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.
First, Israel is already a Jewish state, and second, from the perspective of its Arab citizens, it’s a state that’s already seen as a preferential rather than full democracy. And passage of this gratuitous and provocative new law will only widen the growing and still irreconcilable gap between the two.
But now in the highly charged world of Israel’s political right, it’s made its biggest advances to date in the effort to enshrine Israel’s Jewish identity, as one of its Basic Laws that provide the foundation for the country’s legal and political system in the absence of a formal constitution, which Israel does not have. The bill’s defenders (among them Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu) maintain that it states the obvious, is long overdue, and is also essential to making clear to the Arab world (and the Palestinians in particular) that there can be no right of return for Palestinians into Israel proper.
“The natural and best way is for the ‘national’ character of a state to be ensured by the very fact that it has a particular majority.” And, as if taking its cue from the Zionist leader, that’s just what the Israelis have done.
It’s a Jewish state not just through declarations but through deeds as well. History, tradition, law, symbols, and practice anchor Israel’s Jewish nation-state identity through its ancient biblical connections; centuries of exilotic longing; a Law of Return; a national anthem that puts a return to Jewish Zion upfront; a flag that depicts a Jewish prayer shawl and star of David; a Hebrew language unique to only one nation-state; and, above all, as Jabotinsky had hoped, a population of 8 million, 6 million-plus of whom are Jews. It’s hard to believe that despite the secular character of Israel that aliens arriving in Tel Aviv wouldn’t quickly realize that they had landed in a distinct nation-state run by Jewish Israelis.
And yet a series of laws (most notably the Law of Return and the 1952 Citizenship Law) explicitly favor Israeli Jews. Other administrative rules and regulations give preference to Jewish and Zionist organizations in matters relating to access to land and housing. Then there is systemic, institutional, and societal discrimination that simply does not ensureequal allocation of state budgets and symmetrical benefits to Arab and Jewish communities. The clear absence of a shared public square where Israeli Jews and Arabs can participate equally and take pride in the symbols of the state — national anthem, flag, state holidays — can only reinforce a sense of isolation and separation. That Israeli Arabs may well enjoy more rights than citizens of many Arab countries and would likely not choose to live elsewhere, including in a putative state of Palestine on the West Bank and Gaza, are often arguments used to rationalize their second-class status. But these arguments really don’t work. If you are a real democracy then you make a determined commitment to try to be one, and that means doing everything possible to ensure that all citizens of the stare are treated equally in a de jure and de facto manner too.
1. Either democracy is the enemy in the sense that it is, like communism, and other collective ideologies, a method of propagating fears to suppress individual innovation, self-faith, God, diversity and success out of envy and self-asceticism.
2. Perhaps the issue is gerrymandering or manufacturing of facts, by battling democracy through republican-esque funding and manufacturing consent.
3. Israel never intent on being a democracy and can’t be do to religious and exclusive foundation thus rendering it incompatible with modern institutions and international peace. Apartheid, not democracy.
4. Keep in mind total population of Palestinians in the world outnumbers the total number of Israelis: 11 million Palestinians to approximately 9 million Israelis. (If we want to count Jews then we ought to count Muslims, which would be no comparison). Obviously, the Palestinians are not in Israel and the majority have left Palestine due to the occupation; but this diaspora of refugees would not exist if Israel wasn’t there. Democracy, or apartheid?
“Israel is a relatively young country. If you looked at the United States in 1830, roughly 60 years after independence, you would have found a nation where women couldn’t vote (and many white males, too), blacks were slaves, and native Americans’ lands were seized and tribes forcibly relocated. In a way, Israel’s situation was much closer to America’s in the 1950s, when millions of African-Americans suffered de facto and de jure discrimination. So it’s critically important to give maturing democracies an opportunity to deal with inequalities and discriminatory policies. After all, it took America a full century and half, a civil war, and a bitterly contested civil rights movement to reconcile the promise contained in the Declaration of Independence with the reality that our Constitution validated chattel slavery. And by the looks of Ferguson, Missouri, we still have a ways to go before eliminating the patterns of racial discrimination in our system.”
- America Today: Mike Brown murdered; Eric Garner murdered; prison-system; jim crow…not very promising for ‘democracy’ or ‘State of Israel’.
In essence the rise of Libertarianism in America is nothing to be jovial about because it represents only one thing: the decline of an empire.
Libertarianism is intended to be the solution to America’s governmental and business intrusions into daily life but in reality, the rise of libertarianism is only the signal of the failure of the american nation to be united and the absence of culture in this country; slavery to a system of finite resources and power.
There are many economic and political inconsistencies with Libertarianism that are ignored by its adherents because it is easy to criticize something without an alternative. Libertarianism offers no solution; only criticism. “Perfectionism”.
Libertarianism is actually conservatism fully realized; “god is dead so we’ve got to appeal to the lowest instinct of man – hubris.”
Lot of Libertarians, like Ron Paul himself, don’t realize the fact that Ayn Rand believed the idea of God to be obsolete. How then, can a “christian” man identify with a godless philosophy? The Right-Wing Christians of the US used to claim that communism was the deification of the state. What then, is libertarianism, but the deification of the dollar? The deification of the self?
Republicans are the biggest socialists.
They claim to be self-reliant but in fact, it seems to me that if you are a republican you get a lot of social perks.
During my tenure at the office of Senator Marco Rubio, I got 25 calls a day from conservative constituents complaining about Obama’s socialism while simultaneously demanding medicare and medicaid expediency.
A true proponent of free market enterprise and democracy does not need the financial perks that come with organized religion and collective security.
Republicanism is the modern socialism and religion is their currency, welfare is their security. I feel like the majority of democrats are ironically self-reliant, established and skilled contributors to the economy. Republicans are looking for help from the government – they feel entitled because of their patriotism.
Republican nationalism, and the need for social acceptance by republican officials who appeal to the fanatical emotions of the ordinary man, is quite reminiscent of Hitlerian politics. The nationalist who hated immigrants, racial diversity, and who relied on state-sponsored welfare for sustenance had nothing to offer the world, and so he retreated to power-hunger and political vanity. It reminds me of George Bush.
American Republicanism, British Imperialism, German Nazism, Israeli Zionism – these are all forms of collective religion used for sustainment, power and the theft of individual freedom, secularism and sovereignty.
All of these systems rely on war and slavery, propaganda and state-perks for sustenance. And yet, Republicans have the audacity to claim self-reliance.
The need for power stems from the individuals desire for expression – but his lack of humility allows for the infiltration of pride, which then diverts the attention from the desire for expression to the desire for suppressing the expression of others. It is a sense of entitlement; bigotry, really.
This has been the cause of crime and misery throughout the history of the world up until today.
At the heart of all angry ideologies is the sense of exclusive domain: Hitler had no problem with the jews: he had a problem with Jews who protested against state-fascism – most of whom were likely dark skinned. Why else would the Nazi party facilitate the exodus of ‘some’ Jews to the land of Palestine under the banner of Zionism and post-holocaust sympathy. What better way to control the world’s vast resources, especially those present in the Middle East, such as oil.
But the greatest resource is the human mind, from which tyrants have prospered a fortune. These are the tactics of imperialists and dogmatists, who seek to spread a hypocritical ideology that relies not on human innovation, skill and discipline but rather a blind anger and a dependence on the services of other human beings.
I have spent day and night verifying the perfect political system; one that guarantees men their individual freedoms, their collective rights and global stability.
The menaces of fanatical ideologies have swept over human civilization since the dawn of mankind.
Individuals have been struggling to preserve their individual identity, and countries have struggled to protect their sovereignty due to the threat of fanaticism and its manipulative tendencies.
Ultimately, democracy is the ideal government. It is the will of the individual protected by the common values of the collective.
Fanaticism, the anti-peace, the anti-individual, the anti-collective, manifests itself on all ends of the political spectrum, spanning all corners of ideological persuasions, including some of the most deceiving.
Often times these fanatical ideologies have a religious foundation, such as with Zionism, Wahhabism. Other times, they are proudly irreligious, such as with Communism. However while all fanatical ideologies wear different masks; underneath all the propaganda and fear-mongering, they all share the same face, and they are all the very antithesis of democracy, universal equality, prosperity and happiness.
The aim of the established elite in western countries, namely America, is to intimidate the lower classes with the propagation of fear and ideological fanaticism. In America, we are taught that Republicans are the true American patriots. We are indoctrinated to believe that Republicanism is the face of America, and that democracy, monotheism, equality and true free enterprise is only possible if we put our trust in the Republican creed.
But the face of America is not just white. It is not just Christian either. This country was founded on principles of universal equality, and by definition, Republicanism is the very antithesis of that doctrine.
Republicans have gone out of their way to portray every enemy of their ideology as an enemy of ‘freedom’, when in reality, it is Republicans who funnel their money into campaigns and projects with the aim of propagating religious dogma. If we dig even deeper, we’ll see that some of the biggest heads of the GOP, such as Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Bush, have their investments in non-democratic entities, such as the Kingdoms of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the Emirates, Qatar, Lebanon, Israel & non-state actors like ISIS, al Qaeda, etc.
Republicans are enjoying the fruits of democracy while corroborating with dictators, terrorists and political criminals abroad. They do so by portraying all enemies of America as freedom-stealing fanatics. The irony. The fanatics, ISIS & al Qaeda, work for American Republicans. They are in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Egypt right now, propagating Wahhabism, Salafism and other extremist takes on Islam in order to destablize the region and put various resources under the auspices of Western elites. I will not dismiss the culpability of Eastern elites either, who likely cooperate with the West, such as Russia & China.
The irony is that Syria, unlike America’s arab allies, Saudi Arabia & Qatar, is a secular democratic state that elects its leaders. The majority of Syria, likely to this day, remains loyal to Assad and the current government.
What the Western elites and their cohorts are trying to do is not original – it is a tactic they use right at home on their own people in attempt to distort democracy. It is a combination of gerrymandering, gentrification, and disenfranchisement.
The tactic is to propagate an ideology and to spread paranoia through the region. This is done by appealing to individuals in the region who are mentally unstable and socio-economically insecure. Unaware of the source of their misery, which is as much due to ignorance as it is to the poor living conditions that result from imperialism and colonial suppression, namely from the Israeli-Gulf axis, they fall prey to a false promise of security, power and fulfillment.
All in all, since America is a democracy – a struggling one at that – the last resort of elitist minded individuals in such a political structure is to portray its enemies as non-democratic. However the irony is that America is itself struggling to be democratic, with wealth concentration in the top tier and a social system that disenfranchises african-americans as well as immigrants. As America struggles to free itself from the shackles of republican dogma, so to does the rest of the world.
Many people still want to point their finger at Obama. That is just playing into their hands. Obama is our president, but remember, the real power doesn’t lie in his hands. The real power is in the hands of the corporate executives of big oil and big banks, who dictate the financial affairs of the entire world.
Furthermore, criticism of America should be more directed. Instead of attacking the country whose image we seek to improve, scrutiny should target the group of individuals responsible for holding us back. History tells me those people are Republican elitists who do not acknowledge the human rights of anyone but themselves.
Syria’s Assad is not the cause of Middle Eastern instability. The problem is fanaticism – the very antithesis of democracy, individualism and peace.
a man’s struggle for himself.
Republican politicians and conservative forces are the causes of American injustice and contribute largely (if not solely) to systems of global injustice.
I love how they attack Democrats, Obama, and anything remotely liberal every chance they get. Sure, it is politics, but it isn’t classy.
Republicans are desperate to keep their hold on whatever forces of power and influence they have left in their midst.
They tried using Benghazi, and now they are using the IRS to try to portray liberals, democrats, and the Obama Administration as a corrupt coalition, as if Republicans themselves have a clean slate.
Let us not forget that till this day, Republicans are responsible for taking us to Iraq and Afghanistan all under false pretenses.
If anything, Republicans are the harborers of corruption, supporting extremist terrorist groups in the Middle East while condemning other terrorist groups who are not in their economic interest, providing aid and political power to dictatorships and kingdoms while scrutinizing others that are resistant to subservience.
Republicanism is the ideology of the modern ignorant man who is afraid to embrace reality and true philosophy. It is the religion of the fearful, the insecure, the proud, and the hypocritical. It is a tool used by individuals to justify their techniques of survival, from Rush Limbaugh, to Ann Coulter, individuals whose entire livelihoods depend on the propagation of lies. How ironic that individuals like this tout values of individualism and self reliance while simultaneously relying on falsehoods in order to generate cash.
Republicans are just a bunch of sissies looking for fame and a place to display their obsession with vanity.
To what extent shall secularism be embraced?
Serious theological, philosophical and ideological question.