One of the most disturbing aspects of leftist politics is its priority of opinion over truth and ideology over reality. The bodies of a hundred millions Chinese, Russians, Cambodians and Vietnamese speak to the reality that was socialism in the 20th century. The collapse of Western Civilisation that we are witnessing in Western Europe has been wrought by years of leftist governments seemingly engaged in a race to the bottom. As Fjordman points out, the Swedes look like they might have opened an unassailable gap to get there first. France can consolidate second spot by electing Segelene Royale in the upcoming election although Holland might take some getting past.
The only way that people's lives have been improved in the world is through increased freedom. In the West we are so used to freedom that we don't even appreciate it. Worse still, there is a section of society that actually hates that freedom, choosing equality of outcome over equality of opportunity and ignoring the destructive history of their so-called 'progressive' views.
As the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words:
China is moving from communist dictatorship to capitalist dictatorship and one hopes that it becomes an increasingly open and free society over time. As the great Milton Friedman taught us, there is more than one plank that makes up individual freedom: economic freedom, political freedom and religious freedom. Adding economic freedom into the Chinese economy has done wonders for the country:
Remember all those drab outfits?
Just add freedom
Women dress like men
Just add freedom
Public health risk
Just add freedom
Old Shanghai (you can see a bit of the new in the background)
The amazing rise of China has not come about because of their socialist economic beliefs. Quite the opposite, in fact. They recognise the power of the global market and have adjusted to it while also retaining one-party rule. In time, one hopes, that will also end.
India is the world's largest democracy, a fact that came about due to British colonial rule, which officially began in 1858 (after some years of various European involvement) and lasted until 1949. Here is a country with no history of democracy that has been able to embrace it to the point that it's now as natural for the people as breathing. Apparently Iraqis are different and aren't able to be democratised. After independence from Britain, India chose to implement a socialist government - partly in response to what they saw as 'the oppression' of colonialism brought about by Britain's freedom. However, in the last couple of decades (and particularly since the fall of the Soviet Union to whom they were closely aligned and received much aid from) they've freed up their political and economic systems to the point that they are enjoying one of the highest growth rates in the world, which helps lift the standard of living like no other process can achieve. They really were lucky to have Britain and not France or Portugal as their colonial masters, as they've inherited strong institutions and a judicial system that allows them to advance in an orderly manner.
MG Road Bangalore - Then
MG Road Bangalore - Just add freedom
Like any nation that develops rapidly, India will experience issues with social cohesion, air quality and ensuring that opportunity exists for all. We went through that in Australia years ago, as did the US and the rest of the developed world. I have a strong belief that, as Europe expires, the next great world alliance will be between the United States and India. Both have large populations (remember that 60% of India's workers are currently on the land compared to less than 5% in the US so there's a reasonable similarity in the size of white collar and industrial workforces), speak English, have a strong entrepreneurial spirit and have societies that are underpinned by strong faith-based moral values. The importance of the English language in India is little understood in the rest of the world. In a nutshell, there are so many different languages and dialects in India that the only way people from all over the country can communicate is through English. In the same way, the Chinese are learning English at an exponential rate so that they can communicate with the rest of the world. It's ironic that India will overtake its former colonial master as the most important English speaking nation in the world in the foreseeable future.
How will they do that? Just add freedom.
In the West we have a moral duty to help nations become free and democratic so that the people can improve their standard of living. The nonsense that we should continue with the bottomless pit of aid without accountability, on compassionate grounds, ran out of intellectual integrity about 30 years ago. It's a great shame that corrupt organisations such as the United Nations stand in the way of achieving real progress in the world.