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#4068: "Democracy enhancement" : Dorc replies to Chamberlain


In a message dated 06/04/2000 10:48:26 AM Pacific Daylight Time, Greg 
Chamberlain writes:

<< The easy (and all too common) response to this is to assimilate a desire
 for the right to express another opinion with disloyalty, rebellion,
 treason and all the other familiar inventions and fantasies.  That the
 serried ranks of the US government and associated "imperialists" are out to
 destroy "the people's choice."  This conveniently dodges the whole
 question: how to establish and maintain a simple, robust right to dissent,
 whether with outside help or not.  It isn't easy and few members of the
 political class seem interested in it -- any more than the hated MREs,
 Nadals etc. are.
<lifting my eyebrow sardonically>......okay I'm giggling too!  It seems to me 
that what you are advocating is instant membership in the American Democracy 
Club.  Everyone alive in Haiti has never known democracy.  Only dictatorship, 
military juntas, terrorism and oligarchy.  Along with those things, 
kleptocracy, graft, corruption and very little nation building, if any at 
all.  So you turn a switch and people know how to behave with all this 
newfound freedom?  Witness any new democracy, such as Russia.  People in 
transition and without rudder.  Many wishing for the bonds of Communism to be 
reapplied.  At least there was order!  Now doesn't that sound like the 
plaintive cry of the Duvalierist?  "Oh at least with Duvalier, you could walk 
the streets!"  Dissent is part of democracy.  But not until it is firmly in 
place and people learn how to dissent without drawing blood.  The way you 
show dissent is ok, the way it plays out in Haiti is not safe.  Do you agree?

Kathy Dorcé