Thou shalt not blaspheme democracy

The Big Money has a story about Pakistan blocking Facebook because of the “Everyone Draw Muhammed Day!” page. My issue? The title, This Week in Despotism, Google Edition. Pakistan isn’t a despotism, it has a semi-functioning democracy, and, from what I gather the move was broadly popular in Pakistani society (though no doubt those praising the blockage in public are trying to figure out ways in private to evade the ban). I guess the idea of an illiberal democracy just isn’t going to gain much traction in the modern marketplace of ideas….

This entry was posted in politics and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Thou shalt not blaspheme democracy

  1. fddf says:

    Not in America at least and for much the same reason that we’ve never had a socialism directed revolution, Americans are wed to certain key terms and approaching them with a more accurate understanding of these terms is bound to fail. Democracy means cheeseburgers and Capitalism means “I’m a nice man so I’ll be a billionaire one day”. Like you point out often, most people are stupid. All in all though, we may be fortunate in the manner that Americans’ stupidity is manifest.

  2. TangoMan says:

    I guess the idea of an illiberal democracy just isn’t going to gain much traction in the modern marketplace of ideas….

    It’s not like this is the only instance to arise. Back in 2005, the neocon push for democracy in the Middle East delivered a very tangible benefit to Hezbollah, presence in a coalitional government (for a while), control of two ministries, and democratic legitimacy.

  3. John says:

    In my best days, I can summon only two cheers for democracy, precisely because it is so illiberal. However, I’m not sure we have much choice. In the long run, suppressing the will of the people can often radicalize them more, and what was once a benevolent dictatorship can turn into something much worse than a bad democracy. There are a few examples of a dictator/oligarchy taking over and making a country better (Chile and Turkey come to mind), but I don’t think this is the usual result.

    When I’m in an optimistic mood, I see the election of Radical Islamists as the fever breaking: a necessary stage that comes after people not having a voice in government, and before a settling down to something more rational.

    When I’m in a pessimistic mood, I see this as the prelude to a nuclear Clash of Civilizations.

  4. Chuck says:

    That’s a good point. It’s funny because someone was just pointing out the ‘political compass’ in the ‘Is the Lama a Marxist’ Post — go take a look at the Libertarian compass:

    Hitler and Thatcher are tossed together!

    It’s because a whole vector is missing. Societies have at least three overlapping but theoretically distinct systems: Political, economic, and social. That’s why Poland and Pakistan can be Democratic-Capitalistic-Conservative Nations. And while their National/traditional based social aspect makes them illiberal (ie. both still have a particular national identity and rely on normative regulations), they are not politically authoritarian.

  5. mikespeir says:

    Is the issue democracy or freedom?

Comments are closed.