Leaving Islam



Exporting Freedom

 By: Amber Pawlik

In the past 30 or 40 years, to suggest that Western/American culture is better than any other culture is to get yourself the label of “bigot” or “imperialist.”  According to multiculturalists, we must view other cultures as being equal, embracing them all in the name of “diversity.”   

The “diversity” trump card, of course, is the only argument they had.  In the rest of the world – with its dictatorships, oppression, and primitivism – there is little that anyone would deem equal to or better than America , when judged based on any rational standard.    

American culture – which is one of prosperity, scientific advancement, material abundance, individual rights – is objectively better than literally all other cultures in the world now, or ever.  Whereas the history of other countries is underscored predominantly by war, the history of America is underscored by continuous industrial improvement.  Never has the standard of living been so high or the opportunities so vast as in America .  We should do everything in our power to export our ideals to the rest of the world. Those ideals can by summed up in one word:  freedom.  

By exporting freedom, I do not mean using military force to liberate the entire world of its dictators.  I mean putting intellectual and moral pressure on dictatorships to end and giving moral support to the freedom fighters, who exist all over the world, and in some places are at critical mass (such as in Iran).  Doing this is something we are failing at.   

It is not just a matter of being the nice guy that we most export freedom, it is imperative that we do so.  It should have become obvious on 9-11 that we simply cannot have dictatorships laying around over the world.   

This is arguably the biggest and most important debate of our time.  Can freedom exist in the Middle East, and what role does America have in making that happen?  Most intellectual leadership, from both the left and the right, has been nothing but pessimistic and cynical about this.   

George Will, a conservative pundit, believes that wanting a free Iraq is nothing but a Utopian dream, and the antithesis of conservative values.  He writes,  

Condoleezza Rice, a political scientist, believes there is scholarly evidence that democratic institutions do not merely spring from a hospitable culture, but that they also can help create such a culture. She is correct; they can. They did so in the young American republic. But it would be reassuring to see more evidence that the administration is being empirical, believing that this can happen in some places, as opposed to ideological, believing that it must happen everywhere it is tried.  

Ron Chernow's magnificent new biography of Alexander Hamilton begins with these of his subject's words: "I have thought it my duty to exhibit things as they are, not as they ought to be." That is the core of conservatism.  

To help you let this sink in:  Will believes that the dictatorships in the Middle East – with their torture, abuse, rape, and murder – should be left unchallenged, for things should be “as they are, not as they ought to be.”  I would like to take this belief of his to the torture victims of Saddam’s regime, or the young girls in Iran who are raped before they are killed (so they the mullahs don’t have the moral guilt of killing a virgin), or to any freedom fighter in the Middle East who has been wholly ignored by the West.  George Will is right in one respect, though:  leaving things as they are without challenging them – even corrupt dictatorships like the ones in the Middle East, which is exactly what he is talking about – is the essence of conservatism.  In fact, it is the exact definition. 

Like many people probably, Will believes to advocate a free Iraq (or any other country) is to impose an unnatural will on the Middle East – that dictatorships are here to stay, and only the self-righteous would want to change them.  It would be beneficial for Mr. Will and for other’s sake, then, to remember what men have the free will to change and what they do not.  

As Ayn Rand wrote in “The Metaphysical versus the Man-Made,” metaphysically-given things – the natural laws of reality – are to be accepted as inflexible and permanent.  “Reality, to be commanded, must be obeyed.”  Man-made institutions, on the other hand, are to be judged, challenged, and put under intense scrutiny.  Of all the man-made institutions that should be challenged, it is dictatorship.   

Ronald Reagan did not believe that things should be “as they are, not as they ought to be,” when he said, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”  And, let us not forget:  the wall came crumbling down.   

Calling upon a free Middle East is not an impossible, Utopian dream.  In fact, it is very effective and, ultimately, is the only effective method of ending tyranny.  It is commonly known and accepted that Ronald’ Reagan’s speeches in favor of freedom around the world inspired people to rise up against their tyrannical regimes. He was not afraid to say:  our way is better and your way must change. This is exactly what we should be doing in the war on terrorism now.   

Trying to fight tyranny solely militarily is ineffective and suicidal.  We tried to fight communism militarily during Vietnam and lost.  Even if we had won, it would not have mattered.  When one tyrannical regime fell, another one would have just as soon taken its place.   The same will happen with terrorism.  Only when we attack terrorism at its root, by stating that tyranny and terrorism are morally repugnant and the world does not approve of regimes that torture their own and other people will terrorism ultimately be eradicated.    

We should not hesitate to advocate and enforce our enlightened way of life for the Iraqis or anywhere else.  Today, to suggest this – to suggest and advocate that other countries be free – is to get labeled a dictator or imperialist.  George Will writes:   

Speaking of culture, as neoconservative nation-builders would be well-advised to avoid doing, Pat Moynihan said: "The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society. The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself."

Will suggests that the way America is using her government to impose democracy on Iraq is “liberal” (therefore, wrong) for it uses the government to do so.  He states that using the government cannot create prosperity, only “culture” can – whatever that is, since he did not define what culture he was talking about.  But Will should remember, it is has been proven what creates “prosperity,” and it is not “culture”: it is freedom, specifically economic freedom. “The Index of Economic Freedom,” put out every year by the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal, is a report that judges how economically free a nation is.  When the list is put together, it becomes obvious:  the more free a country is, the more prosperous it is.  If Will was really concerned with prosperity in Iraq, he and others concerned would advocate a completely free system of government there and would support whatever efforts are being made to make that happen.   

Freedom is not just for some men.  It is for all men – for all men who wish to live as men, anyway.  Freedom is not something men merely “yearn” for nor is it nothing but a lofty, unattainable dream written about in poems or books.  Freedom is a fundamental requirement of man’s existence.  By freedom, I mean freedom from physical force, and therefore I mean:  capitalism.  In order to live, man must be left free to think and produce.  Only a person left free – and well protected – against any roaming thug or gang will be able to invent, build, and produce.  We should demand Iraq, now, adopt some of our enlightened principles on government:  a separation of religion and state, guaranteed rights to free speech, individual rights, etc. 


Since George Will and others are failing to see how freedom can work or be encouraged in the Middle East, let me help them, not to mention the Bush administration out:  we must support freedom lovers in the Middle East wherever they may be.  For those who think the Bush administration is exporting freedom to the world, or at least doing all he can or even a sufficient job, they are wrong.  When it comes to supporting freedom lovers – and they exist literally all over in the Middle East – who courageously fight for free speech, democracy, etc., the Bush administration frequently drops the ball – not to mention literally all of Western intellectuals and media.  We almost never hear of those in the Middle East who favor freedom, love America, and want nothing more than for America to start supporting them. 


In this article, called, “Half-Hearted:  Bold words but weak action from the Bush administration,” Michael Rubin outlines various things in which the Bush administration has failed to support freedom lovers and condemn dictatorships.  Some examples:  

  • Bush praised the Libyan government for releasing Fathi El-Jahmi, a local government official who was imprisoned for endorsing free speech and democracy.  However, one week later, the government surrounded his house and cut off his phone line. El-Jahmi is now missing, two days after US officials left the country.  Bush has said nothing
  • Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage referred to the Islamic Regime of Iran as a "democracy," which currently is imprisoning and torturing Siamak Pourzand, a 75 yr old journalist whose only crime was speaking out in favor of democracy.  (The Islamic Regime of Iran’s “democracy,” also involves allowing only candidates deemed “Islamic” enough by the ruling clerics to run in an election, and voter turnout is no more than 12% as the fraudulent elections are boycotted by the people of Iran.)   
  • The US deported Issam Abu Issa, a former chairman of the Palestine International Bank, who came to the US to speak about Yassar Arafat's corruption.  They deported him after Yassar Arafat himself told the US government that this man was a terrorist financer.   
  • Paul Bremer has made a speech embracing former Iraqi soldiers and Baathists.  State Department officials have told journalists that the US may exclude those who don't favor a "re-Baathification" of Iraq .  In other words - they took out one dictator to set up a government ripe for another.  

And, probably the most important, although not in the article:  while we hear endlessly about “liberating Iraq,” we almost never hear about liberating the Iranians, who of all people want freedom, love America, and want nothing more than for America to turn their attention to them.   

One would think, from that list, that the Bush administration is filled with morons, given they have the explicit goal of creating a free Middle East but engage in these kinds of actions.  However, this article helps to explain what is going on:  The State Department itself is filled with tyrant-apologizing leftists.  It is up to George Bush to get a handle on that, and fire those who need fired.   

Since neither Western leaders or even the Bush administration are fully or even semi-advocating for democracy and freedom everywhere, it is up to the people of America as a grass roots effort.  And that is already starting to happen, exactly where it should:  on college campuses.  At Indiana University , a “Students for Global Democracy” has formed.  Their mission statement is to encourage democracy and freedom around the world.  Their first project is exactly what it should be:  freeing Iran .  

If we want a safe and free world, we should do everything in our power to export freedom:  to condemn dictators and support freedom lovers everywhere that they may be.  






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