30 October 2018 ~ 0 Comentarios

If conservatives love liberal democracy, should vote against Trump’s GOP in midterm elections (I)

By Manuel Castro-Rodríguez

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Preamble to the United States Constitution

                              First they came …

Then they came for the Socialists.

And I did not speak out.

Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists.

And I did not speak out.

Because I was not a Trade Unionists.

Then they came for the Jews.

And I did not speak out.

Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me.

And there was no one left.

To speak out for me.

First they came … is a poem written by the German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984). It is about the cowardice of German intellectuals following the Nazis’ rise to power and subsequent purging of their chosen targets, group after group.

The United States of America was the first country to be founded on the liberal ideas of John Locke and other philosophers of the Enlightenment, with no monarchy, no hereditary aristocracy, and no established religion.

The American Bill of Rights guarantees every white man the freedoms advocated by the liberal philosophers: freedom of speech, freedom of the press, equality under the law, freedom of religion, the right to gather in peaceful assembly, and the right to petition the government for redress of grievances, among other freedoms and rights.

In his autobiography, Frederick Douglass describes his early life as a slave,

My mother and I were separated when I was but an infant… It [was] common custom, in the part of Maryland from which I ran away, to part children from their mothers at a very early age… I do not recollect ever seeing my mother by the light of day… She would lie down with me, and get me to sleep, but long before I waked she was gone.”

From the time of the American Revolution to the present day, the United States has extended liberty to ever broader classes of people. Nevertheless, in theDred Scott decision, formally Dred Scott v. John F.A. Sandford,

legal case in which the U.S. Supreme Court on March 6, 1857, ruled (7–2) that a slave (Dred Scott) who had resided in a free state and territory (where slavery was prohibited) was not thereby entitled to his freedom; that African Americans were not and could never be citizens of the United States; and that the Missouri Compromise (1820), which had declared free all territories west of Missouri and north of latitude 36°30’, was unconstitutional. The decision added fuel to the sectional controversy and pushed the country closer to civil war.”

To date, the Constitution has been amended 27 times, most recently in 1992. In 1865, the 13th Amendment formally abolishing slavery. In 1870, the 15th amendment granted African American men the right to vote. In 1920, the 19th Amendment granted women the right to vote. In 1971, the 26th Amendment to lower the voting age to 18.

But, the segregation and disenfranchisement laws known as ‘Jim Crow’ represented a formal, codified system of racial apartheid that dominated the American South for three quarters of a century beginning in the 1890s. The laws affected almost every aspect of daily life, mandating segregation of schools, parks, libraries, drinking fountains, restrooms, buses, trains, and restaurants. ‘Whites Only’ and ‘Colored’ signs were constant reminders of the enforced racial order.

Francisco ‘Pepe’ Hernández, then-president of the Cuban-American National Foundation, remembers arriving in Miami with his mother and two sisters as refugees at the beginning of the 1960s,

We could not find anything. Why? Because there were signs that said, ‘No blacks, no Cubans, no dogs’,” he says. “It is hard to believe now.”

The New Deal was a series of programs, public work projects, financial reforms and regulations enacted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the United States between 1933 and 1936. It responded to needs for relief, reform and recovery from the Great Depression. Major federal programs included the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), the Civil Works Administration (CWA), the Farm Security Administration (FSA), the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 (NIRA) and the Social Security Administration (SSA). The New Deal produced a political realignment, making the Democratic Party the majority (as well as the party that held the White House for seven out of the nine presidential terms from 1933 to 1969) with its base in liberal ideas, the South, traditional Democrats, big city machines and the newly empowered labor unions and ethnic minorities.

The Social Security Act of 1935 provided retirement and disability income for Americans unable to work or unable to find jobs. In the Social Security Act of 1965, this was extended to provide benefits for Americans unable to work due to illness.

The Great Society was a set of domestic programs launched by Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964–65. The main goal was the elimination of poverty and racial injustice. New major spending programs that addressed education, medical care, urban problems, rural poverty, and transportation were launched during this period. The Great Society in scope and sweep resembled the New Deal domestic agenda of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

A wide range of progressive measures were carried out after, such as in Social Security (with a 20% benefit increase and linkage to automatic cost-of-living increases in 1972), public welfare (with expansion of unemployment compensation, food stamps, and supplemental security income additions to social security), workplace rules (with the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act in 1970), urban aid (with the addition of mass transit subsidies to highway construction enactments), environmentalism (with the passage of the National Environmental Protection Act of 1969 and the Clean Air Act of 1970), aid to education (including Title IX in 1972), civil rights (with the extension of the Voting Rights Act in 1970), and nutrition (with the establishment of theSpecial Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children in 1972).

Beginning in the early 1970s, the Soviet regime proclaimed a policy of détente and sought increased economic cooperation and disarmament negotiations with the West. However, the Soviet stance on human rights and its invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 created new tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States. These tensions continued to exist until the dramatic democratic changes of 1989–91 led to the collapse during this past year of the Communist system and opened the way for an unprecedented new friendship between the United States and Russia, as well as the other nations of the former Soviet Empire.

The Soviet Union officially ceased to exist on December 26, 1991. Almost three decades after of the collapse of the Soviet Empire, many leaders, experts and citizens the world over ask:

* Why is support for populism rising in the West?

* Is the liberal democracy in crisis?

* Why nearly 50 percent of young Americans said it would be a good idea to have “a strong leader who doesn’t have to bother with Congress or elections.”?

* Is the American democracy in danger?

The End of History and the Last Man’ is a 1992 book by Francis Fukuyama, expanding on his 1989 essay ‘The End of History?’. In the book, Fukuyama argues that the advent of Western liberal democracy may signal the endpoint of humanity’s sociocultural evolution and the final form of human government.

According to Fukuyama, since the French Revolution, democracy has repeatedly proven to be a fundamentally better than any of the alternatives. Fukuyama’s position was logical, because most of us in the West we love the freedom to disagree and speak our minds, reject racial differences, want equal rights for all, and cherish the freedom of worship.

I believe it is rational that I think so, because I lived forty years under a totalitarian regime. Even now I cannot believe that I can to write freely about of the U.S. government, while the communist dictatorship denies my right to enter my homeland because denounce the crimes of the worst tyranny that the West has suffered. Therefore, I believe in the liberal democratic norms.

Why Fukuyama had to go to bed early on the night of November 8, 2016? Because he had accepted a conditional to write about the U. S. presidential election for the Financial Times if and only if the victor in that contest was Donald Trump, the man widely assumed to be on his way to a historic defeat.

The following morning, Fukuyama was forced to conclude that liberal democracy, whose triumph as “the final form of human government” he had risen to fame declaring three decades ago, was threatened from within as it had not been in his lifetime. ‘US against the world? Trump’s America and the new global order’, Fukuyama wrote on November 9, 2016,

Donald Trump’s stunning electoral defeat of Hillary Clinton marks a watershed not just for American politics, but for the entire world order. We appear to be entering a new age of populist nationalism, in which the dominant liberal order that has been constructed since the 1950s has come under attack from angry and energised democratic majorities. The risk of sliding into a world of competitive and equally angry nationalisms is huge, and if this happens it would mark as momentous a juncture as the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.”

Liberal democracy is in danger around the world, besieged by authoritarianism, nationalism, and other illiberal forces. As explained by David Boaz, who is the executive vice president of the Cato Institute, an American libertarian think tank,

Ideas and threats we thought were dead are back from the ash-heap of history, with authoritarianism on both the left and right. Not just in Russia and China, but also in Turkey, Egypt, Hungary, Venezuela, the Philippines, maybe India — and too close for comfort in France and Austria. And even here in the land of the free we have elected a president who seems to have no respect for the Constitution or the rule of law. He’s not the first in that respect, but his personal disdain seems something new.” (emphasis mine)

Trump’s violation of principles American conservatives were once thought to love — from family values to free trade to a hard line against America’s foes —should be sufficient reason for conservatives to vote against Trump’s GOP in midterm elections. But there are many more reasons — the need to provide democratic political solutions to the problems in the U. S. is one clear example — that will be analyzed in the next two articles.

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