Filed under: Philosphy
Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson has an interesting piece in today's edition entitled: "Why Fight for Anyone's Freedom?" It contains a neat discussion of the issues that animate this blog and might provide a good jumping-off point for discussion in the comments section (dozens of readers have commented on the analysis already). Gerson points out that a democracy agenda easily blurs the lines between traditional notions of what is "conservative" or "liberal" or "Republican" or "Democratic" and argues:
A conservatism that warns against utopianism and calls for cultural sensitivity is useful. When it begins to question the importance or existence of moral ideals in politics and foreign policy, it is far less attractive. At the most basic level, the democracy agenda is not abstract at all. It is a determination to defend dissidents rotting in airless prisons, and people awaiting execution for adultery or homosexuality, and religious prisoners kept in shipping containers in the desert, and men and women abused and tortured in reeducation camps. It demands activism against sexual slavery, against honor killings, against genital mutilation and against the execution of children, out of the admittedly philosophic conviction that human beings are created in God's image and should not be oppressed or mutilated.
So-called liberals, who might argue for inaction based on "respect" for another nation's sovereignty, might agree with so-called conservatives, who might argue for inaction based on preserving the status quo or isolationism. What do you think? Who is more "conservative" on democracy: Pat Buchanan or John McCain?
James Joyner over at Outside the Beltway has a lengthy thought-provoking analysis of the piece. A good focal point for discussions might be the pending vote in Congress over whether to condemn Turkey for "genocide" in Armenia. President Bush opposes the measure, while many Democrats support it. Should the U.S. take a stand on the killings? What should it be? We'd like to hear your views. A divided House Foreign Affairs Committee has now approved the measure.