"I’ve long argued that the price of oil and the pace of freedom operate in an inverse correlation — which I call: “The First Law of Petro-Politics.” As the price of oil goes up, the pace of freedom goes down. As the price of oil goes down, the pace of freedom goes up.And, on a similar theme, here's Norm on a concert of democracies: The idea that there could be a qualifying club of nations that have achieved an acceptable level of democratic accountability, that can act in common as a counterweight to the UN.
“There are 23 countries in the world that derive at least 60 percent of their exports from oil and gas and not a single one is a real democracy,” explains Diamond. “Russia, Venezuela, Iran and Nigeria are the poster children” for this trend, where leaders grab the oil tap to ensconce themselves in power."
On a lighter note, people who promote democracy, or even philanthropy are often accused of a form of cultural imperialism - the projection of inappropriate values on people who aren't likely to really benefit from them. But it is worth remembering that, sometimes, this sort of projection is the greatest gift that anyone could receive. And while we're on the subject of the imposition of grand themes, there is a competition going on to choose a suitable rival to the Angel of the North - but this time in Kent.
I don't know why they're struggling to find a suitable subject for a massive statue. A number of perfectly good prototypes for a 50 metre-high statue have already been done.