A pandemic of disorder – WSJ
For all the elevation that American progressivism has received recently – the left flop of Joe Biden, the descent of the American institutional elites into the easy wake-up call – I am beginning to think that the more alert minds of the political left know that what looked like their historic moment was losing momentum.
Democrats’ resolve, driven by progressives in the party, to cram the value of a generation of rights, taxes and social spending into a single reconciliation bill they will pass with a vice presidential vote is rightly seen as an act of desperation. They know that it is this year or never to make the authority of the central government the almost irreversible seat of power of the American system. How else to explain the constant and totalist call that all this must be done to “save our democracy”? The clock is turning.
But look beyond the Beltway, with its delicate debates on “our democracy”, and it seems that the ideology of command and control over entire populations is losing public support everywhere.
Cuba, South Africa, Haiti, Belarus and Myanmar have all seen recent outbursts of large anti-government protests. In a world overwhelmed by dramatic events, the instinct is to let them go. But maybe we should consider the possibility that something other than random chaos is reflected in so many anti-government protests. Forest fires can also break out between nations.
The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 was not expected. Even less likely was the dissolution two years later of the entire Soviet Union and its block of satellite countries. Cuban Communism is 60 years old. Like the Berlin Wall, Castro’s Cuba has become a political monolith, a seemingly immutable bloc of repression.
Apologists for the Soviet Union and Cuba have long argued for some kind of amoral patience, believing that one day sacrifices and compromises would be validated with the arrival of what they now call “fairness.” “.
In Cuba, this is still the case. Nikole Hannah-Jones, architect of the New York Times’ Project 1619, said this week: “The most equal multiracial country in our hemisphere would be Cuba. She added: “This is largely due to socialism, which I’m sure no one wants to hear.” More in Cuba, it seems.
South Africa has just experienced its worst riots since the end of apartheid and the African National Congress came to power in democratic elections in 1994. The ANC has ruled South Africa ever since, never losing an election and largely immune to international criticism, with riots occurring last week under “reformed” president Cyril Ramaphosa.
What happened? In a recent article, Brian Pottinger, former editor of the South African Sunday Times, offers a devastating and comprehensive indictment of nearly three decades of ANC mismanagement. “To take control of the state,” he writes, “the ANC followed a policy of“ deploying cadres ”of party loyalists to occupy all levels of government. Unable even to run their own party affairs, they had no hope of running a modern state. Everywhere there were dysfunctions, collapses and corruption, the burden again borne most heavily by the poor. All of this, he writes, “has not gone unnoticed by the people who burn down malls today.”
Meanwhile, academics can be found writing with admiration that the African National Congress is a role model for Black Lives Matter in the United States, offering “white alliance lessons from the South African anti-apartheid movement.” And maybe they are right that the South African ANC is in fact the political model for Black Lives Matter. BLM’s global network released a statement this week praising the Cuban government for its “solidarity with oppressed peoples of African descent.”
People of African descent have suffered for decades from the mismanagement of Haiti by a succession of dictators. The assassination of President Jovenel Moïse on July 7 threw the country back into the only political model most of its citizens have ever known: a zero-sum power struggle.
In Russia, Vladimir Putin has spent years cracking down on protests, most recently led by Alexei Navalny. These protests spread last year to neighboring Belarus and the bogus democracy of President Alexander Lukashenko. Protests against the Iranian mullahs have become routine, especially outside Tehran.
It can be argued that the event which led in time to the dismantling of the control of Soviet communism over the Iron Curtain countries was the creation in 1980 of the Polish trade union Solidarity after a strike at the Lenin shipyard in Gdansk. The solidarity of our time could turn out to be Hong Kong’s heroic protests against the Chinese Communist regime.
The Hong Kong autonomy protests became a global phenomenon, unfolding almost continuously after March 2019. They were about one clear thing: freedom. Dramatic images of these long, desperately outdated protests have permeated social media everywhere, including in Cuba. Now it looks like the people of Hong Kong have lost, but we’ll see.
In the United States, we’ve had a debate about democratic capitalism and whether it can deliver what its left-wing critics call distributive justice, or fairness. Their alternative, now proposed to Congress, is a watered-down version of centralized government leadership for a country of 328 million people. The result would surely be permanent mismanagement. Who already in possession of freedom would want to go there?
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