Tuesday, March 23, 2010

World Democracy or World Dictatorship?

"Our country has accepted obligations that are difficult to fulfill, and would be dishonorable to abandon. Yet because we have acted in the great liberating tradition of this nation, tens of millions have achieved their freedom. And as hope kindles hope, millions more will find it. By our efforts, we have lit a fire as well – a fire in the minds of men. It warms those who feel its power, it burns those who fight its progress, and one day this untamed fire of freedom will reach the darkest corners of our world." ~ George W. Bush, Inaugural address, 2005
In James Billington's book, Fire in the Minds of Men, he focuses on the imagery of fire, an image that began before the French Revolution and extended to Lenin's newspaper, Iskra, "spark." Billington writes:
"The heart of revolutionary faith, like any faith, is fire: ordinary material transformed into extraordinary faith, quantities of warmth suddenly changing the quality of substance. If we do not know what fire is, we know what it does. It burns. It destroys life; but it also supports it as a source of heat, light, and – above all – fascination."
Billington argues that the myth of Prometheus was central to the mythology of the revolutionary movement. 
"A recurrent mythic model for revolutionaries – early romantics, the young Marx, the Russians of Lenin's time – was Prometheus, who stole fire from the gods for the use of mankind. The Promethean faith of revolutionaries resembled in many respects the general modern belief that science would lead men out of darkness into light. But there was also the more pointed, millennial assumption that, on the new day that was dawning, the sun would never set." [1]
 This sounds very similar to the revolutionary movement taking place today.