Why Democracy Is No Answer In Many Parts of the World 01.26.08 Search

First-Allegiance is to the Clan

Brian Crissey

Artificial boundaries cut through sectarian lands, leaving old enemies within the same boundaries. Democracy results in the largest sect always electing the government, after which tyrannical majority inflicts injury and abuse upon those who never win. These minorities then turn to violence, and the experiment in democracy fails.

Artificial boundaries left over from past wars cut through sectarian lands, leaving old enemies within the same boundaries. Democracy forced on poorly educated countries results in the largest sect always electing the government, after which tyranny of the majority inflicts injury and abuse upon those who can never win. These minorities then turn to violence, and the experiment in democracy fails.

The United States today has borders that are largely natural and peaceful. Within these natural borders democracy can flourish to the extent that it is not totally corrupted by money interests buying elections. The Mason-Dixon line was a de facto border across which the flames of Civil War erupted. That border has largely been erased by migration patterns.

Secondly, The U.S.A. is a melting pot of all races, religions and ethniciites. There is no one dominant bloc of people who always vote for their own kind, hence democracy can work. The American Civil War was less a fight to free slaves as it was a revolt of frustrated Southerners who felt oppressed by the majority-rule Northerners who consistently passed legislation that benefited the North at the South's expense.

A third consideration is what Thomas Jefferson said in 1820: "I know no safe depositary of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." From this principle came the mandate for public education, and the American people remain sufficiently well educated today to engage in democracy, although no more than 65% of American voters ever vote in any given election.

Consider India and Pakistan. If British India had not been partitioned in 1947 into India and Pakistan, the dominant Hindu majority would have continued to oppress the minority Muslim community, causing it to turn to violence in frustration. The partition allowed democracy to operate within each relatively homogeneous nation. Neither ethnicity is sufficiently well educated to put the interests of the nation above those of their own kind. While India and Pakistan throw many words at one another, the two nations are usually at peace with one another.

Now consider Iraq. The majority are Shias, a people who suffered under Saddam Hussein and his minority Sunnis. When the U.S.A. eliminated Hussein, the Shias rose up to get back at the Sunnis, who rose up in self-defense. In the North, Kurds long to be with their ancestral kin across the artificial border in Turkey. If democracy operates at all, it will consistently elect majority Shias. Iraqis will not vote for their ancient enemies. It is beyond hope that will find a way to work peacefully with their ancient nemeses. Bloody memories are held for generations.

Scholars of the Gulf War largely agree that Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait was primarily motivated by specific historical grievances, not by Hitler-style ambitions. Like most Iraqi rulers before him, Hussein refused to accept borders drawn by Britain after World War I that virtually cut Iraq off from the Gulf.

Iraqis are not well educated, and may never be, given that the U.S. has indiscrinately bombed their schools along with most of the rest of the infrastructure. Iraqis get their guidance from the Mullahs, who claim to get their guidance from Allah through the Koran. It is too much to hope that Iraqis will become educated enough to put democratic principles ahead of sectarian allegience.

What can be done? It is probable that the only long-term solution to such war-prone areas is to redraw the boundaries to keep most birds of a feather in the same cages, as they used to be. Then democracy can begin to flourish, and world peace may then be a real possibility before long. In Iraq, since the oil resources are not equally distributed among the three ethnicities, some form of revenue-sharing will probably be required.

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