The Islamic Quandary: A Response to Ali Sina
By Terrence Robertson
I read and must have been somewhat misunderstood, do
not lose sight of the forest for the trees. What does it take for
democracy to take root?
In my field, software, we use a lot of, what are
known as, 'logic trees' to answer the basic question of; "which came
first, the chicken or the egg." This is not a mere academic exercise
in philosophy; especially not when tens of millions of dollars are on the
line for a company. The purpose of 'logic trees' is to 'drill down' to the
'root causes' in very complex decision structures in order to clarify
those structures that require amending. As cultures, governments and
economies are very complex structures, 'logic trees' are ideal for
discerning the root causes for the success or failure of nations. And as
democracy is viewed worldwide to be the ideal form of government for
nations to aspire to, for a democracy to succeed, we must ask the question
as to what precursors must exist for democracy to succeed.
Fortunately, we do not have to go too far into that
exercise as the historical precedents available provide ample sources from
which to draw upon to answer that question; what precursors must exist for
democracy to succeed. Look the world over and answer me one question; is
there a single true practicing democracy that is an economic failure? And
by economic failure, I am, of course, referring to the living standards of
that nation's average citizens; because just as governments are derived
drawing their legitimacy from the consent of the governed, economies must
serve the needs of the entirety of the citizens within that economy.
Now, let's look at the topic of terrorism; is
terrorism a uniquely Muslim practice? If so, what would you call the
, two staunchly Catholic nations, of kidnapping, murder, and ethnic
cleansing? What would you call the practices in and between animist
of ethnically cleansing whole tribes from regions where the lack of
resources and changing times jeopardize the continuing well-being of one
tribe leading in centuries past to sell off members of a conquered tribe
into slavery? What would you call Hitler's ethnic cleansing of Jews in
during the Second World War.? Now, are those not also terrorism?
So, I have established two things;
No true practicing democracy is an economic
flop for its citizens, and
Terrorism is not a uniquely Muslim practice (Do
understand, though, that this is most definitely not a defense of
Therefore, the next step would be to ascertain which
came first in true practicing democratic societies; democracy or economic
success. Again, history abounds with the answer to this question; when
democracy was defined in
(I am of the opinion that
did not originate the concept; rather they observed democracy in less
organized societies in the Balkans and in Anatolia.),
was already quite prosperous.
was founded as a republic, and until
's quest for
while denying Spanish peoples Roman citizenship thus resulting in the
continuing saga of the Punic wars, remained a republic. But as
chose to subjugate
's citizen soldiers were impoverished in service to
's citizen soldiers were land-owning farmers who lost their farms when
their tours of service were extended during the Punic wars),
fell into chaos resulting in the rise of the Caesars (Latin for king). As
we continue forward in history, let's look at my country, the
. Which came first, prosperity or democracy?
The founding fathers of this country were all
prosperous people. As mills expanded throughout the east in the 19th
century, the old adage was that 'you couldn't keep people down on the
farm.' But even that wasn't the first time that Americans learned 'you
couldn't keep people down on the farm.' From the 15th to the beginning of
the 17th centuries, one means that people used to immigrate to
was to agree to work someone else's farm until their passage was paid for.
And this was the one big problem that led to slavery. Virtually from the
time they alighted on our shores, they obtained land and became
prosperous. And it wasn't until
would divvy up seats in Parliament that democracy entered the scene in
. Since the founding of Parliament 800 years ago, seats in Parliament had
been divvied up according to the number of land-owners. The vast property
and the number of land-owning farmers in
raised a quandary in
for divvying up those seats, because
's number of land-owners would have shifted the majority of
representatives in Parliament from
. And it is because of this that the American battle-cry for independence
was "No taxation without representation!"
, however sat an ocean away from the mother country, and we won our
independence by inciting a war between
. Thus tying up
in a world wide war with
had to 'settle' with
Another Scotsman, Alexander Tyler, 300 years ago in
writing about the
, wrote; "A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government.
It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves
money from the public treasure. From that moment on the majority always
votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public
treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose
fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's
great civilizations has been two hundred years.
These nations have progressed through the following
from bondage to spiritual faith,
from spiritual faith to great courage,
from courage to liberty,
from liberty to abundance,
from abundance to selfishness,
from selfishness to complacency,
from complacency to apathy,
from apathy to dependency,
from dependency back to bondage."
today is at the stage of spiritual faith, and is striving toward great
courage. But the
that has oil remains under the bondage of the petrodollar. While the
petrodollar defines the quality of life for people within the Middle East,
will remain in bondage. Just as the Middle East is under the bondage of
the petrodollar, Columbia is under the bondage of the narco-dollar and
Mexico, as well as pretty much most of Latin America is under the bondage
of an oligarchy that limits virtually every option they may consider.
Oligarchies are notorious for their corruption, and it is that corruption
that motivates people to terrorize their neighbors. Sadly, thanks to the
neoconservatives in the Republican Party in
, of which Bush is one,
now is falling under the corruption of an oligarchy.
In every society, money is power. Power corrupts; and
absolute power corrupts absolutely. In order to drain this swamp, we're
going to have to take money out of the political equation. And there is no
'logic tree' yet created that has determined how to achieve this feat
other than to recognize that since money is "a power," then
money has to be addressed as "a power." A former Methodist
pastor of mine wrote a trilogy on 'the powers.' Rev.
Walter Wink is not what you might consider to be a fundamentalist.
Most fundamentalist preachers, in my humble opinion, are not much
different than your Wahhabiist fundamentalist imams. So Rev. Walter Wink's
views on 'the powers' may come as a breath of fresh air for you in how to
defeat "a power."
to page 2