I quoted P. J. O'Rourke a year or so ago, and here's this 1991 quote again:
Nina took me to talk with the leaders of the TV-station protest. This was one of five or six political interviews that I did while I was in the Soviet Union - with Ukrainian Nationalists, Ukrainian non-Nationalists, a member of the Ukrainian Parliament, anti-Gamsakhurdian Georgians, pro-Gamsakhurdian Georgians and some people I don't know who they were.
I can tell you what they all had to say, if you like, I mean if you're having trouble getting to sleep or something. I would ask them what their group advocated, and they would say, "Democracy must be defended." I would ask, "How do you propose to do this?" They would say, "There must be a structure of democracy in our society." I would ask, "What are your specific proposals?" They would say, "We must build democratic institutions." I would ask, "By what means?" They would say, "Building democratic institutions is necessary so that there is a structure of democracy in our society at all levels." And by this time I'd be yelling, "BUT WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO??!! And they would say, "Democracy must be defended."
The Soviets were firmly rooted in the abstract, had both their feet planted on the air. It was impossible to get them to understand that government isn't a philosophical concept, it's a utility, a service industry - a way to get roads built and have Iraqis killed. [...]
After New Orleans, this thing about the Iraqis AND the roads sounds somewhat unrealistic, but he wrote it such a long time ago...