I was the last customer to receive a haircut from my barber so after paying him, we both walked out to our cars. As he drove away in his Ford sedan, I thought that people all around the world give haircuts and that most of the barbers in our world cannot trade their services for an automobile. The mere birthrights of an empire’s citizen enable him to receive empire benefits from his participation in its economy. A rich country’s citizens trade the gold acquired through the ages from other nations with each other to receive small comforts of life from each other.
The bible tells the story of a rich man that asked Christ how he could obtain heaven and Christ told him to give away all his belongings to the poor. The man went away saddened by Christ’s answer but kept his belongings. A citizen of a wealthy nation by virtue of their birth fits the parable of the rich man. While I do not think the story truly means we have to give away our wealth to enter heaven, it certainly lends itself to the hypocrisy of a wealthy nation’s citizens denouncing the hegemonic advances of their country while indulging daily in the relative benefits of their happenstance.
Obviously all democracies are not hegemonists but democracy is the only form of government that has shown any semblance of restraining hegemony’s corruption, or corruption from petty tyrants that squeeze the little wealth of the citizens of African nations for their own aggrandizement for that matter.
Certainly there are wealthy elites in Europe that will benefit from spurring on America’s involvement in Libya just as there are financial lobbyists that attempt to sway every decision made in Washington and every decision made by politicians worldwide. One benefit of Democracy is that countries somehow occasionally rise above the incessant lobbyist barking to do the right thing, and in this case it was to give the people of Libya their own voice against a maniacal bully who has vowed to commit wholesale slaughter of anyone and all who dare to speak of freedom.
As America leaned socialist during the great depression to begin a redistributive process of allowing the common man to share in the wealth of its nation without destroying its capitalist core, so will African nations and others find their way. Revolution seems to destroy economic engines. Democratic evolutions can point a nation’s capital in the direction of the good of all its people.
When I hear cynicism about America’s justification for entering Libya, I am more sympathetic to the argument of isolationalism and protecting our military from harm when the threat to our country is minimal than I am to insinuations of the U.S. bombing to prop up our empire or of us forcing our failed form of democracy on the continent of Africa in this case.
I understand the continued economic injustices that have occurred in Africa after their decolonization movement failed to give them the freedoms they desired when despotism, supported by industrialized nations, proved too strong a force to overcome for the next several generations. I understand that they have many reasons to distrust nations that have exploited their continent for a century and now say they want true independence for Africans.
But now is the time that countries like Libya could use oil to invest in infrastructure to build opportunities for their nations, or for countries like Egypt, whose population is educated, to take on economic growth. My push for democracy is that any nation is subject to tyranny by the few on the many, and that no matter if it is America or Libya, democracy is needed to defend against corruption.
In my barbershop scenario, perhaps the 22nd century chinese barber will be given title to a barbaric fuedal city in Europe as the price for his haircut. Perhaps the concentration of national wealth will create the ultimate in barter exchange between the birthright entitled. ( barbaric stretch of the imagination, agreed)