The first post in which my political inclinations become clear: Just read a great article on Freedom. Yes, I know how many times Bush can say the word in one sentence, and how many different connotations there are for the term. Nevertheless, the director at Freedom House, D.C., manages a succinct summary of how the fight for democracy and civil rights is going and how it should be conducted. Here are a couple particularly poignant passages:
"Domestic criticism of Bush’s democracy promotion agenda has recently escalated, emanating from politicians, policy analysts, and journalists of every partisan stripe. Among the more thoughtful comments have been those raised by Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.), who recently posited that it is U.S. power that pro- motes beneficial outcomes, not democracy itself. He urged Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice not to rely on the “golden theory” that democratization automatically brings positive results for the United States, warning instead that it is an “uncontrollable experiment with an outcome akin to that faced by the Sorcerer’s Apprentice.” Frank Fukayama did not back away from democracy as a goal but recently issued an extensive critique of his former neoconservative colleagues for arrogantly assuming that they could remake societies at the barrel of a gun within a specified and short period of time. Natan Sharansky has scolded his supporters in the White House for urging “snap” elections in Palestine before “freedom” could be adequately embedded there, an echo of an eloquently crafted argument that Fareed Zakaria had put forth in an earlier book about the troubling emergence of illiberal democracies."
“There is a rich tradition of involvement by private foundations and individual donors in supporting dissidents, opposition movements, and alternative media in countries suffering under dictatorships. Unfortunately, this tradition appears to have waned with the end of the Cold War. With the exception of George Soros and the Open Society Institute, there is no Bill Gates of democracy promotion. In fact, given the Internet’s claim to be a force for free expression and the wide dissemination of ideas, the spread of freedom would seem a natural cause for the relatively youthful billionaires in the information technology community.”