The Ideological War within the West

By Fonte, John | Review - Institute of Public Affairs, June 2002 | Go to article overview

The Ideological War within the West


Fonte, John, Review - Institute of Public Affairs


NEARLY a year before the September 11 attacks, news stories provided a preview of the transnational politics of the future. In October 2000, in preparation for the UN Conference Against Racism, about 50 American nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) called on the UN `to hold the United States accountable for the intractable and persistent problem of discrimination'.

The NGOs included Amnesty International-USA (AI-USA), Human Rights Watch (HRW), the Arab-- American Institute, National Council of Churches, the NAACP, the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and others. Their spokesman stated that their demands `had been repeatedly raised with Federal and State officials [in the US] but to little effect. In frustration we now turn to the United Nations. In other words, the NGOs, unable to enact the policies they favoured through the normal processes of American constitutional democracy-the Congress, state governments, even the federal courts-appealed to authority outside of American democracy and its Constitution.

At the UN Conference against Racism, which was held in Durban two weeks before September 11, American NGOs supported 'reparations' from Western nations for the historic transatlantic slave trade and developed resolutions that condemned only the West, without mentioning the larger traffic in African slaves sent to Islamic lands. The NGOs even endorsed a resolution denouncing free market capitalism as a `fundamentally flawed system'.

The NGOs also insisted that the US ratify all major UN human rights treaties and drop legal reservations to treaties already ratified. For example, in 1994 the US ratified the UN Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), but attached reservations on treaty requirements restricting free speech that were `incompatible with the Constitution'. Yet leading NGOs demanded that the US drop all reservations and 'comply' with the CERD treaty by accepting UN definitions of `free speech' and eliminating the `vast racial disparities in every aspect of American life' (housing, health, welfare, justice, etc.).

HRW complained that the US offered `no remedies' for these disparities but `simply supported equality of opportunity' and indicated `no willingness to comply' with CERD. Of course, to 'comply' with the NGO interpretation of the CERD treaty, the US would have to abandon the Constitution's free speech guarantees, bypass federalism, and ignore the concept of majority rule-since practically nothing in the NGO agenda is supported by the American electorate.

All of this suggests that we have not reached the final triumph of liberal democracy proclaimed by Francis Fukuyama in his groundbreaking 1989 essay.

POST-SEPTEMBER 11

In October 2001, Fukuyama stated that his 'end of history' thesis remained valid: that after the defeat of communism and fascism, no serious ideological competitor to Western-style liberal democracy was likely to emerge in the future. Thus, in terms of political philosophy, liberal democracy is the end of the evolutionary process. There will be wars and terrorism, but no alternative ideology with a universal appeal will seriously challenge the principles of Western liberal democracy on a global scale.

The September 11 attacks notwithstanding, there is nothing beyond liberal democracy `towards which we could expect to evolve'. Fukuyama concluded that there will be challenges from those who resist progress, `but time and resources are on the side of modernity'.

Indeed, but is 'modernity' on the side of liberal democracy? Fukuyama is very likely right that the current crisis with radical Islam will be overcome and that there will be no serious ideological challenge originating outside of Western civilization. However, the activities of the NGOs suggest that there is already an alternative ideology to liberal democracy within the West that has been steadily evolving for years. …

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

The Ideological War within the West
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.

    Author Advanced search

    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.