Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sadly true

The Wall Street Journal is running an editorial in which the recent Freedom House report "Freedom in the World 2010" is discussed. The conclusions are sobering: there have been many steps backward in various countries as far as freedom is concerned.

In particular, President Obama's policy of engagement (not heard much about it recently but I am sure it will crop up again) has not achieved anything except greater tightening of political control in the countries he was engaging with. As against that, the beneficiaries of President Bush's "democracy agenda" seems to have produced some beneficiaries on Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey. I am not sure how long any of that will last with no President Bush to support that agenda.

Of course, adds the article, there are still many countries that are considered to be "free" and whose governments are freely and democratically elected. In the comments there are some interesting points as to whether democracy is really a measure of freedom or whether one needs a small, well-controlled constitutional government for that. This is a point that is well worth investigating.

There are also discussions about freedom disappearing in the United States but nowhere do I see the obvious point to be made about European countries, possibly because few people who read the WSJ care about them. Officially, we may be free and democratic as we elect our governments freely and democratically. But the truth is that the real government, the one in Brussels, the one that is gleefully imposing its rule on us all, may be free by most standards but is neither democratic nor accountable. So where should the EU figure in that list?

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