Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
--C.S. Lewis--

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Defending Hillary Clinton

I know, I know, I threw up in my mouth just a little while typing that title. But, while this post is a little past due, let it never be said that I don't defend those I disagree with on the rare occasions when they actually stumble across an accurate fact. Hillary got the Euro-weenies all tied up in knots when she said that, "It is hard enough with two parties to come to any resolution, and I say this very respectfully, because I feel the same way about our own democracy, which has been around a lot longer than European democracy."

Of course, Europe likes to trace the origins of it's democratic institutions back to ancient Athens. Fair enough, but lets remember, Athens was a single Greek city-state, and it had democracy for roughly 170 years, ending with the conquest of Alexander the Great. That's 170 years out of the last 2,500 or so (not counting the modern state of Greece, which we'll get to later). Ok Europe, I'll give you Athens, but what have you done for democracy lately?

To keep this simple, all countries with 200+ years of continuous, stable, and democratic political institutions marked by frequent and peaceful transitions of power raise your hand. I see America, England, and the Netherlands. And in all fairness, you two have monarchs, so technically speaking...

Well, maybe I made this too hard. Who can boast of 70 years of uninterrupted democracy? France? No. Germany? Less said there, the better... Spain? No. Italy? Bupkiss between the glory that was Rome and the end of Il Duce? Ouch. Portugal? Only since 1974? Really? What about Greece, the home of Athenian democracy? What? You guys had your last dictatorship end 35 years ago?

I might have missed a few, (But really, who cares about Norway? I mean, have you SEEN their display at EPCOT Center?) but overall, that's not really an impressive record. All of the major European countries together would be hard-pressed to summon up as many years of continuous democracy as America. And frankly, half of the democracies that do exist were set up by America after Germany broke the whole freakin' continent. So how about you cut Hillary a little slack? After all, at the rate you guys are going, she'll be Secretary of State longer than some of your governments will be around.