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4. terror and virtue - larvatus prodeo — LiveJournal
May 6th, 2006
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4. terror and virtue

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Date:June 17th, 2006 04:27 am (UTC)

Re: Doublethink

In your examples, legitimate objections that concern me are raised to subversion of democracy brought upon by democratic means:
Venezuela is an improbable country to have fallen into this political abyss. It is vast, wealthy, relatively modern and cosmopolitan, with a strong private sector and a homogeneous mixed-race population with little history of conflict. Democracy was supposed to have prevented its decline into a failed state. Yet once President Chávez gained control over the government, his rule became exclusionary and profoundly undemocratic.
Moisés Naím, Hugo Chavez and the Limits of Democracy, The New York Times, March 5, 2003

But Mr. Chavez does not genuinely accept democracy or the rule of law. He delayed the referendum for a year through legal manipulation and political dirty tricks. Now he flirts with outright political repression in an attempt to determine its outcome. In that sense, Sumate and its leaders are the proverbial canary in the coal mine: If they are prosecuted or jailed, the world will know that Venezuela’s referendum is tainted.
—Editorial, A Venezuelan Monitor, The Washington Post, July 30, 2004

For the moment, [Teodoro Petkoff] is on the sidelines. “Chávez has two pedals,” he said: “One is formal democracy and the other is authoritarianism, and he steps on one or the other as circumstances dictate. At every election, the results are close to being evenly divided [for and against him], and he knows how to read and weigh those results correctly. Aside from everything else, the sector that is against him is the most dynamic [of the economy]. And if he were to crush this sector he would have to do it a sangre y fuego — with blood and fire. But if Chávez sees that the 40 percent that is against him is growing weaker, he will step again on the authoritarian pedal.”
Alma Guillermoprieto, The Gambler, The New York Review of Books, Volume 52, Number 16, October 20, 2005

Chávez has the potential to disrupt this progress and revive Latin America’s old political habits. According to a recent poll, only about half of the region’s citizens — including minorities in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil — now believe that democracy is always the best form of government. Latin America is vulnerable, and Chávez has provided a blueprint not just for harnessing anti-Americanism but for the slow consolidation of power. Along the way, he may succeed in baiting the United States into a rhetorical fight that it can’t win, and impeding its international leadership. But ultimately, the United States will not be the biggest loser in the battle Chávez is waging. It will never suffer nearly as much as the people of the continent he dreams of liberating.
Franklin Foer, The Talented Mr. Chávez, The Atlantic Monthly, May 2006
The excerpted articles are well worth reading in their entirety. I recuse myself from providing counterparts to these complaints regarding the case of Hamas. Naming the precedents recounted by Plato and Thucydides is left as an exercise for the reader.
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