Good Riddance to Cultural Christianity
The present crisis is not new or sudden; it has been mounting for years. Yet there is a certain urgency newly in the air; we may be approaching a tipping point. If we as a nation are to be equal to the challenges that now confront the Free World, we need to be clear and confident about what we are fighting for; not just what we are reacting to, or fighting back against. Americans need to take action, to celebrate, protect, and extend the spirit of liberty at home, and in the world.
The liberal democratic world order is under assault in the first instance from those who never fully embraced democracy, free markets, and universal principles of human freedom. Others have been part of, or seemed for a time to be approaching, the community of democracies but have reversed course under their current leaders, including Hungary, Turkey, and Venezuela.
Deficits of liberty and human rights continue to define most of the Middle East, Central Asia, and large swaths of sub-Saharan Africa, with accompanying poverty, oppression, and insecurity. In recent decades, Russia and China in particular have drafted on the global system of rules to the benefit of their nations.
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Yet now these governments foster national narratives of grievance as they challenge the rules and order and democratic norms themselves. In tandem with other authoritarian regimes, they now seek to weaken and destroy the system of international law and organizations, genuinely defensive military alliances, and multilateral trade regimes.
Their brazenness has been well documented, even in the form of direct assaults on Western elections. The established world order is also under external attack from non-state actors, including criminal networks, narco-traffickers, and rogue officials in many countries who exploit the rules that most people and businesses abide by to siphon public resources for their personal enrichment.
The most dangerous non-state actors are violent extremists in the Islamic State and its spawn around the world, who have radicalized men and women to launch murderous attacks on civilians at work and play, as well as on symbols of democratic authority.
More troubling than the backsliding in those places beyond the democratic circle is the increasingly evident downdraft in democratic resilience in countries that have long been part of the democratic West. In much of the Western world, we are seeing a rise in demagogic populism, illiberalism, nationalism, and protectionism; in short, fading confidence in free markets and the institutions of democracy. This is due in significant part to the failure of the democracies to deliver on the promise of a better life for many of their citizens.
Indeed, the recent recovery from the Great Recession of has been characterized by exacerbated income inequality and wage stagnation across the democratic world. America is not immune from the rise of illiberalism. Indeed, some observers posit that the populist strain in democratic politics, both on the left and the right, has its origins in the United States. Whatever the genesis, in , politicians and media personalities in America have energized partisan and racial confrontation, to the point where racists and nativists have been emboldened.
Many recent polls have shown that a majority of Americans favor more trade restrictions and think that current U. In order for America to be a credible advocate for democracy and markets, democracy and the market place in the United States have to be seen, by Americans and others alike, to be working well. Below are several areas and actions our society and government can take, internationally and domestically, to strengthen democracy and revive the faith of Americans in it. Both the general public and those overseeing our political process need to be more alert to and resilient in the face of growing attacks from external enemies on American democracy.
The newest and arguably the most insidious danger is the effort of foreign governments like Russia to influence American political discourse and undermine the credibility of our democratic election process. Richard J. Sullivan Natural Area 36 acres Adjacent to the Interpretive Center lies a acre state Natural Area consisting mainly of salt marsh, one of the few remaining tidal marshes of the Hudson River Estuary.
A self-guided nature path offers opportunities to observe and experience this unique wildlife habitat. Liberty Landing Marina Liberty Landing offers slips, transient dockage, dry dock storage, hour fueling facility, full-service maintenance, marine store and two critically acclaimed restaurants on-site. Open Air Picnic Areas. Picnic Reservations for : Liberty State Park is now taking reservations for the free group picnic areas for the season.
For reservations, contact park office at , x or e-mail libertystatepark dep. The reservation fee includes charcoal grills plus ADA accessible grill , restroom facility, parking, electric outlets, and lighting. The pavilions are open for use from 9 am to 9 pm and are available seasonally from April 1st to October 31st. Fees are as follows:. Common species include bluefish, shad, striped bass and blue claw crabs. Consumption advisories may exist for certain species. For more information, contact the park office. Please dispose of all stray fishing line properly.
Fees: Permits are mandatory year round. For fees please inquire at the park office.
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Maximum trailer length is 23 ft. Place of Purchase: Seasonal launch permits must be purchased at the park office, and are accepted at both Liberty State Park and Leonardo State Marina. Daily launch permits may be purchased at the office or at the ticket machine in the boat launch. Contact park office for location and additional information. Launch Ramp Permit Information Sheet. Nearby parking is available for a fee.
Public Programs Liberty State Park offers a variety of programs including those for schools, colleges, and organized groups. We also provide Professional Development Workshops for formal and non-formal educators. Questions regarding our parks and forests can be directed to Michele Buckley of the State Park Service. Governor Sheila Oliver. Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Ferry.
Interpretive Center. Sullivan Natural Area 36 acres. Liberty Landing Marina. Moreover, classifying countries as illiberal on the basis of whether they have more civil liberties than political rights leads to some absurd distinctions. For example, Zakaria's criteria would classify France as an illiberal democracy because it scores higher on political rights 1 than civil liberties 2 , and Gabon as a liberal democracy because its civil liberties score 4 is higher than its political rights 5.
Zakaria notes that he does not rely on Freedom House for classifications of individual states, only for overall statistical measures. Freedom House's ratings show that civil liberties have improved in 10 of the countries Zakaria identifies as "democratizing" and fallen in only 4. The most recent Freedom House ratings also show that 81 of democracies are now classified as "free" whereas only 76 of were "free" in Thus there actually seems to be a slight trend toward liberalization, even as the overall number of democracies remains constant.
Second, Zakaria and Kaplan overlook the extent to which the holding of elections is a an important way of removing authoritarian leaders, and b part of the process of encouraging the growth of liberal values. The principle that leaders should be selected in free and fair elections can become an international norm that can be used to persuade authoritarian leaders to step aside, sometimes gracefully. Marcos in the Philippines and Pinochet in Chile were removed from power largely because of the growing international belief in the electoral principle.
It is hard to imagine that elections in Burma, for example, could produce an outcome worse than the current SLORC regime. Elections do not only remove unpopular authoritarians, however; they also encourage the development of liberal habits and principles such as freedom of speech and of the press.
Holding a free and fair election requires that these principles be followed. Elections alone do not guarantee that constitutional liberalism and the rule of law will be adopted, but they do focus the attention of the voting public on the process of freely electing their governments.
Third, it is not clear what forms of government the United States should support instead of democracy. Zakaria believes the United States should "encourage the gradual development of constitutional liberalism across the globe. There are few contemporary examples of liberal countries that are not democracies. Zakaria cites Hong Kong under British rule as an example, but this experience of a liberal imperial power engaging in a rather benign authoritarian rule over a flourishing free-market economy has already ended and is unlikely to be repeated.
Earlier historical examples of liberal nondemocracies include Britain in the early 19th century, and possibly other European constitutional monarchies of that century. As Marc Plattner and Carl Gershman of the National Endowment for Democracy point out, none of the examples is a "practical vision" for the 21st century. Thus it is difficult to see how Zakaria's analysis can support a viable U.
Fourth, Kaplan and, to a lesser extent, Zakaria, exaggerate the degree to which elections per se are responsible for the problems of new democracies, many of which had the same problems before elections were held.
In the area of ethnic conflict, for example, democratic elections may ameliorate existing conflicts instead of exacerbating them. The evidence is mixed, but the need to build electoral coalitions and the liberal practices of free speech and freedom of association necessary to hold elections may promote ethnic accommodation, not hostility. These arguments suggest that Zakaria, Kaplan, and other critics of electoral democracy have taken the valid point that "elections are not enough" too far. The United States should support democracy and liberalism; supporting only the latter risks not achieving either.
The most important contemporary ideological challenge to democracy comes from East Asia and has been called "soft authoritarianism" or the "Asian values" argument.thrivedentalplan.ascensiondental.com/map46.php
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Many African countries are reportedly attracted by this model of government. Asian "soft authoritarianism" merits attention for two reasons. First, it is emerging as the most prominent, articulate, and comprehensive critique of liberal democracy.
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