The New Burkeian

Reflections on the Revolution in Conservatism

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

A Change for the Better

When the New Burkeian was developing political beliefs during the Clinton Administration and prior to 9/11, it was merely in opposition to liberal doctrine and the social-welfare (read socialist) state.

After 9/11 the New Burkeian responded with anger and vengeance. I was a bitter and cynical person concerning those in the world that would work against us. Over the past 3 years my ideas have come into better clarity. And while I will not ever forget how 9/11 affected me personally, I understand the need for solidarity.

While I wish America, as Beacon of Liberty, could present the case for Democracy on her own, I understand now the need for a unified movement against the forces of tyranny. I understand the need for compassion in our actions. And most importantly, I understand the need for passion in our beliefs to make the world a better place.

In the past I have resorted to bashing liberals or others who would oppose our country's path towards the promotion of Democracy throughout the world. I am no longer that man. I will do anything in my power to explain the inherent good in a Free and Democratic world at any cost. This fight must extend beyond party lines, at least for those of us that wish to lead the fight against tyranny.

Understand that the division of politics within civil societies is inevitable. That is what free societies are all about. We must not forget what has unified us to begin with, though. Our Declaration of Independence and the Constitution set a very clear goal for the people of our country. Do not forget that "All men are created equal". Do not forget that it took centuries to truly achieve equality among men within our own country. It was a fight worth fighting, and I would do it all over again.

And in fact, we are doing this all over again. All men are created equal. If it takes a war in Iraq, the encouragement of an open society within China, and the censure of Russia within the coalition of Democracies, then so be it. It is a fight worth fighting. As I have said before, I carry no ulterior motives behind my quest for Freedom and Democracy in the world. I bear no ill will towards any man, unless he is an incarnation of tyranny, and as such, and opponent to the inherent equality among men.

The New Burkeian is an Actionary. I have a passion for the truth in Democracy. I have compassion for those who suffer under the boot of tyrrany. And I yearn for a unified movement against those powers that would corrupt and terrify the overwhelming good that mankind can achieve. I am reaching out for others who share my all-inclusive beliefs. There are no party lines when it comes to this fight.

I encourage everyone to read "The Case for Democracy" by Natan Sharansky. (You can read the introductions to his book in my sidebar.) Mr. Sharansky came from a society that did not have the benefit of the gray areas of thought that drive civil society. Everything was black and white in the former USSR. The only way for us to achieve the Freedom of "Gray Thought" is to understand that there is black and white. There is good and evil. The Actionary cause is to identify these objective absolutes. America is not a force for evil. Neither is the New Burkeian. Both entities believe whole-heartedly that all men truly are created equally.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Democracy, Freedom, Justice and Liberty

In a recent post from Iraqi blogger Ibn al-Rafidain, he struggles over the meaning of Justice. In fact, the New Burkeian also struggles over the meaning of Justice. For that matter, Democracy, Freedom and Liberty are also complex ideas. As I told Son of Two Rivers, I know what they mean in my heart. I have faith in the truth of these concepts.

These ideas generate all sorts of thoughts in different people. We struggle to understand them, but we know they exist. We know it is for these ideas we are fighting the War on Terror. No civil society based on these concepts would support our enemies in the WoT. And therein is the focus. We must help to create civil societies within this world. It is our duty as Americans to continue the quest our forefathers set us upon. Perhaps one day Ibn al-Rafidain will be considered a forefather to Iraq's civil society.

Immanuel Kant suggests that the creation of civil societies comes from Man's natural state of war. We yearn for peace in order to pursue our lives in civility. Justice comes into being for the disruption of that civil society. Freedom could be our ability to pursue a peaceful life. Liberty is our desire to select a government in order to secure Freedom and Justice. And Democracy has become the best medium for all of these concepts. I have not really defined these terms, but I think I've put them in context. I think we all know what we want. And we understand the moral limitations of our wants. These concepts are simply incarnations of civil society.

Well, some would suggest that civil societies, and more specifically Western civil society, or Democracy, has its own problems. Consider Arthur Chrenkoff:

Western societies are not perfect, their citizens are not all angels, and there are always people capable of committing crimes and human rights violations. But by contrast to other, non-free or less-free societies around the world, our Western societies possess powerful self-correcting mechanisms, such as the democratic system of government with a vigorous political opposition, free debate and free media, independent judiciary, and constitutional checks and balances, which mean that such aberrations from the generally high standard we all aspire to live up to are quickly identified, isolated and punished and the wrongs redressed and compensated by the authorities, the citizens or both. This doesn't happen in every single case, and not necessarily as speedily and thoroughly as some would want, but it holds well enough as a general rule.

I think this passage speaks for itself on the positive attributes of civil society.

So how is the WoT our issue. As I stated before, there is a moral component to civil society. In coming to understand the concepts of Democracy, Freedom, Justice and Liberty, we understand their universal nature. Every person yearns for these ideas in their own way. That is human nature. As American's have come to a better understanding of these concepts through the conflicts of our ancestors, we have a moral duty, through our ability to act, to promote them.

Consider Brendan Miniter's article from OpinionJournal. He discusses an officer that suggested, "We're just doing the Lord's work" in regards to his mission in Iraq to reconstruct and rebuild hospitals and universities in Iraq. Forget the religious connotations, and understand there is a moral stance behind our mission for Democracy. Brendan Miniter goes on to state, "After all there is a moral component to a policy that frees a people from a dictatorship, restores civil order and protects against a violent group of insurgents."

In other words, we need to focus on the general goals of our policy in the world. Focusing on the details is a luxury afforded an established civil society such as our own. We have the infrastructure to combat aberrations in Justice and Liberty. Every society should have the luxury to take into acount the details of civil society, but they must achieve that civil society first.

The New Burkeian's faith in the aforementioned concepts, and the Actionaries quest to promote these concepts within the world, is the drive behind the WoT. Will you join the quest?

Friday, December 17, 2004

Iraq the Model Democracy

As I was browsing the web, I came across this statement by Ali on Iraq the Model.

You tell 'em man! The real issue is Iraq's issue. We are there to facilitate an Iraqi Democracy, not create a Democracy in our image. Ali stands up for his beliefs and the truth of Democracy. This is not a partisan issue, and should not be. It is Iraq's issue and Ali presents that very well. And liberals thought Iraqis wouldn't understand the concept of Democarcy.

Democratic Hope II

Consider Claudia Rosett's article on OpinionJournal. Many opponents to the future of Democracy in the world suggest that various ethnicites cannot fathom the idea of Democracy. These are the subjective moralists and cultural relativists, that in the New Burkeian's mind, sound more ethnocentric and anti-intellectual than any conservative rhetoric on this topic. President Bush, as naive as his policies may appear, has a vision of 'silent majorities' within every nation of our world. A silent majority did re-elect him, and a silent majority was heard in Ukraine, as well. The principles of Democracy that these silent majorities evoke, speak for the reality and the truth of a Democratic future for our world.

The principles on which President Bush was re-elected are being spread around the globe in a new rennaisance discussed by Rosett:

Despite the perils of our time, despite the terrorists and bombs and war, despite the inevitable erosion of high ideals and disappointments of daily political practice, I will hazard the prediction that if we of the free world stick to our principles--and, where necessary, defend them with our guns--we stand on the verge of a global renaissance.

There is truth in this idea. Former American policy (realpolitik and the neo-cons) acted only on security, at the expense of principle. We created the enemy we now fight because we did not stick to those principles.

With recent success for Democracy in Ukraine, a new hope is spreading around the world for the future of democracy:

In such statements is a world of promise for the people of nations where the moment of democratic truth has not yet arrived. Ukraine is telegraphing around the globe a reminder that freedom brings with it the great gift of dignity. That is precisely why it is so stirring to watch such revolutions. They speak to the best part of the human spirit, because we are witnessing people, often against big odds and at great risk, recovering their self-respect.

And right there is the basic remedy for the miseries of the Middle East. There has been plenty of debate about the humiliations of the Muslim world, and how to redress or contain the rage and hate this breeds. There have been endless disquisitions on the complicated politics, the complex cultural and religious divides, and the--how did Mr. Rybachuk put it?--the idiocy, romanticism and naiveté of the idea, put forward as policy by President Bush, that living under the rule of some of the world's most corrupt thugs are vast silent majorities who given any room to maneuver would prefer to create free societies.

Disagree with President Bush if you want, a silent majority spoke out in America as it did in Ukraine. Right now silent majorities are preparing to speak in Iraq and Palestine. They wish for a return to self-respect, that will in turn develop world respect. When you see the variety of cultures and nations establishing Democarcy, the idea that Democracy is not for everyone begins to sound like the naive one. People yearn to be free.

The Actionary cause is being lifted up around the world. It is distinctly conservative in our country because of the amount of time Democracy has had to develop here. The Actionary has no hesistancy in supporting liberal revolutions towards Democracy, though. This is what liberals in America fail to understand. They should be a model for change in these developing Democracies, but they have turned inwards in complete opposition to the hope for Democracy.

Actionaries are speaking out all over the world, though. They are conservative and liberal, religious and ethical, members of every race on our planet, and they all believe in the truth of Democracy. The silent majority once worked for Democracy in the shadows. Today the silent majority is speaking out all over the world as Actionaries. Here's to the Hope of Democracy.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

China and the Case for Democracy

Consider Mark Helprin's take on our future with China at OpinionJournal:

The short unhappy life of whatever passed for unipolarity is emphatically over not merely because the strategy of the moment has allowed a small force of primitive insurgents in Iraq to occupy a large proportion of American military energy, but because China is now powerful and influential enough, at least as a "fleet-in-being," to make American world dominance inconceivable. And in the longer term, China is bent upon and will achieve gross military and economic parity with the United States.

Once again, the New Burkeian disagrees.

As I have stated before, neo-con philosophy is not the prevailing doctrine of the Actionary. Helprin's analysis derives from the neo-con perspective of a polarized world. With the absence of a massive communist movement, neo-cons turn their attention elsewhere. With the recent success of Democracy in Afghanistan, and the hopeful future for Democracy in Iraq and Palestine, neo-cons are looking for a new enemy. But presenting foreign policy in this fashion is not in America's best interest. The promotion of Democracy is not a negative endeavor.

There are two prevailing world views on our planet: Judeo-Christian and Eastern cosmology. Yet they do not necessarily exist in opposition. And since Democracy is a universal phenomenon, it is accomodating to both cosmologies. Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Democracies exist today. Eastern Democracies exist, as well. Is it necessary to condemn China to authoritative opposition of Democratic powers?

Democracy also comes to fruition in many fashions. Consider the British, American, Japanese, and Indian examples. I fail to see how Democracy cannot be achieved in a Chinese fashion, as well. In fact, China has achieved many reforms since the Cult of Mao. Today, China is administered by technocratic committee. Some semblance of Democracy exists on the local and district level, too. Chinese citizens are allowed to elect their local officials in many areas of the country. The Chinese have experienced a tumultuous time in the past two centuries. If we continue to promote economic and informational reform within China, the possibility for future Democracy is hopeful. China deserves a little more respect after its abuse at the hands of Western Imperialism and Communism.

Helprin also suggests American dominance as a goal. The Actionary does not consider American dominance as a justification for policy. Democracy, in and of itself, is a universal goal, that America has the ability to act upon. There are no alterior motives in this promotion. Simply put, civil societies find peace in their best interest. This is the goal of President Bush's Administration. China is well on its way to achieving civil society. Of course, it will be difficult to assemble a quarter of the world's population into an operational Democracy. But that is up to China, as Iraqi Democracy is up to Iraq.

Consider a world of Democracies: a universal civil society bent on cooperation for humankind. Many avenues open up for the development of the world. Think about the possibility of future space exploration or the development of new energy sources. Do we have a better chance for this than in a world of Democratic cooperation?

Remember that the rhetoric is important in the current promotion of Democracy. We have to actually believe in the truth of what we promote. The New Burkeian believes in these possibilities. As an Actionary, the New Burkeian will promote those ideas. What better friend can we have in this quest than the Chinese, a quarter of the world's population? I believe the future is bright. Do you?

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Democratic Hope

Arthur Chrenkoff, an excellent writer and intelligent person, suggests a difficult transition for Palestinain Democracy:

"Democracy - and the statehood - (probably in that order) will of course both be very positive developments for the Palestinian people, but neither of itself is a magic bullet that will ensure the long-term viable and successful future for the Palestinian nation."

The New Burkeian suggests, otherwise.

I prefer an alternate explanation refered to in Chrenkoff's own post:

"It represents the birth of modern politics in the Arab world through a credible, legitimate process of contesting power that has not been achieved in any Arab country to date."

This is an amazing discovery for subjective moralists everywhere. We have a culture ready to tackle the concept of Democracy on their own. America did not force this on Palestinians. Their leader passed, and they want to achieve civil society, through Democracy, on their own. Even isolationist out there can appreciate this. The formation of a Democracy, in an Arab country, on its own.

Immanuel Kant replies: "The state of peace among men living side by side is not the natural state . . . a state of peace, therefore, must be established."

Indeed, peace must be established among civil societies, through the medium of government. The best form of established commitments appears to be Democracy, to date. What better chance for peace in the Middle East conflict, specifically that between Israelis and Palestinians, than for the opportunity of Democratic compromise. If you really believe in the opportunity of Democratic peace, then you must be ecstatic for the possibility of Palestinian Democracy.

Consider Andrew Olmsted. He suggests the viability of majority rule in a culture that respects power relationships. Think America. If the rhetoric is right, and the intentions are true, you find real power. I see the possibility of the future. A world of true Democratic states, achieved by a mission for real Liberty, working for the cooperation of humanity.

This is the stuff the Actionary works for. We believe in the truth of Democracy. But it is up to the Actionary to achieve this goal of conservative doctrine. Forget what we have seen from the Israeli-Palestinain conflict. Respect the possibility of a civil compromise between historically hostile countries (and I say countries for a reason). The fate of Democracy in the Middle East lies in the Actionary's hands. Do whatever you can, in the context of true Democracy, to contribute to compromise.

As I've said before, the first step to conservative success is the rhetoric. As the party in opposition, we spoke the truth, and convinced the general public of our goals. It is now time to act out upon those principles, to prove to Americans, and to the world respectful of the Hope of Democracy, to achieve those truths.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Objective vs. Subjective Morality

The question of morality was addressed in one of my classes. Is it objective or subjective, and what are the implications for policy? Well, for the seasoned student of politics, you would know that my contempt for cultural relativism would extend to subjective morality. I believe in objective morality, and as such, I believe democracy as an institution best represents the general goals of moral policy.

Subjective moralists suggest that absolute, or general, rules for morality do not apply to the world. They would suggest that every culture has a different judgement on what is 'right', and what is 'wrong'. In other words, "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom-fighter." The subjective moralist would not overtly judge another man's morals. Furthermore, he would suggest that any attempt to imply absolute morals is simply forcing one's ideas on another.

Objective moralists suggest that there are absolute rules that apply to morality. There is 'good' and 'evil'. The distinction between the two is cross-cultural. One man's terrorist is another man's immoral (yet rational) fighter. The killing of innocents intentionally is absloutely wrong. Hitler is 'evil'. Saddam is 'evil'. Bin Laden is 'evil'. The average person in the world is 'good'. And there is nothing inherently wrong with making those judgements.

In class, my support of objective morality was equated with the worst ethnocentric (basically racist and neoconservative) statement to date. It was quite to my amazement that a subjective moralist made the statement. He made a judgement on my moral character because I suggested that there are absolutes when discussing morality. Apparently he was not completely subjective. This is a problem with many subjective moralists. It is okay for them to judge, but not okay for others to judge.

This is the essence of the problem with subjective morality. You cannot judge subjectively. It smells of appeasement. Terrorists are only defending their culture, so we should either ignore them or give them concessions. Saddam was only doing what he thought was right, so we should never have invaded Iraq. Hitler only had intentions for Greater Germany, so we should assume he is a peaceful man. If you want to defend these guys, there is something wrong with your judgement.

Another problem subjective moralists have with their objective counterparts is current American policy for the promotion and support of democracies. They view American policy as an imposition of American values (Democracy) upon people of different moral character. They suggest Arab (not Muslim mind you) culture cannot comply with Democracy. Ethnic groups will fight, terrorist will fight, and the people will not understand how to participate in Democracy.

We had these same sorts of problems in our own country, though. The North and South had two very different cultures. The South participated in an immoral institution. Should the North have accepted slavery subjectively? I think not. So they fought, survived, and still exist today. Basically, infighting within a country is not a valid argument for the inability of Democracy to survive in Arab culture. I might add that Iraq has never experienced such infighting within its borders for thousands of years.

Finally, the subjective moralist would suggest that others view President Bush as an immoral or 'evil' figure. Sometimes perception is wrong, though. I think every person in this country (at least the majority) understand that there is no 'evil' behind President Bush's policies. He simply wants to promote and support democracies in the hopes that the world can one day achieve peaceful relations. He understands that there are 'evil' people in the world. America is one of the few countries that can respond to 'evil', so we should. He also believes that democracies are inherently 'good'. You cannot fool a majority of the people. And since the average person is 'good', majority rule within Democracy is 'good'.

Disagree if you want. But if you are a subjective moralist you better not judge.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Our Friends the Canadians

Ann Coulter recently made remarks on our neighbor to the North. She suggested Canada should not be in opposition to President Bush's policies because we could take them over at any moment. While I enjoy Ms. Coulter's rhetoric on liberals, I believe it to be in stark contrast to the way our new conservatives should speak. I have encouraged a more positive rhetoric that better supports a party in the majority. Perhaps this is why conservatives have had such trouble holding a majority in this country in the past. To make such statements sounds like the old neo-con rhetoric that many Americans despise.

If you did not see President Bush's speech in Halifax, I'd suggest you do so. Many have accused our President of acting unilaterally in the world. His favorable opinion of Canada echoed throughout the speech. Canada is a friend and a quality neighbor to our North. I think their current government understands better the mission America has undertaken. We will listen to our friends to the North, but they must understand that our mission is in the best interest of democracies throughout the world. You do not achieve that support by speaking down to people. You achieve this by allowing them to understand the inherent 'good' in the mission we are undertaking.

Some would accuse the President of pandering, but I believe the President believes in everything he says. These are not empty words being spoken by our President. He believes, as does the New Burkeian, in the truth of Democracy. In turn, a true supporter of Democracy achieves good in the world through contracts with the relevant players. President Bush seeks the honest support of our friends, including Canada. He will act in the interest of our country, as any citizen should, but he wishes to inform democracies everywhere of the peril that threatens us.

Our mission in the Middle East, and elsewhere, is not simply an American mission. It is the mission of those who believe in the positive qualities of a democratic world. No longer will America support tyrants because of security interests. We have no opponent, as we did during the Cold War. The world faces a threat to Liberty and Justice. America, as a powerful entity and one that believes in doing what is right, will pursue threats to those ideals. We can no longer speak of ourselves as a 'Beacon of Liberty' without the actions to assure that.

To be sure, we believe in the rights of self-determination. But we will not allow others to force their will on Freedom loving countries, such as Ukraine. Russia can pursue her own interests within her own borders. And if others, such as Belarus, choose to follow the style of democracy pursued in Russia, then so be it. Our mission is not an Imperialist one. This is the message that conservatives need to get across. Democracies choose their own leaders, and their own policies. If they choose to disagree with the American line, then so be it. But democracies do not actively pursue the destruction of other democracies. I think you would be hard pressed to give an example otherwise.

At any rate, I appreciated the words President Bush spoke to Canada. We do need the support of others in the world. This does not mean we have to bend over backwards to accomodate them. We simply need to get across the positive action of the War on Terror. We have to allow people to understand that America is not power-hungry. We are simple using our power to promote the benefits of the very system we participate in. Perhaps we should have pursued this goal years ago, but it is never too late to start. And it is never too late to ask for the support of other democracies in the world. We will not have to compromise on the beliefs of our mission, though. We simply need to explain to others that America acts in the interest of the entire world. And that is the truth.

This is to the return of old friends to the American cause. We welcome you back with open arms. We humbly thank you for your support.