Saturday, January 21, 2006

On Fate

Make sure not to miss Rich Lowry's latest piece. He writes on the danger of simply sitting back and letting fate play out:

Bush looks at the absurdity of a Middle East blotted with dictatorships, and of a great religion producing monstrous suicide bombers, and dares to try to create something better. He realizes the moral and spiritual bankruptcy of the status quo in the Middle East and in the precincts of Islam that tolerate mass murder, and says so unapologetically. This doesn't make him the next Reagan or Thatcher by any means, but he has some of their vision and fearlessness.

How Bush's struggle turns out is anybody's guess, but no one should doubt that the status quo is again in danger of sabotage. The difficulties in Iraq have made some commentators - on both the right and the left - vest too much faith in the power of inertia. A couple of millennia after Heraclitus declared that all things are flux, they think that they are all stasis.

It is true that history often stands in place, but sometimes it gallops. This is why it is foolish to make sweeping statements about which countries are inherently suited for a given political system. Was Afghanistan fated to live under a monarchy as it did in the 1950s? Or under a Soviet puppet regime as it did in the 1980s? Or a fanatic theocracy as in the 1990s? Or an American-influenced democratizing government as it does now?

Fate has little or nothing to do with it. As Gaddis reminds us, even Karl Marx acknowledged, ''Men make their own history.'' They did during the Cold War. They do now.


Blogger blamin said...

Excellent piece. You’d think the notions Mr. Lowry wrote of would be evident. I don’t know whether to think it’s funny, sad, or frightening that so many doesn’t/can’t understand. I blame John Dewey and our public education system for this lack of critical thinking, but hey, that was Dewey and his convert’s plan, wasn’t it?

4:06 PM  

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