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"As to U.S., you obviously read your Marcuse or perhaps, Manufacturing of Consent." - Terry

No I haven't.  But to the outsider a lot of US political debate does seem remarkably stupid - as you no doubt consider much of the debate here.

My reply to your comment on Cuba got lost in transit and I can't be bothered to repeat.  Suffice to say I regard it as a one party democracy which is not quite the same thing as a dictatorship, but not a true democracy either.  

Chavez, on the other hand, has achieved huge democratic majorities in Venezuela and has accepted his one defeat - in the referendum on Constitutional changes.  The US has a habit of labeling democratic those dictatorships which support its policies and labeling dictatorships those democracies which vote for policies not in line with US interests.  

Seeing the US has a history of undermining and overthrowing democracies abroad, as well as having very low participation rates in its own elections, you should hardly be surprised that no one is willing to take lectures on Democracy from America.


Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Dec 16th, 2007 at 02:56:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Europe would not be democratic if it wasnt mainly for the United States.  And after what Europe did last century, Europeans need not lecture Americans on and peace, freedom and democracy.

And whether you like it or not, it was mostly the US that finally brought peace to Europe. Which side was Ireland on, per chance? Yes, I know they were officially neutral. But who did they help?

You are indeed right. American foreign policy has been on the wrong side of dictatorships too often. Especially, those who were anti communist during the cold war. Just as France built Saddam a nice nuclear reactor and how other european countries armed African dictators and permitted the slaughter in Kosovo.  No one can claim the holier than thou mantle.

You should read Marcuse and Manufacturing of Consent since it is in line with your philosophy. Although, you should try some opposing views too.  I recommend F. Hayek's Road to Serfdom.

Your "one party democracy" is a unique concept.  That would have made the old Soviet Union a democracy as well.  China might be a democracy too.  Democracy is not just an election.  It requires the consent of the governed, freedom of expression, the right to private property.  All of the things your Cuba is specifically bans.  

Chavez was democratically elected. As was Hitler.  However, Chavez "reforms" are designed to bring him permanent rule and end democracy.  Getting rid of media that doesnt agree with him. Making it a crime to criticize his government.  Arresting opposition members and taking private property.  This sounds like a democracy heading the wrong way.  No wonder there are food shortages now caused by his socialistic policies.

I will ask this one question again, are you a socialist Frank?  There is no shame in that in Europe.

P.S. Your million francs are in the mail.


Terry

by Terry (Terry@pollackzuckerman.com) on Mon Dec 17th, 2007 at 01:58:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
OMG

What's going on here?

Europe would not be democratic if it wasnt mainly for the United States.  And after what Europe did last century, Europeans need not lecture Americans on and peace, freedom and democracy.

Let's not be so quick to forget where the Enlightenment ideals on which our democracy was founded originated.  Hint.  It was Europe.

And whether you like it or not, it was mostly the US that finally brought peace to Europe.

I would argue that the US was in fact instrumental, but hardly alone in that.  I think Great Britain and the Soviet Union might have lent us a hand in saving the world.  

Democracy is not just an election.  It requires the consent of the governed, freedom of expression, the right to private property.

I find that political ideologies are like religion.  Not easily defined.  Democracy is about more than elections.  Freedom of Speech is the holy grail of American democracy.  But private property?  I think that's more about Capitalism than Democracy.  

Lastly, I just want to pipe up, and say, I think it's a little unhelpful for Americans to show up at a European website and begin lecturing people.  Not because we don't have good points to make, and not because the Europeans are right about everything.  But because it just reinforces stereotypes about Americans being arrogant.  

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Mon Dec 17th, 2007 at 02:22:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"I would argue that the US was in fact instrumental, but hardly alone in that.  I think Great Britain and the Soviet Union might have lent us a hand in saving the world."

I would wholeheartedly agree with England. The Soviet Union enslaved Eastern Europe with totalitarian governments including Poland, which was ironically over what the war started over. So, I wouldnt rush to thank them for a "free" europe. That is, unless you're like Frank and believe in "one party democracy".

Private property is a cornerstone of democracy. If I can take everything you earn, can you be free?

Of course, our democracy comes from the european thinkers. Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau were instrumental.  It is a shame that their philosophies could not have materialized in Europe because they were mostly totalitarian governments until the 20th century.

And I havent lectured anyone. I have given my opinion. I was discussing how I saw EU identity from an American viewpoint.  Some have chosen to stray a bit off topic into what democracy is and I have answered.  If you disagree, then challenge it. I dont worry about what Europeans think and how they percieve the US.  Especially, since three of my uncles risked their lives liberating it.

Terry

by Terry (Terry@pollackzuckerman.com) on Mon Dec 17th, 2007 at 05:41:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You have to admit that the Soviet union played a major part in defeaing Nazism, That's not to say that post 1945 They were an unalloyed good for Europe, but without the Red army, the liberation of Western europe would have been an entire order of difficulty harder.

Private property is not a cornerstone of democracy,  and the outcome of democracy is not necessarily freedom, if you think that it is then you have misunderstood the nature of democracy.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Dec 17th, 2007 at 08:29:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course, the Soviet Union played a large part in the defeat of the Nazis. Just let's not forget what they did. They signed an armistice with Hitler. Invaded the eastern half of Poland after Germany came in.  Then they were double crossed and attacked by Hitler.  And, by war's end, they had enslaved half of Europe including ALL of Poland. So, let's not pretend the Soviet Union was some white knight.

Again, property rights is the cornerstone of democracy.  Law is designed to protect life, liberty and PROPERTY.  If you do not have the right to keep what you earn, than you are not free. Simply saying it's not, does not counter my argument.

Terry

by Terry (Terry@pollackzuckerman.com) on Tue Dec 18th, 2007 at 09:12:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thought it was Life, Liberty and the persuit of happiness? Law may be designed to protect what you are saying but freedom, law, property and democracy are all different things, any of which can exist without the others.

Im not pretending that the Soviet Union was the greatest thing since sliced bread, but then again the claim that half of Europe was enslaved by the wars end is probably taking it a bit far and does sound like some 1950's Mcarthyite propaganda.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Dec 18th, 2007 at 11:08:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good grief, is there no part of the US-uber-alles orthodoxy you don't parrot?

Chavez was democratically elected.

Which puts him ahead of the current US regime, eh?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Dec 17th, 2007 at 03:09:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
More people voted for Bush than Kerry in 2004 last time I looked.

Terry
by Terry (Terry@pollackzuckerman.com) on Mon Dec 17th, 2007 at 07:10:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
how about over Gore in 2000?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Dec 17th, 2007 at 07:39:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Now, you want to switch to 2000.  George Bush got more electoral votes. That's all that matters in US elections.  I would add that Gore was the incumbent with a great economy.  He should not have lost.

I didnt vote for either.

Terry

by Terry (Terry@pollackzuckerman.com) on Tue Dec 18th, 2007 at 09:14:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have already argued that the period -1944- early 50's (say) was the high point of US history.  Sadly it has been largely ruled by political pygmies since who have corporate culture and the military industrial cmplex to dominate the polity since.

Ireland was formally neutral and quietly supportive of the allied cause during WW2 for reasons not relevant to this thread.

Sometimes reality is a little more nuanced that the Communist/Capitalist, Democracy/Dictatorship, Freedom/Bondage dualities so beloved of US ideological discourse.  

One of my arguments which I may expand on in a diary sometime is that the US appears to have a need to exacerbate tensions abroad in order to provide an easily definable or stereotypifiable Enemy which it can then attack.  The resulting war is then functional for the US both in terms of the immediate spoils of war and the degree to which it can unify and stabilise an otherwise quite precarious national unity within the US.  

Even when the resulting war is a disaster - as in Iraq - it still has the internal "beneficial" effect in the US for the dominant elite of wrongfooting all opposition and distracting attention from many other contentious and destabilise divisions within the US.

Have you been to Venezuela?  The reports I get speak of a very high degree of popular involvement in politics - as evidenced by recent referendum - a great deal of public criticism of the Government, and a good deal of social progress - probably more so than the US.

This is going to really confuse you Terry, but I am not a "socialist" or anything else which can be easily defined by any such label.  Let's try "thinking human being" as a first order approximation...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Dec 18th, 2007 at 10:03:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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