the Neo-Communist rule in Venezuela and the liberal democratic opposition there just goes to show you that liberalism and liberal democracy is still strong and people still want it. Especially after watching the illiberal Socialists there destroy the economy in Venezuela. A country that is energy independent by the way.

What America should being doing instead is taking a stand against authoritarianism, whether it comes from the Far-Left or Far-Right and stand with the people in those countries that simply want their freedom, as well as check and balances and the rule of law. Instead of having a strongman and regime with most of the power in the country and be held accountable. With the nationalist Donald Trump Administration in Washington, don't expect America to do that anytime soon. But that is what America and Europe could be doing to expand liberal democracy and liberalism. And not watch leftist and rightist populist Nationalists, try to takeover once democratic Western countries.

Back to the old argument of who America should be backing with the choice being the devil that we know as far as authoritarian regimes that can work with us on national security issues and help us against terrorists and other authoritarian states, or the people on the ground who want the current regime out-of-power and a chance to form a democratic government.

America is supposed to be the beacon on the hill that stands up for individual rights and liberal democratic values. "The city on the shining hill', to paraphrase Ronald Reagan. And I'm not a Neoconservative looking to replace every authoritarian regime that I don't like. And again democracy has limits and you could literally end up replacing one authoritarian regime with another, which is what happened in Iran in 1979.

But once you go down the road of subsidizing authoritarians over the people that have to live under that form of authoritarianism, you put yourself at the mercy of those people there. And then they rise up and perhaps replace the authoritarian regime that you're backing.

Which is why America should be pushing for democracy, but pushing for liberal democracy that comes with rule of law, checks and balances, and individual rights. And backing oppositions and government's that believe in those liberal democratic values as well.
Salvester: 11 Aspects of Liberal Democracy