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Sunday, July 16, 2006

On Civil Rights and Tolerance

In the Eighteenth Century in America, the Southern states posed an obstacle to Civil Rights. They enslaved black people, and refused to change their ways.

What made them change? Was it tender words of mutual respect, and giving them space and time to grow and develop?

Hardly. It was hot bloody war, a war that lasted five years and cost more American lives than all other wars America has fought before and since combined.

And even when the war was "won," the South did not immediately change. Jim Crow arose to replace slavery, and only through a prolonged period of direct confrontation did the black woman and man begin to realize their full civil rights. Even today, many would argue, more than a century later, the process is still not complete and many generations have been sacrificed to the "patience" that Martin Luther King condemned.

Britain did not give up its colonial rule of India except through direct confrontation.

Germany did not give up its repeated attempts to conquer Europe except through direct confrontation.

Yet with Russia, we are told by some poor misguided souls, there must be no hot war, no cold war, no confrontation in fact of any kind, this will only be "counterproductive." Only tender words of encouragement, understanding and patience, until Russians do the right thing all on their own can be our policy towards Russia.

Never mind that Russia has been degenerating for a thousand years, if anything denying more and more civil rights and grinding its mass population lower and lower. Never mind that, in fact, the population is literally disappearing. Never mind that there is no precedent in human history for people simply "realizing" they are doing the wrong thing and making the correction all on their own. Never mind that "be patient" is just what a coward would say when faced with a dictator. And, above all, never mind that "be patient" is exactly what a dictator who wanted to buy time would say to the world to justify his actions and allow himself to consolidate his illicit power.

Just as the "white moderate" despised by Martin Luther King was prepared to gamble with the lives of millions of black citizens, these Russophiles are willing to gamble not only with millions of Russian lives but with hundreds of millions of lives worldwide, just as Chamberlain was willing to gamble with Hitler.

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