from The Social Affairs Unit
Now, when the West has few ethics apart from situational ones and few values beyond materialism, we note that everyone on the planet appears to lust after our goods, then we 'project' our values and presume that they are eager to live as we do in order to obtain those goods. That is a mistake.- S. J. Masty, Barkeeper! Democracy All Around!: the problems of exporting democracy to societies with non-Western value systems
We see people from poor countries risk their lives to live among us, taking jobs that we disdain, and we assume that their kinfolk 'back home' are just as keen but merely less adventuresome than the illegal immigrants. That is another mistake.
But the prime Western stupidity, and the main intellectual contribution of the so-called NeoConservatives, is that every culture on earth is somehow 'ready for democracy' - and, as US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice implies, daring to suggest otherwise is some sort of bigotry, like hinting that foreigners are incapable of being potty-trained.
In truth, lots of old and perfectly sane values can, and do, stop countries from becoming functional democracies. In many cases, people do not even realise that some of their deepest values are antithetical to democracy - extended families, for instance.