The New Burkeian

Reflections on the Revolution in Conservatism

Monday, October 25, 2004

The Mandate of Liberty

Why should America involve itself in the democratization of the world through state-building? In defining the just and right path for America to democratize the world we must find a legitimizing factor. In my mind that legitimizer is 'liberty'. Rather it is the ability of a people to determine their own path in the world, so long as that does not promote cultural dominance of one country over another.

Some would perceive this advancement of liberty as a promotion of cultural dominance. But they forget the roots of the ideas of democracy and liberty. Americans did not come up with liberty. It was advanced by many great thinkers (including to my amusement some French). Liberty is a natural right among men. We all deserve the ability to pursue happiness. Allowing countries such as Taliban Afghanistan and Baathist Iraq to pursue their own course in the world is not the answer, though. I think we can all understand the dangers there.

Opponents of American policy in the War on Terrorism fail to understand liberty as a natural right. They view our promotion of liberty to be the encroachment of American ideals. Liberty is inherent in all culture, though. Liberty is not an American ideal. It is man's ideal. And as I've stated before it allows all aspects of a specific culture to be heard and examined.

We have a hotly contested election coming up between two very different ideologies in our country. Americans are being given their natural right to choose the path of this country, for at least a generation, in a single election. Afghanis were able to experience this right for the first time. Iraqis will accept this right in a couple of months. I do not understand what is wrong with a populace being able to elect its own leaders. Do liberals oppose liberty?

And herein is the problem. I do not think opponents of the War on Terror believe liberty to be a universal right. Or perhaps they do not perceive the ability of certain cultures to appreciate that right. I find that to be quite racist and egocentric. Certainly the Afghanis and Iraqis can appreciate liberty. And I think our success in these two countries (as well as Japan and Germany after WWII) proves the universal nature of liberty. This is our mandate in the War on Terror.

Well, what if these countries later become hostile to the interests of the US (example Germany)? That is the nature of liberty, though. It allows people to decide their own path. And that is acceptable because America is not the imperial figure liberals would have us be. I might also add that no two democracies have gone to war against each other ever. So we can either sit back and let the world fall apart of its own accord as we did before WWII(can we say Appeasers), or we can use this Mandate of Liberty to promote a right and just world.


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