More on the Baghdad Blog Daily

More on the Baghdad Blog Daily
: Glenn Reynolds points us to a piece of Slate’s David Plotz on the seven habits of highly effective democracy building in Iraq and one of them hammers the point I’ve been making lately about using the web — specifically weblogs — to foster free speech and a free press in Iraq:

5. Use new technology and media to instill the habits of democracy. Democracy is a learned behavior. The experiences of the former Soviet Union and Cambodia are evidence that democracy stumbles if citizens don

  • The internet is good for free-speach, I’ll agree with that premise.
    But all these groups like the “National Endowment for Democracy” and “Virtual Diplomacy Initiative” sound like groups that have their own interests in mind. If I were in the business of selling computers or running internet kiosks I’d probably try talking the government into buying into the idea too. My opinion is confirmed in the actual article. Two paragraphs after you’re done quoting they talk of another organization that recieved an $8 million dollar contract to organize meetings in Iraq.
    The internet is all well and good but why not let entrepreneurial young Iraqi’s start their own ISP’s? It’ll happen, give it time.
    I know you’re not actually saying we should give a government contract to Blogger to help with democracy in Iraq. But there are others out there who think that their business can run Iraq’s democracy conversion with a government grant better then Iraq can do it with a free-market.
    The best way for Iraq to be free is to have a free-market. And a steady influx of government aid is going to promote people wealth to people who get the aid, not businesses. So we can prattle on all we wish about the best way to turn Iraq into a democracy, but at some point we’re going to have to let them do it themselves with minimal interference from us. They’ll probably even have to put down their own Whiskey Rebellion.