Too bad for Dutch diplomacy, but nothing was said to Barack Obama about the 2014 nuclear summit in The Hague. The Dutch should definitely be the best leg during the start with all the world leaders. A performance with ballet and robots. Ballet – The US President thought it was ‘porridge’. Imagine what Putin thinks about this, as Obama sits in the back of his limousine, muttering to his foreign adviser, Ben Rhodes, ‘Man, what a gentleman in the West these days!’
This is one of the stories that Rhodes told. After the fall Make it very effective. Rhodes is a prolific orator who uses a series of lively conversations with Russians, Hungarians and Chinese as a mirror to his own America in his book. What has happened since 1989? Why does democracy seem to be lost to dictatorship? Why is America not a role model?
Rhodes mainly seeks explanation for the conflict between Trump supporters and decent people. Racists and conspiracy theorists stand in the way of practical, realistic politics. In front of the home, Rhodes concludes, ‘The Cold War is raging now, and as a result, the United States has no time for world order.
Rhodes is a little surprised to see Russian plunder lined up in Davos when it comes to world peace. China stuffed a million people in camps without even a rooster crowing. Or when he claimed in 2003 that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, Rhodes himself fell for the lies of Colin Powell and George W. Bush. But what are the consequences of those past mistakes for the Democrats? Or what about Ukraine, Taiwan and Syria? Unfortunately, this is a bit vague. He specifically points out the need for things to be different. “We need to redefine what American is,” Rhodes concluded. Moreover, we are the ones who are ‘liberal, tolerant, open society’, ‘no matter what tribe with principles’. It echoes well in a speech, but on paper it seems normal.
The purpose of the book is to re-establish a belief in global ideals Moral progress in the dark ages By Marcus Gabriel, Germany’s most admired young philosopher. According to Gabriel, we need to reevaluate our moral abilities: we can actually learn what is good and act accordingly. Not only liars like Trump, but also postmodern philosophers continue to suggest that the facts no longer exist. It is deadly because we have to fight disasters like global warming or the advancing power of artificial intelligence.
Admitting the facts
They are facts and we can accept or disagree with them. Corona is a fact, not a language game or a conspiracy of the Jews. You are not solving an epidemic or a climate problem by rebuilding it, you can only solve it when science and companies work together. So we have to be very open about the democratic constitutional state because it makes this moral progress possible.
Along with this Gabriel puts forward an important point because our democracy is really suffering from embarrassment. An example of this is Obama’s idea of ’masi ballet’ inciting Putin’s arrogance. The US president does not want to be a ‘soft’, but in the meantime it is better for everyone to live in a country with avant-garde culture than to be under the yoke of the Kremlin. Fearing minorities angry over the law, we did not say it out loud. Twitter burns daily because of Covid-19 or because of the populist advice that we live in a dictatorship by the European administration in Brussels.
Gabriel is against this, especially against the cynicism of the populists Beneficiaries Speak – A German word popular in the Netherlands. According to him, the ‘good guys’ are right to stand up for refugees from harsh circumstances. In doing so, they restore a rule that has been violated by others. Those who mock that are mocking the very foundation of the rule of law. Then you end up – this is a German book – sacrifice the perpetrators and victims of national socialism. But there is little satisfaction in his story. What Gabriel sees as “moral self-evidence” about refugees or vegetarians will continue to be read by critics as political commentary. ‘Ethics for all’ as a solution to the loss of faith in democracy will delight fellow philosophers in particular.
Acting against the grassroots people
Take Mark Elsardus, sociologist at Vrije Universiteit Brussel. He plays in his book Reset Apparently against his own supporters. If we want to talk about freedom, equality, fraternity, we have to start from fraternity. Otherwise, it would be a good talk at the expense of working people, as Elsardus calls it the ‘Cosmogwatch’: the cosmopolitanism of intellectuals with fat work. He dispelled the popular mockery among academics over the petty-bourgeois nature of borders as a service to Shell, Apple and Google.
Restoring national boundaries is, above all, necessary to restore democracy. Elsardus writes that the range is the greatest of discoveries. “No other human invention has contributed to peace, security and prosperity.” Education, health and security give us the opportunity for freedom and individuality. Those beautiful arrangements were not made at the behest of Emmanuel Kant or his followers. They exist because people show solidarity. People show similarity by recognizing each other. So of course we build fences.
This book has already caused controversy in Flanders. So Elzartus takes his enemies to the grain with satisfaction. Anti-racists, Muslim activists, human rights activists, ‘imaginative, activist’ judges who promote illegal immigration, or those who want to turn Poland into a country like Sweden – they all get their choice. Elzardus is not shy away from strong language, with titles such as ‘The Twilight of the Millennium of Human Rights’ or ‘The Umma of the Root’. The motto sounds like this: if it doesn’t hurt, they won’t listen.
According to Elzartz, contemporary communities feel displaced, especially as a result of immigration, and mutual trust is declining. The answer is ‘social democracy’, more space for its own culture, more people’s sovereignty and a subordinate role to the EU. National parliaments should consider international agreements and the appointment of judges so that the community can gain a grip on migration.
Elsardus sharpens the distinction between the deaf and dumb castes of powerful rulers and the general population with neglected desires. One group wants to talk about ideals such as human rights. But it is a thin discipline that dictatorial Muslim countries use to isolate Israel and we ignore when the Dutch national team plays in Qatar. The other group wants to hear exactly what our ‘social plan’ is, that is, how we redistribute wealth and well-being and maintain the opportunity for equality. Not with a basic income, as Mark Zuckerberg argues. Then everyone ends up helping and the rotten jobs always require new immigrants. Elsardus says only the super rich benefit from this. It calls for time to move away from liberalism and ‘reset’. By focusing more on the quality of life of ordinary people and distributing the work that exists in the community more evenly.
This book is a brilliant review of the innocent pages of Enlightenment thought – Do not let all men become brothers, We civilizations live next to each other. In this, democracy should be a comfortable experience, not a summary of laws and regulations. Election results are valuable only when you are in charge of your own life and you can feel it on the street, at work, at school. Call it equality or unity of opportunity, but that experience cannot be spread over the surface of the earth like powdered sugar. It comes from a more or less defined community. Anyone who worries about this because they can make money anywhere in the world is not idealistic, but cynical.
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There is also a tragedy in the book. Rather than announcing a new movement, it may be a farewell to democratically popular parties such as the PvdA and the CDA. Nationalism is already widespread, but mostly through parties closely related to democracy and redistricting, Elsardus notes. PVV and FvD You hear a lot about color and trust, never heard about fair distribution or the labor market. Let alone cross-border problems like rising seawater. It does not provide a democratic experience, some sergeants serving neoliberalism. Or Halpe Gijlstra in culture.
Fences along the Polish border against the Syrians from Brexit, Corona and Belarus are also now tightening borders. Through Elzardus, you can hope that, as part of the solution, the nation will be revived among the Democrats. But Marcus Gabriel and Ben Rhodes will point to the recent German elections. The youth there saw the future openly, beyond the national border. Left-wing youth opted for green and right-wingers for digitalization. As a result, the new German government, along with France, wants to further reduce its borders and measure the EU as a genuine federation. Tip for cosmopolitans, even if they are still paper projects. The last word has not yet been said, as gamblers in the United States suspect that Donald Trump will return to the presidency.
Edition of this article was published on 17 December 2021 in NRC Handelsblad
A version of this article was also published in the NRC on the morning of December 17, 2021
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