Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Dam hippies!

I've cherry-picked the money quotes from Jean-François Revel's article on anti-globalism in *gasp* The American Enterprise(!)

What’s important to [anti-globalists] is not the eradication of poverty. Rather, it is the propaganda value they gain from linking poverty to the spreading market economy. But this puts them on the wrong side of all evidence, of reality, of history....Third World countries have developed at sharply different rates basically according to the degree to which they have respected free markets, and left economic activity to private enterprise rather than to undertakings of the state....[T]he privileged pseudo-revolutionaries of Seattle and Göteborg have encouraged them down the primrose path of anti-capitalism. Lacking any real knowledge...and careless about finding remedies, the anti-globalist agitators prefer hurling brickbats at their perennial hobgoblin to the moral imperative of saving and improving lives.
Democrats worthy of the name should not forget that power is conferred by ballots, not by bricks hurled through windows. It is disturbing that the Left too often ignores this principle....Anti-globalists have tried to replace democracy with a despotism of the mob, advancing the brutal proposition that street demonstrators are more legitimate than elected governments....Like other totalitarians, they treat the mere expression of ideas contrary to their slogans as a crime.
In fact, the Left has always hoped for globalization...an ideologically correct world government. Soviet and Maoist communists always felt the vocational urge to impose their models on the whole of humanity, if need be by armed subversion, which they did not hesitate to use on five continents. Although they lack the means to undertake bellicose operations on such a scale, today’s anti-globalizers are no less internationalist in their ambitions.
So it is astonishing when European leaders declare themselves “impressed” by the rioters, and convinced of the necessity to “dialogue” with them.*
The accommodating are in retreat on so many fronts, little understanding that every abandoned space of coexistence is immediately occupied by the aggressive agenda of fanatics. They advance again and again to demand and seize more concessions, more demands on the way of life of others.
- Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka on different ideologues also seized by the urge to impose their models on the whole of humanity, but who most emphatically do not lack the means to undertake large-scale bellicose operations

via Arts & Letters Daily

*The results of previous attempts at inclusion and dialogue can be found here.
[The critics of globalization] also pursue their struggle through the various panels and committees that have been set up to placate them. And lately the committee comrades have been doing rather well. The template for this form of struggle is a body called the World Commission on Dams. Scarred by successive waves of protest, the World Bank created this outfit to forge a consensus on dam-building: How you can do it while minimizing environmental and social costs? In the hope of drawing its fiercest critics into a new consensus, the bank gave them a seat at the table. But the radicals understood that the bank's desire to include them gave them an effective veto, and they used it to ensure a report so loaded with requirements as to constitute a virtual ban. A dam in Laos would be expected to build in as many safety measures as a dam in Sweden. This was like telling the Laotians that they could not ride in motorized vehicles until they could afford brand-new Volvos with passenger-side airbags.