Saturday, January 29, 2005

The Case for Democracy Natan Sharansky

Sharansky argues that the best weapon against tyranny is the creation of free societies. He argues that the West can and should intervene, using the tactic of linkage. If a tyrannical regime (presiding over a "fear" society) wants to trade with free societies, such trade must be linked to them changing their human rights record: the population must be able to express their views freely without fear of reprisal.

The most uplifting aspect of the book is Sharansky's narration of the collapse of the soviet union. The most depressing aspect is the hash that he considers everyone - Europe, the US, successive Israeli governments - has made of moving towards a separate Palestinian state. I was feelling quite optimistic about the role of the security fence in removing terrorist violence, but he reminded me that leaving the Palestinian regime to continue as a "fear society" condemns its people to more years of poverty, doublethink, and propaganda.

He makes no connection to the micro-level, but I think his message applies there to. Just as a free, democratic society functions better than a fear-filled dictatorship, which inevitably carries the seeds of its eventual implosion, so a family with authoritarian parents is doomed to disaster as the children defect to freer climes as soon as they have the physical and mental power.

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