(skip to bottom)
One of the great frustrations about slowly seeing political freedom spread across the globe, besides the well-documented pattern of all the bad guys cooperating no matter what their supposed ideology, is that the freedoms we take for granted are all predicated upon an acceptance of Locke:
- People have god-given rights.
- Government is a willing contract entered into by people.
This is in stark contrast to the Hobbesian model:
- Individual people look out for their own interests; this creates an anarchic and violent environment.
- Individuals with great power create a sphere of authority based upon that power (thus, in the process, guaranteeing stability and a certain degree of safety to those without power).
Take a look at the Russians, for example. Classic Hobbesian model. Social stability is openly predicated upon the strong exerting their power. Anybody standing up for the Lockean model simply gets assassinated. Why? Because the siloviki have the power, and they don’t want to relinquish that power (rightly assuming that other factions will then seize power, and use it to crush them).
We can see this at work in the world today. The strongmen of Myanmar are beating monks to death in their cells and leaving them floating face-down in rivers… because they know that as soon as they give up power, they’re dog meat. (And the Chinese who control big chunks of the economy aren’t about to bail them out.) Similarly, the Tianenmen Squre massacre was inevitable as soon as the PLA generals assumed that house-arrest was the best result for which they could hope in the case of a true democratic revolution.
If the wave of “colored revolutions” is to have any meaningful value in parts of the world in which there are immense gradations of power, some mechanism must be put into play that would convince those who have power that it is in their interests to look after the benefit of their citizens/subjects, and to allow the power of those individuals to grow relative to their own. Otherwise, common sense dictates that they will act in what they see as rational self-defense… and we’ll see more assassinated Russian journalists and face-down monks in rivers. And they can’t simply be bromides, either: individuals who wield power and who don’t particularly care about the people they govern (fn1) are not going to allow themselves to be diminished unless they actually see real profit and benefit to themselves from the exchange. The trick is, of course, to find an offer that works in any given scenario(fn2).