Friday, July 20, 2007

Jonah Goldberg On Order

I haven’t been commenting on the Iraq debate lately because the discussion has largely devolved into the fixed positions of siblings arguing about who is at fault. I do, however, like this article by Jonah Goldberg writing at National Review Online for pointing out what we should want for Iraq is what we clearly value ourselves.

Order Is in Order: The Arab world doesn’t have a great grasp of what democracy is, but it does have a keen sense of justice and order.

Americans are great at talking about how wonderful democracy is. The right to vote is taught as a sacrament from grade school up. Politicians can talk a mile a minute about how wonderful elections are for much the same reason salesmen at a Ford dealership can talk a blue streak about how great Fords are: It’s their livelihood. Spend your career trolling for votes and you’re apt to be able to explain why votes are the most important thing in the world.

But Americans don’t believe, not really, that voting is the most important thing in the world. For starters, if they believed such nonsense, they’d vote more.

No, Americans like exercising plenty of other rights more than their right to vote. The right to speak your mind, own property, associate with whomever you like, be compensated for the fruits of your labor: these and other rights are plainly more dear to Americans than the right to pull a lever every two or four years. Obviously, Americans would care if anyone proposed taking away their right to vote. But as a matter of common sense, voting is less important to us than those rights and liberties that make our God-given right to pursue happiness possible.

Lest we forget, democracy shorn of these other rights is no less tyrannical than dictatorial rule.

One of my pet peeves is when people equate voting and democracy. Voting is a operational process and government by consent of the governed within a just rule of law is democracy. Voting without a framework of individual rights is the eventual path to rule by power.

The opponents of the Iraq battlefront want to believe an ideological danger can be contained and controlled without transformation of the regional culture. Proponents of our efforts in Iraq believe a transformation can happen if a more just society is allowed to grow. Peace derived from secure free people is better than peace derived by subjugation and localization of dissent. The freedom peace first requires a foundation of order and in Iraq that means completing the task of removing the jihadists and their war materials from society.