There is violence in the streets of Kiev and Bangkok just to name the latest venues. “People everywhere just wanna be free.” Their “elected” representatives, their autocratic overlords, their maximum leaders want them to sit down, shut up and do as they’re told.
Nothing new there, but the media reports are breathless with surprise (and thrilled by the bloody videos). Wise men are assembled to examine the roots of the disease, offer a diagnosis and deliver a prognosis. But they seem almost as surprised and certainly can’t say what will happen next.
Really? The protesters will be crushed. Or reforms to defuse the situation will be promised and never delivered. Or the evil autocrat will be replaced by a shiny new model. Or the popular uprising will succeed and the bumbling revolutionaries will prove so divided, disorganized and generally incompetent to govern that the old boss, or oligopoly or junta will soon come to the fore once again.
It’s sad. Tragic, really. Especially since all that these people really seem to want is a land where every man is able to sit “under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid.”
But is it really a surprise? With no history of the rule of law, private property rights, self-determination, electoral democracy, capitalist economics, religious freedom, a free press, civil rights, universal literacy the odds are long against a happy outcome.
Those who report on or parse the meaning of these endless, miserable instances of ruined hopes adopt a judicious, measured, objective tone in the face of calamity. They want to be invited back to opine again and don’t want to appear naive by wearing their hearts on their sleeves. Or radical by caring for the oppressed. Or cynical by saying what we all know to be true.
The people are throwing rocks, but the oppressors have the tanks. It isn’t going to end well. No one will come to the aid of the embattled. And next week, surprise will be expressed at the latest photogenic ka-boom.