Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Democracy and Islam: Are they compatable?

The short answer:
hat question has been asked in more papers and books than I care to think about. MOST authors and scholars would say no, not with American style "democracy" anyways...

We have three main forces at work:
  1. Liberalization (or westernization)
  2. Islamic civilization
  3. Democratic institutions
As far as I can tell with the fight between the global markets of the west and Islam effectually cut the legs out from under democratic institutions. The level of dialectic interaction between the forces of westernization and Islamic society have been inadvertently tyrannical. That relationship has been ranging from invisibly constraining consumerism to an all too palpable barbarism. Islamic society views the westernization as surrendering there judgment and abjure common willing, leaving public goods to private interests and subordination communities and their goods to individuals and their interests.

Islam has shown itself to be politically willing to make democracy an exercise of exclusion and resentment. Look at Iraq if you want a illustration. Even though it promotes community, it is usually at the expense of tolerance and mutuality and hence creates a world in which belonging is more important then empowerment and collective ends posted by charismatic leaders that the place of common grounds produced by democratic deliberation. Islam seems to be a culture of self-determination but its fatal flaw is it severs collective independence from the active liberty of individual citizens.

However, what we need to be most weary of in the Middle East conundrum is carefully crafting an image of democracy that does not decry of “exploitation. ” It was John Pocock who asked “whether the subordination of the sovereign community of citizens to the international operations of post-industrial market forces would create a disaster to a fledging democracy.” The answer is yes. Which is the situation in Iraq right now.

Most in Islamic society will not see the difference between totalitarian collectivism and Democratic search for common goods will want to dispute quasi-capitalist dogma. I think that attitude is based on historical interactions with the west.

As far as I can tell, we either have radical collectivism (islam) or radical individualism (westernization). Democracy will not survive either extremes.

1 comment:

Brainpolice said...

Although if you show people liberty, they will become more individualistic over time. There's no way to IMPOSE this, however. It has to result from true self-determination.