Friday, October 21, 2011

Khaddaffi Dead, NATO Protects Next Dictator-in-Waiting...


The Lunatic's Asylum
While the news of the gruesome and all-too-late death of Colonel Moammar Khadaffi is welcome, it should not be greeted with all the expressions of hope that many in the Obama Administration, particularly President Frequent-Flyer-Miles, himself, have attached to the event.

Despite the evocation of a belief that, with this brutal jerkoff now pushing up the daisies, Libya is on the path to democracy, exasperating experience (and history) has often shown that no such thing will happen, nor should it be expected to happen, without continued sacrifices in blood, treasure and political capital by the West. Particularly, by the United States.

Democracy, you see, is not native to the culture of either North Africa or Islam. In fact, there is no functioning (in the sense that we Westerners would understand the term) democracy anywhere in the Middle East or in the Islamic Lands. There simply can't be, and while some might point to the examples of Iraq and Afghanistan, I would ask that you consider what I have to say before you get all smug about it: Democracy is not, as some would suggest, simply a system of government -- it is a cultural phenomenon.

And it is a uniquely western cultural phenomenon, at that, with a 4,000 year old pedigree that has gone through several periods of transformation, acclimatization, compromise, social and religious turmoil, legal wrangling, and historical review. It depends upon institutions that fall outside of the realm of the purely legislative and political. Democracy is, for the most part, the still-evolving result of a continuous experiment in which compromise upon a broad range of issues are daily debated, examined, tested by experience, assimilated, folded, spindled and mutilated, and subjected to the often-harsh process of trial-and-error. That which works, or which can be accommodated, is kept; that which is not, is thrown upon the dustheap of history.

Such a process could only occur within a dynamic culture with values dissimilar to those found within the tribal and sectarian world of superstition which is the Middle East and Islamic World. These Western, democratic values can be summed up as:

1. A belief in individual rights, primary amongst them are the rights to life, property, self-defense, and a belief in the ability of every Man to rise or fall upon his own talents and merits.

2. A cultural atmosphere in which experimentation, scientific or otherwise, has been divorced from the practices and dogmas of religion, and is not subject to the whims, tastes or requirements of the ruling elite.

3. A respect for legalism and legal systems which aren't simply the playthings of the rulership class, and which are intended to promote the general exercise of individual liberties rather to safeguard the prerogatives of the ruling authority.

4. Democratic systems promote the primacy of the intellectual and practical above the concerns of tribe, sect, and superstition.

In other words, Purple fingers, dead dictators, and State Department press releases do not a democracy make. In the Islamic World of today, even in places like Afghanistan and Iraq, the principle building blocks of true democratic institutions do not exist. It is one thing to be able to vote in a former dictatorship, it is quite another to have that vote actually count for anything.

Democracy is not like an iPhone app that one can download and run; it is born of a culture that is amenable to it, and which welcomes it. This has been the greatest misapprehension within American Middle Eastern policy for the last century, a mistaken belief that inside every _________ is an American just dying to get out, if only we could 'give' them 'freedom'.

This extraordinarily naive belief was the primary factor in American defeat in Vietnam, and it may still prove to be the underlying reason for potential failure in democratizing the Middle East and Islam. Words like 'freedom', 'democracy', sovereignty', 'consensual government' and 'legality' haven't the same cachet in those lands that they do here. So far as your typical Islamic douchebag is concerned, 'freedom' means the ability to continue doing that which he has always done -- raping his livestock, beating his wives, plotting the destruction of foreigners with the blessings and encouragement of his religious authorities, bullying his neighbors, stealing whatever isn't nailed down, killing or enslaving his enemies -- for as long as his religion can justify it, and his supply of ammo holds out.
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