This week’s Homespun…
This week’s Homespun Bloggers Symposium question asks:

Do you believe there is a downside to encouraging nations to move toward being free societies? Can all nations benefit from the move from dicatorship to freedom, or are some cultures simply incapable of it and why? Might they end up worse off? Also, do you believe these shifts are always in America and the West’s interests, or will we simply create democratic enemies that are worse for us than the dictators they replace?

First of all, I have to start in agreement with this country’s founders when they said that all men are created equal, and are therefore equally given the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. So in a sense I see this question as a no-brainer. I don’t see a big-picture downside for a country to going from an oppressed to free society. Yes, there may be initial hurdles to clear and the changes may be painful at times, but in the end government of, by and for the people is better than if it’s of, by and for the government.

While some cultures–the sum of a people group’s traditions and values–may not be conducive to individual freedom, I don’t think the people themselves are forever lost to it. While some anthropologists may not like the idea of changing a culture so that freedom is more acceptable (and believe me, there are those that would rather preserve cannibalistic, warlike cultures as museum pieces rather than see it changed), the freer a society is, the better life is for all involved. Again, I don’t think that, in the long-run, they will be worse off, though the process of change can be difficult.

Given my position, then the question of whether or not the shifts in these societies to freedom is good for our interests is rather beside the point, although I find it more likely than not that should a society remain free and open, the more likely it is that they will be allies with us. Consider the world situation as it is now. We have our allies of the free nations of the world, but the more they tend toward socialism or oppression (France & Germany in the former case, Russia as it is becoming in the latter case), the less they see themselves on the same page as the U.S. While they may not be military powerhouses, the new democracies in Eastern Europe, who’ve seen the benefits of a free society, were very much with us in the Iraq war. The more oppression–Iran, North Korea, China–the more they see us as an enemy.

While I wouldn’t discount entirely the chance that a democratically elected government might see us the same way, I believe that free societies lose the paranoia found under oppressive ones and are far less likely to consider us an enemy. That paranoia tends to come from those in power, and if it’s found in the people it’s because it came down from a dictator or government that only allows its positions to be known and doesn’t allow for the free exchange of ideas. Again, free societies mean more information exchange and thus more education and a more realistic view of the world.

I just don’t see a real downside to any of this. Freedom is transcendantly good.

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