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The Forum > Article Comments > The rising cost of America-centricity > Comments

The rising cost of America-centricity : Comments

By Ross Buncle, published 12/12/2007

In their crusading zeal, Americans seem unable to contemplate that democracy is not necessarily the best system for all societies.

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I disagree. Democracy is the very best system of government so far discovered by human beings. There is no society for which it is not appropriate or beneficial.

That said, however, it is pointless to impose democracy by force, because societies which are alien to democracy will not see its benefits.

There is no shortage of Muslims who believe that the sinful democratic west should convert to Islamic sharia law for its own good. The repugnance you feel at that suggestion is exactly what the Iraqis feel about democracy.

The middle east will either evolve into democracy, or simply continue as it is until everyone is dead. We cannot speed the process up through military action.
Posted by Sancho, Wednesday, 12 December 2007 10:46:45 AM
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A clever philosopher once said, there is more to governing people than deciding what to impose on them. The three known systems of governing people are: Monarchy (rule by the grace of God(s), Dictatorship, and Democracy.
For a monarchy to work requires at least 90% of peple to believe in religion and in the divine rights of the monarch; a dictatorship is the most effectively form of government as long as 50% of the people are uneducated i.e. unable to read and write; it is only after more than 50% of the people are literate that a democracy becomes the most effective form of government.
Now there is a suggestion here that democracy has its limits too. Once more than 90% of the people participate in the operation of a democracy this system becomes itself unacceptable, unworkable because democracy is seen as no more that dictoatorship by numbers.
Could ther be a higher form of government, under full literacy, that could cater for all people without imposing majority rules?
Posted by Alfred, Wednesday, 12 December 2007 10:59:15 AM
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alfred, majority rule is the alternative to minority rule.

you shouldn't blame democracy for the state of australia, or the world. there is very little democracy on this planet, none at all here in oz.

i use aristotle's definition of democracy. this seems best since he wrote about it first, and was undisputed until the invention of newspeak. it is rule 'by the people', as lincoln put it.
Posted by DEMOS, Wednesday, 12 December 2007 3:32:58 PM
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I remember as a student of Latin American politics in the 1970s writing essays about why sustainable democracy was not possible in Argentina and Brazil, because their culture and demography wouldnít support it. I was wrong.

I also felt the same shock the author describes listening to nostalgic East Germans when I heard Chilean acquaintances who said that Pinochetís strong-arm tactics were necessary to avert the chaos that Allende was unleashing. They said Chile could not sustain prosperity, stability and democracy simultaneously. They were wrong.

In the 1980s it was common to argue that communism was undefeatable and the Westís best response was to accommodate and learn to live with it. This was wrong.

In the 1990s, Lee Kuan Yew led claims that western notions of democracy and individual liberty are incompatible with Asian values. The kleptocrats in Indonesia ran the same argument. They were wrong.

Now, itís common to argue that democracy canít work in Muslim countries, or Arab countries, or the middle East. Maybe this time itís true, but I doubt it. For all the ineptitude and naivete of the US invasion and occupation, thereís no evidence that the Iraqi people hope for a return to dictatorship in future.
Posted by Rhian, Wednesday, 12 December 2007 4:45:53 PM
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Reckon you are getting really carried away about the American
Way being the acme of democracy.

The problem it has a harshness about it that jars the nerves.

We know we needed them during WW2, but true we were glad to see them go.

Now going on 87, and having lost my wife after sixty three years, the family have put in Foxtel for me, and though I truly enjoy Aussie Country Music, I often turn off the American style owing to its lack of something, could be sweetness or folksiness, not sure. Maybe someone might tell me?
Posted by bushbred, Wednesday, 12 December 2007 5:31:29 PM
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"the conviction that democracy and American values are the way, the truth and the light, and that fighting the good fight in Iraq would prove it."
What sort of nonsense is this? There are to date, 1.2million Iraqis murdered and 4.5million turned into refugees; how can anyone reconcile monstrous genocide and call it "democracy"? Let us not forget the original lie before the war began was "we are opposed to weapons of mass destruction" this from the biggest producer and seller of weapons of mass destruction. When this contradiction was pointed out then the lie was then changed. The whole historical century for the Middle East has been about colonial domination, rape and plunder. Pitting one side against another and selling both sides weapons. Or another cruelty, indirect rule using their proxies or Arab stooges to siphon off the oil wealth. The colonial agenda was spelt out back in the 1880's when the " great race is now on for colonial possessions, resources and prizes". At the same time never to lose sight of, the need to always check their trading rivals, slow their development down and bar their access and control of the local market. In Iraq the real enemy of the US was not Hussein but the French, Germans and Chinese who had interests and concessions in Iraqi oil and were looking for new oil deposits in the North. Much of what I am saying is spelt out in two books called 'Oil Wars' and 'The Great Chessboard'. The next incursion and similar lies and pretexts will be used to invade Iran for its oil and to dominate this region, one of the major crossroads of the world. The US has stated it wants world hegemony, world trade and domination. It is impossible to correctly estimate how many lives has been lost from the African continent over a full century, but my estimate is about 20 million lives.
Posted by johncee1945, Wednesday, 12 December 2007 7:30:58 PM
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