I once more pick on the protesters of the left, primarily because I have more in common with this end of the political spectrum. I will ignore the thugs who show up at G20 and other international meetings involving the U.S. and the EU countries, and leftist fools who espouse gibberish.
Instead, I focus on those in North America and Western Europe who denounce poverty, sexism and racism, and promote the rights of gays. These are all very important issues worth fighting for. However, the key battles already have been fought and won.
Yes, poverty is still a problem in the West. We are too wealthy to allow people to live in abject poverty and to have homeless living on our streets. We can do better, and a strong and growing economy is the best policy. But we will never get rid of poverty in relative terms. Yet while we concern ourselves in Canada with the six million or so people categorized as poor, our leftist protesters do not attack poverty around the world with the same intensity and regularity. Globally, there are probably three or four billion people who are extremely poor by every possible absolute measure. By comparison, most of the poor in Canada, and in the West, are well off.
Similarly, there always will be vestiges of sexism, racism and opposition to gay rights in the West. Religion and tribalism will ensure that there always will be people who are closed-minded, irrational, intolerant and prejudiced. But by and large we have made enormous progress in these areas during the past 40 years in the West, and we will continue to whittle away at the remaining barriers.
The biggest problems in all of these areas are not in the West. They are elsewhere, such as the Top 23 tyrannical regimes in the world, as I discussed in a previous blog, and in other countries where poverty is rampant. Yet, rarely do the protesters of the left criticize these countries, and they definitely do not protest with the same sincerity and commitment as they protest against the West and the perceived failings of capitalism.
Moreover, Western protesters of the left are not at the vanguard of the demonstrations against the abuse of human rights and the subjugation of freedom in many countries around the world. Yes, they appear to have good intentions. However, they seem to be quite provincial in their concerns, and hypocritical in their attacks.
At a meeting today of the Community of Democracies in Krakow, Poland, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated that intolerant governments across the globe are crushing activist and advocacy groups that play an essential role in the development of democracy. According to Hillary Clinton, a wide range of countries, among the ones cited are Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, Venezuela, China and Russia, are closing the walls on civic organizations that press for social change and shine a light on governments’ shortcomings.
She could have gone further.
I have not seen any protester of the left stand up to support her and echo her warnings. I have not seen any protester of the left stand up and attack any of these countries. Could it be because this would compel them to focus their attention away from the West and capitalism to totalitarian and Marxist regimes around the world?
The opinions expressed in this blog are personal and do not reflect the views of either Global Brief or the Glendon School of Public and International Affairs.
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