As a deist who recognizes the existence of an eternal Supreme deity, I take issue with the reality that much spirituality and religion is held hostage to the dogmas of compulsion, strict adherence & fanaticism. While not all religions espouse this, as an Arab-Armenian, I am forced to witness the consequences of religious fanaticism everyday.
The so-called ‘Arab Spring’ which was apparently intended to usher in democracy into the Middle East proved to produce negative results. In Egypt the fanaticism of the Muslim Brotherhood took hold. The majority in this case was not tolerant of social liberalism and therein caused a religious mess. A military coup followed resulting in the restoration of the non-democratic tradition of Middle Eastern political culture.
But to suggest that democracy is a perfect concept is not only irrational — it is by definition, un-American. In today’s world, the so-called global police of all democracies, isn’t even, by definition, a democracy. America is a federal republic. The founding fathers often held democracy in disdain because it allowed for the possibility of instability.
The idea that democracy is an end would suggest that it is universal, absolute & self-sufficient. But just as China’s shift from robust communism to mixed economics proved the inefficiency & inhumane nature of adherence to absolute communism, so to has the US, since FDR really, drifted further away from robust democratic-capitalism to leftist-inspired mixed economics. Never has the US, or any major western hegemony for that matter, exhibited a state of pure democracy, precisely because of the power and influence of religious fundamentalism on the political process and on society altogether.
Is Democracy just?
It is rationalism which manifested the philosophy of democracy, the idea that the majority should rule and that order would ensue. But choice is an enigma, as is human nature, and reducing humanity to statistics results in collective totalitarianism. Who is to say that the majority of human beings would choose what is right or moral? The assumption that numbers do the talking may work for basic creatures of animalistic instinct but the complexity of human nature requires that we consider the possibility that individual rights, self-reliance, experience & self-determination are often compromised by democracy and ensuing collective ideological movements.
Are there limits to how much democracy should be exhibited?
If the majority of a country consistently elects leaders who legislate unjust policies, doesn’t this suggest a flaw in relying strictly on majoritarian politics? Is majoritarian democracy the problem? Switzerland exhibits what is called proportional-representation; that way minority groups aren’t disenfranchised from the conversation of representation. In the US however it seems democracy has been a tool in rallying support for non-democratic policies, from tax breaks for the 1% to full-fledged arbitrary invasions of foreign countries.
What is holding America hostage is the elitist mentality of the 1%. But does democracy encourage this? The free market exists, but is it stifled by elitism & industrial monopoly?
There is an association between free markets and democracy, what we call here in the West, democratic-capitalism. How much do these values really ensure individual & collective rights?
Realistically I would argue that every nation will realize its need for mixed economics in order for survival. Empires which have relied on dogmatic-ideologies have eventually run themselves dry, from ancient pagan empires to modern twentieth-century totalitarianism.
So perhaps the problem in the international community is not the absence of democracy or republicanism but rather an absence of ‘moderate’ forces which do not threaten national sovereignty and do not enable colonialism.
The Democratic Index of 2012 compiled by the Economic Intelligence Unit lists the US 21st on the list. Israel, supposedly the Middle East’s only democracy, is not included. This isn’t to suggest that these countries are not democracies, but rather, that the level of democratic rights which are instituted are relatively low compared to the ideal of democratic representation.
Poverty and ego are the main causes of ideological fundamentalism. The solution to the Middle East is not democracy. It is the opposite. It is the end of foreign dogma in the region. Neither democracy, capitalism, communism or Islam are going to solve the socio-economic crises of the Middle East; and in reality, the push for democracy by the West during the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ had neither democratic values nor the interests of the Middle Eastern people in mind, but rather, another pseudo-revolution aimed at distracting the world from the behind-the-scenes oil-for-weapons trades going on.
Measuring a country’s morality or integrity based on its level of democracy is one thing; but to suggest that a country IS NOT A DEMOCRACY, is foolish — because no country ever has or currently exhibits pure democracy. The idea that the majority is infallible is foolish and arrogant. Furthermore, the idea that West understands more than the East what constitutes an acceptable level of democracy is self-righteous and hypocritical, given statistical data from the Economic Intelligence Unit which suggests that democratic values are not upheld completely by any western hegemony.
That brings me to Israel. It was, on the contrary, included on the list of flawed democracies, with India, Brazil, Russia & Argentina beside it.
Israel claims to be “A” democracy. It couldn’t be further from the truth on two notes: firstly, that no country has ever exhibited absolute democracy; and secondly, in that it is a ethno-religious entity…by nature it cannot be egalitarian. Furthermore, Israel represents a minority in the Middle East. Still, it maintains close ties with dictatorial regimes in order to ensure its control over the media, because facts are on the side of the Arabs, which show that the Arab & Muslim world are completely disenfranchised from the conversation of justice and values of democracy. Israel is not infallible; it is not secular; it is not egalitarian; and it is essentially a product of classic gerrymandering. Israel, like the Republican Party in the US, is perpetually in a race against time, desperate for occupation, constantly propagating dogma & hypocrisy.
The self-righteous attitudes of Republicans, pro-Israelis & neo-conservatives only exposes their hypocrisy. They rely on forces of religious fundamentalism, usury & imperialism in order to protect themselves from criticism and being brought to justice.
Whether democracy is the moral or best form of government, I cannot say for sure. I will say however, that if by democracy we mean the assurance of human rights, I am not exactly sure how well the US fares in that regard; neither the US, nor any of its supposedly democratic allies.
I recently came across a comment by a pro-Israeli which read that Palestine was a roman creation. So too, was Israel. The idea that the Roman Empire & the Jewish Kingdom were never in agreement is at odds with history. Furthermore, was it not the pagan emperor Darius & the following Persian emperors who helped rebuild the Second Temple? The ties between Israel, imperialism & global empires goes back quite far. Today, instead of Rome we’ve got the UK & the US. Quite appropriate, given the greco-roman cultural foundations of both societies. Perhaps this is what Nietzsche was referring to when he mentioned the political order of the Judeo-Christian monopolization of monotheism & socio-economics. Before we deem critics of western society as atheists or fanatics, let us apply the same criticalness to ourselves. How moral are we, really, America?
Communism, fascism, democracy, republicanism, ultra-nationalism, theocracy all serve the agenda of Imperialism and work coercively against national sovereignty and human rights. An article recently published by Business Insider received insight on Middle East politics through the eyes of an Arab billionaire who requested that his identity remain anonymous to protect his name and family from danger. In the article, he made many interesting points, one of which caught my eye the most. The following is a quote from the article:
Israel doesn’t want peace because Russian immigrants have taken over its political system and moved it rightward.
This shows the close association between the state of Israel and imperialism. The vast immigration of Russian jews to the Middle East largely makes up the majority of Israel’s population. Imperialism & elitism have a longstanding tradition in Russian history. It was the Bolshevik communist revolution which brought the tradition to a sudden halt, thereby pinning Russia and the USSR against the West in a global conflict for the balance of power in a bi-polar stand-off called the Cold War, which lasted nearly half a century. Israel was largely the product of an agreement between various imperial forces. The Bolshevik revolution, like the Nazi movement, appeared to have been anti-semitic and violently hostile to Judaism on the surface; but in reality, both of these forces served as catalysts for the creation of Israel in 1948.
The point here is that Israel’s history and its policies are reflective of its practically absent democratic attributes. In the 21st century it is looking more and more like the apartheid regime which ruled South Africa from 1948 (the irony) till the end of the millennium.
The engine of industrialization and capitalism is often understood as freedom and individual innovation, but never as a product of government nepotism and imperial exploitation versus genuine free trade. Israel & Saudi Arabia are products of this reality. It is not the free-market culture but rather the culture of American Exceptionalism which has contributed to the successes of Zionism & global imperialism.
I would argue that free-markets and capitalism are completely different and in fact mutually antithetical. Capitalism is an attitude of supremacy, where as free markets are a philosophy of openness, self-reliance and innovation. Capitalism requires forced labor, slavery, ownership of natural resources, and enables oligarchy. Imperialism is an extension of capitalism, both of which are rooted deeply in white supremacy, orientalism and colonial exploitation.
The reveals the culpability of Israel and western neo-cons in the occupation of palestine and the propagation of nazi-esque white supremacy. It is this culture of racism which is responsible for the trans-atlantic slave system which practically built the United States. It is this culture of racism which enslaved South Africa, and continues to oppress Palestinians. It is this racism which ethnically cleansed the Armenians in a still unrecognized genocide by the Turkish government in the early twentieth century, paving the way for future genocides to be unheard of.
You cannot be a liberal Zionist. Why?
1. Liberalism entails a separation of church and state.
2. In order for Israel’s democracy to be established, it required the theft of land based on religious grounds (that might or might not have historical basis), which is a violation of human rights laws as well as the aforementioned tenet of liberalism.
3. Palestinians currently outnumber Israelis by 3,000,000 which suggests an apartheid-esque scenario – i’m quite sure this is incompatible with liberalism.
4. Israel touts itself as a democracy that is for all people, but the reality is that the concept of Israel is religiously tied to Judaism thereby making it insulting for non-zionists to accept such an unrepresentative and arbitrary authority.
5. Palestine is a secular creation that existed prior to the rise of Islam, that is not particular to any religious group whereas Israel is particular to Judaism.
CONCLUSION: it cannot be denied – Israel is a dogma and therefor is incompatible with liberalism and any form of idealist thought.
DISCLAIMER: the definition of liberalism does not vary; there are other labels for that; conservative, neo-conservative, communist, libertarian, etc.
Capitalism is not about supply and demand according to a billionaire.
That’s quite a statement. Not to say it is wrong, but it is quite a statement.
This billionaire, Nick Hanauer, also believes a nation’s economy cannot grow without a strong Middle Class.
According to him, supply and demand are not the foundation of an economy – but rather, human innovation and the ability to reduce our ‘problems’ in society.
The question that came to my mind was: what are these ‘problems’ he speaks of?
I believe we have to separate problems into three categories: individual & collective, and a combination of the two: IC.
The individual (who believes it or knows it) respects prosperity as the sum of individual innovation and poverty as individual failure.
The collectivist respects prosperity as the sum of sharing resources.
The moderate respects prosperity as the sum of sharing resources in order to correct fallacies in human choice and to maintain a state of social equilibrium that permits individuals to compete and feel fulfilled.
Here is an excerpt from the article highlighting the author’s emphasis on the importance of a thriving middle class:
So middle out economics is essentially a 21st century way of understanding how an economy works – not as this linear mechanistic system — but as an ecosystem, with the same kinds of feedback loops. The fundamental law of capitalism is if workers don’t have any money, businesses don’t have any customers; that prosperity in a capitalist economy is a consequence of a circle of feedback loops between customers and businesses, which means that a thriving middle class isn’t a consequence of prosperity. A thriving middle class is the source of prosperity in capitalist economies, which is why a policy focused on the middle class is and has always been the thing that drives prosperity and growth — not pouring money into rich people, which simply makes rich people richer.
The first question that pops into my mind is – don’t people want to get ‘out’ of the Middle Class?
Perhaps not everybody – the argument here is that some people are content living average-income lives as long as their minimum requirements are met.
For me, personally, I thrive on my ambition to be financially fulfilled as much as spiritually fulfilled…in the mind of a conservative; whose primary focus is money (and not perhaps fulfilling his spirit; expressing himself), this Middle-Out Economics theory would seem nothing short of communism – an attempt to keep individuals where they are at in an economy.
In the eyes of the heroic libertarian, there is always a conspiracy against the individual, his enterprise, his intellectual property, and his ambitions in life to achieve success and fortune.
Perhaps the source of this paranoia is the potential for human beings to desire ‘vanity’ – that is, to desire to be regarded as exceptional beyond standard human capacity to such an extent that freedom and happiness are only awarded to those exclusive human beings.
At the end of the day, in a functional democracy – human necessities are met; but unfortunately, capitalism does not serve these means. Just as communism concentrates wealth at the top preventing individuals from obtaining a level of freedom; so to does fundamentalist capitalism.
So it goes to show that Mr. Hanauer is not far off in his critique of the dogmatic model of capitalist economics. A mixed economy, or a Middle-Out Economy, as he calls it, respects individual ambition, competition, as well as the dignity of human beings by assuring them of healthcare, housing, and a decent wage.
Wages are largely determined by supply and demand with minor interference from public factors; and the assumption in capitalism is the man who strives can create his own wealth. But this assumption is grounded in a human fear: there aren’t enough resources for all of humanity to live ideal lives; some human beings prefer to be slaves to power and economy-control; originality will be compromised.
Why must we rely on money to survive? This system has convinced us that it is the only rational one – that capitalism and supply and demand and the exchange of currency is the natural mode of human affairs; scarcity, that is, is the reason why capitalism is necessary. The USSR told us that the lies and shortcomings of capitalism vindicate the necessity for communism as its replacement.
But why is it always one or the other? Why must we worship concepts? DEMOCRACY. COMMUNISM. CAPITALISM. These are not my gods. These are the gods of the extremists; the fundamentalists; the hypocrites; the power-grabbers; the usurpers of freedom; the IMPERIALISTS.
In the East, they don’t believe in God. In the West; they believe they are God.
Somewhere in the Middle (the Middle East), are those who trust in the Infinite. The Infinite the God which we worship; permitting us to take from concepts like capitalism and communism without becoming hostage to any one of them entirely – allowing for a mixed economy so to speak.
So what does that say about the course of history as taught in the East and West? What does that mean about the twentieth century narratives? How have the East and West successfully torn apart the Middle East? How have they used these extremities to divide individuals all across the world? How have they been able to secure their empire at the expense of a moderate individualist-collectivist hybrid sovereignty?
The enemy is imperialism and its symbols and gods are evident. Its enemy is the golden rule – the straight path – the anomaly – the infinite. Instead of a mixed economy, and a national boundary – these guys want ISMS and expansion.
They succeeded in the Middle East by creating a new version of Islam which can be more appropriately labeled as wahhabism, salafism, etc. and by introducing self-idolatry and paranoia into our societies. The establishment of a zionist state in 1948 only furthered this objective by further implanting a power-house of fundamentalism, religious exclusivity and imperialism in the center of the Middle East, crashing any hopes for sovereignty, independence and prosperity for the Middle Eastern people.
Who are the victims? All the moderate secularists, liberals, and moderate monotheists who are struggling to secure their peace.
How does this translate into our tangible reality? The House of Saud and Israel as well as every other monarchy in the Middle East have allied themselves together with every brand of islamism and zionism and have secured a support system with the West (US, UK & EU) as well as the East (Russia, India & China).
There are two forces at war: imperialism (hubris) and sovereignty (equality). Choose your side.
Last night I was going to call myself a Deist.
I felt distant from my emotions and from the person I was becoming over the last few weeks.
I told myself that I was being too emotional, too irrational, and too spiritual. What I needed was for someone to bring me back down to earth. I needed to be more r-e-a-l-i-s-t-i-c.
So I began thinking more with reason. I said to myself, Danny, you need to really organize your life. You need to stop being all over the place and focus on just one thing. But something strange happened at that moment.
I began to feel a coldness. The colors in my mind started to change. Instead of seeing in blues, yellows, and whites, everything became red. Red and light brown. Simultaneously, I became more intolerant. I felt ready to attack anybody who didn’t think like me, who didn’t see like me, and who I saw as weak. Even my political ideology changed in that moment. I noticed I started drifting further right from my liberal position.
In fact, I was turning into a Conservative. I started seeing myself as an individualist, a self-reliant egoistic libertarian conservative.
I was thinking with anger.
That’s when I realized I was in the wrong. My ego got hold of me, and I had to let it go. So I did. That’s when the blues and yellows came back. That’s when I felt human again.
“No man is fit to judge another, for no man is nearer to God than he who sees himself equal to others.”