Juan Cole does his best to give us the negative spin on democracy in the Middle East in an article entitled, get this, “The Downside of Democracy“. What’s next, “Oxygen: The Dark Side Conservatives Don’t Want You to Know About”? The doom and gloom left never ceases to amaze me.
I’ll give you the Coles Notes version of Cole’s article – democracy can be bad because the leaders the people choose may end up being radical and/or anti US. He does his best to draw comparisons to other elections with “mixed results” such as Pakistan and Lebanon. However you don’t need to be a professor in Middle Eastern Studies to know that we are sort of rewriting the book on Iraq here. That’s why most of the “experts” who have been making dire predictions of civil war, a humanitarian catastrophe, an inferno of burning oil fields and failed elections with low turnout, have been wrong. You also don’t have to be a professor in Political Studies or Journalism to know that we wouldn’t be hearing the incessant drone of bad news and dire predictions from the media and academic left that turn out to continually be wrong, if this wasn’t Bush’s baby.
I think the smart money is on Bush, not the academic left.
What does selective advocacy of particular rights and freedoms say about the group purporting to advocate them? What affect does such selective advocacy have on the rights themselves?
Powerline links to a great article by Debra Saunders which looks at the differentiation in treatment of two professors, Summers and Churchill. You’ll recall that Summers made statements regarding the lack of women in high-end science professions. Churchill on the other hand, basically theorized that the victims of 9/11 had it coming. The Left wants Summers’ head, but is rallying around Churchill to protect his “academic freedom”. Read it all.
This hypocrisy is nothing new. I think the worst example of selective rights advocacy was the complete silence from the feminist left regarding the Afghanistan elections. Afghan women were among the world’s most oppressed people. Stoned or even killed for any form of “moral transgression”. Women could not attend school or occupy any formal positions whatsoever. One would expect that feminists would stand up and celebrate their emancipation. Yet there was silence. No rallies, no flurries of articles or publications. Nothing. This was Bush’s emancipation and they wanted no part of it.
It seems clear is that these “rights defenders” are not really that at all. They are rights users. Only when it is politically convenient does the left cry out in agony, fighting the unjust suffering at the hands of the evil conservatives. When it is not politically convenient, well, the suffering doesn’t really matter that much. The rights’ advocates are cheapened. But more importantly, so are the rights themselves.
UPDATE: Compare the silence of the feminists described above to the raving madness linked to by Lorie at Polipundit.