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Iraq Election: Left World, Our World

by Christopher Chantrill
December 18, 2005 at 11:04 am

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IT WAS A famous victory, the election of 12/15—for Iraq, for President Bush-in-a-Bubble, for his not always constant supporters, and for the men and women of the incomparable U.S. armed forces. For a moment we can take a moment to savor the emotion of the moment, like that of the Iraqi general, Mustafa Abdul Aziz, who returned from abroad to vote, only to find out that he was not on the election roll. Could he at least dip his finger in the indelible purple ink?

“‘That’s okay,’ they told me. And as I dipped my finger in the inkpot, my eyes watered and tears started coming down,” Abdul Aziz said at the polling center, surrounded by poll workers overcome by his story. “That’s what we always wanted, a chance to live a free democratic life. I and my family had suffered just to have such a day, and now it has become a reality.”

But let us not be distracted by hearts and flowers. Let us remember the Iraqi election of December 15, 2005 as another small step in the advance of global democratic capitalism and self-government.

If our lefty friends seem less than enthusiastic about all this, it is because they experience the advance of democratic capitalism not as the advance of civilization but as an imperial conquest of the kind represented by Genghis Khan, Attila the Hun, or Adolf Hitler. But they are wrong.

Genghis Khan rode out on the Asian steppe in the thirteenth century to bring the whole world under his personal rule. But the Europeans who sailed the oceans of the world starting in 1492 spread like the anonymous vectors of an epidemic. Under the commercial empires of the Dutch Republic and Britain, a decentralized infection of global commerce spread from Europe to India and Indonesia, and then to China. Now the western virus, growing stronger over the years, is threatening to overcome the hardy resistance of the Middle East. The left hates it. Why is that?

As Nietzsche taught us in The Birth of Tragedy, the world is a contest between the Apollonian and the Dionysian, the forces of order and bright shining surface versus the chthonic forces of instinct and disorder. But the two opposites need each other. The Apollonian needs the chaotic forces of the Dionysian to save it from sterility, while the Dionysian needs the Apollonian to save it from an orgy of self-destruction. It cannot therefore be a surprise that in the middle of the nineteenth century a dark force arose from the global ooze to oppose the harmonious, ordered, self-governing commonwealth of democratic capitalism. We call this global counterforce the Left.

The Left hates our democratic capitalism and always will. Its well-born fanatics oppose against the virtuous circle of western law and enterprise a witch’s brew of romantic idealism and revolutionary blood lust. They long for a world of perfect peace and caring community while secretly lusting after the homicidal orgasm of the bloodthirsty terrorist gang. And they always will.

This is a good thing. The ever-present Dionysian left forces the Apollonian world of democratic capitalism to constantly critique and improve itself.

But wait, you say. Doesn’t the left believe in non-violence, that “violence never solves anything?” How come it opposes the spread of capitalist prosperity yet passes in silence over the beheadings of terrorists? It’s an interesting question. The left answers it by dividing its world into two. There is first of all the world of “us,” the educated, rational elite in where differences are resolved in facilitated discussions between stakeholders. Then there is the world of “them”—the oppressed—where violence threatens to break out if the just demands of the oppressed and the traditionally marginalized are not met. It’s a variation on the old Billie Holiday song: Comes rage, nothing can be done.

In their world the idea of a risky, sustained effort to extend the commonwealth of democratic capitalism to 27 million people suffering under a brutal dictator, an effort renewed in the face of mistakes, setbacks, and a hail of elite criticism, just doesn’t make sense.

In their world Time has chosen Bono and the Gateses instead of the Iraqi people as Persons of the Year for 2005. Time prefers to celebrate elite Lady Bountifuls and their billions instead of ordinary Iraqis struggling to establish self-government.

But in our world, the world of self-governing families, freedom, commerce, and nations under God, every small advance in the frontiers of freedom such as the late, great Iraqi national election is an occasion to rejoice, just like that former Iraqi general who didn’t even get to vote.

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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presented by Christopher Chantrill

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