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Liberal Democracy is often not realistic

Reader comment on item: The Religious Roots of Turkey's Currency Crisis
in response to reader comment: Alexis de Tocqueville and Turkey

Submitted by Dave (United States), Jan 3, 2022 at 10:31

My thanks for the replies which deal with the issue of democracy in its fuller, "liberal" sense. I certainly do not think that democracy as simply an election is of much value.
Instead, I was using De Tocqueville's elitist views to argue that one must carefully consider the capabilities and limitations of a culture before advocating for its democratization. As has been correctly pointed out, an ideal democracy requires quite a bit of sophistication in its implementation, ex: tolerance of minorities with equal protection, reasonable separation of church and state, an honorable opposition with an orderly transfer of power, to name a few items.
These are tall orders for any country, not just Islamic ones, but the Islamic lands are particularly ill equipped to meet these challenges: the institutionalized inferiority and intolerance of minorities, the identification of church with state, a legal model in repressive Sharia, and a long tradition of autocracy accompanied by violent changes of government. The Enlightement happened in Christian Europe but bypassed the Islamic world. The Bill of Rights was a western achievement.
Despite the limitations of elections, they are still the bedrock on which democracy is founded, and elected leaders do reflect the attitudes of the people. Given the superstition, ignorance, illiteracy and bigotry of much of the population in the world today, we are often much safer if we support elite dictatorships rather than trust the "people", I very much regret to say.

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