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January 31, 2005

Kudos to the Iraqi people

Of course the big news today is the election in Iraq. Democracy is a funny thing. Many of our leaders pretend that America is a Democracy, we aren't. We are a Constitutional Republic that utilizes the democratic process. There are no true Democracies, and as far as I know never have been. A pure Democracy is a suicide machine, doomed to end. Alexander Fraser Tyler describes it in this way, "A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising them the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over a loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship."

The people of Iraq have been given something that can prove to be of great value, or great suffering. They can elect good people who will serve the people, or evil people who will serve their own egos. But in the end the democratic process is the only way to ensure freedom. It's fragile, but then what good thing on earth isn't. Most Iraqis are Moslem, and so will want some form of Islamic democracy, whatever that might be. A theocratic based democracy is even more powerful than a regular kind, and it possesses the potential to be a harbinger of greater good, or greater evil. The moral foundations of Christianity bolstered our new nation 200 years ago and helped us to thrive. In order to mix Islam with Democracy the Iraqi people will need to focus on foundational morality and the respect for human rights. There is that within Islam, but unfortunately there are also those who use the Koran as a rationalization for evil. As with anything powerful, its potential for good equals its potential for bad.

As much as many here in the US, on the left and the right of the political spectrum, wish to divorce religion from the political process, such a concept is only recent, implemented after the nation had become powerful enough to not be immediately shaken by such idiocy. The Founding Fathers never intended individuals to separate their religion from their politics, they themselves never did. It's the idea of the government dictating religion to the people that they objected to -- something that is now part of our law as our religious rights are sacrificed to the alter of the state religion of Humanism, Evolution and Atheism. Many Iraqis see this, and worry about the effect Democracy will have on their society. Secularists frighten them, as much as they do me.

Until we are willing to respect the devotion most Iraqis have toward their religion, their respect for our advice will be lacking. And the extremists arguments will win out. I certainly hope the advisers we have over there can understand that, and work with the Iraqi leaders to develop the kind of government that will ensure peace and freedom for the Iraqi people. It'd be a shame to waste the noble effort the Iraqi people made this weekend.

Posted by Jack Lewis at January 31, 2005 08:04 AM

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