November 6, 2003

It is the practice of democracy that makes a nation ready for democracy...

President Bush's speech today at the National Endowment of Democracy is well worth reading. One bit I liked:

....Time after time, observers have questioned whether this country or that people or this group are ready for democracy, as if freedom were a prize you win from meeting our own Western standards of progress.

In fact, the daily work of democracy itself is the path of progress. It teaches cooperation, the free exchange of ideas, peaceful resolution of differences.

As men and women are showing from Bangladesh to Botswana to Mongolia, it is the practice of democracy that makes a nation ready for democracy and every nation can start on this path....

Bush gets it. Self-government is something you learn by doing, and making mistakes. It doesn't come from achieving some critical mass of intellectuals in tweed jackets. In fact having too many intellectuals is dangerous.

Most likely it IS necessary to have a critical mass of the more-or-less Middle Class. Or at least Middle Class in outlook; one of the strengths of America is that many of our have-nots don't think of themselves as being in conflict with the haves! They suspect it's possible to become 'haves' themselves. This is maddening and frustrating to leftist demagogues...

Posted by John Weidner at November 6, 2003 8:28 PM
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