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Saturday, January 07, 2006

Democracy and nothing else.

My boss forwarded to me an essay written by Gary J. Bass entitled Are Democracies Really Peaceful? This article was in response to Dubya's proclamation that the survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.

This is taken from Kant's idea in his "To Perpetual Peace" where he posits that a world made up of republics, whose citizens must bear the miseries of fighting and financing wars, should be more peaceful than a world made up of monarchies, whose kings can go to war with little personal risk.. Maybe Kant was thinking of monarchies where people are but subjects who will go to war as a pledge of allegiance to their king. In a democracy, people are supposedly equal and shall bear the consequences of war for after all, they not only have to sustain it with manpower but their resources as well. Why not? Democracy is, after all a government by the people, for the people and of the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives; the majority rule; the principles of social equality and respect for the individual within a community. Hence, the people in a democratic state would have second thoughts of going to war. This has always been the idea espoused by the US of A. This sure justifies Bush's war on Iraq which was allegedly run by the dictator Saddam.

Is there truth to this claim? Will the world be a more peaceful place if more countries are run like a democracy?

Yet for all its influence, the theory of the democratic peace carries a crucial caveat. In a series of studies culminating in their new book, "Electing to Fight," the political scientists Edward D. Mansfield and Jack Snyder argue that new democracies are often unstable and thus particularly warlike... democratizing countries show signs of the lack of the rule of law, organized political parties,and professional news media. Without those restraining institutions firmly in place, empowering the public can mean empowering bellicose nationalists.

Never mind democratization, though. I do not think we will ever play the game. On the contrary, it is our country that has been democratized. So, the question I ask is, "Is democracy the only way?" In an ideal set-up, there is no freer man than that who lives in a democratic society, I think. Equal opportunity... each according to his ability, right? However, the loophole in the system is that man has not been given equal abilities. Just like in boxing, or any other sport for that matter, a winner emerges because he is probably more equipped than the other. Or that he landed the lucky punch first. And that is only talking about a fair fight. This is so in the real world. Some know how to play the game well. Acquire ability and a little luck or vice versa and you're on your way to success. This is the reason why we have the likes of Bill Gates, Cornelius Vanderbuilt, or our very own Lucio Tan and Henry Sy. They know how to play their marbles well while we lesser mortals, about 85% or even more, live on a mere pittance. But why do we not see people complaining against the system? That is because we believe that someday, we shall have a piece of that pie. That we will someday have a crack at it. Equal opportunity, remember?

Yet, success seems to be elusive to most than it should be. As a result, people try to take a faster route. Drug trafficking, sex trade, and other illegal activities. These are easier and faster routes. Dangerous but hey, we only live once, right? But that is not what we are all made up of. Fortunately, that is not how people with morals work and so far, we outnumber those who take a risk with these faster ways of getting rich. Me? Ah, I just work hard that there shall be a roof over our heads, eat three square meals a day, dress decently and try to be happy. And yes, I'm off to buy a lotto ticket. There may be millions of possible combinations but hey, I just might get lucky!

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Anonymous bugsybee said...

Excuse me for saying this, Tito Rolly, but the statement, "The best hope for peace in the world is the expansion of freedom in all the world", coming from George Bush sounds to me more like a declaration of war.

And like you, I have very simple aspirations: 3 square meals and to be happy plus to do, whatever I am doing, well. One does not have to have Bill Gates' money to be able to enjoy life but we often forget that.

Thank you for your Christmas greetings. I am sorry for this late reply but it still comes with my warmest wishes for a wonderful new year for you and your family!

11:58 AM  
Blogger rolly said...

Bugsy I agree. It's clearly a justification for US intervention of other country, no?
Well, sometimes, I am tempted to say "even if being rich can be a suffering, let me me suffer in comfort" din, hehehe

3:13 PM  
Anonymous bayi said...

Like some economists who dream of a perfect market, how can this be? A perfect market assumes so many constants which are impossible in the real world. Similarly, taking Kant's words at their face value may not be realistic.

Bugsy says it all. Three square meals a day and a roof over our heads. This is the humble dream and aspiration of so many in our world today. We don't understand the lofty goals of the rich and powerful who have no time for the poor.

10:43 PM  
Blogger rolly said...

Bayi YEs, there are toomany I don't understand them. :-)

That's all I am asking for. Three square meals a day (plus some snacks), roof over our heads. You won't see me complaining if by some stroke of luck, I win the grand lotto, though.

10:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

makikisali po.
ako simple lang ang gusto ko, yung darating ang time na di ko na masyadong aalalahanin kung anong mangyayari kinabukasan.
ty po~! bote

11:38 AM  
Blogger rolly said...

Bote Tama ka. Mas maalwan nga ang buhay kung siguradong kang walang magiging problema sa pagtanda.

1:34 PM  
Blogger BatJay said...

sa singapore, iba ang tingin nila sa management ng kanilang bansa. sabi ni lee, hindi raw pantay pantay ang mga tao. some people daw are smarter than others and the goal of his government is to nurture those who are better.

nag work naman ang ginawa niyang experiment dahil mayaman ang singapore. tama ba itong ginawa niya, that is the question.

12:59 PM  
Blogger rolly said...

Batjay I agree with the statement that some people are smarter than the others. Tama rin yung sinabi ni Lee to nurture the smart ones. However, I think the more important thing is how to equalize. What is the great equalizer other than death? If we find the right solution, mababawasan ang mahihirap sa Pilipinas, diba?

9:33 PM  
Blogger samantha said...

First of all I think its stupid to say that one should go to war for peace. But the again, count on Bush to come up with the lamest possible excuse to rationalize his "legacy of democracy-war".

As for equality, I agree with Lee Kuan Yew when he said that some people are smarter than others. But I think there is more to success than just plain smarts. Bill Gates is no genius, in fact his mental capacity was measured only as average. Li Ka-Shing (Hongkong tycoon who is the worlds largest port operator) quit school at age 12. Vera Wang spent highschool summers as a sales clerk. Imagine if these minds were neglected simply because they weren't part of the elite "smart group"? I think equality really isn't about having all the same things, skills, or talents, I think that equality really is about having an equal opportunity to each improve ourselves, go after each of our dreams. So what is it really that separates the go-getters from the complacent? Maybe ambition. This is what Lee Kuan Yew tried to instill in his people and he succeded in doing so. But I think its PASSION. Sheer passion. you may not be the smartest, greatest, prettiest, most successful, but if you put your heart into it wouldn't really matter to you. In the end of the day, you'll smile and say "No regrets."

P.S. I got carried away in commenting again, sorry if its to long hehehehe :)

10:01 PM  
Blogger rolly said...

Samantha Yes, equal opportunity and done with fairness and must clean and legitimate.

Don't worry about the length of your comments. Appreciate them, as a matter of fact.

4:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

peace? the bushes are making a lot of serious money out of these wars. don't know how extensive is the research of mr. moore, but i believe there's a lot of truth to his claims. i guess most of us have seen the documentary.
bush is just taking good care of family business.
kailan nga kaya darating ang araw na hindi mo na poproblemahin ang kinabukasan? pati nga retirement pinoproblema.

11:37 PM  
Blogger rolly said...

Anonymous Saw Michael Moore's film, too. I also have his book "Dude Where is my country" and I'd say he really did a thorough research. Nuff said, isn't it?
Thanks for dropping by.

3:51 AM  
Blogger bing said...

i think it is not the form of government that could contribute to peace but the inner peace each must have. though equality is more like the best way to peace, the demand for equality could also result to instability. when one is at peace, first with himself, it would not be difficult for him to be at peace with others.

10:50 PM  
Anonymous sportsfan said...

pareho lang dito yan... it all boils down to one thing... MONEY! bahala na kung sino matatapakan basta pera... peace sa inyong lahat! hehehe

9:22 PM  

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