Mr. Burke goes to Bagdad
Does anyone else see the irony in conservatives pinning their hopes on Iraq's constitutional process? Have conservatives given up on Edmund Burke
? The constitutional skeptic appears nowhere as conservatives urge Iraqis to pull democracy out of the ether and put it onto paper. No doubt that a nation can constitute itself; no faith in reform. Personally, I would not welcome reform. Even in the absence of national traditions of democracy, Burke would prefer building democracy organically from the ground up rather than top-down and in the abstract
. If post-war West Germany is taken as an example of successful democratization, two things preceded federalism. First, the repoliticization of the states (Länder) on democratic principles; second, the rediscovery of traditions that could contribute to democracy. The nation-building process was able to meet the allies interests rather well. (Too bad they didn't purge all the Nazis, but I'll bet former Ba'athists ("the grays" who joined only for professional opportunities) will be in administration.) The constitution should be an embodiment of society, not a reference work.