Skip to main content

See also:

Putin vs. Ukraine: A Dangerous Confrontation

Putin: Unrepentant Fascist
Putin: Unrepentant Fascist
Photo by Handout/Getty Images

I do not believe that every society can adopt or adapt to our classical liberal system. Most lack the institutions, ideology and the civil society to do so. However, these can over time be established is some countries, given the right conditions. Some might not understand this, but democracy and liberty are not the same thing. Liberty is about individual freedom: to worship, to believe and to conduct yourself in accordance with one's beliefs, to use one's talents to accumulate wealth (property), to move about, to associate with others, to speak one's mind, to defend oneself and one's family and property with firearms if needed, to be free from government appropriation of one's wealth, to be free from government tyranny, spying and oppression which comes in countless forms.
It is this liberty that our classical liberalism has created, based on our system of a democratic republic, which itself was based on Classical Greek thought as enhanced by the Judeo-Christian tradition and the ideas of Montesquieu and Locke. Democracy, on the other hand, simply means the right to vote for your government officials. Democracy can exist without much liberty (many countries are in this position; Egypt for one example, Russia for another); however, liberty cannot exist without at least some degree of self-government. But democracy does not automatically lead to individual liberty. In addition, democracy can continue to exist while one's liberty is slowly stripped away, which is happening in America today. However, we still live in the best country in the world, and we still have the best combination of all things. Western Europe, having been dominated from the mid nineteenth century by an anti-liberal strain of progressivism which molted into fascism and Marxism, may never shake off this anti-liberal infection. Eastern Europe, historically dominated by tyrannical Tsars or Muslim Ottomans, has never really experienced an "enlightenment", although it still benefits from the Judeo-Christian influences. The attempt to transplant democracy into these areas without a base in civil society and institutions following the demise of the Marxist states is mostly a failure.
Putin comes from a class of tyrannical bullies, spawned by this Marxist ideology, rooted in fascist-progressivism, and I believe the same is true for the "leaders" in Kiev. My point is this: Our (America's) foreign policy needs to take into account the reality of the fact that this is a classic "balance of power" struggle between Europe/USA on one side, and Russia on the other, being played out on the front lines by Ukrainian soldiers pushed by an anti-liberal Kiev with its partners the EU/USA, up against the fascist Putin-orchestrated savvy Russian "rebels", both sides equipped with high tech anti-aircraft systems. It is probably in America's best interests at the current time to ensure that Putin's ambitions are halted immediately in this arena; we do not want another world war. Unfortunately, it is doubtful that Obama has either the will or skill to do this. The shoot down was most likely an accident in the sense that it was not intended that a passenger plane be taken out, but that only demonstrates the potential for disaster and an expanded war.