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President Leonid Kuchma and other members of the outgoing Ukrainian elite, including the heads of the rebellious eastern regions, may be prosecuted by the new government, the president-elect, Viktor Yushchenko, told the Guardian.
“The president has to answer under the law like any other citizen,” he said yesterday, with reference to Mr Kuchma, in his first interview with the western media since he won the Boxing Day’s runoff.
“Any citizen, any businessman, any politician whose actions do not correspond to national law must be punished, whether… they are the president’s son-in-law or his char lady in his office.”
The son-in-law he meant is Viktor Pinchuk, who has been accused by his critics of using his relationship to Mr Kuchma to buy state assets cheaply.
He added: “The respect for the law is one of the main methods of creating respect for human rights. Those who do not observe national law will never find understanding from this government.”
He said he could not exclude the possibility of criminal charges against local leaders in the industrial east.
Voters there backed the prime minister, Viktor Yanukovich, in the election and their leaders threatened to seek greater autonomy during the 16-day crisis that followed Mr Yanukovich’s vistory in the disallowed runoff.
But he added: “This will not happen in the context of political persecution.” ~The Guardian
Now Mr. Yushchenko has discovered the value of the rule of law! It only took a month of illegal mob activity to get him into power, but it’s good to know that President Yushchenko will be enforcing the laws for which he had such contempt as a candidate. In spite of his hackneyed claims that he would seek to ‘heal the wounds’ of the election controversy, his first public pronouncement on a substantive internal matter is to declare a witch hunt against his enemies–this is not political persecution, you understand. No, this will be Yushchenko’s definition of justice.
His other pronouncements detailed in the article indicate that he will be putting his people in all the key posts in the east to further centralise the government and he will have a true laissez-faire approach towards all his oligarchic chums.
But today, Putin is said to be fuming in the Kremlin at the defeat of Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovych, whom Putin even twice visited Ukraine to campaign for, at the hands of fiercely pro-Western Viktor Yushchenko.
Yushchenko and his top advisers have made quite clear they are determined to rush Ukraine into the 25-nation European Union — and even into the U.S.-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization — as quickly as possible. That would be the biggest blow to Russia’s power and clout in Eurasia and in the areas covered by the old Soviet Union since the collapse of the Soviet system 13 years ago.
Also, the pattern of foreign policy appointments in Bush’s second term team involved a virtual purge of the remaining “old guard” figures from the era of his father, the first President Bush, who were architects of cooperation and detente with the Soviet Union and Russia. Moscow policymakers now grimly anticipate an era of increased pressure on Russia from Washington and many European capitals.
Therefore, Perminov’s announcement should not be seen simply as a reflex of financial pressures on Russia’s space program. It is, rather, a red light warning that the long era of easygoing U.S.-Russian cooperation in space is rapidly coming to an end. And that could be the harbinger of far worse problems to come. ~Martin Sieff, UPI
In light of plummeting U.S.-Russian relations in the last two months, one has to wonder what use it has been to have a National Security Advisor, Condoleeza Rice, who was supposed to be such an expert Russia hand from her specialised studies and her time in the first Bush administration. If Russian relations do as well when she is Secretary of State, things could get very ugly indeed. Along with invading Iraq, nothing else seems to declare more firmly that Mr. Bush intends to undo or repudiate his father’s legacy than the bizarre desire to destabilise and anatagonise Russia.
Nothing in European affairs should fill the American people with greater dread than the idea of bringing the Ukraine into NATO. As their presidential election showed, this is a country with inordinately great ties to Russia in its history, culture, religion and politics. A future Russian annexationist or unification movement is not inconceivable as a natural political development, and it is definitely unwise to endanger Russia’s access to the Black Sea by bringing the entire northern coast and the main ex-Soviet ports into the alliance. Combined with tacit encouragement of the Chechens, open backing of Saakashvili and the expansion of NATO into the Baltics it would not be hard for a Russian general or president to see a concerted effort to pressure Russia and control her access to the sea and vital oil pipelines.
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“We” authorize the Congress that “we” elect to take any portion of “our” income it wants, as long as the percentage is set in a democratic (i.e., majority-vote) fashion. Once that portion or percentage is democratically set, the Internal Revenue Service is authorized to use force to collect the assigned take from everyone. The IRS then delivers the take to other government agencies, which then distribute the take to the poor and needy of the world. Voila! “We” are caring, compassionate, and good … well, as long as “our” government officials and agencies are caring, compassionate, and good. If they are “stingy,” then “we” are stingy.
That’s in fact the underlying collectivized “moral” basis for the entire welfare-warfare system that “we” brought into existence in the 20th century. That’s why “we” are good in Iraq –because the IRS delivered a portion of the take to the Pentagon, which then used the money to invade Iraq to bring “democracy and liberation” to the Iraqi people, all on the orders of the president, who is of course democratically elected by “us.” Voila! Through the collective, joint efforts of the IRS and the Pentagon (well, and the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve also) and the president, “we” are good people for what “we” are doing in Iraq. ~Jacob Hornberger, Lew Rockwell.com
Mr. Hornberger has hit upon the real reason why the charges of American “stinginess” in the wake of the devastating tsunami in south Asia are misguided. Few would deny that Christians, motivated by charity, should want to assist people in such dire and extraordinary need, but it is no way obvious that anyone should feel a sense of fulfilling a compulsory justice imposed by a modern, liberal theory of ethics. But that is the not the source of these criticisms–they derive from the collectivist and globalist assumptions that we are One World, where there is such a thing as an “international community,” and those with greater means are obligated by a stern social justice to provide assistance to other members of that “community.” Rather than appealing to charity, America specifically and the West more generally are accused in a way that suggests they are somehow failing to meet moral requirements.
As Dr. Thomas Fleming observed astutely in his recently-published work, The Morality of Everyday Life: “The claims of international philanthropy are, therefore, quite distinct from charity, which presupposes a volutary contribution and not a politically imposed transfer of wealth.” (p.72) That the expected relief for tsunami victims is an extraordinary occasion, and not a permanent expected requirement, does not change the fact that the globalists likely making such charges against the American government are motivated by this same conviction that wealthier nations should be compelled to “contribute” to the rest of the world. Again Dr. Fleming explains: “In the secularized vision of the human brotherhood, as it is represented by international agencies for relief and development, all the world’s resources should be shared by all the world’s peoples in a collaboration for the common good.” (p.74) He goes on to say that just as it has been a mistake to entrust activities properly reserved to the community or family to the national government, and the move from national to international is a natural consequence of the move towards collectivist solutions. This is what Mr. Hornberger has correctly identified as the collectivist impulse of the welfare-warfare state and the liberal democratic proclivity to speak in collective terms as an undifferentiated “we”.
When I was a student in college, my Russian history professor, James Simms, argued that Russian history could be generally understood according to a three-step political process that formed a theme that recurred throughout modern Russian history. There are undoubtedly a number of other ways to view Russian history, and there are disadvantages to interpreting a country’s history in terms of its foreign relations, but I remembered this theme as I was reflecting on the year’s events in and around Russia. The theme was very straightforward and likely applicable to a number of other countries: Russia would be confronted with an international challenge, political mobilisation would follow and this would lead to a series of political changes.
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As European leaders hailed the apparent victory of Ukraine opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko as a triumph for democracy worldwide, The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Russia might refuse to recognize Mr. Yushchenko as the new president of his country. A statement issued by Moscow Wednesday said that electoral observers from the West were “not objective” when they said the election process was free of tampering. ~The Christian Science Monitor
Among the agencies and organizations used to assist pro-West and pro-NATO parties with men, money and training are the U.S. Agency for International Development, the National Endowment for Democracy and its subsidiaries – the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute – Freedom House, and George Soros’ assorted charities.
Who chairs IRI? John McCain. Who chairs NDI? Ex-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Who chairs Freedom House? Ex-CIA Director Woolsey. Did the White House give these groups a green light to interfere in and tip the Ukrainian elections to Yushchenko?
Writing in The Washington Post, Hoover Institution scholar Michael McFaul concedes, “American agents of influence … meddle(d) in the internal affairs of Ukraine,” and adds that we have a moral right to do so.
What is the truth? Has Bush surrendered control of Russia policy to freelancers who detest Putin and want to isolate his government, or is the White House giving itself plausible deniability, while letting freelancers do the work done in Cold War days by the CIA?
If Putin is enraged, can we blame him? How we would react if the Chinese or French meddled in our elections, and then the EU and Putin denounced the 2000 Florida recount and 2004 Ohio returns as fraudulent?
Winning Russia’s friendship was among the great achievements of Ronald Reagan and great dividends of our victory in the Cold War. We ought not allow unelected, foreign-policy freelancers – or rogue agencies, or non-governmental organizations – to put that vital relationship at risk. ~Pat Buchanan
From the first, Mr. Buchanan has taken a strong stand on this outrageous and counterproductive U.S. interference in the Ukrainian presidential election. Thank goodness there are prominent voices such as his speaking out against this senseless and ultimately very dangerous policy towards Russia and the old Soviet republics. Mr. Buchanan’s advice on Russia policy is one of sober realism aimed at organising the greatest number of allied and sympathetic countries for American anti-terrorist and other foreign policy efforts.
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Over at National Review Online, Michael Ledeen has attacked ex-NRO staffer Russ Douthat for writing that the Iranians will not become “our people” merely by embracing democracy. To Ledeen, this is “distinctly un-American, a snooty rejection of our national mission, which, as Tocqueville observed more than a century and a half ago, is to support freedom and democracy.” ~Tom Piatak, Cultural Revolutions Online
A cursory review of Democracy in America shows that M. de Tocqueville very properly understood liberty and democracy as being opposed, and that democracy threatened the former. This was on account of a democratic people’s preference for simple, general ideas and democracy’s removal of intermediary, secondary powers between the center and the populace.
As M. de Tocqueville wrote: “As the condition of men becomes more equal among a people, individuals seem of less importance, and society of greater dimensions; or rather, every citizen, being assimilated to all the rest, is lost in the crowd, and nothing stands conspicuous but the great and imposing image of the people at large. This naturally gives the men of democratic periods a lofty opinion of the privileges of society, and a very humble notion of the rights of individuals; they are ready to admit that the interests of the former are everything, and those of the later nothing.” (IV.ii)
He goes on to note that the “unity, the ubiquity, the omnipotence of the supreme power, and uniformity of its rules, constitute the principal characteristics of all the political systems which have been put forward in our age.” It is this democratic totalitarianism that subsequently afflicted all forms of government and introduced something new and dangerous into the old forms as well.
In his concluding chapter, M. de Tocqueville paints a bleak picture of democratic despotism, and would have no patience for the contemporary prophets of what Mr. Ledeen calls “democratic revolution,” which seems generally to mean the establishment of pro-hegemony, highly centralised oligarchic regimes based on the deluded, willing complicity of mobs. As Tocqueville said, “It is in vain to summon a people, which has been rendered so dependent on a central power, to choose from time to time the representatives of that power; this rare and brief exercise of their free choice, however important it may be, will not prevent them from gradually losing the faculties of thinking, feeling, and acting for themselves, and thus gradually falling below the level of humanity.” (IV.vi) As democracy fosters centralisation, centralisation so meddles in the customary and ordinary life of people as to wear them down into peons whose validation of the “free” system is a travesty of a liberal politics. Clearly, M. de Tocqueville, as the right-liberal that he was, saw in democracy a threat to freedom and an inevitable despotism of its own kind–he would never have urged any nation, had he the temerity to dictate to another nation its role in the world, to advance the mutually opposed political ideas of liberty and democracy.
Perhaps before sticking his awful slogans in the mouths of genuine intellectuals, Mr. Ledeen would do them the favour of at least being familiar with the ideas of the men he travesties. (And, yes, I am aware that Mr. Ledeen has written on M. de Tocqueville and purports to know something about him.) It is inconceivable how Mr. Ledeen could invoke in his support someone who once wrote, “Despotism therefore appears to me peculiarly to be dreaded in democratic ages.” (IV.vii) Note that it is not the abuse of democracy to which he refers, but to its natural results. Certainly, Mr. Ledeen’s public pronouncements would never leave one with the impression that he imagined there to be such a thing as a natural despotism arising from democracy.
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Yushchenko seems to have won, big big bigtime, in the Ukraine. Big turnout–around 78%–and big margin, about 15 points. It’s a dramatic and important moment, and the winning forces of the “orange revolution” are right to talk about democratic revolution. Here is yet another case where the forces of repression seemed to have all the advantages, including the reconstituted KGB and the full, cynical, support of a nasty Russian tyrant. Yet freedom won.
For those of us who have long preached the power of democratic revolution, it’s a happy day, and I hope that our leaders draw the appropriate lessons:
–The mild support we gave to the democratic forces in the Ukraine proved far more powerful than most of the experts expected. The revolutionaries required a bit of guidance in the methods of non-violent resistance, a bit of communications gear, and many words of encouragement. They did the rest. The same can and should be done elsewhere in the world (Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, China, North Korea…)~ Michael Ledeen, Dec. 26, 2004
What Mr. Ledeen is alluding to is the U.S. government funding of the Ukrainian group Pora, the delightful group whose symbol is the jackboot crushing the beetle, along with funding other Yushchenko supporters. That the hegemonists and the dutiful major media kept mum about this overt interference in the elections of another country during the last month is no surprise–now, of course, they want to claim credit for having backed the meddling they so strenuously denied having any part in.
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In reality, after an initial bout of heavy fighting (summer-fall 1992), from 1993 to mid-1995 there was a period of relative calm on most fronts in Bosnia, interrupted by brief outbursts in isolated localities (Gorazde, Bihac). Stories of mass murder and grand-scale atrocities, such as “Srebrenica,” have never been independently substantiated. On the basis of different sources (ICRC, British military intelligence etc), my conclusion back in 1996 was that “the war in Bosnia is unlikely to have resulted in more than 70,000 deaths. Including Croatia/Krajina, the Yugoslav wars of 1991-95 have killed up to, but not more than, 100,000 people.”
Over the past nine years I’ve had no reason to make any radical alteration to this overall assessment. Even if Mr. Tokaca’s current figure of 80,000 “verified” names of individual victims is accurate, after almost a decade I stand corrected by 14 percent. President Clinton et al were wrong by more than 300 percent. If the lie of the “Bosnian genocide” is eventually unmasked in the coming year or two, by the same token we can expect the lie of the “Kosovo genocide” to follow suit not too long thereafter (and if you need a reminder of what a whopper that was, you can find it here). The truth will out eventually, even if the political consequences of the lie—such as dozens of destroyed Christian shrines, and hundreds of thousands of Christians expelled or murdered by Muslims—are irreversible. The truth exists; it is the lie that needs inventing.~ Srdja Trifkovic
Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych refused to accept defeat in the country’s presidential election and vowed Monday to ask the Supreme Court to overturn the result, claiming that millions of his supporters were disenfranchised and that there was systematic fraud.
The Central Elections Commission cannot declare Yushchenko the official winner until all legal challenges are heard by the country’s Supreme Court. That process could take several more weeks. Yanukovych has seven days to file a challenge.
The prime minister said 4.8 million potential voters were not able to cast their ballots because of new electoral laws that restricted voting by the disabled and the use of absentee ballots by people unable to make it to the polls.
Those measures, adopted by parliament before Sunday’s runoff, were designed to limit fraud, but Yanukovych said the new regulations violated the constitution and became an insurmountable barrier for the disabled. He claimed eight sick people died after arriving at polling stations. ~The Washington Post
The total number of votes for the Nov. 21 vote was approximately 30.5 million, and the number of votes for the Dec. 26 vote was approximately 29 million. Perhaps a million and a half voters simply decided, in spite of the tremendous controversy and significance of this election debacle, to stay home or were disgusted with the entire political process. Some might accept at face value the claims of earlier vote-rigging (and thus the discrepancy is explained by Dec. 26 representing the ‘real’ vote), but everything about this election simply reeks of a fix in favour of Yushchenko. This discrepancy between the total figures is significant, especially when Yushchenko’s numbers rose by roughly one million and Yanukovych’s numbers dropped by roughly three million. Such large swings of voting preferences in any country, especially one polarised by such heated controversy, are not at all normal.
There was, of course, nothing free or fair about an election held hostage to a media frenzy, a mob in Kiev and the pressure of foreign governments: if the same events took place in Baghdad next month, the world would rightly mock it as a sham. If there has been no vote tampering in the traditional sense, there has certainly been vote tampering and intimidation through the onslaught of media campaigns and mob tactics in favour of Mr. Yushchenko.
The disenfranchisement of voters may not be as severe as Mr. Yanukovych claims, but the discrepancy in the total tallies does demand further inquiry. The sad thing in all of this is that all major media have so tainted themselves with overt bias in favour of one candidate that their reports are no longer very credible.
Opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko, apparent winner of Ukraine’s rerun of a rigged presidential election, on Tuesday called on his supporters to blockade the country’s government building to prevent defiant Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych from holding planned meetings there on Wednesday.
“I want to say there should be no government meeting…. Dear friends, I ask you to strengthen a blockade of the government building tomorrow from early in the morning,” Yushchenko told thousands of his supporters in the capital Kiev’s Independence Square. ~MSNBC
What is less understood is that all of the great empires in history have been characterized by a decline of reason and an increase in super-naturalist faith, combined with a belief in the empire with the emperor holding God’s “mandate” on earth.
There are only three ultimate sources upon which derivative values such as “equality” can be based: supernatural law, natural law and statist, positive law. Empires tend to combine all of the three so that the emperor’s legitimacy flows from God, nature, and his position as head of State. The intertwining of religion and nationalism in the State is indeed a very powerful one.
Today’s unflinching, fundamentalist Christian support for the war in Iraq and U.S. global interventionism (regardless of the facts) was foretold earlier by anti-rational evangelical attempts to control textbooks, deny evolutionary principles, and block scientific research—sure early signs of the rise of a new “Age of Empire.” The most famous book-burning incidentally was not pro-war Lynne Cheney’s recent effort, or even Adolf Hitler’s in 1933, but rather that of the great Ch’in Emperor, Shih Huang-ti (a central figure in the recent film, Hero) of imperial China in 221 B.C.
In Rome, before it was co-opted by the State, early Christianity was in many ways a tax revolt against the Roman Empire’s increasing taxation burdens, ineptitude, and brutality. But instead of fighting taxes directly, which would have been quite fatal, the Christians (in keeping with Jesus’ teachings of the Golden Rule and peace) sought to evade the Roman taxes by steering clear of the State and taking care of their own and others. For example, by 150 A.D. in the City of Rome, Christians, and not the State, were taking care of 1,500 widows and orphans, and if you were captured or kidnapped by barbarians (much as in Iraq today) your only hope of ransom was if you were a Christian.
However, by the 4th century the growing strength of many diverse Christian groups (aided by their assimilation of older religious ideas from the East) and the decline of the Roman Empire had made it clear to the Roman State under Constantine that its survival would require formally merging with and centralizing Christianity. (Charles Freeman’s recent book, The Closing of the Western Mind: The Rise of Faith and the Fall of Reason details the way in which this took place.)~ William Marina
Prof. Marina’s comments are remarkable, not because they are unusual but because they are just the sort of commonplace musings about the role of religion in history and politics that have characterised so much historical analysis. It is unclear from his article whether he believes that an increase of faith, supposedly in opposition to reason, aids in the development of empires or in their dissolution: he cites at once the Christianisation of Rome in political decline and the rise of American imperialism in tandem with fundamentalist Christian activism, and then again ties fundamentalism to the decline of the American empire.
I would also add that the secularist and liberal media swallowed Mr. Bush’s absurd lies about Iraq as readily and credulously as the average evangelical Bush voter, and indeed perhaps more readily, as Mr. Bush is far more a part of the world of those elites than he is of the world of the evangelicals who support him. The deracinated elites of the major newspapers and foreign policy institutes, hardly the bedrock of evangelical America, were the ones who believed in the ‘necessity’ of the Iraq war, just as they believe in the ‘necessity’ of American hegemony in the world.
Middle American evangelicals are acting out of the conviction, false though it may be, that supporting the Iraq war is the decent, patriotic thing to do. They are far more skeptical about grandiose theories of geopolitical leadership or regional transformation, and would be some of the first to repudiate an American empire if they were able to perceive it as such. If Mr. Bush’s supporters doggedly support him and ignore all evidence to the contrary, as indeed they do, the same might be said of any partisans of an incumbent president. The hysteria of a mob regarding its demagogue, especially in time of war, is not to be underestimated–are we to attribute this to the religion of the mob, or to the nature of mass politics and its inherent irrationality? That the demagogue uses religion to whip up the mob, and that his enemies cite the mob’s religion as something dangerous and potentially vicious, only strengthens the identity of the mob with the demagogue. The evangelical embrace of an imperialism that they would never call imperialism is highly accidental–these are the same people, by and large, who fear the idea of a New World Order, revolted in 1992 against the president who announced such an order and have become reconciled to its proponents only through the shell-game played on them by the ‘faithful’ George W. Bush.
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This past week, Putin took a gigantic step in the opposite direction to the one Cohen and O’Driscoll advocated for Iraq before the 2003 war. He presided over a colossal legal shell game whereby three quarters of the shares of Yuganskneftegaz, also known as Yugansk, the core production unit of the Yukos oil corporation, was sold to a hitherto unheard of holding company called Baikal Finans Group for the bargain basement price of $9.35 billion. And Baikal Finans Group then in its turn sold its new holding to the state-backed Rosneft oil company for an undisclosed sum. Putin had already approved the coming merger of Rosneft with Gazprom, the largest natural gas producing company in the world, to create a colossal state-controlled energy monolith.
The failure of oil industry privatization to even begin to get off the ground in Iraq coupled with the colossal reversal of the energy industry privatizations in Russia following the collapse of communism only 13 years ago together mean that an enormous reversal of global economic-political trends of the greatest significance has already taken place. The global oil industry is not going to be dominated in the coming decades by privately-owned international corporations largely based in and influenced by the United States, as Perle, the Heritage analysts, and Murdoch all assumed a couple of years ago. Instead, the old nationalized, left-wing model pioneered by President Lazaro Cardenas of Mexico in the 1930s and globally triumphant in the era of soaring oil prices and embargoes in the 1970s has become the dominant model again.
But like it or not, the old left-nationalization model is back. The failure of the Bush administration to create the stable, peaceful and secure conditions for privatization that it expected in Iraq opened the way for it, and Putin this week completed the job. Far from spitting in the face of history, the president of Russia is now surfing its wave. Welcome back to the 1970s, 21st century style.~ Martin Sieff, UPI
Russia’s current strength in the oil market ought to instruct Washington that antagonism with such an important oil exporter, especially in a period of high prices, is unwise in the extreme. The uncertainty and instability created by the invasion of Iraq, combined with open anti-Russian policies in eastern Europe and the Caucasus, all of which are tied to control of the production and shipment of oil, have brought us into a collision with the inconvenient fact that several of the major oil-exporting nations have become progressively more alienated from the United States under Mr. Bush on account of his reckless policies.
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Ukraine’s opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko basked in his unassailable lead today as prime minister Viktor Yanukovych refused to admit defeat, with just tens of thousands of ballots left to be counted in the bitterly-fought presidential election.
“I will never recognise such a defeat, because the constitution and human rights were violated in our country,” Yanukovych said last night.
Official results from Sunday’s vote, with ballots counted from 99.89% of precincts, gave Yushchenko 52.01% compared with Yanukovych’s 44.18%. Turnout was 77.2%. ~The Scotsman
The official results, if at all accurate, are significantly closer than the oft-cited exit polls that showed anywhere from an 11 to 20-point margin of victory for Yushchenko. The roughly 5% swing from the first run-off is curious, but if correct it represents the impact of the false reporting and rumour-mongering practiced by the pro-Yushchenko media in and outside of Ukraine. Our own experience from four years ago should remind us that fraudulent and biased exit polling can have a direct effect on the outcome of later voting, as exaggerated margins dispirit and discourage voters of one side. Needless to say, the exit polling was wildly inaccurate and reflects the profoundly one-sided nature of the exit polling agencies routinely cited in Western media reports.
Mr. Yanukovych’s refusal to accept the legitimacy of the election results is perfectly understandable and ought to have been foreseen by those judges who thought it better to meddle in a political process than confirm the legitimacy of the first result. Mr. Yanukovych’s tactical mistake, but the thing that sets him apart from the ochlocracy of Yushchenko, is his refusal to call upon his numerous supporters to stage ridiculous protests of the kind seen in Kiev over the past month. The alienation of the two halves of the Ukraine, which was still fairly limited before now, may well grow in severity, and the radical Ukrainian nationalism of Yushchenko’s supporters will only exacerbate the divisions deepened by this election debacle. A Yulia Timoshenko-led government will be the worst option, yet it seems one of the most likely at this point. Between her criminality and rabid nationalism, Ms. Timoshenko embodies everything that is wrong with Ukrainian politics today.
In the future, every Ukrainian vote will be susceptible to this sort of mob-rule challenge by the opposition, and whatever government Mr. Yushchenko manages to cobble together with his selection of prime minister will have to live under the shadow of its tainted election. It will be expected by its Western patrons to follow through on supposed “reform” packages, and will find itself in the impossible situation of trying to please its hard-core nationalist backers and its foreign friends. Ironically, the relative success of Mr. Yushchenko as president and the government his prime minister will select depends very heavily on a Russia that his party and supporters have gone out of their way to antagonise and embarrass.
[Nicholas] Kristof is selling to the liberals what the neocons have been retailing to the American right-wing: the story that Russia is rising, reverting to Stalinism (or “progressing” to fascism). The next step will be to raise a hue and cry over Russian “rearmament” as we encircle the Kremlin from the Baltic Sea to the Caspian, fomenting “democratic” revolutions on the periphery while moving inexorably toward the center. A renewed arms race and the return of the cold war – all launched under the rubric of exporting “democracy” and “free markets.” This new Russophobia has something for everyone.
If Russia is not headed for fascism, then the neocon-progressive alliance of Russia-haters is determined to push them into it – or, at least, to raise such a ruckus over the alleged rise of Russian national socialism that the American public will fall for it long enough to get a new war of civilizations going.
The great danger in Russia – and for the Russian people – is that free-market ideology has been completely discredited, intellectually and politically, on account of the rigged “privatization” that led to the wholesale looting of the economy. Yet Putin must marketize, or else lose the economic advantage of having the largest oil company in the world on Russian soil.~ Justin Raimondo
Mr. Putin’s critics have been warning of neo-Stalinism ever since he took office, even though the possibility of such a development is both miniscule and entirely unimportant to Mr. Putin. Mr. Putin is a Russian nationalist and patriot, who perceived the privatisation rape of Russia as a serious symptom of Russia’s precipitous economic and political decline in the 1990s, and who regarded the increasing decentralisation of power as a threat to the unity and integrity of the Russian Federation. There has never been a state that extended across so much territory and yet was fundamentally a unitary nation-state. Pretensions of autonomous regions and limited federalism aside, Russia has been and will continue to be a centralised, unitary state, and the constitution of such a state is typically authoritarian.
Mr. Putin’s success, for which Western critics supposedly interested in democracy should be thanking him, has been to combine the necessary authoritarianism for such a peculiar territorial and political situation with legitimate elections and reasonably representative government. What infuriates his critics more than anything else is his sheer popularity and, thus, the total repudiation of the dreadful “reform” on offer from Russian liberals and their oligarchic backers: liberal democrats hate no people so much as those who refuse to embrace the liberal democratic creed, as all good people are supposed to do.
Unlike the real admirer of Stalin, Mikhail Saakashvili, dictator, er, president of Georgia, Mr. Putin has not replaced the national flag with that of his own party, nor did he begin his rise to presidential power beneath a statue of Stalin himself. If Mr. Putin is nostalgic for the past, it is the past where Russia was one of the preeminent world powers. Whether or not this is the best goal or not is for Russians to decide–what is certain is that it is perfectly normal and no clear threat to the United States or Europe. Vladimir Putin undoubtedly has flaws, but whatever his penchant for secrecy and cult of personality it is clear that Mr. Bush and his supporters indulge in these things even more. It is the Bush administration’s members and admirers who espouse mad doctrines of world revolution, not the present resident of the Kremlin. Before we cast accusations of Stalinism or dictatorship at anyone, we might look to our allies and our own country first.
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More than 1.7 million Iraqi Kurds have signed a petition calling for a referendum on independence.
A Referendum Movement in Kurdistan spokesman says a delegation from their organisation has travelled to the United Nations headquarters in New York to hand over the petition.
“The signatures were collected in towns across Iraqi Kurdistan,” spokesman Karwan Abdullah said.
The movement’s campaign is not supported by Iraq’s two main Kurdish former rebel groups - the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan - which have long limited their demands to autonomy within a federal constitution for fear of offending Iraq’s powerful neighbours.
The independence campaigners charge that the two factions, which ran three northern provinces in defiance of Saddam Hussein before last year’s US-led invasion, are unrepresentative and that most Iraqi Kurds want to break away.~ ABC News
It is instructive to remember that many proponents of the Iraq war would usually minimise the desire of Iraqi Kurds to establish their own independent state to the point of The Wall Street Journal’s outright denial. This has been partly an opportunistic argument–the consequences for the region from Kurdish independence were serious enough that even otherwise irresponsible war supporters had to take them seriously and provide assurances that such consequences would not be forthcoming. It was also partly based in the real interests of the government and the major media in the Iraq war, which can only be an extension of hegemony.
American resistance to Kurdish independence, which the U.S. government will not support on account of Turkish opposition to the idea, reflects both the fundamentally unrepresentative sort of state that Washington hopes to create in Iraq and highlights the profound cynicism with which Washington will discard the perceived self-interests of a people to serve the interests of the cliques that curry favour with the West.
There are undoubtedly those in the War Party who prefer instability and political disunity in the Near East, for whom an Israeli interest in supporting an independent Kurdish state may be more compelling. However, nothing better illustrates the lack of commitment to the erstwhile democratisation of the region (and therefore the profound dishonesty of the entire policy) than the continued official opposition to Kurdish independence in the main Kurdish parties, the interim government in Baghdad and in Washington.
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Except Yushchenko could not have been admitted to the Rudolfinerhaus Clinic in Vienna for dioxin poisoning. And the medical records obtained from that clinic do not indicate that diagnosis. In fact, Viktor Yushchenko’s problem is likely much more severe than record blood levels of dioxin. His problems are in all probability so severe and of such import for him and his party that he and the Rudolfinerhaus medical claque chanced a daring and bold gambit in order to hide the truth and simultaneously implicate his opponent. The truth is, Viktor Yushchenko may well be the victim of two poisonings, the more severe of which his physicians have yet to reveal…
It was the next day, after drinking beer, vodka, and cognac at dinner, that Yushchenko developed the symptoms that drove him to Rudolfinerhaus four days later. The doctors at that Vienna clinic surely knew immediately what we can also deduce now: Yushchenko’s symptoms indicate pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), and the cause was binge drinking on the night of Sept. 5.
Pancreatitis is caused 65-80 percent of the time by either alcohol or gallstones. Yushchenko did not have gallstones. Pancreatitis – which can be caused by chronic alcohol consumption or by one night of heavy drinking –causes severe stomach and back pain and can occur shortly after the alcohol ingestion.
Newly discovered documents, including Yushchenko’s official medical records, obtained from the Rudolfinerhaus clinic show conclusively that Yushchenko had pancreatitis. The Viennese doctors themselves flatly state that there is pancreatitis, and the laboratory and diagnostic test results shown are all consistent with that diagnosis. In addition, the test results show that Yushchenko also has an enlarged liver. This indicates that his drinking pattern is probably chronic and, because of that, he is on the road to developing severe liver disease. ~Thomas Boyle, M.D., Antiwar.com
I have heard it said that American journalists are phenomenally lazy and will sometimes run with almost any story as long as it gives them something to print. This seems to be an excellent example of journalistic apathy throughout the Western media, among other things, producing a false and widely accepted report that Mr. Yushchenko was poisoned by the Ukrainian government. There is undoubtedly also ideological bias behind this easy acceptance of Mr. Yushchenko’s ridiculous story, but even biased journalists would have qualms about propagating a story they knew to be proveably false, if only for reasons of their own reputations and self-interest. Only journalists uninterested in the facts of the case, on account of sheer lack of curiosity, could have missed such a clearly falsified story, much less having treated it as the truth.
If any Western journalists have discovered the likely truth behind Mr. Yushchenko’s ailments, pancreatitis brought on by excessive drinking, it is not surprising that they have failed to report it–it will hardly do to have a chronically ill man with a penchant for overdrinking as “the West’s man” in the Ukraine. Unpleasant memories of Yeltsin, that great and daring pro-Western reformer idolised for years by the Western media, must come rushing back to the Yushchenko propagandists in the Western press when they find that their new Trojan horse in the Orthodox world is yet another intemperate, dying man. It is at that moment that they remember that Yeltsin’s presidency was a disaster for Russia in no small part because of the man’s frequent incapacitation, however good it was for the Berezovskys and Khodorkovskys of the world, and that their absurd hopes for “reform” (read alignment of the Ukraine with policies dictated in Washington and Brussels) rest with someone who cannot guarantee the stability and certainty that foreign businesses will want to have.
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Ukraine’s Transport Minister Heorhiy Kyrpa has been found dead at his holiday home near the capital Kiev.
The minister is reported to have gunshot wounds and officials said a gun was found near his body.
Mr. Kyrpa, 58, appointed in 2002, was a staunch supporter of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych. ~BBC News
It is too soon to know whether Mr. Krypa’s death was suicide or murder, but it does seem likely that his death had roots in the current political turmoil of the Ukraine. In the pro-Yushchenko hysteria in the West and among Yushchenko’s supporters themselves we may find the causes of what may be the first act of political violence to come from this farce.
What is obvious is that the West’s preference for Yushchenko stems not from his democratic credentials or his championing of the rights Ukrainians, but precisely the opposite: from his contribution to increasing the cost of living in Ukraine. Prime Minister Yushchenko succeeded in selling off several regional electricity distribution enterprises (oblenergos) in western Ukraine to foreigners, including to the American company AES. Those familiar with AES’s history in the ex-Soviet republic of Georgia will know that the privatization had disastrous results for the electricity sector there, and left many Georgians in the dark and cold in winter. This sort of change – privatization, scarcity, increased prices – is why Yushchenko’s candidacy is really valued in the West, not for democracy, “civil society,” or any of the other slogans the West trumpets. Apparently, despite Yushchenko’s support among the “enlightened” urbanites of Kiev who long to be “cool” and “Western,” and despite the control that pro-Yushchenko supporters have been able to exercise over the electoral process and machinery in Kiev and much of western Ukraine, a majority of Ukrainian voters in the 2004 election nevertheless remembered Yushchenko’s true legacy, and chose not to return to it.
As with Mikheil Saakashvili in Georgia, Washington has clearly groomed Viktor Yushchenko for the Ukrainian presidency for many years. Yushchenko’s wife, Yekaterina Chumachenko, is an American citizen from the Ukrainian Diaspora, her parents having emigrated from Ukraine at the time of the Second World War. In the 1980s, Ms. Chumachenko worked as assistant to the US Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, then in different capacities in the White House Office of Public Affairs and the Department of the Treasury. From 1994-99 she was head of the Ukrainian representation at Barents Group LLC, which acted as a consultant to the National Bank of Ukraine when Yushchenko was chairman. It was at this time that she met Yushchenko and her influence over her husband is said to be enormous. While increasing numbers of Ukrainian politicians are denied visas to America, Yushchenko has little to worry about if he ever wishes to visit the United States.
In the final analysis, Yushchenko fits the New World Order bill like a glove. Can it be any wonder that George Soros – reviled in Ukraine – has offered his support so heavily to the pro-Yushchenko cause? The Soros world agenda centres largely on the idea of a financial-administrative elite and a global central bank, or World “Gosbank,” whose commanding heights will be the new nomenklatura. Who could be better suited for such a role than former Soviet Gosbank apparatchik Viktor Yushchenko? Unless something goes seriously wrong with the West’s plans in Ukraine, Yushchenko can be expected to appear shaking hands with George W. Bush in the White House in a matter of months. His ally, the gas industry oligarch Yulia Timoshenko (rumored to be a billionaire from Russian gas sales), should be joining him. For although she is wanted on an Interpol warrant in Russia for bribery, her name has recently disappeared from the Interpol website, presumably due to her vigorous support of the Orange Revolution. Evidently the Western scales of justice can be tipped by piling enough cash onto them. ~ British Helsinki Human Rights Group
The Doxa [illusion] is the source of disorder; renunciation of Doxa is the condition of right order, Eunomia. When man overcomes the obsession of his Doxa and fits his action into the unseen measure of the gods, then life in community will become possible. This is the Solonic discovery. At the core of Eunomia, as its animating experience, we find the religiousness of a life in tension between the passionate, human desire for the goods of exuberant existence and the measure imposed on such desire by the ultimately inscrutable will of the gods…He passionately loves the magnificence and exuberance of life; but he experiences it as a gift of the gods, not as an aim to be realized by crooked means against the divine order. Through openness toward transcendence, the passion of life is revealed as the Doxa that must be curbed for the sake of order. ~Eric Voegelin, The World of the Polis
Shortly after this passage in World of the Polis describing Solon’s idea of Eunomia, Prof. Voegelin perceived Solon’s conception of the polis in Plato’s Republic, where the order of the polis “embodies the Eunomia of the soul.” As Voegelin sees the development of the idea of order in Athenian history, the union and balance between passion and order, Doxa and Eunomia, that Solon had conceived “dissociated into the passions of the demos and the order that lives through the work of Plato.” (p. 199)
I would venture to add that Prof. Voegelin perceived in this dissociation of passion and order the failure of Athens, which is its preference for the Doxa and so its basic departure from the eternal order, the perception of which fundamentally distinguished a people from those who viewed the world in predominantly temporal terms.
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Firstly, I want to make clear that in saying the blogosphere was “fooled” – or, more exactly, that large parts of the blogosphere were so – on Ukraine, I do not mean to suggest that Kuchma, Yanukovich, and “the blue” (apparently Yanukovich supporters have a color too) are the “good guys” and Yushchenko, Timoshenko, and “the orange”, the “bad guys”. I do not think it is appropriate or useful or, frankly, particularly adult to analyze politics in terms of “good guys” and “bad guys”. When the NYTimes declares Viktor Yushchenko a “liberal” or Claudia Rosett of the Wall Street Journal pronounces him the “democratic candidate”, or when Nicholas Kristof pronounces presumed Yanukovich sponsor Vladimir Putin a “fascist” (while expressing a charming and rather revealing preference for “fascism” over communism no less!) or when CNN describes Yanukovich himself as a “nationalist”, all that the deployment of such terms serves to accomplish is to demarcate the “goodies” from the “baddies” – while having the unfortunate side-effect of simultaneously emptying otherwise perfectly useful categories of political philosophy of their specific content. ~John Rosenthal
It is debatable whether words such as fascist any longer really are useful categories of political alignment, just as it is questionable whether Freedom House’s recent declaration that Russia is “unfree” has any meaning beyond the conventional one that the Heritage Foundation despises Vladimir Putin. This is because journalists and politicians have had a bad habit of invoking these labels to provide narratives for the stories they cover, and ordinary people tend to align their views with the politicians and journalists with whom they sympathise. I must confess that I am guilty in this regard, going perhaps a bit overboard at times in defense of Putin and Yanukovych, but only because of the shocking unanimity of the media and policy establishment about what has been happening in the Ukraine. The reason why I regard Yushchenko’s attempt to bully the Ukraine into submission with so much hostility is not just because his movement is very clearly subsidised by outside forces, including the U.S. Government, which infringes on Ukrainian sovereignty and independence in ways that would be profoundly distressing were it to happen to a western European or pro-American state. It is also because the established media have gone to such lengths to cover for Yushchenko, from his past criminality down to the circulation of the false reports of his poisoning.
So we can be fairly sure that whatever Yanukovych is guilty of one cannot accuse him of so overtly working with people so very foreign to his own country. It is quite one thing for a candidate to appear with politicians from Russia, as Yanukovych has done, and quite another to be the official darling of countries with no cultural and political ties to the Ukraine worth mentioning. John Kerry was ridiculed, appropriately enough, for invoking the support he received from foreign leaders–it is precisely Yushchenko’s alien supporters that are supposed to make him preferable! It is a matter of contention, and a matter for Ukrainians to sort out, just how Russian the Ukraine is or ought to be–the presumption of the backers of Yushchenko in the West is that the Ukraine should not be in any way Russian (and neither should Russia, if at all possible). That this Russophobia itself reproduces the same stale, dangerous ideas that Russia and the Orthodox world are not integral parts of a united Christian West only highlights the perils of buying into the official celebration of the Orange. What worries me about these latter-day Orangemen is that they represent precisely those interests in the West that have no concern for that Christian West or Western unity, but rather they thrive on discord within the West to advance American hegemony and Eurocracy to the detriment of all involved.
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For the anti-Christmas warriors, it’s OK to observe the religious holiday of one faith or several other faiths, but not the major one of the Christian faith. That’s why it’s accurate to say that the war on Christmas is not just a misguided crusade of secularist liberalism, it’s pretty much a concerted attack on America’s Christian identity.
But that’s the point Krauthammer, as a neo-conservative, doesn’t quite seem to get. His objection to the war on Christmas is that Christmas is essentially harmless. He has two other objections, also.
One is that the anti-Christmas crusade is “ungenerous,” and the other that it’s “a failure to appreciate the uniqueness of the communal American religious experience. Unlike, for example, the famously tolerant Ottoman Empire or the generally tolerant Europe of today, the United States does not merely allow minority religions to exist at its sufferance. It celebrates and welcomes and honors them.” His first reason is fine, but in his second, we begin to approach the issue of what’s wrong with neo-conservatism.
What’s wrong with neo-conservatism is that it is a form of liberalism, and as such it is incapable of saying flatly and clearly that while Americans certainly enjoy a right to practice whatever religions they wish, Christianity remains the public religion of the nation—whether one believes in it or likes it, or not. Liberals (and neo-cons) can’t say that because they don’t believe in public religions and (especially) that America should have one. ~Samuel Francis
I agree strongly with Sam Francis’ response to Mr. Krauthammer’s surprising piece, though I would add a few more points that should strengthen what Mr. Francis has said. First, there is the basic problem that Mr. Krauthammer’s targeting of fearful deracinated religious minorities is rather disingenuous if we recall his own scathing, bitter and all together “ungenerous” March 4 response to the release of Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. Regarding it as a “singular act of interreligious aggression,” because he purported to see in it the traditional ‘blood libel’ against all Jews everywhere, Krauthammer condemned Gibson’s film as anti-Semitic in the harshest terms. Perhaps some think his unmitigating hostility to faithful expressions of Christianity that offend him can be separated from his willingness to defend the celebration of Christmas against more rabid secular critics, but I cannot agree. He can be more easily reconciled to the story of Nativity, even though Nativity foreshadows and promises all of the things to come at Pascha, because the truths about Christ that so deeply offend Mr. Krauthammer have not yet become entirely clear. The Passion rankles the anti-Christian, because many of the truths about Christ–that He is God and Saviour, died and rose again for our salvation and was rejected by His own–are inescapable and cannot be sidestepped with pleasantries and sentimentality. Krauthammer’s goodwill towards Christianity at Christmas will be noticeably absent come spring, when his slumbering hostility to America’s public religion will emerge once more from hibernation.
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Eunomia refers not just to the condition of having good laws, but adherence to those laws. In Sophocles’ Ajax, for example, Eunomia means loyalty to divine law (Soph. Aj. 713). In the seventh century, the elegiac poet Tyrtaios of Sparta connected this divine law with human law, when he eulogized Eunomia as the divine right by which kings rule (Tyrtaios frs. 1-4 West, IE2.). In a democratic polis, such as Athens, eunomia also came to refer to the citizen’s obeisance to the laws (nomos), which creates good order. At the beginning of the sixth century, the Athenian statesman Solon eulogized Eunomia as a civic virtue (Solon fr. 4.31-38 West, IE2).
Although the concept is equally applicable to monarchic and democratic poleis (city states), eunomia seems to have retained an aristocratic connotation, which may have stemmed from her Spartan roots. Tyrtaios (cited above), became the classic Spartan poet, for example, and his poems were recited to Spartan troops as late as the fourth century. Eunomia’s association with oligarchies throughout the Greek world is attested by Pindar, who invoked her as the guardian of Aitna, Corinth, Opus, and Aigina, cities in which oligarchic systems prevailed (Pind. N. 9.29). The fifth century Athenian conception of aristocratic eunomia as the opposite of democratic isonomia (equality of rights) may have also derived from these monarchical Spartan roots, through the influence of the pro-Spartan oligarchs at Athens. In an interesting twist the Ionian cities rejected the Athenian oligarchs’ offer of eunomia (in 411), in favor of Spartan eleutheria (freedom). This use of eunomia certainly suggests that the concept was regarded as an oligarchic prerogative at the end of the fifth century. ~Amy C. Smith
These ancient associations of eunomia with an aristocratic and anti-democratic ethos carried into the Hellenistic and Byzantine periods, where the opposition between orderly, monarchical rule and ochlocracy was brought into even sharper relief. By the late ninth century, St. Photios the Great, Patriarch of Constantinople, conceived of eunomia as the reign of principles of authority and justice in a Christian oikumene. It is therefore a symbol of a very ancient conception of what constitutes good government, namely authority, stability, peace and the administration of justice. Freedom, even when the word itself is not simply thrown around as a cheap slogan, generally serves as a distraction from these superior goods, if it is not actually subversive of them, and it is only from the prior cultivation of these goods that freedom of any recognisable kind can come. Needless to say, overthrowing these things in pursuit of freedom or other secondary goals reaps the harvest of Jacobins: blood, terror and endless strife.
My adoption of eunomia as the symbol and theme of these writings and observations is a very deliberate response to the contemporary glorification of our own peculiar modern democracy. As I regard eunomia as the term for the chief political goods towards which all political organisation rightly aims, I invoke it in opposition to the contemporary regime that actively promotes and embodies few or none of these goods. To the extent that our contemporary regime provides us with some of the vital political goods, it does so in the breach: the leadership of the regime is actively and consciously dedicated to destabilising those institutions, peoples and customs that are established in the world, meddling in the affairs of others, which is fundamentally unjust, and provoking wars to the general misery of all nations involved. Far from inculcating willing obedience, the regime stupifies, misleads and misinforms. It can temporarily exploit popular confusion to win some brief enthusiasm for its policies, or blackmail its subjects with invocations of a patriotism it perverts and perhaps despises, but it cannot claim genuine loyalty to itself.
In using this term eunomia, I am aware that I am anachronistically opposing what came to be seen as an anti-democratic principle to a system of modern democracy for which isonomia as such has little meaning, and I am also aware that I am crediting the democratists with some democratic authenticity that they probably do not really possess. But I have chosen eunomia as this symbol as a way of reminding the partisans of democracy that their precious elective regime could not exist in either its ancient or modern forms without the triumph of the rule of law and a well-ordered society. The farce in the Ukraine is a perfect example of the results of a marriage between lawlessness and democratic rhetoric.
Moreover, it is to remind our contemporaries that sane societies thrive very well without democracy and even without isonomia, but they cannot survive the loss of respect for law and authority. No one could claim that Iraq has ever enjoyed much in the way of eunomia, certainly not in recent decades, but it is hard not to see that that poor country is rapidly accelerating away from the standard of eunomia day by day. The approach of elections only ensures that it will continue to move farther away from that standard, and as it does the prospects for the emergence of some sort of free society are reduced to virtually nil.
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In the affairs of nations, the American conservative feels that his country ought to set an example to the world, but ought not to try to remake the world in its image. It is a law of politics, as well as of biology, that every living thing loves above all else—even above its own life—its distinct identity, which sets it off from all other things. The conservative does not aspire to domination of the world, nor does he relish the prospect of a world reduced to a single pattern of government and civilization. ~Russell Kirk
As the orange flags of the criminal Yushchenko carry with them the seed of uniformity and the terrible, leftist urge of liberal democrats to impose their brand of rationality and reform to every corner of the world, and as still more Americans die for the fruitless cause of imposing the same in unwilling Iraq, it seemed a good time to offer the reminder that those prattling on about anti-terrorism in Iraq and democratisation everywhere are completely alien to the respect and love of variety that Prof. Kirk described and possessed.
This is an important reminder, because it puts the lie to the frequent claims that our brave soldiers are somehow dying for freedom, whether ours or someone else’s, when their sacrifice has the effect of fueling the increasing homogenisation and uniformity of nations, the erosion of all those particularities and customs that help bar the way to multiethnic, totalitarian megastates. This homogenisation, because it is the foe of decentralisation, is the antithesis of freedom–it stifles the environment in which all real freedom flourishes. A multitude of kinds of regime in the world is healthy and normal–the profusion of one type of government suggests general cultural and political collapse on the part of the others and promises a weak and shallow foundation for the political monoculture. As in any monoculture, it can all be stricken by a single blight and all will suffer from the same flaws without any alternatives to provide correction or balance. The goal of global democratisation is not only a recipe for medium-term destabilisation on a massive scale, but a promise of permanent, significant instability on a global scale.
Our soldiers are not only wasting their genuine patriotism on the shallow utopianism of hegemonists who dream of the Pax Americana–minus as much of the real Americana as possible–but paving the way for the spread of an Americanism that is as hostile to the identity of their own hometowns and countrysides as it is to the identity of the nations subjected to “liberation.” The “liberation” of Iraqis is like the liberation of peasants who are torn from all that they have known, all the ties that had meaning for them, and who are subjected to a massive effort of reeducation, dislocation and deracination aimed at turning them into easily-led proletarians, cannon fodder for the modern, industrial monster states. That these proles get a say about who gets to send them against the cannons or which cannons they are going to be charging into ought to be irrelevant in the extreme: their society and almost everything that holds meaning for them has already been lost. As in Europe and, to a lesser extent, even in this country, the realisation of the unfulfilled promises of the liberal dream will come later and will foster bitter reactions that will convulse the affected nations severely. All this because the drive for uniformity ignores the nature of things, and consequently ignores the good order that is in harmony with nature.
Because this uniformity of political culture is abnormal, and because it has been pursued with no regard to the prior goods needed to foster any successful regime, it will fail. Perhaps then the reasonableness of minding our own business will once again prevail upon us. Without eunomia, no political system can succeed and endure, and eunomia is not something that can be imposed from without. As with the type of regime itself, the particular form that eunomia takes will be determined by the circumstances and needs of each society. Our society does not have the answers for Iraqi society, not least because we have forgotten the basic lessons of our own civilisation as to how to fashion a successful and healthy polity.
Now, one of Tyrtaeus’ elegies, later called “Eunomia” and perhaps mentioning this term (1-4W), included a summary of the Rhetra, which thus was identified with the ideal of eunomia and presented as a solution to the crisis described in the same poem. Solon’s famous programmatic elegy that perhaps bore the same title (4W), similarly addresses the need to overcome crisis and civil strife and concludes with striking lines of praise of eunomia. Author authors emphasize the same ideal: Hesiod introduces Eunomia as daughter of Zeus and Themis and sister of Dike and Eirene (Theog. 901-3); Alcman praises her as sister of Persuasion (Peitho) and daughter of Foresight (Promathea, 64P). Spartan tradition maintained that an early state of stasis and disorder (kakonomia) had been transformed into one of eunomia that secured lasting stability (Hdt. 1.65-6; Thuc. 1.18). The ideal of eunomia thus stands not only for a good social order, but for the political resolution of crisis and stasis and for the integration of the polis; it represents the aim of the archaic lawgivers and encapsulates the main concern of early Greek political thinking. ~Kurt A. Raaflaub
These things my spirit bids me
teach the men of Athens:
brings countless evils for the city,
but Eunomia brings order
and makes everything proper,
by enfolding the unjust in fetters,
smoothing those things that are rough,
sentencing hybris to obscurity,
making the flowers of mischief to whither,
and straightening crooked judgments.
It calms the deeds of arrogance
and stops the bilious anger of harsh strife.
Under its control, all things are proper
and prudence reigns human affairs. ~ Solon