It is really something special to watch –and important to take notice of.
We, here in the United States and in other “Western” countries know all about “big brother” in the form of big government. We have watched our governments historically swing between “big” and “small” (or limited) governments. When the apparatus in Washington gets too “big” or too “small” we go through the political process of changing it/ Part of that process is protesting to let our fellow citizens –and fellow voters- how we feel in the hope of influencing enough people to vote the way we want. Most countries in the Middle East do not enjoy that right, consequently their protests are more forceful and often violent.
In Libya, for example, there has simply been Big Brother - Muammar Gaddafi and his band of thugs who do the “ruling,” and the population is “the ruled.” Naturally, Libya has a legislative body where members are supposedly elected from among the people. But Libyan elections have never been held freely and honestly, and those who get “elected” always follow the wishes of Gaddafi. Who, by the way, acquired his position by staging a political coup.
Then there was the 2009 re-election of Ahmadinejad in Iran. When they started complaining about voting fraud Big Brother stepped in, investigated and then certified the elections they had just run saying there had not been enough fraud to change the outcome. Then look at the elections of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez in 1999, and former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak in 1981– both characters were “elected,” but then simply changed the laws so they could hang on to power indefinitely.
But people everywhere are getting fed up with Big Brother. Mubarak has been kicked out. Kaddafi is desperately clinging on, taking a lot of people with him. Chavez can’t seize enough radio and tv stations and kill enough of his countrymen in the streets of Caracas to quell the discontent over his failed socialistic economy. Even King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is worried about how to silence the youth-led uprising in his country, and is extending $35 billion worth of “hand outs” as a short-term “fix.”
So what does all this mean? To me it means the turmoil of these countries demonstrates that freedom is a force ingrained in all people. Voting by itself is not enough. People want a say in how they are governed and they are getting tired Big Brother determining every important aspect of their lives. They may not resist at first and are passive in the face of dictators and their henchmen. They may “put up with it” for a while, and may even for a time believe the claims of rulers who promise peace and prosperity. But people in Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Libya and everywhere have always known the failures of “big government,” and they’re willing to take enormous risks – in some cases even risking their very lives – to pursue freedom.
There is another aspect of all this we should note and that is when the force of government is utilized to concentrate wealth in the hands of a few, the few will stop at nothing to hang-on. Venezuela and Libya and Saudi Arabia have been good for Chavez and Kaddafi and King Abdullah. It has not been good for just about anyone else. Similarly, the relationship between American politicians and government employee unions is good for the politicians and the union members because politicians give union members what they want and union members vote to re-elect their union-loving politicians. However, it is bad for the taxpayer who ultimately pays the bill.
In the end, Big Brothers big government always results in resection, depression and slogging economies. And that, of course, leads to civil unrest. It’s a vicious cycle that has got the world in chaos. The good news is that people have finally understood that Big Brother has to go –with riots and civil war in the Middle East, with protests and the ballot in the West.
Live Long and Prosper....