Thursday, March 31, 2005

Don't Take Your Hand Away

A short video that puts the last days of Theresa Marie Schiavo's life and the events surrounding it in a different perspective. Great music.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

rebutting Kofi

This was written in response to Mr. Annan's OpEd piece featured in the WSJ recently. I was unable to submit it in a timely fashion, so I post it here.

Our Mission Is?

Kofi Annan calls the UN's mission "vital," ("Our Mission Remains Vital," Kofi Annan, WSJ Opinion page, February 22, 2005). With a religious fervor that is not an uncommon voice for Secretaries General to assume, he struggles to justify the existence of the UN and his place in it. That he might see that place as his personal messianic calling is not surprising. A lofty view of one's indispensability would be expected from someone at the helm of an organization that has styled itself as the world's savior. But lacking a claim to apostolic succession, Mr. Annan, like any mortal would-be messiah, is in need of a reality check.

By crying for recognition -- his and the UN's -- as a vital force in the world order, Mr. Annan seems bent on fighting the trend toward decentralized government. This inexorable march toward realization of certain inalienable rights that have been self-evident to some for centuries is necessarily a march away from the co-dependency that Mr. Annan's merry band of self-proclaimed do-gooders seem to thrive on. Here it might be instructive to ponder that old saw that "the road to hell is paved with good intentions."

Does the world really "need" the United Nations, as Mr. Annan wails? A foundling nation in the wilderness that awed the watching world (before it started getting so jealous), a nation that the Statue of Liberty calls "home," overcame incalculable odds to break free of its possessive mother-land. By what power did this prodigy rise? The power of the United Nations? Why, that august body wasn't even a twinkle in her eye back then. Rather, the power of people set free to make it so, made it so. A bit fresher in the public memory is the first democratic election ever held in Iraq, a nation suffering under the heel of a brutal dictator just a few months before. Were the people of Iraqi set free by Mr. Annan's UN, or in spite of it?

Mr. Annan is perhaps a bit too close to the action to see that the United Nations exists because the United States gives it sustenance and credibility. President Bush nurtured the image of the UN when it had egg all over its face prior to the war in Iraq. More recently, the President has allowed both Mr. Annan and another disgraced leader, Bill Clinton, to redeem their images by delegating to them, under the wise and watchful eye of Bush the Elder, some high profile administrative functions in the tsunami cleanup project. That either man, individually or in concert with the other, could have organized any effective assistance whatsoever is a matter of speculation. Evidence indicates that resources put at the disposal of either man are resources misused, if offices of influence and power are resources. President Bush, a man who understands repentance and seems to be willing to take others at their words, has magnanimously offered Mr. Annan a chance to reestablish himself as useful before a world that isn't quite as credulous as some might wish it to be. He saved face for Kofi Annan by offering him a seed of credibility after the man completely squandered his own.

It will be noted that the vast funds that have poured in to aid the tsunami victims were purely charitable: they came from people moved by compassion at the sight of the horrible plight of their fellow man. There was no organization required to raise this capital; it was the product of individual volition: self government, in other words. Self government is an ideal that has not found expression in the founding documents of any nation anywhere save the United States. Liberty, having been incubated and raised here (not at the UN), is our unique gift to the world. But as this charitable outpouring testifies, self government calls in the hearts of people everywhere. It is time for them to be set free to realize it.

Mr. Annan might be well advised to check the marketplace to see if it supports the presumption of usefulness that he relies upon to justify keeping the UN on life support. He may be too entranced by the visions of foregone Secretaries General to understand that if the organization is to be of any benefit at all to the nations, it will be as a tool in the hands of nations that are bullish on liberty. Such nations will spread liberty and promote the sovereignty of nations that stand for liberty. Such nations will be strong enough to support and defend themselves and liberty itself. They will earn prosperity by wise stewardship of their resources, developed and traded freely under the rule of just laws. Peace, if it will come at all, will come through strength, not through blind adherence to UN sponsored pacifism and forever suckling at its withered teat. In such a world, one wonders what purpose there would be at all for anything like the UN. And so the UN, if it is to be true to its alleged mission, must seek its own self destruction as evidence of its success. This notion is, I'll wager, repulsive to Mr. Annan.

Apart from the tremendous productive and human capital of free people, the UN can do nothing but shuffle paper and make a pretense of mattering. And being unproductive by nature, the United Nations, left to itself, is at best a self-aggrandizing impediment to the burgeoning revolution of liberty which is the great privilege and responsibility of our age to nurture. At worst, deriving its value only from a world woefully out of order, it is a menace to this movement; a tacit agent of the established order of oppression. Vying like a jealous, less-talented sibling for attention at the school play, Mr. Annan and his UN threaten to ruin the whole production.