President George W. Bush, in his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention: “The progress we and our friends and allies seek in the broader Middle East will not come easily, or all at once. Yet Americans, of all people, should never be surprised by the power of liberty to transform lives and nations.”
On the surface, this seems like an unarguable point with which even opponents of President Bush can agree. However, it contains a crucial and profound error. Liberty, as magnificent as it is, does not itself transform a people. Rather, a transformed people demand and fight for liberty. The colonial Americans were self-starting, self-responsible, rational people determined to make their own way in the world. Because of this fact, they were both ready for liberty and demanded it. They would never have put up for five minutes with a Saddam Hussein, and the American Revolution was a revolt against a far less dictatorial regime than that. Some early Americans were religious, but most did not let religion dictate their lives the way most of today’s Muslims let religion (and religious dictators) determine theirs.
Nobody dictated by supernaturalism will ever welcome liberty. Dictatorship, secular or religious, only springs up where the roots of liberty–rationality, independence, self-esteem–fail to take root. Our forces in Iraq are powerless to do anything about this problem.
One of the major flaws in President Bush’s foreign policy is this mistaken premise. The premise is that liberty causes personal transformation, rather than the other way around. When and if the Iraqi people–or any other people in the Middle East–transform themselves into rational, self-responsible people, they will both demand liberty and support our attempts to help them have it. Until or unless this happens, our military can do relatively little except take the shots it’s now taking in the Middle East in hopes that sooner or later these poor Arab people will finally “get it.”
This is why the idiotic pacifist, John Kerry, has such a good chance of winning the upcoming election, and in some polls has even been ahead. In one of the most dangerous eras our nation has ever faced, nobody who has voted against every defense weapon ever created in the last 20 years should even have a chance at becoming our Commander-in-Chief. The problem is that many voters sense the error in Bush’s reasoning about the Middle East. The focus of the war against terrorism should solely be destroying and dismantling terrorist states–not pie-in-the-sky about “delivering” liberty to people who may or may not want it, and who may or may not be ready for it.