Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Islam and its Denial – Part II

A conservative gives up on liberal democracy

After a heartening show of bravery by Iraqis voters, in the face of continuous terrorist attacks, some of our conservative friends are ready to surrender Iraq to Islamic theocrats. As I say again and again that democracy is not enough. However, one notable conservative, Andrew Apostolou of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, has this to say about a prospective Islamic theocracy:

“But to bewail the victory of the UIA as a triumph for Islamic fundamentalism and Iranian influence, to eulogize an Iraqi liberalism that never was, is to misunderstand the US role in Iraqi domestic politics. By removing the strategic threat of Saddam Hussein, the US gave Iraqis the right of self-determination that the dictator and his Ba'ath Party had denied them. That right means allowing Iraqis to elect Shi'a Islamists, not the US picking winners.” link

This sounds oddly familiar. Flash back to the 1960s, it’s the Vietnam War, and Lyndon Baines Johnson is President. His left-liberal supporters said something very similar: we are fighting for the self-determination of the South Vietnamese; if they vote in the communists – so be it. This is what Ayn Rand said at the time:

“They tell us that we must defend South Vietnam’s right to hold a ‘democratic’ election, and to vote itself into communism, if it wishes, provided it does so by vote – which means that we are not fighting for any political ideal or any principle of justice, but only for unlimited majority rule, and that the goal for which American soldiers are dying is to be determined by somebody else’s vote.” from Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal”

As Rand continues she eloquently blasts the altruistic notion that we serve without judgment for whatever values the others wish to pursue. She notes that the idea that we should be concerned with our defense, first and foremost, was smeared as nationalist, isolationist, and dictatorial. Now, we have conservatives who will declare victory even if the most virulent supremacist ideology – Islam – assumes power. Islam is the antithesis of everything we stand for and an imperialist ideology bent on our destruction. And in the process, women, secularists, and other opponents in Iraq, will be dispensed with in a manner we’ve seen before. Mr. Apostolou apparently doesn’t realize that conservatives are supposed to stand for individual rights – not mob rule. Perhaps he might re-read Tocqueville and discover what “tyranny of the majority” means.

During the heyday of communism, apologists and fellow travelers used to say that communism was a different kind of democracy – not a multi-party bourgeois democracy – put a proletarian democracy. Now we have Mr. Apostolou telling us that “Democracy, unlike dictatorship, has no single mold.” So what might we expect, Mr. Apostolou? It “is unlikely to resemble anything out of the Federalist Papers. Rather, a federal Iraq will have a strong ethnic and religious flavor.”

But maybe Mr. Apostolou isn’t really sad at this prospect. He says, “We have no right to ask Iraqis to cast off the very ethnic and religious heritage that Iraqis want participatory politics to preserve for no other reason than that it does not fit our paradigm of democracy. Intellectuals may wish to live in a pure republic where ethnicity and religion do not matter, but most Iraqis do not.”

So individual rights and constitutional protection of these rights are just “our paradigm of democracy?” And we apparently value them “for no other reason” save a subjective “wish to live in a pure republic where ethnicity and religion do not matter?” A multi-cultural conservative! Or perhaps he’s the kind of conservative that believes religion should be the law of the land. And, of course, Islam is just their religion.

Some conservatives are just in denial about Islam as many left-liberals were in denial about communism. Or perhaps they aren’t.


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