September 2016For some time already, I’ve thought that I won’t publish to this site any material which I can’t be sure is true. There is of course a great flaw in this plan, which is that every time I started writing, I had to debate epistemology in order to accept even a simple sentence. It’s exhausting, and the result is that I sort of just didn’t do it because I didn’t want to go through it. Yet, I still want to write, not only because I think it’s helpful to develop proper habits of thinking, but that it allows a channel through which to share some of what I’ve learned. So I’ve decided to leave that embarrassing principle behind and just do it: write what I think is interesting, and leave it to the reader to work out what’s useful and what is not. This bit can act as sort of a disclaimer: I will prioritize interesting subjects rather than absolute truths. On we go!
Some time ago, US and Europe united in order to take down Muammar Gaddafi from his position of sole leader of Libya. From a western viewpoint it seems reasonable. Dictators oppress people, and it’s better if people are not oppressed, so a country is better off without a dictator. Sounds logical enough. But this equation leaves out a crucial part of how the world works, which is exemplified by the famous phrase, “Nature abhors a vacuum.” Society, government, and leadership dislike vacuums, also. And if it’s not a dictator ruling a country, then who? Will the removal of a totalitarian government result in a clear transition to a democratic government? The answer from recent examples is no. The power vacuum attracts groups hungry for power, and the great liberators, to their surprise and perhaps guilt, find themselves having taken down an evil that was protecting the society from a worse evil of disorder. It could be that the dictator was keeping the fragments of the community together in the best type of equilibrium that system was capable at the time. It’s a bit like hating your job and quitting while having prepared no viable alternative to it.