Scott Johnson (I'm sorry, I refuse to refer to bloggers by their blog handles; it's part of my "in, but not of" approach to the blogosphere) has a very thoughtful post on Natan Sharansky and the differences between politicians and dissidents.
I'm not certain that I agree with Sharansky 100 percent on his assessment of what George W. Bush is trying to do in the Middle East, but that's only because I remain unconvinced that democracy is universally applicable across all cultural borders.
(Mind you, I'm open to the possibility that it is. But it seems to me that, at best, the jury is still out on this maxim.)
1 hour ago
If a culture is prone to a theocracy, democracy is almost impossible. Religion doesn't lend itself to compromise. One of the many reasons we're doomed in Iraq.
Sharansky will be on Book TV at midnight tonight, if you want to listen to him.
“Democracy” may be a misnomer for the political philosophy we’re discussing. True democracy is a form of government used by small groups and cannot serve a group that is larger than that in which each member can actively participate. If that seems petty, consider that we are not a “democracy.” Contrary to urban legend propagated by the Democrat Party, America is a republic. Generically, the political philosophy we are discussing here is one of government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” It is a form in which leaders are elected in free and open plebiscites at predetermined intervals, regardless of how wonderful the current leader may seem, or how irreplaceable the leader may consider himself. History, religion, or accepted norms of a society, do not prevent the heart of man from yearning for self-determination at every level of his existence. While this feeling may be artificially repressed, or even absent in some individuals, it is a natural expression of the human spirit. To say that there are humans who, by dint of their current circumstance, do not desire the right of self-determination is untrue and unreasonable. Thus, I would propose that we stop talking about democracy, per se, in Iraq and begin to refer to the objective by another name that describes popular political self-determination. “A rose by any other name …” Surely, Jonathan, you would not suggest that the majority of Iraqi people prefer a dictator, however beneficent he may be, to self-determination
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