Wednesday, June 13, 2012

On Ideas and Consequences

In my last post, I bemoaned the fact that throughout the Twentieth Century (and before), the world has suffered a deplorable lack of prudence (read "sound judgement") on the part of ideologues, politicians, economists, social engineers; in effect, the people who are expected to lead our nations and guide them through the good times and bad have ultimately failed us over the course of most of a century. I want to explore this topic more in depth in this post.

As we have seen with numerous examples over the last century (I examined the Habsburg fiasco in my last post, but there are others, including-and it pains me to say this-the recent Iraq War) where good intentions and even noble causes have, in the end, produced disastrous results. In the case of Iraq, I agree that our cause was noble: to free the Iraqi people from the oppression of a cruel dictator and give them the ability to decide their own fate is not a heinous goal. But our attempt to install a democracy in a land that has never experienced it (and never will, I might add) was folly. Too often our Western ideologues focus only on the idea and how good it sounds on the ear and tongue. To consider the effects of the idea never occurs to them, for that would require dropping their naive optimism and actually using their brains. That is why they are ideologues: they are immersed in the idea, and never have the prudence or foresight to consider what comes next. In Iraq, our idea to disband the Iraqi Army in the effort to "de-Baathitize" the government, while ideologically laudable, paved the way for the insurgency by putting hundreds of soldiers out of a job and leaving no law-enforcement or peacekeeping force in Iraq besides the Coalition troops, primarily Americans. I do not question the integrity or sincerity in the efforts to get rid of the remnants of an oppressive regime, but I do question the attempt to try and keep law with perhaps 300,000 combat troops in a country of 26 million. While Iraq may one day experience prosperity and democracy, and I stress "maybe", it is unlikely. As much as I hated Saddam Hussein and his thugs and all like him, keeping a few of his cronies around to control their troops and keep order, particularly the Republican Guard and SpecOps, would have saved us the trouble of having to send in a surge.

The same idea exists in the radical ideologies, particularly socialism. As conservatives, I and others like me take into consideration history, culture, society, and political systems when evaluating before hand. Socialism does not: it has no respect for culture, society, history or, in particular, religious attitudes. It sweeps all before it in its attempt to "remake" the world. Hence the particularly disastrous results of the socialist and communist experiments the world over. And even those proponents of "democracy" sometimes morph into the ideologues they say they abhor. "Democracy", to the conservative, in particular the "social-democracy" so prevalent these days, is just as bad as communism because it preaches a dependence on the state. The welfare state sounds good on paper, but, as we can see in the present Euro-Zone crisis, it breeds a false sense of security, and ultimately is the long, slow death of culture. Fashionable ideas give way to unintended consequences, which few if any "modern" thinkers take the time to consider before implementing their agendas.

Do I think that Karl Marx had an ulterior motive when he penned his vision of Socialism? Perhaps he did, but I do not think offhand that he did. But I do not think, to be frank, that he considered the effect his ideas would have upon the world. His intentions may have been good at first, but those with less honest intentions have twisted and bastardized his ideas so badly that they cannot and will not work at all. I do not even think that his ideas, though eloquently written, were even that well thought out. "All history is the story of class warfare?" What history was he reading? Where did this absurd idea come from? The man, in my opinion, was a philosophically-unstable old fool who came up with half-baked ideas and had a heck of a marketing plan. We've reaped the whirlwind of his ideas ever since.

Remember my rubric of just ends and means? "The end justifies the means if and only if the means are worthy of the end." This may come out as a fallacy, but I do not think so. To be honest, I have always thought that just because a conclusion my meet the criteria of "fallacy", does not necessarily make it true. So it is with this rubric. And as I stated in my first post, the means of achieving socialism and its conclusive phase, communism, are not worthy of the end, and both the end and means should be abhorrent to the lovers of our Republic, our Liberty, and of the Natural Rights, inherent as children of God.

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