Spreading Democracy; 'The Philosophical Argument of the Age'

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), January 18, 2005 | Go to article overview

Spreading Democracy; 'The Philosophical Argument of the Age'


Byline: Tod Lindberg, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

During the remarkable round of interviews he gave to major newspapers last week, President Bush spoke often of his commitment to the spread of democracy, sometimes in startling terms. As he told the Wall Street Journal in an aside after the end of the formal interview, "I understand there are many who say 'Bush is wrong.' I assume I'm right. It's exciting to be part of stimulating a debate of such significance. It really is the philosophical argument of the age." I don't know which is the more remarkable: An American president who thinks in terms of "the philosophical argument of the age." Or that, well, yes, Mr. Bush is right, the question of the spread of democracy really is the philosophical argument of the age.

Mr. Bush has picked his side: He stands for the promotion of democracy and, fresh from his own re-election, has reaffirmed his commitment of the United States to the cause of its promotion. So we have the leader of the world's biggest power committing it to securing "the Blessings of Liberty" - as the Constitution puts it - not just "to ourselves and our Posterity" but across the globe.

Mr. Bush thinks big. Some might have imagined the war on terror to have been his great project and the one on which his legacy would stand or fall. But here, he has subsumed even that task under the broader "philosophical argument of the age": The best weapon against terror is political participation of the sort only democracy allows. Terror is born of alienation from the political process, from denial of the ability to participate in making the decisions that govern one's life.

But isn't the war on terror really a war against Islamist radicalism? Yes, but considered in terms of "the philosophical argument of the age," that radicalism is itself an expression of alienation. It will not survive the extension of democracy and political participation, at least not in nearly so virulent and dangerous a form. Islamism grows where Muslims lack democracy, understood in the sense of a permanent political system of self-governance with regular elections and protected minority rights. Islamism has grown in democratic Europe precisely because of Muslim alienation from politics there.

The post-Cold War era saw the rapid spread and (not without bumps) consolidation of democracy in Central and Eastern Europe. Yet as recently as a year or two ago, it seemed as if the door was closing on the prospect of further extension of the democratic space: Russia was becoming increasingly authoritarian and was meddling to undemocratic effect in its "near abroad"; Afghanistan was badly divided, prone to warlordism; Iraq was a disappointment. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Spreading Democracy; 'The Philosophical Argument of the Age'
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.