The devastating explosions that savagely murdered over 30 innocent human beings on Monday remind us that America's mission in Iraq is far from complete. Over the past months we have seen many such calculated yet cowardly acts of terrorism that typify our enemy's ideology. Whether secular or religious, it is a violent variant of the primitive but ever-present belief that might makes right. Those who act upon such brutal principles must be defeated by force, not seminars.
Yet we must remember that while this small minority of the population poses a real danger, our ultimate victory depends on the outcome of the struggle to refute and eradicate the political principles they espouse. The necessary conditions of freedom—e.g., a cessation of violence—should not be confused with the sufficient conditions of freedom. The majority of Iraqis, while rejoicing when their tyrannical rulers were deposed, have lived most—if not all—of their lives under despotic governments whose basis for rule was brute force. The sad reality is that many people of good will in the Middle East have no clear understanding or experience of the principles of liberty and equality upon which the structure of limited self-government stands.
As part of its continuing efforts to respond to these challenges and promote the blessings of self-government around the world, the Claremont Institute is proud to announce the release of a new book, From Bullets to Ballots by John Zvesper. As we seek to help the people of Afghanistan and Iraq govern themselves by means of the right of the ballot rather than the might of the bullet, the lessons of From Bullets to Ballots could not be more timely or essential. While this book doubtless will inform many American readers, its primary audience is advocates of liberal democracy in the developing democracies abroad.
A graduate of Claremont McKenna College, with a doctorate from Cambridge University, Zvesper was for many years Lecturer in Politics at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, England, and also taught at the University of London. He is author of the critically acclaimed Political Philosophy and Rhetoric: A Study of the Origins of America in Party Politics and Nature and Liberty. From Bullets to Ballots has garnered praise from American scholars such as Lance Banning, foreign academics, and human rights activists.
America has been able to determine its political future, with the towering exception of the Civil War, via elections whose results are respected—by the victors with restraint and by the losers with unquestioned deference to the decision of the people. The historic election of 1800, the first peaceful transition of power from one political party to its opposition, marked not only America's success on this question of principle but also the standard for all democratic elections in the future.
We must pass on these enduring principles of American government if the peaceful transition to just and free regimes is to successfully take place in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world. Zvesper's book explains how the early American republic did this, and how other nations might follow.
From Bullets to Ballots, is available free of charge to citizens of emerging democratic regimes. It will soon be available in downloadable a PDF file at www.claremont.org. Please contact Matt Peterson, or Penny McWhorter at (909) 621-6825 for more details.