Saturday, July 16, 2016
'Democracy' means we're always right
Late last night the BBC (and Fox News) predicted the success of the coup attempt in Turkey. They were rather happy about it, to be honest. The army was defending secularism against an increasingly authoritarian, Islamic-inclined President.
Yes, that would President Erdoğan. A leader elected largely by the pious, rural smallfolk. Thank God for the military, always ready to defend democracy against the small people.
We have been here more often than not. The anti-Islamic coup in Algeria in 1991 (that turned out well); the soviet tanks in Hungary (1956) and later in Czechoslovakia, in 1969.
Somehow, as Brecht observed, it's always elites defending 'democracy' against the masses.
This morning, the Turkish coup had failed. The people en masse seemed to be defending the famously illiberal and authoritarian government.
A note to plotters: a failed coup is one of the worst career moves you will ever make. Treason doth never prosper, etc. In subterranean cellars with thick walls, in Ankara and Istanbul, the pain machines will be running night and day.
I remember a TV programme a while back, simulating the UK cabinet committee directing affairs as the Russians invade the Baltic states. Hostilities ramp up while the few liberal politicians at the table wring their hands in gathering anguish as things get nasty. Finally, the lead liberal - asked to authorise a nuclear strike - walks out in tears.
Someone observes: the liberals always seem to leave the room once the bullets start flying.
It's rather shocking, but my first thought on the Nice tragedy (deluded idiot + lorry + crowds = carnage) was: 'This will strengthen Marine le Pen'.
People will be furious, and the pious abstractions they're getting from the French elite won't play well.
Long-buried tensions are emerging across the world from China/East Asia to the Middle-East through Europe and America. The new imbalances of power are testing liberal post-nationalist, dovish ideas to destruction. The feared 'new populism' is more accurately gauged as peoples perceiving where their common interests lie, in a world where diverse interests are increasingly antagonistically expressed.
President Trump is looking more likely, while the disintegration of the utopian EU-project just lurched a step nearer.