Monday, June 29, 2009

Latin American Troubles

Over the past couple of months, we've been seeing countless examples of violence towards Native groups in Latin America. Most strikingly on June Eighth:
Dozens of people are estimated to have been killed in clashes between police and indigenous activists protesting oil and mining projects in the northern Peruvian Amazonian province of Bagua. Peruvian authorities have declared a military curfew, and troops are patrolling towns in the Amazon jungle. Authorities say up to twenty-two policemen have been killed, and two remain missing. The indigenous community says at least forty people, including three children, were killed by the police this weekend.
Latin American politics seem to work along a highly predictable dichotomy - a loose liberal coalition of radicalized populists and Indigenous groups, and the militant neoconservative-leaning oligarchy. Something similar happened on Sunday in Honduras:

Naturally, the remaining democratic leaders of Latin America immediately suspected American involvement, since American meddling perhaps even defines the region and moreover, a recent American attempt was made against Hugo Chavez. The Obama Administration, however, seems to be adopting the same approach here as in Iran:

Honestly, this makes so sense at all. Those protesting the anti-democratic events in Iran are seen as weak against the threat of the Americans, so endorsing them would only undermine them. Those protesting the illegal actions of the Honduran military see the US as the cause of this or historically of very similar events, and therefore endorsing them would mark a radical shift in American policies and potentially undermine their opposition. Alternatively, Obama might want a counter-American-Intervention streak to their protests since that could very effectively rally the masses.

Nonetheless, things are getting interesting down there.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Obama's Ugly Speech

Naturally the right wing has been in a fury since Obama's inauguration if not since his election to the presidency, but a surprising amount of flack has been thrown at him from the left as well. Hardly the cult idol that he is often painted as being among the left wing, a significant block of the left outright sees him as little more than another George Bush. While not even close to the largest Obama fan, I take some offense to this, but since Obama's overwhelming insistence on co-operation with the grand old psychotic warmongering party had tainted my opinion of him, I felt rather ambivalent about the whole issue.

Until his speech during his Middle East tour. Naturally, many on the left saw it as just more platitudes little more than what Bush might spout off and more or less came back and back again to a certain refrain:
the point here is that pretty speeches mean nothing
Or rather, that Obama said what Bush said, and that there's neither a difference in their rhetoric nor in the effective it could have.

I can't sit back and let this be said. It's categorically wrong. The collection of Bush quotes masqueraded as lines from Obama's speech don't even cut to the meat of the matter. Obama went further than Bush's lip service ever dared to consider. Please, just read for a moment what Obama apologized for or admitted to an American role in:
More recently, tension has been fed by colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims, and a Cold War in which Muslim-majority countries were too often treated as proxies without regard to their own aspirations.
He just admitted American culpability in virtually every anti-democratic state in the Muslim world since the fifties. If that's not monumental, you don't know what is. In the case of Iran, one of the pillars of the Muslim world, and to a lesser extent, Pakistan, another major Muslim country, this is the major point of contention with the US - our support for a bloodthirsty tyrant out of fear of an imagined communist threat.
But I am convinced that in order to move forward, we must say openly the things we hold in our hearts, and that too often are said only behind closed doors. There must be a sustained effort to listen to each other; to learn from each other; to respect one another; and to seek common ground. As the Holy Koran tells us, "Be conscious of God and speak always the truth."
Again, the left often shrieks that Bush said virtually the same thing - praising the Koran and speaking positively of the Muslim faith, yet he never actually quoted from the Koran when asking for a free and open dialogue between Western and Islamic societies. Obama just showed the Islamic world his willingness to speak to them while acknowledging their beliefs and understanding of the world in way the Bush never managed. The Islamic world called Bush on his bluff and he did nothing. Obama's laying his cards down on the table and showing them at least a few jacks.
It was Islam - at places like Al-Azhar University - that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe's Renaissance and Enlightenment. It was innovation in Muslim communities that developed the order of algebra; our magnetic compass and tools of navigation; our mastery of pens and printing; our understanding of how disease spreads and how it can be healed. Islamic culture has given us majestic arches and soaring spires; timeless poetry and cherished music; elegant calligraphy and places of peaceful contemplation. And throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality.It was Islam - at places like Al-Azhar University - that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe's Renaissance and Enlightenment. It was innovation in Muslim communities that developed the order of algebra; our magnetic compass and tools of navigation; our mastery of pens and printing; our understanding of how disease spreads and how it can be healed. Islamic culture has given us majestic arches and soaring spires; timeless poetry and cherished music; elegant calligraphy and places of peaceful contemplation. And throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality.
In one long paragraph, Obama acknowledged in depth the debt of Western society owes to various Islamic cultures which reigned supreme as the intellectual center of the world for its inventions. Another major issue for would-be Islamists is the apparent lack of respect that much of the modern world shows for Islamic societies all the while living within situations made possible by the advances under Islamic learning. Just as before he's deflating their argument - forcing a necessary change both in terms of American policy and (hopefully) Islamic perception of the United States.
Moreover, freedom in America is indivisible from the freedom to practice one's religion. That is why there is a mosque in every state of our union, and over 1,200 mosques within our borders. That is why the U.S. government has gone to court to protect the right of women and girls to wear the hijab, and to punish those who would deny it.
Or, the shorter version, the US isn't France - we respect the religious rights of Muslims, neither hiding behind a false claim to secularism nor outright attacks on a religious minority, but respect the Muslims in our lands. These few words alone undermine much of the Islamist boogie-man perception of America with excellent skill, explaining that our customs are not their customs, but that we respect their individual rights to continue those practices with minimal interference to others within our borders.
We also know that military power alone is not going to solve the problems in Afghanistan and Pakistan. That is why we plan to invest $1.5 billion each year over the next five years to partner with Pakistanis to build schools and hospitals, roads and businesses, and hundreds of millions to help those who have been displaced. And that is why we are providing more than $2.8 billion to help Afghans develop their economy and deliver services that people depend upon.
The antagonistic invasive empire will... rebuild hospitals? Again with the Islamist narrative destroying.
The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop.

Israel must also live up to its obligations to ensure that Palestinians can live, and work, and develop their society. And just as it devastates Palestinian families, the continuing humanitarian crisis in Gaza does not serve Israel's security; neither does the continuing lack of opportunity in the West Bank. Progress in the daily lives of the Palestinian people must be part of a road to peace, and Israel must take concrete steps to enable such progress.

Yes, he says in the abstract, but a direct call from the US President to cease building Israeli settlements and for Israel to actively assist development in Palestine is not just words. It's a clear challenge to decades of Israeli-American policies that ignore or actively attack Palestinian sovereignty, legitimacy, solidarity, and equality. That's not nothing.
In the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically-elected Iranian government.
Holy crap! He just outright said exactly what every one in the Middle East has been saying for years - that the US played a central role in violent anti-democratic suppression of Muslim-majority countries, that we killed Iran's nascent democracy and led them down a road of brutal dictatorship. There are people out there claiming that this is nothing important? Imagine, if you will, China not only refusing to admit the clear suppression and illegitimacy of its rule in Tibet but moreover that every major official in China refused to speak on the role of their government in Tibet, to even acknowledge the existence of a previously independent Tibet. Now imagine such a policy existing for generations, in ever medium - educational, administrative, economic, etc, no one acknowledged that Tibet had at one point been an independent state, not that it was justified in being such an entity, but that it even was. Imagine that even non-state-associated media goes along with a total gag order. Unsurprisingly, after more than forty years, the entire population has guessed, based on the total vacuum of information that the entire populace of the country would largely be ignorant of this simple fact. (This isn't terribly different from the real situation, but the insanity's been cranked up to US-on-Mossadeq level.)

China wouldn't be the laughing stock of the international community but outright feared and hated. They weren't just oppressing people, refusing to acknowledge their role, but refusing to acknowledge the existence of the oppression, and on an extensive scale.

That is why there were and still often are rallies filled with chants of "Death to America" in Iran. They hate us. They hate us more than most people can possibly understand, because until a few weeks ago the average American knew nothing of Iran except that they hurt us by taking hostages and that they're presided over by a despotic theocracy. Mossadeq? Reza Pahlavi Shah? Savak Secret Police? Those meant nothing to the average American.

And Iranians knew it. We didn't look away, but explained that the existence of a car with our license plate in their living room was coincidental.

In short, that is why they hate us. And to suggest that a brave speech addressing precisely these issues is indistinguishable from "they hate us for our freedom" or any other example of Bush-esque rhetoric is to fail to understand the impact the lack of self-criticism America has shown has had on the world.

It wasn't a pretty speech. It was ugly. And both the Islamic world and America needed that exact speech at that exact moment.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Fighting Back

I haven't said this yet on this blog, but we can prioritize. There are three major bottom-up movements that merit special attention, largely because each has been successful at building major, international coalitions and all three have at least briefly run major nations' governments. These are the Islamist movement, the Hindutva movement (a Hindu mirror to Islam-based extremism with heavy anti-immigrant rhetoric added for effect), and a loose bundle of Western Hemisphere organizations (with both "secular" and religious branches, the Minutemen who have operations in countless states in the US; the Assemblies of God which has major contingents in virtually all American countries, South Korea, the Philippines, and has had significant growth in Africa; Operation Rescue; etc). All of these major movements thankfully have significant splits that manage to divide them, quite effectively at times. Alternatively, we have to view victories over any piece of these movements as hindering only a small section of said movement.

Nonetheless, the past year has done well showing how limited in appeal these incredibly anti-democratic movements truly are. Last November, McCain, the presidential candidate who most explicitly linked himself to that "loose movement" and chose a member of the Assemblies of God as his vice presidential candidate, lost in one of the most pronounced electoral decisions in recent American history.

Indian national elections in the middle of May showed a similar contempt for the Hindutva Movement's coalition, the BJP. The circumstances of this victory, however, suggest something slightly different, and hopefully a stronger reason to hope. In the wake of the Mumbai attacks in late 2008, anti-Muslim sentiments reached a boiling point and rallies across India convinced Muslims that they were living in an increasingly hostile environment. This past election, they block voted for Muslim-centered third parties for the first time in Indian history. In spite of this and the massive economic meltdown the Congress Party, BJP's major competitor, won nation-wide nearly twice as many seats them, and gained the ability to form the next government. This is equivalent of the Democrats winning by a two-to-one margin in 2010 with the hispanic and black communities voting for a Green candidate. High voter turnout among South Indians probably played the largest role in preventing another BJP-based government (the latest one was Congress-based, but several shorter ones earlier in the decade were BJP-based), but could the high voter turnout be masking true feelings? South Indians can still feel sympathy for their variant of the Hindutva, while voting against the North Indian Hindutva's front of the BJP by voting for the Congress Party. The relative collapse of the Communist Party of India's base, however, suggests otherwise - that the left and center in South India combined and voted for the Congress Party to prevent the BJP from winning.

Finally, over the past weekend, the obviously fraudulent re-election of Ahmadinejad ignited the powderkeg of Iran, where a sizeable section of the populace seems to have more or less regretted the Islamic Revolution since the eighties. Iran is acting like Burma, shutting down internet portals and cell phone towers in an attempt to silence the protests. Already there are reports of secret police and militias firing on unarmed civilians, and there's been at least one death.

To be fair, Iran's predominately shiite population shouldn't be used as representative of the entire Islamic world, but it can easily be seen as increasing hostility towards shiite Islamists from shiite moderates. Unlike the recent elections in the US and India, however, this isn't the undermining of a major anti-democratic movement within its supposed base, but of the significantly smaller of two branches of a major anti-democratic movement in one of its moderately important bases. The Iranian government's role in terrorism and anti-democratic activities on a global scale is completely dwarfed by the largesse of wahhabi Saudi Arabia or the extensive network known as Al Qaeda. It's not quite the same thing, and not just because their government didn't have the decency to honor the actual election. Nonetheless, we're either going to see the Iranian government have to crack down on a soviet scale, or Iran will free itself. I certainly hope that the Ayatollah chooses wisely.

Stepping back from the details of each of these cases, there clearly is something hopeful going on here. We're seeing people fighting back for the first time in a long while.

Moving to what's national news for me, there are two more cases of attempted domestic terrorism. In Maine, a man attempting to build two dirty bombs in his garage, a self-proclaimed neo-Nazi, described by virtually every one they've interviewed so far as abusive, was shot by his wife. In all honesty, my first thoughts were "give her a damn big medal". Right-wing survivalists, of course, are criticizing her:
The fact that the government hasn’t released this information makes me suspect that they think a larger game is afoot. The fact that his wife didn’t tell anyone about his activity prior to deciding to off him makes me think she was at the very least O.K. with whatever he was planning. But for his degenerate character pushing his wife to the limit, we may have seen a major terror incident on our soil not directly connected to Islam.
No, pretty much every report I've read on this suggest that he had her completely terrified, so this little speculation is not only unfounded by idle. Having actually lived in an abusive situation, I can say that certain people will (pardon my French) scare the shit out of you and fuck with you until you are completely paralyzed and think there's only three options: suicide, murder, or slavery. But leaving behind the blame-the-victim games that the rightwing and para-rightwing (which this blog claimes not to be), what was that last part?
But for his degenerate character pushing his wife to the limit, we may have seen a major terror incident on our soil not directly connected to Islam.
Not only is this old, old, old, news given that since this article came out the Holocaust Museum was shot up, Tiller was murdered, and somewhere around twenty other people were shot by various anti-immigration crazies, but more importantly, how is this not directly connected with Islam. As near as I can tell, this is not connected with Islam.
I say not directly because the various neo-Nazi groups in America have been quietly aligning themselves with Marxist and Islamist groups for the past few years at least. There are confirmed reports that neo-Nazis were at many of the “pro-Palestine” marches held recently(such as this one in Toronto) and the NSM has woven leftist anti-Zionist talking points into their own platform. Their own website promotes this New York Times Op-Ed by Islamist Rashid Khalidi which is some of the vilest anti-Israel propaganda published by the MSM. Neo-Nazis are not a threat separate from the various domestic terror groups operating in America, but just the frayed edge of a tapestry of violent anti-Americanism that has festered here for too long.
Except, Cummings wasn't even a member of any Neo-Nazi organization; he was applying for membership when his wife shot him. Not directly connected doesn't mean what you think it means. Half of those sites don't mention Islamism at all, at least anymore, and for that matter, they paint a picture of allying with Islamists over a single issue: the rabid anti-Semitism that both groups often share. Also, if Rashid Khalidi is an anti-Semite, so are a good number of Jews. He is critical of Israel and has made some rather dubious statements in the past, but calling him an Islamist because of that weakens the word to simply mean "Muslim (or even Muslim-looking) that I disagree with". Throughout his speeches, Khalidi has insisted on the illegality of killing civilians, a clear condemnation of both Palestineans and Israelis. His mother is a Lebanese Christian. Consider for a moment that the people squacking about this are the same as those that raised all the fuss over Bill Ayers. What has he said or done that actually threatens Israel?

Ultimately, this seems like a freakish new variant of an old, dumb argument.

Nonetheless, a second recent attack falls into a similar pattern. In southern Arizona, two people, a father and child, were killed by two Minutemen, not because of their race or politics, but in a theft. Why would those who claim to be upholding the law at great personal cost break the law, you may ask:
Their motive was financial, Dupnik said.

"The husband who was murdered has a history of being involved in narcotics and there was an anticipation that there would be a considerable amount of cash at this location as well as the possibility of drugs," Dupnik said.


Dupnik said Forde continued working through Friday to raise a large amount of money to make her anti-illegal immigrant operation more sophisticated.
The mother and wife got a hold of one of their guns. God bless her, I hope she didn't wait a single second before firing. Early reports indicate that she was seriously wounded during the attack. Once again, big shiny medal.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Apologetics for Despotism

Before we start the book, I want to lay down the basics: who is Amy Chua, what is the point of this book, and how does any of this have anything to do with a threat to our democracy?

Chua is a professor at Yale Law School, ethnically Chinese, but with a family widely scattered through out Asia and the Americas (with several relatives in rather well-to-do positions in the Philippines and Indonesia among other nations). Above all she comes across as highly conflicted, in the way modern upper-classes only can - she enjoys the wealth of her family, but she seems to fear the negative repercussions it may create, and, she argues, has already created.

Feeling divided and ambivalent is perfectly fine. Some might even call it the human condition. Chua's thesis, however, seems less ambiguous and more about having her cake and eating it too. In the wake of the Iraq War, however, a new edition of her book was released, with a new epilogue, wherein Chua finally gave us a succinct explanation of her message, her reasoning, and what she wished to convey as she wrote the book:

A final clarification. This book is not about blame, but about unintended consequences. My own view, for example, is that the results of democratization in Indonesia have been disastrous. But if forced to place the blame somewhere, I would point to thirty years of plundering autocracy and crony capitalism by Suharto. Similarly, in Iraq, overnight elections might well bring undesirable results. But that is not democracy's fault. On the contrary, if anything, the blame rests with the cruelly repressive regime of Saddam Hussein. Nevertheless, this doesn't take away from the reality that given the conditions that actually exist now in many postcolonial countries - conditions created by history, colonialism, divide-and-conquer policies, corruption, autocracy - the combination of laissez-faire capitalism and unrestrained majority rule may well have catastrophic consequences. (293-294)
There's the mechanics for being an apologetic of Chua's stripes; denigrate democratic government so that despotism is potentially an acceptable alternative. But towards the end of this explanation, Chua touches on the truth - she's using democracy as a short hand for unrestrained majority rule, and as any fourth grader should be able to tell you if our education system wasn't in complete and total disintegration, minority rights need to be not only protected in democracies, but are a vital aspect of every functional democracy. Chua nearly admits to having used, perhaps even unconsciously, a bit of slight of hand. The lack of minority rights should be a signal of undemocratic practices and a frail and failing democracy, not an inherent aspect of democracy.

Her sudden use of the longer term "laissez-faire capitalism" indicates a similar switching between multiple imprecisely identical terms. Throughout most of her book, Chua uses the terms "democracy" and the "free market" as the deadly components of the process she sees, only to exchange those for "unrestrained majority rule" and "laissez-faire capitalism" haltingly in this section of the epilogue. None of these terms is ever truly defined, but a passing examination seems to suggest that she uses both "free market" and "laissez-faire" in their colloquial, not their technical, senses. The economic situation she wants to talk about is an absence of the government from the economic sphere, with the major exception of maintenance of "order", whatever that can mean.

At its core, that is the most dangerous political issue of our time - how a new meaning of "free market" has evolved, having shed its concerns that a wide variety of consumers and producers must be in the given market, that entrance into the market must be easy for both consumers and producers, that exiting the market be easy for both consumers and producers, that consumers be completely informed about the products being sold to them, and so on. The new "free market" has some how managed to carry the connotation of all the benefits those bring, while only meaning the absence of overt government interference in the market - the aspect of Adam Smith's theory most directly tied to the era he formulated that brilliant idea in, and an obvious swipe at chartered corporations, the ancestors of modern non-chartered conglomerates, who now advocate for total lack of government oversight.

Alternatively, "laissez-faire" has been similarly shifted, now including government oversight within specific circumstances, usually designed to maintain the status quo - in other words removing the ability of "true" laissez-faire systems to theoretically allow the system to heal itself, while maintaining its ability to harm the system.

In short, from its inception, a loose use of terms damages Amy Chua's World on Fire. Before we even address the validity of her thesis, we're trapped with two constantly shifting definitions. Before we can even explore her various examples, we need to take an elaborate detour, explaining how the "free market" "democracies" that worry her are neither "free markets" nor "democracies" if they behave the way she claims they behave.

We're in for a long review here, folks.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I'm afraid I forgot to mention the secondary purpose of this blog in my first post. The threats on democracy go far beyond a book which scarcely circulated outside of a few private circles. No, that is merely the threat we face from above - from a ruling class that increasingly fears their ability to keep us duped. A dry, secular fear of angry peasants who might resort to violence has bred affection for anti-democratic means on an international scale, but oppression is like Baskin-Robins, it comes in many flavors.

A second grave danger comes from outside of those private circles, rather from a different set of exclusive clubs, the fringes of culture, seeing themselves as most pure, most sacrosanct and most awesome.

Over the past few weeks, there have been four events which stand in my mind.

18 days ago, four Muslim men were arrested for plotting to bomb two synagogues in the Bronx and then attack an Air National Guard base in New York, all in retaliation for civilian deaths in Afghanistan.

11 days ago, Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad opened fire on military recruiters in Arkansas, killing one soldier and critically wounding another, clearly a response to the military actions in the Middle East.

10 days ago, George Tiller was shot, in a church no less, by Scott Roeder, who was also linked to vandalism against a Kansas City clinic. His intentions were made clear within a matter of days as he recorded a manifesto from within his prison - denouncing Tiller as a "baby-killer".

This morning, Stephen T. Johns, a security guard at the National Holocaust Museum, prevented lone gunman James von Brunn from killing multiple civilians, but paid the ultimate price.

The last is most disturbing. It combines the virulent anti-Semitism of the first, the clear aggression against the state's legitimacy of the second, and the increasingly terrifying pattern of right wing violence of the third.

Further, there's no goal, no veneer of sanity or rational. Just hatred. And bullets.

More than anything, this blog needs to catalog these actions and call them what they are - threats to democracy. The United States and the other countries of the world can overcome the sporadic yet overwhelming violence of extremist. But if our elites lead us away from democratic government, how can we expect to defend ourselves against this sort of thing?

Look to the Shah's Iran. Look to Musharraf's Pakistan. Look to Indira Gandhi's India. The destruction of democracy leaves people crippled and defenseless. Extremists convert by extorting weaknesses, transforming people who have lost everything into people who have everything to lose. Those who do not submit, are crushed, with no means of escape or self-defense. That is the fate we could easily face in my country if we don't turn back two tides: cultural extremism and crony anti-democratic politics. Ultimately, this is one battle, but with two fronts.

Good night and good luck, because we need it.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


I suppose I should christen this blog before it sets sail in the blogosphere.

Its name is actually two, avinash and aravind, both from Sanskrit. Scholars often translate avinash as indestructible, but that buries the connotations it evokes all but completely. It comes from vinaaze, meaning not only destruction, but decay, ruin, or dissolution. In short, it means preservable, salvageable, something that can or perhaps even will avoid the unfortunate consequences of the laws of thermodynamics. Something that can continue indefinitely.

Aravind is a much less complex translation but an even richer meaning. On its face, it means lotus, but leaving the meaning there is quite inadequate, as the lotus occupied a role of importance within ancient Indian culture more central than roses, lillies, carnations, and daisies combined for Western Civilization, and rivalled only by the obsession of certain East Asia countries for cherry blossums. Brahmanical India had mistakenly concluded that the landmasses of the world followed the lead set by the Indian subcontinent and were arranged in an alternating pattern of peninsula and gulf, in the manner of a lotus blossum. The lotus was more than a symoblic epitome of natural beauty, but also the pivot of the earth's very shape. It was believed that eating the lotus' root would embark great wisedom, from ingesting the base of the plan of the universe. Aravind was both beauty and basis of existance, as well as the physical manifestation of worldly knowledge.

Neither personal taste nor random decision fully dictated the choice of the name avinasharavind. The first project on this blog will examine the modern era's avinasharavind, democracy, that which must not perish and forms both the pinnacle of human acheivement and the source of structure without our modern world. A recounting of democracy's founding is not necessary at this time, but rather defense of its worth. Throughout the world, the past decades have seen the rapid growth of despotic movements, from the establishment of Islamic, Christian, and Hindu hegemons to the continual abuse of human rights at the hands of secular dictatorships sprinkled across the world. Democracy is avinash, it will rise again, like a phoenix, from the ashes of oppression, but we have the choice of deciding if it must fall only to slowly rebuild or whether it can continue its reign without interruption.

Therefore, in the manner of the Slacktivist for the Left Behind franchise, and Cleolinda on Twilight and its sequels, I hope to pick apart Amy Chua's World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability page by page, hoping not to refute her experiences and her studies, but to address her fear of democracy decaying into mob rule. Her novel has enjoyed limited popularity outside of politico insiders in the United States. Still, as the right wing in that leader of the "free" world increasingly entrench themselves in bitter identity politics, often using her work as justification, we need to examine her work with an open mind, less mocking and condemning than my two predecessors. After all, her thesis gives us a choice between democracy or a "free market economy", leaving us with several choices, only one of which is a rejection of democracy. My intention is to enrich her work, addressing both the validity of her thesis as well as the various topics it touches on.

So, please join me next Saturday for the first installment of this dissection of Amy Chua's World on Fire.