18 July 2022
Subsequent Putin’s brutal attack, the E.U. and the U.S. need revitalized mentalities and habits to prevail in a dawning global struggle.
Lviv, Ukraine, November 2021
Subsequent Russia’s invasion of democratic Europe and China’s surge in aggressive behaviors, the free world needs to correct some bad habits and to reject certain self-defeating mentalities.
This positive outcome could create the conditions for intellectual and social revival and ensure that freedom endures for centuries to come.
Free peoples have to let go of irrational guilt and doubt, and instead accept and enunciate the superiority of their values and the importance of their achievements.
Populations in free countries (e.g., the European Union, the United States, Canada, South Korea, Japan, Australia, Taiwan and New Zealand) should examine conditions that promote independent, critical thinking.
Broad-minded, educated intellects fire the engine of collective intelligence, which serves as democracy’s powerful advantage over authoritarian societies marked by conformity and taboos.
In parallel, liberal nations ought to spend more energy on understanding and mitigating factors that contribute to alternative forms of cognition, namely groupthink and cult mentality. Two such factors include dysfunctional families and us-vs-them political ideologies that divide populations and promote fear.
Healthy democratic polities have political groupings focused on pragmatic solutions, not ethnic affiliations, cults of personality, or dogmatic ideologies that are divorced from human nature and historical experiences (for example, communism or intolerant nationalism).
Such successful societies foster strong, intact families. Largely trusting in fellow citizens, their people look to the future with confidence.
They recognize historical wrongs without abandoning current responsibilities in favor of obsessive guilt and self-flagellation. They favor feasible, incremental progress and distrust proponents of sudden, total transformation. They prioritize safety and security without forgetting tolerance, compassion, and redemption.
Clearly, free peoples need to be realistic even when reality conflicts with preferable scenarios. Due to cultural factors, miseducation, and other issues, various non-free societies cannot soon embrace liberty or democracy and will likely remain a threat for generations.
Free peoples need to stop blaming themselves for problems in ways marked by a lack of context or double standards. They must cease rewarding tyrants by compromising on “crises” that were actually situations strategically prepared by those same criminals.
Crucially, free countries should refrain from financing their own ruin. Companies and individuals should suffer consequences for making investments benefitting aggressive adversaries or for funding domestic agitators that promote ethnic distrust or social conflict.
Crucially, citizens of democracies ought to understand that neither the political right nor the left have a monopoly on destructive, anti-democratic behaviors and mentalities. Both have us-vs-them narratives to promote distrust and fear and to encourage sheepish intellectual submissiveness.
Free peoples need to learn and to promote awareness about the dangerous fallacy of collective guilt, i.e., the idea that an entire ethnicity or demographic group shares responsibility for a real or perceived historical wrong.
Without suppressing freedom of speech, liberal societies must find ways to hold business leaders accountable when they use media infrastructure to promote ethnic suspicions, anti-democratic violence, or narratives originating from the propaganda of foreign dictatorships.