Friday, August 12, 2005

The inevitable ascent of Condoleeza Rice ... Time magazine has an article on Condoleeza Rice this week.

As I read it I was continually surprised by how moderate she seemed to be. Then the reporter stepped aside and concluded the piece with a long quote:
"I've lived in a place where difference was not tolerated and difference was a license to kill," she [Condi] says. "I lived in a place that was not living up to the democratic principles of the United States but where, because the institutions were what they were, people were able to petition from within those institutions, not without ... People kept struggling toward those institutions and values and principles and, over time, we've gotten closer to the ideal.

"And so when I see Iraqis struggling with really hard issues or Afghans struggling with really hard issues, I'm probably less willing to say, 'Oh, they can't do it.' I look at [our history], and I say what seemed impossible on one day now seems inevitable. Well, that's the way great historical changes are. And it's why I have enormous conviction that these people are going to make it."
I don't doubt the legitimacy of Condi's life experience, since I myself have lived a lesser version of the same dream. But where I look at my past and humbly ponder how easily it could have been different, she apparently views her own as somewhat inevitable.

When applied to history as a whole, I cannot emphasize enough how misguided I think her viewpoint is. Whether it be towards the perfect God or the supreme state or the ideal society, human history is littered with the purges and battles and wars of those who saw themselves as taking part in an inevitable progress. The fact that constitutional democracy is the most just political process we have evolved to date does not mean its development should be promoted with similar evangelical zeal.


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