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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 1, 2011 / 25 Adar I, 5771

Conservatives shouldn't be so surprised by freedom

By Michael Gerson



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It is the conservative critique of the freedom agenda that democratic transformations are hopeless or dangerous in societies lacking democratic cultures. The people of Iraq, George F. Will said in 2004, are "just three people away from democratic success. Unfortunately, the three are George Washington, James Madison and John Marshall." Middle Eastern tyrants, Peggy Noonan once argued, "have functioned in history as - ugly imagery coming - garbage-can lids on their societies. They keep freedom from entering, it is true. But when they are removed, the garbage - the freelance terrorists, the grievance merchants, the ethnic nationalists - pops out all over."

The Arab winter of discontent provides evidence to assess the claim that Arab peoples are leaderless trash. It is true that few world-historic figures have emerged from these events. Mohamed ElBaradei and Amr Moussa will not be confused with Vaclav Havel or Nelson Mandela. Even Wael Ghonim - the Google guy - symbolizes a new type of decentralized, Web-based leadership rather than providing it himself.

But a leaderless revolution is impressive in its own way. Whole nations have reached a critical mass of humiliation. Technology has provided both a comparison to more successful societies and a mechanism to collect and channel discontent. Politicians and opportunists of various stripes have struggled to keep up with a generational revolt.

While the revolution is democratic in form, it may take a while to get the content right. Civic institutions in the Middle East - political parties, courts and electoral systems - are weak by the design of dictators. Democratic transitions can be difficult. Even Washington, Madison and Marshall presided over a democratic culture in which one in seven human beings was eventually owned by another - a contradiction resolved only by a civil war that left an estimated 6 million pounds of human and animal carcasses lying on a field near Gettysburg. I suspect that Arab transitions, whatever their difficulties, will be better than this.

No good outcome is guaranteed. But two things have changed permanently in the Middle East.

First, the people of that region now have heroes of reform who look exactly like themselves. They have seen Arab men and women impatient with injustice and capable of unsuspected greatness. With little help from outsiders - and no leadership from the United States - Arabs have demanded accountable government. Generations will recall these shining events, which serve the symbolic purpose of Bunker Hill.

Second, every Arab ruler, from colonels to monarchs, now knows something new: fear. The political theory they have offered since Nasser - nationalism without freedom - has produced backward economies, corrupt elites and angry citizens. Leaders are waking to find themselves in a besieged palace or boarding a plane for exile. Even in the absence of a working democracy, this is a form of accountability. It is a good thing for a government to fear the governed.

With exquisite timing, some conservatives have chosen this moment to expand their critique of Islam, discerning (like Glenn Beck) the first signs of the coming global caliphate. Is Islam compatible with democracy? "It is not," says Andrew McCarthy, "it never has been, and it never will be." Violence and coercion, he argues, are essential to Islam. The intensity of this view seems to increase as evidence for it is contradicted.

Never mind that practitioners of every religion with roots in ancient and medieval cultural practice must confront and marginalize disturbing aspects of their own traditions. Never mind that Islam takes vastly different theological forms in Saudi Arabia, Albania, Bangladesh and Indonesia. Never mind that since Sept. 11, 2001, America has found Muslim allies willing to die at our side in the fight against Islamic radicalism. Just to demonstrate some connection to reality, perhaps conservatives should delay their criticisms of Islam's irredeemable violence until after the inspiring, courageous, mainly peaceful protests of Muslims in the Middle East draw to a close.

For some conservatives, liberty is found only in their private stock, aged in Anglo-Saxon cellars, to be sipped and savored at their leisure. But much of the world, it turns out, is thirsty and cares little about the vintage. Perhaps it is natural for a revolutionary power to grow old and cautious, producing thinkers who prefer stability to idealism. But it is sad. Americans such as Lincoln, FDR and Reagan did not believe in the existence of permanent tyranny because they did not accept the possibility of permanent servitude. Eventually the mind and soul of man revolt. As some are perpetually surprised to witness.


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Previously:



02/22/11 The progression of pain
02/18/11 The seriousness primary
02/11/11 Do Egypt's protests mean American decline?
01/27/11 No-bend Obama
01/21/11 Two good arguments for civility -- and passion -- in politics
01/11/11 Obama's staff changes give him a second chance
01/11/11 Is Arizona shooting an empty search for meaning?
01/07/11 WikiLeaks gives dangerous ammunition to a tyrant
01/04/11 Michael Vick: Symbol of the second chance
12/28/10 Social Security reform is the answer to Obama's problems --- and the nation's
12/21/10 When foreign policy realism isn't realistic
12/17/10 When it comes to politics, Obama's ego keeps getting in the way
11/26/10 Libs resort to conspiracy theories to explain Obama's problems
11/19/10 With Holder at the helm, detainee policy is a disaster
11/12/10 Blue-state budget crises spell even more trouble for Dems
10/19/10 Obama the snob
10/12/10 Seeds of victory in Afghanistan
10/05/10 Believers' remorse
10/04/10 Pound-foolish on national security
09/28/10 Babylon on the Potomac
09/27/10 Our reluctant commander in chief
09/21/10 Blue strongholds are becoming Democratic graveyards
09/17/10 For the GOP, a bittersweet brew from the Tea Party
09/15/10: Insanity's great enablers
09/13/10: The lost communicator
09/08/10: Will 2010 midterms be 1994 all over again?
09/01/10: Obama's economic wandering
08/27/10: Miracles from abroad
08/25/10: Address these issues in order to strengthen the Tea Party
08/20/10: The lost promise of Barack Obama
07/23/10: Obama's greatest nightmare
02/04/09: The Reality of Innocence
01/07/09: The Risks in Obama's Ambitions
12/31/08: Support Obama Will Need
06/13/08: Prince Charles, Organic Conservatism Icon
06/11/08: No longer a bankrupt political joke but still overshadowed
04/23/08: McCain's anger management
04/10/08: A Country for Old Men
03/06/08: Does the America Need a Hug?
03/06/08: Obama's First 100 Days
02/29/08: Words Aren't Cheap
02/22/08: He Said, They Said
02/20/08: Dying silently in Zimbabwe
02/15/08: Hillary's Unappealing Path
02/13/08: NATO's Afghan Stumbles
02/08/08: Why McCain Endures
02/06/08: One surge that led to another
02/01/08: In North Korea, Process Over Progress
01/30/08: Compassionate to the end


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