No sooner do I call it out than both the Weekly Standard and National Review abruptly abandon their democratic revolutionism and go far beyond the old dictatorships-and-double-standards standby, sounding an awful lot like Edmund Burke, if not Joseph de Maistre, in warning ominously about the dangers of the mob. But the news comes today that Mohammed el Baradei is taking charge, signifying that he will be there to lead the national unity government that the protesters are demanding. This, in short, is the very Burkean outcome which has been ideal all along.
While we’re on the subject of what Burke would say about the events in the Middle East, we can also take heart in the fact that there is an even greater prospect for a constiutional process in bringing to power the opposition in Yemen. And nowhere is deference for the existing institutions and mores more visible than Lebanon. So therefore let me take this opportunity to reiterate some important blunt truths about Lebanon:
- Lebanon is a democracy, albeit with peculiar features. Like most Latin American countries historically, it is a democracy rigged against the popular will. What would please Edmund Burke more than to see this corrected for by peaceful constitutional means, insofar as the inclusion of Hezbollah in the new government serves this purpose?
- Like Hamas, Hezbollah is not at war with the United States, and it is pernicious in the extreme to suggest that because they are at war with Israel they are ipso facto at war with the United States.
- Like Hamas, Hezbollah is a rational actor, and as is so often the case with Israel the insistence that its enemies are not rational actors is a bald case of projection. In both cases, but particularly in the case of Hezbollah, this is vitally important in recognizing that they can be worked with in a peaceful and democratic process.
- Neither Syria nor Iran is a threat to Lebanese sovereignty. The real threat to Lebanese sovereignty is the hubristic “international” tribunal that presumes to have the authority of law over the sovereign nation of Lebanon.
So as the momentum seems to ever more clearly build to neoconservatism’s 1989, I shall conclude with the words of that great admirer of Edmund Burke Murray Rothbard:
Our enemies accuse us, in horror and astonishment, of wanting to repeal the 20th century. Heaven forfend! Who would want to repeal the century of horror, the century of collectivism, the century of mass destruction and genocide, who would want to repeal that! Well, we propose to do just that. When I was growing up, the main argument for communism was inevitability – ‘you can’t turn back the clock’ they chanted – but the clock of the once mighty Soviet Union is not only turned back, but lies dead and broken forever. And just as they, over there, broke the clock of Bolshevism, so too we, over here, shall break the clock of Menshevism. We shall break the clock of social democracy. We shall break the clock of the New Deal. We shall break the clock of perpetual war. We shall repeal the 20th century.
All praise is due to Allah for the breaking of the clocks.