03. October 2005 · Comments Off on Women Drivers: Hughes Kinda’-Sorta’ Faux Pas · Categories: Politics, World

This from T. A. Frank at TNR:

Condoleezza Rice may, of course, have good reasons not to broach the topic with the Saudis. Men are in charge of Saudi Arabia, and the men can help us, so angering them might be unwise. And perhaps it was impolite of Hughes to bring up the subject. But since when do progressives favor politesse in the face of discrimination? And why, exactly, should liberals like “West Wing” writer Aaron Sorkin be more deferential about the Saudi driving ban than Karen Hughes?

Isolationist conservatives generally take the position that it’s not the proper role of American politicians to comment on another society’s treatment of women. But liberals don’t have that excuse. Instead, their dilemma is by now an old story: For the contemporary left, when any value–in this case, equal rights for women–comes up against the value of not judging other cultures, non-judgment tends to win. The left prizes tolerance so highly that it often refuses to condemn intolerance. (Europe, with a large population of immigrants who oppose the values of the society in which they live, has grappled with this problem for years.)

It’s about time we come to fit with our suit as omnipower, and the global hegemony which it entails. As Americans, we are naturally uncomfortable in wearing it; but it has been forced upon us by the tides of history. But to shun it is to leave its shards to be picked-up by (as Virginia Postrel would put it) the “enemies of the future.” On foreign policy, libertarian first principles are only clear-cut on matters of initiation of force (Even so, the matter of Iraq sheared the libertarian ranks.); restrictions of trade are a more nebulous matter.

Still, as a practical matter, we have to realize that they need us far more than we need them. If you doubt this, just look at prospects for Sunco Oil.

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