Western Liberal Democracy is Winning, but Needs to Tidy Up a Few Things

Hooray for Western Liberal Democracies! Just when you thought that rigid Fascist-Nationalists like Putin, Jinping, and Trump were going to take over the world, Zelensky creates a fantastic advertisement for the kick-ass merits of good ol’ traditional American and European values (which seem to utilize smart/diverse people to create an overwhelming industrial war-machine). But hold on…can this last? Should we think about cleaning up around our rough edges?

Oddly, this may be a look at some of the West’s victorious International warriors…

Kind of surprising that for all the American and European entitlement/naughtiness, our missiles still work while the Russians’ go “pfffffft”, and the Chinese have their hands full with a perhaps not-sustainable lid on the internet/human rights. What’s going on here? Aren’t we supposed to be the weak and silly ones? I suspect that great minds tend towards the naughty (free-range minds?) and head West to design better computer chips assembled in factories staffed by a few immigrants, women, and LGBTers, which obliquely wins wars and provides a kind of self-correcting, possibly global warming/deficit solving machinery. But can it be sustained? Will Russia/China regroup and create a more tech-smart and manly fighting force using really smart Oligarchs and incredibly grateful slave labor? As Karl Marx said, will Capitalists sell us the rope with which to hang ourselves? Will we gag on our own free speech and cheap drugs? Create some sort of superbug STD that renders already limp-wristed us sterile while creating an ineffective military that turns our “Rockys” into “Rockettes”? Let’s find out!

WHY LIBERAL DEMOCRACY IS WINNING: In the 30s, Hitler and Hirohito thought we were a bunch of softies and underestimated our patriotic and production potentials. Liberal Democracy does that…the “transparency” aspect makes one think that we are pulling in different directions, when in actuality, we are diverse and working towards solutions on many levels. Put simply, when the U.S. politically overcame “America First” isolationists like Charles Lindbergh and Henry Ford (actually Nazi-sympathizers?), they began a dynamic trajectory. They took in intelligent international scientists like Albert Einstein and Enrico Fermi, and put them to work on the Manhattan Project. They started putting women and minorities to work in aircraft and munition factories. They cooperated with neighboring countries to help make munitions (remember the “La Bamba” song came from a presumably happy Veracruz, Mexico bomb factory). They paid workers well and gave them proper medical care (as in the Kaiser shipyards in Richmond, CA). They rounded up a bunch of smart (and sometimes naughty) people to crack foreign codes. Taken together, it was one dynamic industrial machine that pretty much overwhelmed the Germans and Japanese (and later the Soviets). Since then, Liberal Democracy (and you might say its companion “Compassionate Capitalism”?) has taken hold in many countries, most recently the Ukraine. For all the talk of liberal decadence (and we’ll get to that later), Liberal Democracy seems to perhaps be smacking Authoritarianism up the side of the head…but can it last?

Yes, Alan Turing happened to be gay, but he cracked German codes during WW II for the Allies, possibly saving millions of lives. Smart people are often effective in war, and sometimes have unique habits. Shouldn’t the British authorities have been nicer to him, provided he agreed to some small degree of self-restraint?

Racism and Diversity, Where is this Going?: Ok, if you accept that diversity wins wars and attracts smart people, then let’s pose this thought experiment…”what if the U.S. accepted all applicants for immigration”? Obviously, Liberal Democracy is the club everyone wants to join, and if this happened the whole world might move here, creating an end-of-days type of pollution, crime, poverty, and unrest. We get a black-eye for being “racist” but if all is known, we are probably the least racist place in history (though our hard-hitting free press may imply otherwise). A solution might be to find a place or places in the world where refugees can go (that isn’t the U.S.), where Liberal Democracy is the rule, some place like Manitoba, Madagascar, or Tasmania. Granted, it might be expensive to relocate all those refugees to all those out-of-the-way places, but the alternatives are worse. Meanwhile, the U.S. might have to admit that it is “selectively racist”, which is to say it doesn’t allow immigrant spies from N. Korea, China, or Russia and dangerous Islamic people from the Middle East (some good vetting required here). It might also start investing in factories in Latin America and elsewhere so as to export Liberal Democracy and keep would-be refugees home. Meanwhile, Liberal Democracy will do what it always does, preach a sort of Hakuna Matata to all races and creeds, which seems to produce a great production machine (and perhaps alleviate future National Debt)

The Growing National Debt: And speaking of National Debt, one wonders if Liberal Democracy is so busy trying to make everyone happy that it creates funny-money printing with no fiscal responsibility. Yet once again, we ran up tremendous debt after World War II and somehow managed to largely pay it off by the 60s (the other grateful countries that we helped mostly paid us back and bought a lot of our stuff). Does the economy of a Liberal Democracy pay for itself in the long-run? Not necessarily, I’m going to say, since there is “good debt” (that which makes workers productive and happy, invests in future technology) and “bad debt” (worthless luxuries, like silly rich people’s yachts bought by white collar Michael Milken types, shitty tech like Pintos and $500 military hammers). Yet for all the criticism given Democratic Capitalism, it seems to produce billionaire philanthropists (Gates, Bezos, and especially their ex-wives) and the “invisible hand” is now even tackling climate change (Hey! There’s money in those photovoltaics and natural gas CO2 scrubbers!). Liberal Democracy always worries about itself, and perhaps it will someday worry itself into a Simpson Bowles bipartisan entitlement and taxation solution (boy does that seem a long ways off though).

I hate to bring Madonna into all this, but the viability of Western Freedoms and Democracy may be at stake

Free Speech Excess: Free speech is one of the pillars of Liberal Democracy, yet lately it is being used by conservative Media and Courts to support things like Fox News and “Corporate Free Speech” (Citizens United). Why even the treasonous Jan 6 riot is called “legitimate political discourse” by Republican apologists. The Liberals and ACLUs of the world have only themselves to blame, as they took flag-burning and obscene hip-hop lyrics too far. Many say that “Free Speech should not be allowed when it incites violence”, but other than the “falsely yelling fire in a theater” that’s sometimes hard to define. But now there needs additionally to be the “0.08 of Free Speech” whereupon some sort of “If its more than 50% bullshit, it’s not free speech” law needs to take hold. This might put Trump, Tucker Carlson, Rappers, and many vitamin and fake-cure sellers out of business real quick.

Whining and Conflicting RIghts: As any George Carlin or Bill Maher adherent will tell you, denizens of Liberal Democracies need to stop whining. As your parents probably taught you as a child, “sticks and stones will break your bones but names don’t hurt”, and if it hurt, you needed to “tell” but if it didn’t you needed to shut the ef up. There’s also the case of conflicting rights and our wonderful free-market business policies, so if the Bakery won’t make your Gay wedding cake, respect the rights of the owner and find another Bakery.

Kim Jong-un…making the wrong friends? Relax and play a game of MahJong-un?

Sex Preference-Linked Special Interest Groups and Libertines: The criticisms often lobbed at Liberal Democracies from Authoritarian Fascists generally involve the empowerment of women, LGBT, and those with “loose morals”. Fair enough, some of these people need to get a grip, for fear of us turning into “sissy nations” incapable of creating viable replacements (often called “children”), but what exactly is up with all this? Are “loose morals” tolerated in a Liberal Democracy the sugary drink that eventually clogs our Western arteries? I suppose a moderate two-step is in order here, since Liberal Democracy could tell a gay Alan Turing something like “As long as you crack Nazi codes, I don’t care what you do in your off time, but could you please lay off the underage ones?” Or mention to a party-hat-bra’d Madonna “I’m fine with you marketing your female empowerment thing with that on stage, but if you wear it into a bar we don’t have the resources to protect you”. The “libertarian-with-limits 0.08” comes into play too, where an abortion limit of, lets say, 12 weeks (kinda sorta before detectable fetal heartbeat) is in order since any less creates an un-fundable army of police with speculums and any more a type of sexual slothfulness that works against the family (Yes, viable families are still important to the future of Liberal Democracies). Female empowerment (which has been shifting rightward as of late) may end in the political middle when the dust settles, about where it ends up with men (a kind of be smart, do sports, work, don’t complain, and for God’s sakes be consistent and good to your spouse and kids).

The Kim Jong Uns, Ayatollah Khameneis, Putins and Jinpings may suffer from the “if you want your teenager to do something, tell them they can’t do it” effect. Meanwhile, Liberal Democracy seems to self-heal, as many of these problems are already on their way to solutions, as we sort of productively party our way to success (with frequent morning-after guilt).

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Vern Scott

Scott lives in the SF Bay Area and writes confidently about Engineering, History, Politics, and Health