Saturday, May 04, 2013

I Am NOT a Fan of Democracy

.... yes, I said it.

I am not a fan of "Democracy." 

Before you go off calling me a Monarchist, Communist, Fascist, Theocratist, etc., walk along with me while I tell you WHY I am not a fan of Democracy.

"Democracy" comes from the Greek "demos" and "kration", meaning "people's rule." In a Democracy, the majority rules; on the face of it, this sounds like a good idea. Is it, really, though? Consider the fact that all government and political systems are operated by human beings. Humans, being what they are, are all too often fallible, vain, bullying, selfish beings. We all know this to be true, deep down, and those who say "people are basically good" ignore both the Bible and History. Both are absolutely full of the failings of human beings; this cannot be denied. The last 100 years of human history have demonstrated that human beings are not 'basically good', but that, given the opportunity and power, they will thoroughly enslave, oppress, and slaughter their fellow human beings.

O.K. We've established that. Now, considering the above established facts and truths about Humankind, think about what "Democracy" entails. It entails that a majority of the people decide what's what. This means that they also decide who's got what "freedoms" and "rights." This turns those "freedoms" and "rights" into "privileges" which can be denied to any minority group the majority decides to deny those to.  Keep in mind, however, that "majority" doesn't always entail sheer numbers. It can also denote the preponderance of power, whether military, political, economic, or social. Prime examples of this kind of "majority" is apartheid-era South Africa or Mississippi for most of its history. There, a numerical majority was denied basic "rights" and "freedoms" by the political "majority" (those with the power to legislate matters).

Of course, the most well-known type of "majority" is the numerical one.

When a numerical majority rules, that majority gets to decide not only what freedoms, rights, and rules they will have, but also what freedoms and rights the minority can have withheld from them. Of course, once that minority is either thoroughly subdued or removed, another majority tends to form, along with another minority. That new majority can do the same with that new minority as the previous majority did with the previous minority. The cycle continues until you end up with, not a "democracy," but rather, an oligarchy. That is where a few persons rule over the rest of a population. THIS is precisely the situation in MOST of the world, and we're seeing "Democracy in action" in the so-called "Arab Spring" where Mohammedans acted and then voted to install Mohammedan governments who are basing their laws on the Mohammedan "Shari'a". Those minorities who are NOT Mohammedans are now suffering under the "democratically elected" governments brought on by the so-called "Arab Spring." 

(Say what you will about the likes of Mubarak, Assad, and Qadafi, but they kept the Mohammedanist tendencies in check, and offered SOME protection to "religious" minorities *Christians, Jews, etc.,* That's all done, now, with the "Arab Spring," which should, in fact, be termed the "Spring of Islam.")

As one can now see, "Democracy" is not a great thing. In fact, it generally tends to devolve into an "Oligarchy." Of course, if various "minorities" decide they don't like their situation enough to not only politically oppose it, but take up arms, then that "Democracy" goes straight to "Anarchy." Anarchy, of course, is the state of there being NO government, to speak of. Anarchic situations tend, also, to create oligarchies, as the majority of people seek to get some stability in their life situations; and thus, will give away their "rights" and "freedoms" for a sense of security.

Also, in a Democracy, every citizen gets a direct vote on every issue facing that Democracy. Might work well for a small city-state with a limited voting population, but becomes unwieldy for anything larger, and impossible in a large land-mass nation-state with millions of people.

I've told you, now, why I am not a fan of Democracy. Does this mean I want an Oligarchical system of govenrment? Hardly.

So, let me tell you what system of government I AM a fan of.


That's right, REPUBLICANISM. Republic comes from the Latin "res publica," or "things of the people (the public things)"

In a "Republican" system of government, there is a set of laws and rules which delineate the powers of the government branches; this set of basic laws and rules also delineate what freedoms and rights the populace has. These rights are, usually, guaranteed to all citizens whether they constitute a "majority" or a "minority." Everyone has the same basic rights and freedoms, and may not be deprived of such without the due process of law. This basic set of laws and rules is usually called a "Constitution," and it basic framework is developed either over time (examples of this would be the oft-spoken of "British Constitution" and that of the ancient Roman Republic) or in one swoop (primary example: The Constitution of the United States of America). Granted, the United Kingdom is officially a monarchy, but over time much of the actual lawmaking and governing has devolved onto Parliament. 

In a Republican system of government, basic freedoms and rights CANNOT be taken from any minority by any majority, nor from individual citizens except by due process of law. When a change needs to be made in a republic's constitution, there is most often a process for doing so. The people may feel the need to either expand the national government's powers based on a changed national or world situation, or to further restrict said government's powers.  This is where "amending" a constitution becomes quite handy. Constitutions are generally developed or written with a view toward allowing some changes to be made without having to hammer out a whole new constitution. This allows a changing world to be dealt with in a manner that not only allows a majority to see to making changes as they may deem wise, but also prevents said majority from simply imposing its will on a minority. Any laws a national legislature may promulgate must also meet the basic standards delineated in a republican constitution. If the national legislature's (or a state or provincial legislature, or a town or city council) promulgated laws violate the basic standards of that constitution, that law is made null and void.

Also, in a Republic, the citizens vote to send representatives to the national legislature. They also vote on the head of state, either directly or by choosing "electors" who then cast their votes (usually, but not necessarily) behind the candidate the people have chosen.

So, the basic differences between a "Democracy" and a "Republic" are:

1. The MAJORITY rules, and the MINORITY has to accept whatever the MAJORITY wishes to give them or keep from them. The MINORITY has no greater standing than the MAJORITY decides, and that standing can change at whim.

2. ALL voters vote on each and every issue, law, or rule put forth. Again, in a small city-state with a limited voting population, this could work, but it becomes more difficult to entirely impossible as you get larger populations and more land area.

3. Democracies, as they weed out various minority groupings, and those majorities get smaller and smaller and more different groupings of minorities form, tend to devolve into multiple factions which first create a state of anarchy, and then as people tire of the uncertainty, form into an Oligarchy.

1. A basic set of laws and rules, called a constitution, delineate governmental powers and state the basic rights of all citizens. It also protects the basic rights of any minority that may be, right down to the individual citizen. Majorities cannot deny minorities rights and freedoms guaranteed by the national constitution, and laws that violate that constitution are nullified.

2. Voters elect individuals to represent them in a national, state/provincial/prefectural, or city/town/village legislative body. They also elect their head of state to represent them to the outside world.

3) Changes may be made to a constitution by a constitutionally prescribed process. This allows a constitution to be 'tweaked' without there being a need to hammer out an entirely new constitution every time something needs changing. Properly understood and maintained, a Republic might never devolve into a Democracy, Anarchy, or Oligarchy.

These are only a few reasons any sane person who cares about their basic rights being protected should much prefer a Republic to a Democracy. This is also why I AM a fan of Republicanism as a governmental system.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Islamophobia? Hardly!

I daresay the above picture says it all.

For years, people have had a knee-jerk reaction everytime a Mohammedan (Islamic, Muslim) person or group commits an act of war against non-Mohammedans. The reaction is, "Oh! These people are twisting Islam into something it isn't to justify their actions!" This is because we, as Americans who have been told that "Islam is a great religion," want to believe that all "religions" are the same. In fact, the Ecumenical movement folks declare that "there are may paths to God, and Islam is one of them."

Well, I don't know about you, but in my observations of the last 25 years or so, and in my study of History (with a more recent focus on the history of Mohammedanism (Islam) vis-a-vis the rest of the world) over the years, both in and out of schools, I've noticed something. That tale of  "all religions are the same and lead to God" ain't so. There are differences in religions. MAJOR differences, if we're honest.

I don't claim to be an expert on Theology and the like; however, I AM literate, have some degree of intelligence, and can actually THINK for myself. The very NAME of this blog should tell you THAT, whether you agree with what's written here or not. Using the intelligence God gave me, and the literacy skills I learned from grade school on up, I can see that, of all the "religions" that exist or have existed, only ONE tells its adherents to "slay the infidel wherever you find him," or "we are to fight you until you worship Allah alone *oops, I wasn't supposed to reveal the "religion". Oh, right. I've already done that.*. Let's go down the list, shall we?

Um, any of this in the Vedas of Hinduism? Nope, not there.

How about Buddhism? Did Siddhartha Gautama, also known as the Buddha, say anything like this? Um, can't find it in any Buddhist text that may be extant.

What about Animism and Shamanism, as currently or formerly practiced among the indigenous peoples of North America or in parts of sub-Saharan Africa? Considering most of those don't even have texts, probably NOT.

Let's take a look at Judaism? *looks in the "Old Testament of the Bible* Oh, wait, there is something here about removing the Canaanites from the land promised to Avram, Yitzhak, Yachov, and their progeny. I suppose that could be used to justify warfare and violence. Oh, wait. That was for a specific time, in a specific area, and a specific group of people whose practices included human sacrifice (including throwing babies into roaring fires). Oh, yeah, and the time for those actions was limited to a couple generations and then only for a specified amount of land. After that, they could defend the land. They even expanded under their second king, David. However, I don't think that the Israelites, at that point, did any removal of peoples. They put them under their suzerainty, yes. Oh, yeah. They had some laws. Apparently, ONE set of laws that EVERYONE had to follow. Still, I don't see anything about "slaying infidels" or forcing everyone to believe as they do. Guess we can rule out Judaism.

Let's take a look at Christianity, shall we? O.K., what two main themes does Yeshua (Jesus, Iesus, Iesuos, Gesu, Ya'sua) speak on? *looks in the "New Testament" of the Bible* Oh, well, look here! "You are to love the Lord, Yahweh, with all your heart, all your mind, and all your strength," and "Love your neighbor as yourself." Hmm, that sounds awfully nice. Seems entirely different from "slay the infidel" and "fight until none but Allah is worshipped." *looks further* Hmm... it seems that Yeshua isn't ENTIRELY sweetness and light. Apparently, that last book shows Him having had enough, running out of patience, and wreaking havok on the unbelievers and what not. Oh, wait. Apparently, He's still giving people a chance to choose Him, even in the midst of all this. It seems someone else is killing those who do choose Him. Ah... so THAT'S why He descends and unleashes hell on his enemies.  Hm... still, I don't see any call for people to kill other people on His behalf. Oh, and it seems He's coming to rescue... What? According to this, He's coming to rescue Jews, along with others who are still around and believe in Him.  Not seeing any calls, even in that last book of the Bible, for people to go around killing others because they refuse to believe.

Well, I think I've hit all the major "religions." Oh, you say I forgot about Islam.

No, I didn't forget. I just wanted to address an argument some bring up about the "Crusades" and the "Christians" being somehow involved in those. Can't leave that be. Gotta address that.

If my readings and my recollections are correct, the Christian faith had spread itself over three or four centuries over the entirety of that little empire that was around back then called the Roman Empire. I seem to remember that they didn't do it by fighting and killing non-Christians. In fact, it seems the Roman government went about killing THEM from time to time. Still, by the beginning of the 5th Century, Christianity was pretty much found everywhere in what were, or had been Roman lands. Even beyond, apparently. So, why did these Christians have these "Crusades," anyway?

Oh, right. Sometime, starting from the early 7th Century, some Arabian con-man named Mohammed took some of his native paganism, twisted some stories from the Bible, and borrowed some from the Talmud (which, by the way, is not Scripture, but more akin to the Apocrypha in Christian literature). He called this concoction "Islam." Apparently, however, his fellow Arabians didn't buy it when the tried to preach it. So, he went off to another town and began attacking caravans from his hometown to fun his new "religion." He eventually bludgeoned, robbed, murdered, raped, and pillaged his way to rule over Arabia, and then decided that the rest of the world needed his "religion."

Of course, he knew it was too incoherent, too nonsensical, too mean-spirited, and too, well, just plain evil, for anyone to choose to follow it. So, he decided to lead raids and wars to force people to follow this. His successors fought, pillaged, raped, slaughtered their way into taking over Persia, Mesopotamia, Iudaea, much of Anatolia, Egypt, Libya, Cyrenaica, Carthage, parts of Numidia, Berber lands and up into Hispania and Lusitania. All this by conquest, NOT by conversion through the word. Well, I can see why the Christians (by this time, mostly Roman Catholics in the West, and Orthodox in the East of the old Roman Empire) might be a bit upset.  After all, you can only take so much of someone beating on you before you have to strike back. 

Well, apparently, they decided early to push these invaders, who called themselves "Muslims" back from the southern part of what is now France and try to drive them off the Iberian Peninsula. Took 'em 700 years, but they did finally succeed. While this is going on, them "Muslims" are pressing their attacks further into Anatolia and east into India and Central Asia. Finally, some folks stopped their advance into China and India, and I've already mentioned Iberia. Unfortunately, them Eastern Romans were having a harder time. It got so bad, that they called on their cousins in the West to help them out. So, that means that the "Crusades" were a belated attempt to stop the Muslims from pressing on to try and conquer the rest of the world.

O.K. Enough of that. Let's take a look.. hm... what's that? *turns to the side to hear someone in the audience* You say I don't need to continue this? You've figured out what "religion" tells people to "slay the infidel," and "fight until only Allah is worshipped," you say? Well, very good.

O.K. Now that we've seen that it is Islam that does that, what about CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations) and their contention about this thing called "Islamophobia?" Well, in a nutshell, a "phobia" is an irrational fear of something. Considering the 1400 year history of Islam and the fact that nearly all the world's terrorists are followers of Islam, I think it's safe to say that a "fear" of Islam is NOT irrational.

Here endeth the lesson.