Dark Bilious Vapors

But how could I deny that I possess these hands and this body, and withal escape being classed with persons in a state of insanity, whose brains are so disordered and clouded by dark bilious vapors....
--Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy: Meditation I

Home » Archives » February 2005 » Hegelian View of History

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02/11/2005: Hegelian View of History

Jeffery Herf (The New Republic) in an article: The Future Perfect about the "Hegelian" view of history and has outlined what he calls Dr. Rice's view (and by extension the administration's long term "view" of the "history" they are creating) an

"idea that a decision cannot be judged at the moment but only retrospectively opens a slippery slope of justification. The future Secretary of State was indulging an understanding of politics favored by advocates of a Hegelian view of history--most of whom have, in the last century, been communists."

What is not "settled History" is whether the Bush "cure" for the problem of Saddam controlling Iraq could still yet become worse, much worse than the situation it was meant to resolve. By applying the treatment of Pre-emptive attack without the proper planning and efforts towards the post war stability and peace, the resulting chaos and enmity spreading throughout the entire Iraq population has become worse than the situation which existed before our invasion of that country. Given the incompetence of our prosecution of this post-war circumstance by this Commander in Chief, despite their overwhelming support and interest in democracy, the freedom for insurgency is not yet checked and they are still running rampant. Nor is there much stability and security....yet.

Resulting in the possibliity of the long term historical view that the "cure" was worse than the ailment it was mean to treat:

In medieval times having access to a physician could some times result in the cure being worse than the ailment owing to the state of superstition and pure ignorance of the causes and effects of disease in medicine. Patients would be subject to "cures" where the outcome of death, using our more modern knowledge, was more likely from the treatment than suffering from the disease. (One of the famous Medici family scions was treated with a concoction of crushed rubies and emeralds for a disease…to no avail in providing a cure.)

While it may be understandable that those medieval physicians were limited by their technology and access to information on which their poorly created treatments were derived, it is not similarly true that the current Iraq mess was not "imagined, warned of, and advised about" in what was necessary and prudent to consider before such a drastic "treatment' was applied. To have willfully ignored this advice and the best estimates of his own military advisors about the side-effects of invading Iraq with minimal forces to secure the peace Bush may have made the "cure" worse than the ailment. But "history" and time has yet to tell the true measure of the January 30th election "success."

Jon Rowe (a Libertarian lawyer, blogger and very smart and savvy legal analyst) had an excellent post about Democracy and Islam. In part, Mr. Rowe had this to say about Islam and Democracy:
"The Islamic world, like the Christian right in America, believes in absolute and objective Truth. Therefore, ideas like tolerance, pluralism, democracy and rights won't easily go over there if such notions are premised on relativism, or wishy-washy notions of not wanting to "judge" other ways of life as better or worse than one another. No rather, they need to be convinced that such notions ARE the objective Truth and that indeed, God grants men unalienable rights of freedom and equality. This will be an intense epistemological undertaking."

He may be very correct that many Islamicists believe "democracy" to be Un-Islamic...and especially the fundamentalist-radical ones...why else dream of the return of a Caliphate with Osama bin Laden as its Caliph? -- There was (in 2002) a facinating NY Times magazine article about "why Islam failed to "modernize" and fell behind in business/ideas/culure...but I've lost the hard copy and can't recall the name...but it was scholarly piece...very interesting...wish I had it now.

While the short term "success" of the Iraqi vote...is HUGE...everyone agrees...is the long term successful self-governance of the Iraqi's and avoid an internal civil war...can't say that' one's "in the bag" yet. Plus, I worry the cure might have been worse than the ailment as to permanent "friendly relations and views of the war and US occupation by Iraqi's.

Karen on 02.11.05 @ 05:46 AM CST

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