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With Democracy For All and Freedom for None-Why democracy fails in the Muslim World
FrontPage Magazine ^ | November 28, 2012 | Daniel Greenfield

Posted on 11/28/2012 4:51:05 AM PST by SJackson

It would be tempting to attribute the disaster spreading across the Middle East to a brief flirtation with democracy snake oil, but for the better part of the last century the political class of the United States could talk of nothing else. Nearly every war was fought to spread democracy, protect democracy or worship at the altar of democracy.

For much of the 20th century it was the working assumption of the sort of men who got up to give speeches in crowded halls that it was democracy that made America special. But it is not so much that democracy made America special, as America made democracy special and workable.

In a poignant historical irony, American democracy went into a prolonged decline just as its political class was busy speechifying about the importance of exporting it abroad. Government authority became centralized and elections began to come down not to ideas, but to divided groups fighting it out in a zero sum struggle for total control of each other’s lives. American democracy has been exported to Iraq. And Iraqi democracy was exported to America.

With unlimited authority vested in the government, we no longer have elections to decide policy, but to determine whether an oppressive social and cultural agenda complete with a loss of civil rights will be forced on the rest of the country. And our last election was as polarized as an Iraqi election and with a similar outcome.

Democracy was never the solution for the Middle East; a region that is properly multicultural in the sense of being a collection of quarreling tribes, religious factions and ethnic groups. And all that democracy accomplished was to give the majority another tool for oppressing the minority. Instead of bloody revolts leading to dictatorships, there were bloody revolts leading to elections which then led to dictatorships. And only a fool or Thomas Friedman would consider the addition of this extra step to be any kind of improvement.

A multicultural society does not invalidate government by popular vote unless that society is also so split along tribal lines that elections are decided based on the rate at which races and religious groups make up that society. When demographics become valid predictors of political outcomes, then democracy becomes theocracy and ethnocracy.

The Muslim world lacked limited government and its democracy experiments were doomed to become one type of horror show or another. The two dominant streams of political ideology in the region are Socialist and Islamist. The difference between the two is that the Socialists are mildly Islamist and the Islamists are mildly Socialist. Both of them however have no tradition of respect for the law and are motivated by utopian programs based on absolute power.

There was never going to be a good outcome. Understanding that democracy would no more solve the region’s problems than shooting a rabid dog full of PCP would improve its mood was as easy as looking at the dominant political movements that were going to compete in such an election.

American leaders were ill-prepared to grasp this because the Republicans were still besotted with an idealistic vision of American democracy propounded by the Democratic Party in the first half of the last century and utterly incapable of understanding that democracy is a tool and it only works in the hands of a people of good character.

No major Republican leader has spoken against the democracy export business because questioning the export of democracy to another country also questions the character of the people there. Republicans talk about American Exceptionalism, but limit it to the country’s political systems. In such a narrow reading, America is superior because its political systems are superior, not because its people are any different or better than anyone else.

But people define systems more than systems define people. Democracy works differently in Phoenix than it does in Detroit and democracy in Cairo works differently than it does in Tokyo. The ballot box is a Rorschach inkblot, an open space that people interpret and make use of in their own way. For some people the ballot box is a means of controlling one’s masters. For others it’s a way of appointing masters who will control and steal from other people on their behalf.

The Democratic Party could understand the expected outcome, but could not be expected to see anything wrong with it. The Muslim Brotherhood was just doing what they were trying to do; take power and then exploit the election to rewrite the laws, destroy any existing checks and balances and use an economic crisis and temporary rule to ram an entire cultural agenda down the throats of the country in order to transform it into a place more to their liking.

A fanatical ideology that disguises its intentions well enough to make it past the polling places and into the government is democracy’s silver bullet; whether it’s fired from a gun wielded by the left or by the Muslim Brotherhood. And if there is a large enough electorate cheering it on, then democracy becomes populist tyranny. It becomes what all unlimited power does, regardless of whether it’s wielded by men who seized power with bloody axes or after a vote count, it becomes unlimited repression.

Limited government is the missing ingredient in such democracies, but limited government is also the first up against the wall after the democratic revolution has been completed. Fanatics don’t believe in limiting their own power. They believe that the only way to make things right is with unlimited power. They cannot be trusted because they do not put any principle or value above getting their own way. The law means nothing to them, truth and honor even less, ethics is a dead letter and as radicals they have no long term investment in the republic and don’t mind if it perishes while they tear its values and institutions down.

Limited government embodies respect for the individual, for the values of one’s neighbors and their right to keep living their lives the way that they always have. If you believe in the essential decency of people, then you are also willing to leave them alone. If however you do not believe that people will make the right decisions on their own, then you invariably reject limited government.

The individual as a moral entity is at the heart of limited government. The left, which denies the individual, viewing him only as a representative of a race or a class, of a brainwashed polity in thrall to movements and false beliefs that must be crushed, has no room for limited government. Neither does Islam, which rejects human free will, for the moral imperative of the Jihad and the forced conversion of infidels.

Democracy without the individual means as much as a million monkeys composing Shakespeare. Without the individual, the ballot box is only a tool for collectivist impulses and identities, for a makeshift insecure majority imposing its will on a minority or a coalition of insecure minorities doing the same thing to a majority. There is nothing special or exceptional about such behavior.

Limited government deriving from individual freedom is the only thing that lifts democracy above the violence of the mob. The Muslim world never had that and so its experiments with democracy were doomed to be nothing more than a baton being passed from one form of tyranny to another. More tragically, the United States which once had it is losing both the limited government and the individual freedom. And that means that democracy in America is bound to follow the same path as in the Muslim world, where democracy becomes only another way of taking over a country.


TOPICS: Editorial; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: danielgreenfield; democracy; freedom; limitedgovernment; medemocracy; meislamists; neareast

1 posted on 11/28/2012 4:51:09 AM PST by SJackson
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To: dennisw; Cachelot; Nix 2; veronica; Catspaw; knighthawk; Alouette; Optimist; weikel; Lent; GregB; ..
Middle East and terrorism, occasional political and Jewish issues Ping List. High Volume

If you’d like to be on or off, please FR mail me.

..................

2 posted on 11/28/2012 5:00:08 AM PST by SJackson (none of this suggests there are hostile feelings for the US in Egypt, Victoria Nuland, State Dept)
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To: dennisw; Cachelot; Nix 2; veronica; Catspaw; knighthawk; Alouette; Optimist; weikel; Lent; GregB; ..
Middle East and terrorism, occasional political and Jewish issues Ping List. High Volume

If you’d like to be on or off, please FR mail me.

..................

3 posted on 11/28/2012 5:00:08 AM PST by SJackson (none of this suggests there are hostile feelings for the US in Egypt, Victoria Nuland, State Dept)
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To: dennisw; Cachelot; Nix 2; veronica; Catspaw; knighthawk; Alouette; Optimist; weikel; Lent; GregB; ..
Middle East and terrorism, occasional political and Jewish issues Ping List. High Volume

If you’d like to be on or off, please FR mail me.

..................

4 posted on 11/28/2012 5:01:03 AM PST by SJackson (none of this suggests there are hostile feelings for the US in Egypt, Victoria Nuland, State Dept)
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To: SJackson

Tribal warfare will be the case in the not too distant future. Where you ask? Think about it.


5 posted on 11/28/2012 5:12:50 AM PST by mosaicwolf (Strength and Honor)
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To: SJackson

“Democracy” fails everywhere its tried. Look at the disaster the direct election of senators has been for this country.


6 posted on 11/28/2012 5:24:15 AM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: SJackson
Not really a good article ~ the reason being the writer confounded debating ideas with running elections. They've never been the same thing ~ at least not since Thomas Jefferson and his crowd saw that they'd need a political party to win elections!

While being a practical politician he never gave up debating ideas but that took place within the context of governance, and in the world of letters.

Sometimes I think the guys who stick together articles like this never passed Gov.101, and certainly not Am.hist101~ and a review of Mid.East.Hist.201 would be in order as well.

Look here, since it's high water mark in the 1400s, the Ottoman Empire had been subject to a big pushback by Europeans ~ and finally in 1918 it was destroyed at the end of WWI. Everything in the MIddle East flows from that fact ~

7 posted on 11/28/2012 5:25:21 AM PST by muawiyah
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To: SJackson

Unlimited government is the reason democracy fails in the Muslim world? Just in the Muslim world? I see the West going in the same direction.


8 posted on 11/28/2012 5:28:37 AM PST by Daveinyork (."Trusting government with power and money is like trusting teenaged boys with whiskey and car keys,)
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To: SJackson

Lots to like in this OUTSTANDING article (Thomas Friedman ROFLMAO!)!

Life, liberty and the pursuit and destruction of mobs/gangs/”progressives”/socialists/totalitarians and any other anti-life, anti-freedom, anti-truth, anti-individual collective/dictator/thug/con-man/rapist/killer/molester/thief/deranged individual.

(that about covers it) What a great day! BOLO


9 posted on 11/28/2012 5:36:19 AM PST by PGalt
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To: SJackson
Government authority became centralized and elections began to come down not to ideas, but to divided groups fighting it out in a zero sum struggle for total control of each other’s lives.

The money quote. In a country with limited government, elections are not life and death struggles. The winner is going to have limited power to impose his views on the loser.

Now that we are moving away from limited government, who controls the government becomes literally a life and death matter for everyone.

10 posted on 11/28/2012 5:37:56 AM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: SJackson

America began its fall when the national motto was quietly changed from “E PLURIBUS UNIM” to “E UNIM PLURIBUS”.
From many varied peoples a single entity was created...the AMERICAN. The children of immigrants from around the world were sent to American schools and taught and educated as Americans who happened to have diminishing roots in foreign countries.
Those children grew, married each other to have their own American children and built the greatest country in history.
Millions, with names from every nation fought wars together as Americans, and secured for one and all a better world.
In time, the left gained control of those wonderful schools and turned everything upside down. The schools set out to and succeeded in destroying the UNIFYING goal of the past. Each was encouraged to revert to non-American roots, splitting a single people into the world of Cultural Diversity. English taught as a second or third language erased the unifying cement of the country..a common language
was a thing of the past.
Today the USA is a nation divided along every divisional line that one can possible imagine. Has such a nation ever, in history, succeeded and eventually, ever survived?


11 posted on 11/28/2012 5:39:00 AM PST by CaptainAmiigaf (NY TIMES: "We print the news as it fits our views")
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To: SJackson

Life Is a Gift from God

We hold from God the gift which includes all others. This gift is life — physical, intellectual, and moral life.

But life cannot maintain itself alone. The Creator of life has entrusted us with the responsibility of preserving, developing, and perfecting it. In order that we may accomplish this, He has provided us with a collection of marvelous faculties. And He has put us in the midst of a variety of natural resources. By the application of our faculties to these natural resources we convert them into products, and use them. This process is necessary in order that life may run its appointed course.

Life, faculties, production — in other words, individuality, liberty, property — this is man. And in spite of the cunning of artful political leaders, these three gifts from God precede all human legislation, and are superior to it. Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.

“The Law” - Frederic Bastiat

Not The Collective, The Gang, The Ummah, The Party, The Democracy, The State, The Union...

...to the republic, for which the law stands...


12 posted on 11/28/2012 5:45:55 AM PST by PGalt
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To: SJackson

“The individual as a moral entity is at the heart of limited government. The left, which denies the individual, viewing him only as a representative of a race or a class, of a brainwashed polity in thrall to movements and false beliefs that must be crushed, has no room for limited government. Neither does Islam, which rejects human free will, for the moral imperative of the Jihad and the forced conversion of infidels.

“Democracy without the individual means as much as a million monkeys composing Shakespeare. Without the individual, the ballot box is only a tool for collectivist impulses and identities, for a makeshift insecure majority imposing its will on a minority or a coalition of insecure minorities doing the same thing to a majority. There is nothing special or exceptional about such behavior.”

Very well put.


13 posted on 11/28/2012 5:50:41 AM PST by ReformationFan
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To: SJackson

To seek to enslave another TO ANY DEGREE is a crime
democrats since before the civil war, have sought to enslave others, that is the purpose of their party.

There is nothing sacred about a law based upon a crime. All of the laws incorporating transfer payments, wealth confiscation, redistribution and reparation economics are laws based upon the crime of theft.

I confess I do not know when, in polite society, it becomes appropriate to discuss a shooting war or a call to arms. I believe that, at this point in our Founders lives, the smell of powder would be in the air.


14 posted on 11/28/2012 5:58:27 AM PST by muir_redwoods (Don't fire until you see the blue of their helmets)
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To: SJackson

Why Democracy Fails in the Muslim World...

Bad law (sharia), custom (believer/infidel). The individual does not supercede the collective...the greatest anti-truth, anti-freedom, anti-individual, anti-life collective in the history of civilization.

Who needs “democracy”. “Democracy” is not a goal for this collective.


15 posted on 11/28/2012 5:59:46 AM PST by PGalt
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To: PGalt

Great quote!


16 posted on 11/28/2012 6:10:12 AM PST by khelus
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To: SJackson
"We hold these truths to be self-evident". . .a key phrase. In other words, there is a universal basis, transcendent of race, culture and, even, religion that forms the "glue" that was to make us one people.

Another key phrase: We are endowed by the Creator with rights. This means each individual is authorized by God to claim life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Each individual is authorized, not by a king, not by an act of Congress or ruling of a judge. Each individual is authorized "by the laws of nature and of nature's God.". .which is of equal footing with "the powers of the earth. Hence, how should such a people. . a people duly authorized. . .be governed? There is only one way. . .by the consent of the governed. That is the only form of "just" government known to man. . and it is why the Constitution was established. . to articulate, in substance, how a people, authorized by God, could be justly governed. Thus, our elected representatives are NOT our "leaders," they are our "representatives."

America was established, not as a "democracy," but rather as a constitutional representative republic. . .that is, as Franklin mused. . "a republic . .if (we) can keep it."

17 posted on 11/28/2012 6:11:37 AM PST by McBuff
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To: SJackson

“Democracy” simply reflects the will of the people. If the people believe in cannibalism, the duly elected government will facilitate the processing and distribution of human flesh. That’s about where we are in the US.


18 posted on 11/28/2012 6:12:52 AM PST by SC_Pete
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To: ReformationFan; SJackson

That was my favorite observation, too. Excellent article.


19 posted on 11/28/2012 7:03:18 AM PST by livius
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To: SJackson

Advanced political systems require advanced socieities.


20 posted on 11/28/2012 7:47:27 AM PST by BenLurkin (This is not a statement of fact. It is either opinion or satire; or both)
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To: SJackson

Democracy eventually fails everywhere it is tried. Giving illiterates, criminals, and parasites the vote is a recipe for failure.

Want your nation to last? Try a Republic. Better yet, try a limited franchise Republic.


21 posted on 11/28/2012 7:54:55 AM PST by Little Ray (I have VOTED AGAINST Obama in the General.)
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To: ReformationFan

The United states established democracy in Germany and Japan after WW II, and in Korea after the Korean War. Those countries were different from the Muslim countries in that they were made up of like-minded people. That cannot be said about the Muslim nations. They will always be fighting tribal warfare.

Look at Iraq. The Shites are always fighting the Kurds and the Sunnis, and also any Christians that get in the way. It’s impossible to install any democracy in countries like that. We have to get out of the Middle east and let them fight among themselves. And we should give citizenship to the Christians in those countries and trade each Christian refugee for one muslim by deporting them. They will never assimilate.


22 posted on 11/28/2012 8:51:27 AM PST by MondoQueen
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