Social Threefolding (& Young Women for Democracy), Two Bills in the House and Senate (S516 and HR1133), and Students for Global Democracy (SGD)
Students for Global Democracy (SGD) has excellent photos on its website – young women in Nepal and Kuwait protesting for democracy, for example.
If you want to take action now for democracy, in Belarus and globally, and don’t need to read more about it (and social threefolding), scroll down to the olive text near the end of this post.
One key aspect of social threefolding (see “What is Social Threefolding?” and other posts on this blog) is the spread of democratic governments worldwide. If someone now says that such a thing as ‘real’ democracy doesn’t exist, ok. Let’s use a different label. Call it X, as R.J. Rummel sometimes does, but whatever it’s to be called, we need a way to refer to the political system that has now been established in about ninety nations (and lately the number seems to grow by the month) – with freedom of assembly, of religion, of speech, multiple political parties, an independent judiciary, and periodic, open elections with secret ballots.
A very substantial body of social science research, conducted over the last forty years, including statistical studies covering every single one of the hundreds of documented wars fought throughout history, has shown that democracies have either never, or almost never, gone to war against each other.
Physicist-historian Spencer Weart is the researcher who has done perhaps the most exhaustive study of the relatively few apparent historical exceptions to the democratic peace, and he concluded that they didn't really constitute clear exceptions to the rule, and that the 'democratic peace,' as social scientists call it, has in fact perhaps never really yet been broken. I find him persuasive. But even if he and those social scientists who agree with him are mistaken and there have been some small number of historical exceptions, it remains an important discovery of social science that democracies almost never have gone to war with each other. Nobel Peace Prize finalist R.J. Rummel is one of the social scientists most responsible for solidifying this discovery. For decades he has researched the historical evidence and statistically tested the democratic peace proposition, written a couple of dozen books about it, and has concluded that (assuming the whole of the past is any guide to the future) a world made up only of democracies could be expected to be a world essentially without war. For non-scholars who simply survey their own experience of recent decades, the pacific behavior of European states toward one another and toward non-European democracies since the end of World War II can seem to give strong support to the democratic peace thesis.
And recall what Amartya Sen, winner of the 1998 Nobel for economics, pointed out about functioning democracies: they don’t have famines. Famines, as it turns out, are closely linked to the kind of mismanagement autocratic rulers bring about.
Two Actions You Can Take Now
1) Students for Global Democracy (SGD) is helping the democratic underground in Belarus (a nation often called ‘the last dictatorship of Europe’). Here’s the SGD webpage where one can donate or learn more about SGD.
2) Also, click here to easily find your senators’ and representative’s email addresses and phone numbers, and tell them you strongly support passage of the bipartisan Advance Democracy Act. This bill was inspired in part by Ambassador Mark Palmer’s book, Breaking the Real Axis of Evil, How to Oust the World’s Last Dictators by 2025. Arizona Republican John McCain and Connecticut Democrat Joe Lieberman have sponsored the bill (S516) in the Senate, and in the House the bill (as HR 1133) has been sponsored by California Democrat Tom Lantos and Virginia Republican Frank Wolf.
Here’s a summary of what the Advance Democracy Act would do:
· Establish a new office of Democracy Movements and Transitions at the State Department and create Regional Democracy Hubs at several embassies abroad;
· Create a Democracy Promotion Advisory Board to provide outside expertise to the U.S. Government;
· Authorize $250 million in increased funding for democracy promotion over two years [perhaps we should tell Congress to up the $250 million to at least $1 billion, which would still be equal to only about 1/5th of 1 percent of current defense spending annually];
· Require an annual report on democracy to include action plans to promote democracy in nondemocratic countries; and
· Provide training and, significantly, incentives, for State Department personnel to promote democracy.