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01 January 2006


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Or as George Will put it on today's This Week program on ABC "one man, one vote, one time."

W. Patrick Lang


Originally used, as I recall, by some French officer, to describe the situation in one of their West African colonies after independence. pl

Charlie Green

It would seem to be in the Kurds own self-interest to keep the Sunnis disaffected and at the Shia's throats. If those two groups ever started working together, the Kurds' independence could be toast. Again.


The concept of national unity will last right up until one of the newly empowered groups has to actually give up something in the interest of the state. Before that day, talk is cheap.

Charlie Green

What state? The Kurds have been disenfranchised since the Ottoman empire was defeated. Oh, I guess that actually means they haven't had a hand in their own destiny for centuries.

What is a "state"? A collection of groups united by force or coercion? Should each ethnic and cultural group have some say in their own destiny or is the "state" paramount? Or is my idealism misplaced and other factors take precedent over democracy?


The "democratic-secular-partner in anti-terrorism-Middle East transformative" state that is now the main justification for the blood and treasure being pumped into Iraq. I didn't mean to imply that such a state actually existed in Iraq...


Seems to me (ignotably) that loyalty to a tribe or group would be more "democratic" than loyalty to "the state" when historically "the state" has been the apparatus of some despot, competing tribe, or imperial hegemon, i.e. usually alien and always a threat.

The clan and tribe are the political levels at which the individual has influence. Outside cities in smaller communities the mechanisms for doing the business of the state: security, dispute resolution, resource allocation, infrastructure maintenance have been in place for millennia - long before there was such a thing as a state.

We, too, are tribal; we just don't recognize it as such (though the right-wing revolutionary demagogues have tapped into it and exploited it very effectively). We are (or should be) very protective of our local sovereignty.

This is conjecture based on a little geography plus extrapolation from our RED/BLUE divide. Treat it as a muddled query - with apologies for the muddle.

W. Patrick Lang


Yes. We are tribal, but the Jacobins do not want to see us that way or for us to see ourselves that way. They want to think of mankind in broad categories rather than in terms of the simple humanity of our natures and our evolutionary past. pl


The jacobins are the products of privilege.

I suspect they are oblivious.

Gotham Image

Pat - there are different factions of Jacobins.

Stop by my blog and read what Kristol talked about with Bush.

Then compare that to what Hitchens talked about with Bush.

Hitchens, the foster child, in the Jacobin home, is also in command of his own Jeunesse Doree Brigade, of sorts.

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