“Freedom, in a political context, has only one meaning: the absence of physical coercion.” ~ Ayn Rand in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal
Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan dictator who rules with an iron fist while wearing a comfortable-looking Snuggie, looks to be the next victim of a growing surge toward democracy in the Middle East. But there is a fine line between democracy and mob rule.
Gaddafi, the strange leader who seems to reinvent his style every few years (usually around a Michael Jackson theme), seems ripe for ouster. The source of the uprising in Libya is hard to pin down; maybe they are demanding Gaddafi’s birth certificate, as many believe he was born in Gary, Indiana.
Gaddafi has killed his citizens, but he says they “all love him.” He pays them money and, according to him, takes care of their needs. This gives them comfort and takes a weight off their minds, since the average life expectancy of a Libyan citizen is about 25 years. Opposing Gaddafi usually results in being dragged behind a car for eight blocks — or, as it is known in Libya, “dying of natural causes.”
Even Iranian nut-job Mahmoud Ahmadinejad chimed in and said Gaddafi had gone too far in suppressing his people. That’s like Charlie Sheen telling you that you really need to get your act together.
Garnering strength from the recent U.S. overthrow of other dictatorial bullies (Keith Olbermann and Simon Cowell), it seems that more regimes in the region are in jeopardy. The march of freedom and potential regime changes in Tunisia, Jordan, Libya, Egypt, the Ivory Coast, Yemen, etc., augur well for all of us and especially for property values in New York City. Note to anyone in NYC contemplating renting to any of these “relocating” despots: They are hard to evict. It might take 40 years, in some cases.
This is the third kleptocracy to melt down in recent days. Bad things seem to happen in threes; look at the Kardashian sisters.
If you think these thieving billionaire despots have money now, just wait until they apply for unemployment, food stamps, disability and a government union pension in the USA. That’s some real money.
Giving us much-needed context, celebs like Sting choose to air their views on the situation, mostly blaming Americans for not understanding the Middle East. What’s not to understand? Those governments seem uncomplicated and perfectly sane. Their actions are in no way driven by religious fanaticism or greedy, tyrannical dictators. With all due respect to Sting and his opinions, I remain skeptical, at least until Seal, Meatloaf and Phil Collins weigh in on the matter. Until we have a policy consensus among these rock icons of the 90s, we must defer to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
As Gaddafi’s military henchmen killed protestors, Hillary once again called on a sitting president to exercise restraint. Many of Gaddafi’s generals have defected to the other side, so his lower ranks have done most of the killing. Hillary clearly has the most experience in this area, having called for a sitting president to restrain himself and his privates since 1997.
As we witness one country after another descend into chaos as their despotic leaders are toppled, Hillary’s State Department needs a plan to install democratic reforms after each domino falls. She could call it the “Domino’s Democracy Plan,” where she promises to have a freshly made government delivered to your door no more than thirty minutes after a coup.
Supporting countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia as our “friends” in the region is like having a brother-in-law with cocaine, hooker and gambling problems move into your basement. You should not be the least bit surprised when it does not end well for you.
My main news source to help me understand matters as complex as the Middle East, The Onion News, reports, “In a televised speech addressing the pro-democracy protests currently sweeping across the Middle East, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia reiterated that the people of his country should not even think about it. ‘Get it out of your heads right now,’ the king said in a firm, unwavering tone of voice while staring directly into the camera. ‘I’m serious. Whatever you are thinking about doing, it’s not gonna end up good for you. Trust me.’ The king then widened his eyes, paused, and added, ‘No.’ ”
Ron Hart is a syndicated op-ed humorist, author and TV/radio commentator. Email Ron@RonaldHart.com or at visit RonaldHart.com