Wednesday, August 03, 2016
An article I encountered this morning caused me to think for a moment about
something we are increasingly at risk of losing in America, and which
has made its greatness possible: rule of law. The article in
on whether Turkey's Islamist president is stronger or weaker after
that country's recent failed coup attempt:
[W]hat is behind Erdogan's sudden peace-making drive? Understanding his motives is crucial for correct reading of developments in Turkey in the wake of the failed coup. Over the past 14 years, Erdogan has steadily opted for polarization as a means to consolidate power, so why does he need "national unity" now? Is this meant as a form of societal and political deterrence against a possible second putsch? This possibility, however, is gone with the massive purges in the military and other security branches of the state. Hence, his motives must be rooted abroad rather than at home. [bold added]The whole piece is an attempt to figure out the motives of one man who wants to run roughshod over his countrymen. Such things become a concern when there are no strong checks or balances on the political power of individual men. This is not to say there would never be attempts to read tea leaves in fully free countries, but the whims of political figures would be of far less consequence. Past a certain point, the speculation about what such a figure felt he could get away with would be replaced by a debate about whether to remove him from office. Of course, conversations and newspapers would then be filled with arguments, based on facts and opinion, rather than speculation, but the small amount of effort required to understand them would be the price of greater personal power for the man on the street.
The ascendancy of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton show me that too few people appreciate or can be bothered to maintain the freedom we have from the whims of power-lusters. This, far more than the impossible "choice" between two horrendous candidates who are indistinguishable beneath their skins, is what bothers me the most about this election.