December 13, 2014

“Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.” BShaw

“We need to cure the satiable taste for blood in mankind” (lag)


Article by WN.com Correspondent Dallas Darling
Over the last century democracy has become regarded as the ideal system of government. Osama bin Laden, and others like him, didn't think so. But if democracy is a pre-eminently legitimate form of government that provides a political and social structure within which people can live happy, fulfilled and responsible lives(1), why did he retaliate against the United States? He assumed in a democracy the entire population was accountable for their elected leaders and their actions. He also believed that "the will of the people" was responsible for America's militant and economically exploitive policies around the world. For bin Laden, then, American democracy appeared to be the rule of the militant many, the tyranny of the market majority. In attacking the Pentagon and World Trade Center, he also thought militarism and capitalism depended on each other. 
The same is true of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and their recent beheadings. While exposing the atrocities of the Syrian Civil WarJames Foley was beheaded by ISIL. David Haines and Alan Henning, who worked for humanitarian groups assisting refugees, were captured and beheaded. Peter Kassig was providing food, clothing, medicines, medical assistance, and trauma care to refugees when he was beheaded. At the time of his execution, Kassig was wearing an orange jump suit like those in Guantanamo Bay-a notorious prison camp where "suspected" terrorists have been tortured. Even if American and British citizens appear to be humanitarians, for ISIL they represent the world's two most powerful democracies. Democracies which are primarily militant and economically exploitive and ruled by the pathological many.
Bin Laden, who thought democracy was a "religion of ignorance", and ISIL are surprisingly in good company. Plato and Aristotle scornfully dismissed democracy as inherently unruly, corrupt and unstable. Jean-Jacques Rousseau believed democracy would lead to a "people of gods" resulting in primordial urges, domestic abuses, and foreign wars. "Democracy," wrote George Bernard Shaw, "substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few." Even Thomas Jefferson had misgivings about democracy, claiming it "is nothing more than mob rule."(2) In the U.S. and Britain, militant majorities continually behead humanitarians through censorship, free speech zones, lack of public access, and imprisonment. A rapacious market destroys their aspirations and goals in trying to transform inequality and economic disparity.
At the same time, Western militant and market democracies have for decades waged imperial wars against Islamic societies. Others have exploited their natural resources and labor forces. Still, some have disregarded Islamic nations and their peoples by overthrowing popular rulers, as was the case when the U.S. toppled a democratically elected leader in Iran. From the Maghreb to the Persian Gulf and Southwest Asia, preemptive wars, lengthy military occupations, economic sanctions, promoting internal strife and divisions, and favoring some nations and peoples at the expense of others-like Israel and the Palestinians-have caused the deaths of millions of people, including tens of millions of refugees. This is why bin Laden and ISIL have little regard for militarized and market oriented democracies, along with their consenters.
Also, recall that when Jesus started to identify with the marginal ones, when he was moved to compassion and humanitarian concerns, it was then that the Roman Empire and religious rulers planned to kill him. Humanitarian and compassionate acts always constitutes a radical form of criticism, for it announces that the hurt and despair of others is to be taken seriously. At the same time, empathetic acts of social uplift declare that dehumanization and injury are not to be accepted as the norm but are an abnormal and unacceptable condition for humanness and society. Since empires live by numbness, personal emotional reaction is a type of public criticism against the numbness, against the blindness of the militaristic majority and corporatized many which demand allegiance or death.(3) It is why the democratic crowd, or mob rule, chose to execute Jesus.
Whether at home or abroad, democratic empires also directly or indirectly behead their own humanitarians. Can imperial and aggressive democracies behead so many reformers-with competing visions of economic equality and political liberty for all-that even the true meaning of democracy disappears? ISIL's beheadings of individuals is a misguided and symbolic representation, a defense mechanism, of their desire to behead politically militant and economically aggressive democracies wanting to rule their region. What is the U.S.'s and Britain's excuse? U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry just called ISIL's beheadings a cowardly act. Cowards are also those who fail to fight injustices in their own nation. The actors and bystanders who participate in the "crimes of war" committed by the same. The voracious and unequal profiteering performed by the majority.
Dallas Darling (darling@wn.com)
(Dallas Darling is the author of Politics 501: An A-Z Reading on Conscientious Political Thought and Action, Some Nations Above God: 52 Weekly Reflections On Modern-Day Imperialism, Militarism, And Consumerism in the Context of John's Apocalyptic Vision, and The Other Side Of Christianity: Reflections on Faith, Politics, SpiritualityHistory, and Peace. He is a correspondent for www.worldnews.com. You can read more of Dallas' writings at www.beverlydarling.com and wn.com//dallasdarling.)
(1) Dupre, Ben. 50 Political Ideas You Really Need To KnowLondon, United KingdomQuercus Publishers, 2011., p. 24. 
(2) Ibid., p. 25, 26.

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