18 June 2007

Go Read a Book!

Oh Canadians, at least ye who read the Globe and Mail. We're almost two decades past the end of the Cold War, which concluded with the utter collapse of socialism and revealed its inner bankruptcy--economic, political, and moral. There is no viable legitimate system of governance that can compete with liberal democratic capitalism. None. Fascism? Thoroughly discredited. Authoritarianism? Repugnant. But apparently the socialist dream lives on in this country . . .

In his landmark The End of History and the Last Man, Francis Fukuyama articulates that we have reached the pinnacle of political governance, and it is the one that is embraced by "the major industrial nations" and every successful state. It is democracy, the rule of law, and the capitalist system. There is nothing that can emerge that will rival the success of this system, and nothing in existence that can compete with it for legitimacy among the polities of the world. This is what is meant by "the end of history," which has been defined, says Fukuyama, by the regular and constant struggle between competing ideologies for supremacy. When Soviet communism utterly imploded, there was nothing left to challenge liberal democratic rule-of-law capitalism, thus the "end" was reached. There may still be authoritarian regimes, socialist governments, and even the odd totalitarian dictator, but these are rightly seen for what they are: anachronisms that deny their people the ability to achieve their aspirations, even through latent neglect or outright oppression. They are not viewed with the same legitimacy as democratic governments, and many of them are pariahs, and rightly so.

Yet somehow, G&M respondents believe that there is still hope for the socialist model. I'd imagine that once the state started seizing and re-distributing their assets and property, their minds might change amid the screams of "Foul!" It is incredulous that we need to tout the virtues of democracy in a fully functional and very successful democracy. It is all the more incredulous that there is still a romantic sentiment among some that the socialist way is the better way, or even a "viable political alternative." Any government that is exclusive and denies its citizens equal opportunity to achieve is not viable over the long term; the Soviets learned that the hard way. It will be a cold day in Hell before these granola-crunchers have the opportunity to ruin Canada by imposing a socialist system.

2 comments:

Nathan said...

Alright, after reading this I find myself wondering "What is the premise of Socialism and Authoritarianism?" Not being able to take certain classes, which probably wouldn't have told me the difference between any of the possible ways of governing, really puts a person in a sort of dumb position. So if you may, would you care to explain the idealisms or the over all goal of these two governing bodies?

RGM said...

Certainly.

Socialism grew out of Marxism, and thus its primary objectives are economically based: the replacement of the capitalist system and the erosion of its inherent individualism and materialism. They're not big believers in private property and favour income redistribution, whether via taxation of the wealthy (democratic socialists) or outright appropriation (as we've seen in Venezuela, where Chavez is nationalizing everything and seizing wealth). They're the ones you see wearing Che Guevara shirts around town, secretly longing for the revolution that will sweep away capitalism and all its excesses. They want the government to run all aspects of life, and are very limiting on individual freedom.

Authoritarianism is a form of government in which the leadership, be it a small group or an individual, holds a heavy hand and exercises much more power over peoples' lives than does a democratic government. They may control the press, shut down political discussion and dissent, and jail dissidents that they perceive as a threat to their rule. The objective of an authoritarian government is to consolidate its power so that it may rule indefinitely without obstruction or dissent. These governments can be either socialist or more right-wing in their natures.

Hope that helps a bit.