The Right Coast

Editor: Thomas A. Smith
University of San Diego
School of Law

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Thursday, August 1, 2013

RealClearWorld - Huntington on Today's Global Upheaval

The very first sentences of Political Order have elicited anger from Washington policy elites for decades now -- precisely because they are so undeniable. "The most important political distinction among countries," Huntington writes, "concerns not their form of government but their degree of government." In other words, strong democracies and strong dictatorships have more in common than strong democracies and weak democracies. Thus, the United States always had more in common with the Soviet Union than with any fragile, tottering democracy in the Third World. This, in turn, is because order usually comes before freedom -- for without a reasonable degree of administrative order, freedom can have little value. Huntington quotes the mid-20th century American journalist, Walter Lippmann: "There is no greater necessity for men who live in communities than that they be governed, self-governed if possible, well-governed if they are fortunate, but in any event, governed."


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Libertarians should avoid reading Mr. Huntington. If the USA embraced the libertarian ideal it would almost certainly become a less powerful nation, the military would be cut back to that necessary for repelling an invasion (or less), laws governing individual and corporate behavior would be largely eliminated (collect taxes on foreign earnings? disclose financial interconnections?) and our ability to influence other nations and private entities would be severely curtailed. A weaker USA is not good for us and not good for the world either. On second thought, maybe libertarians should read Huntington.

Posted by: Kieth | Aug 2, 2013 11:57:45 AM