Irony... most often humorous, but also regularly tragic. At present it would not be an original thought to consider the irony between the nations of Iraq and the United States. Just as we are successfully overseeing the early development of a constitutional republic in Iraq, could we also be in the midst of the death of our own? Lance Burri has correctly identified a symptom. Peggy Noonan has done similarly. Lance's article resembles a plea to an alcoholic to recognize his problem as the first step toward change. Peggy's more nearly resembles the first draft of a eulogy.
Critics of 'Bush's War for Oil and Revenge Instigated through Lies' are often heard to question whether or not Iraqi culture is capable of initiating and sustaining the freedom and responsibility necessary for constitutional republic to survive. Quite frankly, I have the same question myself. Can one nation export such a political system to another that has had no historical experience in anything resembling freedom? President Bush asserts that the desire for freedom is inherent in the hearts of all people. I'm not so sure of that, since it is just as feasible to believe that people of certain cultures are equally as prone to a slavery mentality. However, in saying that, I also know that due to modern technologies in communication, the Iraqis are not blind to the possible benefits of Western style 'democracy'. Recently removed from the harsh tyranny of Saddam must also provide incentive and initiative. Great potential exists.
Nearly parallel to the opinions of Lance and Peggy, I have a similar question for the United States. Does our nation's burgeoning dependency/slave mentality afford us the capability of sustaining a constitutional republic? Here again, it is feasible to believe that people of certain cultures are prone to this mindset. Our own culture has undergone a slow and arduous paradigm shift over the past two centuries. Even our heroic World War II generation, often referred to as 'the greatest generation', is the flip-side of the same coin that readily accepted F.D.R.'s socialistically inclined programs and policies.
As our nation increased in wealth and power, complacency and entitlement grew with it. Christianity slowly was replaced by post-modernism; reliance on God was replaced by reliance on our wealth and our central government. The sense of community through rugged individualism was replaced by governmental control over selfish individualism. Senator Clinton's book, 'It Takes a Village', really should have been entitled, 'It Takes a Government.'
Our post-modernist bent has cast off the wisdom of our founders. They earned their sagacity by sweat, blood, and continual sacrifice. Through it they built a firm foundation. We have inherited that capital and have rejected its basis. We chose instead to 'reinvent the wheel' without even the understanding that 'roundness' is a fundamental. They warned us, like a mother warns a small, foolish child, of possible dangers inherent in following our own 'better' ideas. Noah Webster: "...I am persuaded that no civil government of a republican form can exist and be durable in which the principles of that religion (Christianity) have not a controlling influence." John Adams: "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." Robert Winthrop, Speaker of the House: "Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled either by a power within them or by a power without them; either by the Word of God or by the strong arm of man; either by the Bible or by the bayonet."
As we witness Iraq struggle to gain freedom, it would be tragic to watch us piss away our own. Elect more conservatives or libertarians? That may indeed slow the urine flow, but the prostate cancer remains. The culture itself, the people, must turn from their slave producing culture and return to a worldview that promotes and sustains freedom.