“When it came to the most shameful chapter in America’s history, Benjamin Franklin’s words did not match his actions. He spoke of liberty and was a key contributor to the Declaration of Independence (“All men are created equal”), yet he owned slaves for more than 40 years. He sought to prove to Britain that his nation was the land of freedom, yet accepted – and even profited from – chattel slavery as a matter of course.“ By Annette John-Hall INQUIRER STAFF WRITER February 25, 2006
Respectable liberal philosophers and politicans like John Locke, Thomas Jefferson and even the great progressive thinker Voltaire were slave owners, too.
The „liberal“ ideas of these respectable contributors to human progress seemed not to interfere with the personal profit they earned from exploiting other people’s labour for free nor from treating women as secondary citizens.
Historically when liberal democrats invoke „democratic control“ they mean „control by those with property“. This is the essence of „limited government“ which in practice, has meant among other things that large scale social and economic agendas cannot be pursued.“ (Karsten J. Struhl quoted by Tesfastion Medhanie, „Justice from within: Legal pluralism in Africa and beyond“ in Studien zur Rechtswissenschaft, Hamburg 2011).
The US a Role Model for Democracy?
The United States of America, the ‘role model of liberal democracy’, often refered to as the first democracy in the Western world, did permit slave trade until the mid nineteenth century and deprived the decendants of the slaves of full citizen’s rights until the midth of the 20th century.
The New England States were established by settlers from Europe who erected their „liberal democracy“ on territories, they had taken away from the native population with brutal force. The weapons that had helped them to challenge the British Crown and to submit the native peoples came from intimate deals with the then absolute monarchy of France under Louis XVI. About a decade later the king was beheaded from his own people in their struggle for „Liberty-Equality- Brotherhood“.
Dropping of A-bombs as life saver?
The first nation who did employ the A-bomb twice was the ‘liberal democracy’ of the USA.
Their alleged motive was to save more US-soldiers lives. For this purpose they sacrificed thousands of Japanese people and future generations were exposed to genetic mutilation.
NATO military alliance versus UN?
The nation that created NATO after the second world war in 1949 pretending it to be a defense alliance and forced other nations into joining them, was the ‘cradle of western democracy’, the United States of America, “God’s own country”.
Protestantism state-building fundament?
US – “exceptionalism” is based on fundamentalist protestantism. The exclusive religious conviction binds her citizens to swear on the Bibel if called to court.
Death penalty – an achievment of liberal democracy?
The ‘starlight’ of Western democratic virtues seemed not to fade away when the joung Jewish couple Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, both pyhsicians, parents of two young children were executed on an electric chair under an espionage frame in1953. No media has ever raised an issue of anti-semitism.
Death penalty is still a matter of course in the States and disproportionally applied on black citizens to this very day.
Disrespect for Dissent a democratic virtue?
‘Liberal democratic values’ seemed not to suffer when thousands of prominent and less prominent communists or so called ‘Fellow Travellers’ were jailed under Mc Carthy’s Witch Hunt in the 40s and 50s, many of them of Jewish decent. The Rosenbergs happened to be members of the Communists Party, so was Howard Fast, the author of “SPARTACUS”, who was put in jail. Even prominent playwright Arthur Miller was spied upon. Artists like Charlie Chaplin and Thomas Mann (holding a US-passport) were chased out of the country.
Liberal democracy and export article?
‘Liberal democracy made in USA” seemed not yet doomed when the country, proud defender of individual and liberal freedom rights elsewhere, started to wage wars against countries that did not comply. All over the globe countries that had never ever thought of attacking the well protected and highly militarized United States of America. However, the alleged and outspoken objective of these ‘wars’ in guise of humanitarian interventions was to export democracy, to introduce “freedom rights” elsewhere and to implant the US model of liberalism in other sovereign.
Limited freedom rights in their own ‘backyard’, necessity for US liberty ?
According to the Monroe Doctrine of 1823 – again under the allegation of securing ‘freedom rights’ for the people of Latin America – the US secured its own privilege to interfere military and brutally in Southern America at any time it was considered appropriate. The freedom struggle of the Latinos was good, as long as it was directed against Spain and other European colonizers, but became illegitimate as incompatible with US interests in so far as South Americans sought independence and sovereignty from their Big Brother in the North.
‘Regime Change’ thru sabotage, infiltration and military intervention a democratic strategy?
The history of interference into the internal affairs of the then Soviet Union for ‘regime change’ needs to be still written. It began with military intervention and ended with sabotage and infiltration. The result was “regime change” in liberal democratic colors. More of such colorful “revolutions” were instigated and lead to social disintegration and war in Eastern Europe, latest examples Georgia and Ukraine. In the minds of US-democratic-strategists this was all done in order to saveguard ‘Western liberal democratic values’. What are these values all about? Values that command immoral means to be executed?
‘Liberation Wars’ made in the US: TINA?
The Corean War, the Vietnam War, the slaughtering of the Indonesian communists in the fifties of the last century, the Lumumba murder, all these acts of foreign interference into sovereign nations were they ‘necessary’ in order to protect ‘freedom and democracy and western values’. If so, are we holding up to false values?
The end of history – liberal democracy under Stars and Stripes?
After the Soviet Union was done away with, after the ‘fall of the wall’ in 1989, ‘the greatest challenge for Western values’ was pushed aside. But the defense of ‘Western, democratic, liberal values’ called for the continuation of a profitable arms industry and therefore commanded more wars. Forthcoming peace was a nightmare for those defenders of Western values.
After 1989 the concept of ‘liberalism’ was gradually transformed openly into a mind set of pure economic nature. Big Business was ‘to be liberated from any conceivable social obligations’.
‘The nation state’ itself became an outdated notion in the minds of Western liberal democrats. As it were any government was to serve exclusively the interests of the strongest and fittest economical units. Big business had been longing for liberation from any kind of bonding towards the working part of the population for a long time.
New Credo after 1989 “Freedom for US- Capital” – Make way for the Fittest?
Away with protective rights on the work place!
Away with social service plans or up-keeping plans for infrastructure! These mechanisms are chains.
Big Business was gradually ‘liberated’ from any kind of bonding.
Warfare a legitimate means for liberating markets?
War was obviously becoming a legitimate means for securing markets and natural resources for US and Western big firms.
Regimes that did not see the need for such comprehensive ‘liberalism’ were to be drowned, by force if needed. Jugoslavia, Afghanistan, Irak, Libya, Syria, Ukraine and possibly Russia and of course China.
Africa, rich in natural resources, had to be treated as usual: Either you give us for free or ‘we’ Western democracies take our liberties and get what we need by force. As well educated and well developed Western democrats ‘we’ have our means. If worse comes to worst, ‘we’ hire mercenaries, we hire gangsters and call them dhihadists of all shades. As a result ‘we’ enlightened and secular people as we are, we will be obliged to send troops to liberate those underdeveloped countries haunted by terrorists and establish our notion of liberal democratic rule onto to those backward societies..
The Middle East is ours of course. Israel, the purest liberal democracy is our closest ally. Therefore we support this advanced country with billions of military aid. The feudal gulf emirates are our allies, too, inspite of their medieval character. As they are good friends with Israel and support our democratic Western standards we help them, too, as they help us.
The importance of using the right words
Terminologie, words, notions are of utmost importance! Terms of conducts are, too. But definition of wording is subject to power relations and not neutral at all. We the 99% of the people must insist on our own notions, on our understanding of DEMOCRACY.
The original meaning of the pure word democracy is people’s power. Its origin is Greek, ‘demos’ meaning the people and ‘cratein’ to rule, to exert power. Therefore the essence of democracy focuses on the empowerment of the people, self goverment, constitutional rights, division of power, checks and balances, public media as an instrument of control against power. However, the notion of democracy as well as the notion of liberalism have been forcibly and twisted and turned into their very opposite.
The original meaning of liberalism aims at freedom from bonding, from slavery. It aims at liberating deprived people and secure their basic human rights. Human Rights are enshrined in the International Declaration of Human Rights of Dec. 10th 1948. Freedom of Want for all individuals, re-establishing dignity to human relationships, equality for all and everybody are some of its basic ingredients.
These positive human notions have been deprived of their very essence. Liberal democracy had been turned into an instrument of a tiny minority that has once again in history usurpated the power to rule over the rest of humanity. Liberty for a few implies slavery for the majority. Libertinism implies drug abuse, abuse of women, abuse of the weaker ones in society.
Liberty begins were necessity ends. Freedom of Want is a prerogative.
Human Values are Universal: UN-Charta first!
Western values have been turned into ‘values’ of brutes, of warriors, of colonizers.We must denounce these false values. We must return to the values of the Human Rights Convention, to the standards of legality as enshrined in the UN-Charta, a basic document that every country small and large has committed itself to. We, the people are now called to its defense.
This is so, because ‘liberal values’ propagated as ‘western democratic standards’ in its extreme bear the potential to annihilate human life on earth, from within their own society and by the threat of war, even a thermo nuclear war is not excluded from their ‘value’ system.
Extreme Liberalism, permissiveness, that pretends to know no taboo, leads to the destruction of the family, the neglect of children and the abuse of the weakest.
The arts deprived of protection and societal support are losing any meaningful sense.
Perverted into instruments of brutality and war mongering the media serve the weapons industry and help create the monsters that consequently will swallow all.
The earlier we turn away from such libertinism, the better for our respective societies.
Turn to study the Human Rights Declaration of 1948 and the UN Charta of 1945. There are the democratic values we need to defend and we need to struggle for its implementation.
Irene Eckert, 1. März 2015