Sunday, February 11, 2007


...One commonly hears that carping critics complain about what is wrong, but do not present solutions. There is an accurate translation for that charge: "They present solutions, but I don't like them." In addition to the proposals that should be familiar about dealing with the crises that reach to the level of survival,

a few simple suggestions for the United States have already been mentioned:

  • 1) accept the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court and the World Court;
  • 2) sign and carry forward the Kyoto protocols;
  • 3) let the UN take the lead in international crises;
  • 4) rely on diplomatic and economic measures rather than military ones in confronting terror;
  • 5) keep to the traditional interpretation of the UN Charter;
  • 6) give up the Security Council veto and have "a decent respect for the opinion of mankind," as the Declaration of Independence advises, even if power centers disagree;
  • 7) cut back sharply on military spending and sharply increase social spending.

For people who believe in democracy, these are very conservative suggestions: they appear to be the opinions of the majority of the US population, in most cases the overwhelming majority. They are in radical opposition to public policy. To be sure, we cannot be very confident about the state of public opinion on such matters because of another feature of the democratic deficit: the topics scarcely enter into public discussion and the basic facts are little known. In a highly atomized society, the public is therefore largely deprived of the opportunity to form considered opinions.

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