Stupid Is As Stupid Does?
By Gerry Dantone
Recent events in the Middle East, including the election of an extreme, even for Iran, Islamist President, the victory of theocratic Shiite religious parties in Iraq, the political rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the victory of Hamas in the first elections in 10 years in the Palestinian controlled areas of the West Bank and Gaza have shocked and dismayed the West, including the Bush Administration. Of course, they have no right to be shocked.
Back in the January 2004 edition of the CFI-LI INQUIRER, an article entitled “It’s Freedom, Stupid,” made note of the inadequacy of democracy alone in leading the way to a better world. The following excerpts are from that article:
“In a speech in early November 2003, President Bush called for more progress towards democracy in the countries of the ?
Bush, as usual, is uninformed and has not thought his ideas through - what a shock! Bush's calls for “democracy” are indeed not very credible when he has treaded lightly on tyrannical allies such as Saudi Arabia and has pushed for regime change through violent means inothers - and became President himself in a somewhat un-democraticmanner! At least he did come in second in the election...
Bush's lack of understanding and religiously dogmatic nature has blinded him to what his real cause should be: the real cause is freedom of the individual, of which democracy is but one necessary component.
Iran is a democracy without freedom, since it is a theocracy as well. “Democracies” where only one party is allowed to exist are not free. Countries where some individuals have significantly less rights than others are not free. Wherever the individual freedom of all or a certain portion of its citizens is seriously compromised, freedom is absent, or at best, compromised. Germanypretty much elected Hitler - but freedom was absent.
In the US, Pres. Bush has no problem with a tyranny of the majority (when it suits him) or limiting individual freedom (when it suits him.) This ignorance of the real values of the United States cripples him in almost every endeavor he pursues, and makes his call for “democracy” that much more empty. He is hardly the person to lead the way for the rest of the world.”
Although the preceding may seem incredibly prophetic, particularly in light of possible extra-legal activities on the part of the Administration involving privacy rights of Americans, the truth is that it was painfully obvious at the time.
For the reason-challenged, here is what is obvious: Increasing freedom should be the stated goal of foreign policy – and domestic policy as well.
Another obvious fact: a citizenry unable to reason or without the means to obtain the most objective facts possible about the state of the world cannot be expected to make good choices even if given the chance to choose.
Another obvious fact: faith will often trump reason, until reason is more widely cherished. Similarly, myth will trump truth (with a small “t”) until truth is more widely valued (as Oprah has recently learned).
Every intractable problem in the Middle East revolves around the triumph of faith over reason, myth over truth and, unfortunately, is aided and abetted by a democracy that allows for the tyranny of the majority.
The United States has not taken even the initial step in solving any of these primary causes of most of the misery in the world because even its own citizenry and ruling government donot value reason, truth and equal rights for all. This may sound harsh, but in a country where the average citizen believes in the Virgin Birth but not evolution, and was easily convinced of an Iraqi-Al Qaeda connection in 9-11, and prefers state-sponsored prayer inPublic Schools, it is clear we have not yet begun to accept the ideas that would be necessary to spread freedom here, let alone around the world. Instead, we only tolerate and often look for ways around the safeguards to freedoms that our Founding Fathers so wisely put in place in the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
The first step in the “war on terror” has not yet been taken: the first steps are putting in place the building blocks for freedom which include an appreciation of reason, truth and equality for all under the law, and not the institution of democracy alone. We are not even close to getting started.