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Clarity vs Democracy, etc

Reader comment on item: Why the Paris Massacre Will Have Limited Impact
in response to reader comment: Pro-Democracy instead of just anti-Islam, getting into the habit, toward precision-Democracy

Submitted by Michael S (United States), Dec 24, 2015 at 18:05

Hi, Demsci

I am not pro-Democratic, as you are. I live in a sort-of Democracy; and my wife and I participate in it by voting (We are US citizens). I don't see Democracy as the hope of the future, though, nor do I even think it has much of a future here in the US. To be precise, we are a republic, not very different from the Roman Republic. Like them, we have checks and balances, with multiple legislative branches balanced out by an executive branch. Like them also, our elections are bought and sold by extremely wealthy people. Like them also, our formerly agrarian society has been replaced by an urban society in which the people are placated by government handouts and spectacular entertainment which is -- as theirs also was -- full of violence and sex. Like them also, we have a well-entrenched bureacracy, a good transportation system, a strong military and high taxes.

The Roman Republic lasted from 509 BC to 27 BC, 476 years. Our own was constituted in 1789, 226 years ago, but it was preceded by the British and Dutch colonial systems, going back to the early 1600s. In terms of our political development, we are in a similar place to where Rome was in the First Century BC. In other words, an empire could develop at any time -- with the difference that here, unlike Rome, it will probably not happen through a military coup. Instead, it will probably come about through the assumption of (permanent) emergency power by the President.

In Rome, the turn towards dictators and eventually to Caesar happened because (1) the disparity between rich and poor became so great, the average Roman no longer trusted the elected officials to properly represent him; and (2) government corruption became so entrenched that the rule of law was breaking down. When Rome came to this condition, there was no longer any point for the champions of democracy to fight; because democracy itself was no longer a solution to their problems.

I just told you what happened in Rome, and what probably will happen in the US, more because of your interest in Democracy than because of any interest I might have in it. I am a "Christian", in that I believe the Bible and accept Jesus as the Messiah. This actually makes me a different sort of creation from most humans. I live in this world as a resident alien, because my true and eternal citizenship is in heaven; and I look for life in a place most humans don't look -- in death and resurrection. As a result, I'm not attached to Democracy and other passing fads the way others are; I am attached to things that matter, things that will be with me forever.

Thank you for giving me the latest count of Western Democratic countries. Let me see if I can count them:

  1. Norway
  2. Sweden
  3. Iceland
  4. New Zealand
  5. Denmark
  6. Switzerland
  7. Canada
  8. Finland
  9. Australia
  10. Netherlands
  11. Luxembourg
  12. Ireland
  13. Germany
  14. Austria
  15. Malta, UK Britain
  16. Uruguay
  17. Mauritius
  18. US America
  19. Japan
  20. S Korea
  21. Spain
  22. France
  23. Costa Rica
  24. Czech R
  25. Belgium
  26. India
  27. Botswana
  28. Italy
  29. S Africa
  30. Cape Verde
  31. Chile
  32. Portugal
  33. Estonia
  34. Taiwan
  35. Israel
  36. Slovenia
  37. Lithuania
  38. Latvia
  39. Poland
  40. Greece
  41. Cyprus
  42. Jamaica
  43. Brazil
  44. Slovakia
  45. Timor-Leste
  46. Panama
  47. Trinidad & Tobago
  48. Indonesia
  49. Croatia
  50. Hungary
  51. Argentina
  52. Suriname
  53. Philippines
  54. Bulgaria
  55. Serbia
  56. Romania
  57. Mexico

I'll stop there, because the above includes all the countries who have managed to attain to the threshold standards for membership in the EU. Even Hungary, which is in the EEA and Schengen as well, is only ranked #50. Israel has a mediocre standing at #35. The whole Index is listed at

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy_Index

That's a useful list, in that it shows which governments have a stake in protecting and promoting democracy. India makes the list, ahead of Italy; and even Indonesia, the only Muslim country. Malaysia is further down, at #65 -- right next to Hong Kong at #66, which I don't consider democratic. Mexico is in a tie with Romania, which doesn't say much good for Romania; but it does place the EU and NAFTA in the same "democracy" range.

Examples of non-democratic countries are:

  • Malaysia (#65)
  • Sigapore (#76)
  • Ukraine (#92)
  • Thailand (#93)
  • Turkey (#98)
  • Pakistan (#108)
  • Algeria (#117)
  • Nigeria (#121)
  • Vietnam (#130)
  • Russia (#133)
  • China (#134)
  • Egypt (#138)
  • Iran (#158)
  • Saudi Arabia (#161)
  • Syria (#163)
  • N Korea (#167)

Speaking of clarity of message, I wouldn't call the Hindu message "clear" at all; yet they are very democratic. Nepal has essentially the same message, yet they are only about as democratic asTurkey and Pakistan. Japan, also, does not have a clear religious message at all; but they are highly democratic. The Vatican, on the other hand, has about the clearest message possible; but they aren't even listed.

Oh well.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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