"A query, before the lecture even begins? Methinks someone actually read this morning's Op-Ed in the campus newspaper?"
"Yessir, and I have to admit I did not get the point, and I am not sure if I agree or not."
"Fair enough. Let me respond, first off, with a question. What is the longest duration of a Communist form of government?"
"Well the Soviet Union began in 1917 and fell apart in the mid-70's, and, of course, China, came into the realm in 1946. . ."
"So, would you feel comfortable in saying that somewhere around 60 years has been the world's experience with Communism in charge of a particular society?"
"Well, it is what has happened/"
"Would you then consider the argument that Communism is a 'bridge' between what is generally a despotic regime, and one that seems to embrace democratic, if not capitalist values?"
"Again, it is what has happened and in the case of China seems to be happening, but that's not my point."
"Yes it is, you just don't know it yet."
"Young man, if, as you infer, the current world order is being disturbed by the 'social media revolution' in the Middle East and North Africa, then you have to recognize that these nation-states are merely evolving from despotic hands, and that, if the past holds true, then 60 years or so of Communism must follow."
"No Sir, this is where I am confused."
"No, you are not. Simply carry the point forward that if these nation-states do not adopt Communism, then they need some other 'bridge' over which they will travel for 60 years or so, isn't that logical?"
"I see, so are you saying that if the process is reversed?"
"No. and neither are you. What you are saying is that if the despot falls rather easily, then there is little to which the new regime will commit if their initial expectations, and certainly that will be the case, fall short of the realities of democratic government. If there has been little, if any suffering, in the transition, then there is no deterrent to further change, and that could go into very unpleasant alternatives."
"Hmm. Is it your, I mean our, point that Egypt, which transitions from Mubarak to Democracy, at little cost, may change again because they haven't paid a comparative 'price' if you will, for overthrowing a tyrant? The upshot being that, in the case of Libya, where the insurgents have gotten their butts beaten pretty severely, that when they do overthrow Qaddafi, that they will have more of an investment in Democracy, and will work harder to make it survive.?"
"That is what history tells me."
"Imagine if the Marquis de Lafayette established a 'No Fly Zone' over Philadelphia."
"So your argument is that the Libyans stand on their own, or we may see them shed a democratic system for something we may not like, like a 13th century Islamic state perhaps?"
"Freedom is worth fighting for," so says the bumper sticker."
"Perhaps Sir, freedom fought for is freedom won."
"Imagine explaining this to the Congresswoman from Minnesota?"
Laughter (what would you expect?)