Sunday, January 1, 2012

Michael Gerson, Ron Paul & Congo: Putting The Horse Behind The Cart

Former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson claimed months ago that more government is the solution to eastern Congo:
"In America, we are engaged in a debate about the size and role of government. But eastern Congo demonstrates the consequences of government’s absence. A state of nature — even an Eden of bougainvillea and natural wealth — is ruled by the most ruthless. Resources become a curse, propping up corrupt elites. Houses are surrounded by barbed wire, potholes consume the streets, the electricity flickers and helplessness becomes a habit.
Eastern Congo is both a tragedy and a lesson in political philosophy. Human beings need bread and justice and freedom. And all are made possible by orderly, responsible government. "
A clear attempt to attack Ron Paul (his video's on  this sunday two days before the Iowa Caucuses through the link) and at the same time a clear distortion of the causes of the problems in eastern Congo. Today Michael Gerson followed up on this piece on Congo:
"Paul's conception of liberty is not the same as Lincoln's - which is not a condemnation of Lincoln. Paul's view would have freed African-Americans from the statism of the Emancipation Proclamation and the Civil Rights Act. It would have freed the occupants of concentration camps from their dependency on liberating armies. And it would free the Republican Party from any claim to conscience or power."
Which reminded me of two things. First, Martin Luther King placed the battle for civil rights in a larger context of democratic development worldwide:
 "In one sense the civil rights movement in the United States is a special American phenomenon which must be understood in the light of American history and dealt with in terms of the American situation. But on another and more important level, what is happening in the United States today is a relatively small part of a world development."
How is supporting undemocratic bloodsoaked dictators like Yoweri Museveni and Paul Kagame in central Africa (for well over a decade) in line with Martin Luther King's position?  How is helping Paul Kagame rig elections in 2010 and giving diplomatic cover for the recent election rigging in Congo in line with Martin Luther King's above stated views? Liberty and democracy was central in speeches by Kennedy and Reagan. What has happened to political parties in the US and Europe since the fall of the Berlin wall?

My theory, since the fall of the Berlin wall the ennemy of liberty has become much stronger and smarter. Instead of a visible iron curtain, the ennemy of freedom and liberty is now within our own countries, our own political parties: communitarism. Gerson believes communitarianism to be the only valid form of Christian political engagement, amazing. Offcourse you can put on your communitarian goggles and claim Francis Schaeffer, Martin Luther King, Klaas Schilder, Dooyeweerd or Abraham Kuyper to all be communitarians. As @AriMelber observes in Iowa, evangelicals love Ron Paul:
"Paul is winning the libertarian primary and getting a decent look in the conservative primary. "
Olasky and Gerson have lost grip on the conservative Christian vote which they held hostage for over a decade with their communitarian heuristic.

Secondly, Gerson's piece reminded me of Mike Huckabee's words in 2008 concerning Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement in the video below:
"As most of you know I had the extraordinary privilege of being a part of the service honoring Dr. King today. And it was a magnificient tribute to one of the greatest leaders of our country and really of all time. I was asked before we went into the ceremony why I was there. What did I think Dr. King's particular contribution was. And I reminded the questioner that it was not the government, unfortunately, that really led the civil rights movement and opened up doors of opportunity, It was Dr. King who from his position of courage and moral character and his convictions as one who believed that this was a right versus wrong issue based on his own personal convictions that came from his minsitry and his life. He led and government had to follow. And had he not led, I'm not sure government would have ever gotten the message."
Gerson puts the horse behind the cart!


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