[lit-ideas] How Democracies Perish

  • From: "Lawrence Helm" <lawrencehelm@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 12 May 2006 07:56:08 -0700



Jean-Francois Revel had your point of view in mind when he wrote How
Democracies perish, 1983 (English edition 1985).  He described democracy as
"the first system in history which, confronted by a power that wants to
destroy it, accuses itself. . . .


"The distinctive mark of our century is the humility with which democratic
civilization agrees to disappear and works to legitimize the victory of its
mortal enemy.  That communism shall have been more clever and effective in
its offensive would only be one additional example of one power being a
better strategist than the other. . . . It is less natural and newer that
the targeted civilization should not only judge that its defeat is
justified, but provide its partisans as well as its adversaries with ample
reason to regard all forms of self-defense as immoral, or at best
superfluous and useless, if not downright dangerous."


These words were quoted in one of the obituaries I read.  Are they not still
applicable in our struggle against Militant Islam?


Revel had the Leftists in view when he wrote those words.  Since I am not a
Leftist I cannot get caught up in the angst you and Mike Geary display.  I
don't agree with it.  I don't blame the U.S.  I don't consider the Militant
Islamists as being morally equal to the U.S.  The idea that we should allow
a Rogue nation to have nuclear weapons because we have them strikes me as
suicidal madness.


Before you been frothing and rush to produce a list of things the U.S. has
done wrong,  all nations have made mistakes, but the U.S. has made fewer
than the others and the American motives are more benign than any of the


As to your question about being King of the world, I don't believe in
Monarchies; so I can't imagine an answer to it.  Take it that I think
Liberal Democracy is the best form of government that has been developed in
the world and the U.S. the best exemplar.  There are a lot of things in our
society I am unhappy with - too many Leftists in it for example -- but not
so much that I would want to move to any other.   






From: lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]
On Behalf Of Andy Amago
Sent: Friday, May 12, 2006 5:44 AM
To: lit-ideas
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Ahmadi-Nejad's Letter to Bush


What you're doing by threatening military action and by our having taken
military action, is taking all the people in the center of the bell curve
and giving them a reason to give the fringes another look.  You say they've
declared war on us.  What do you call what we did and want to do to them?
The oil spot approach is more effective than war, which is ineffective, as
Iraq has shown.  Just as most Americans are not political, neither are most
Muslims.  Instead of giving Joe Muslim Average a reason to give the Islamic
fringes another look because they're terrified of the Americans, who are
terrified of the Muslims, why not give them a reason to not hate us and not
be terrified?  There are always going to be fringe groups.  A fringe group
in the U.S. bombed Oklahoma City.  But most Americans don't support them.
Most Muslims don't support the fringes of Islamism either, all they want is
to survive and have a bigger house in the suburbs, just like everybody else.
Give them a reason to come to your side of the fence.  Up until the Iraq
invasion, Americans were the cultural leaders of the world.  Iraq changed
that.  By advocating barbarism and acting like barbarians, we're driving
ourselves deeper into the Middle Ages, where the US. already is anyway in
this age of anti-Darwin and pro-apocalypse. 


I've asked you this before and I'll ask again, if you were King of the
World, what would your world look like, and what would be your game plan for
making it look that way?


Catch you later.  (And please answer my question about being King of the
World.  Not something you read in a book, but your ideas.)




----- Original Message ----- 

From: Lawrence <mailto:lawrencehelm@xxxxxxxxxxxx>  Helm 

To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Sent: 5/12/2006 2:22:06 AM 

Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Ahmadi-Nejad's Letter to Bush


I never called them stone-age but their social structure and laws were
developed in medieval times and they want to return to them.  The absolutes
prescribed by Mohammad remain valid.  Sharia law came from Allah through
Mohammad and applies today the way it did in the 7th century. 


Also, the Arabs didnt invent all the things you gave them credit for.  The
Islamists have made such claims, but they arent true and are easily
disproved.  Many of the scholars Ive read have taken the trouble to
disprove them.  There was a period when Arabic learning was more advanced
than anyone elses, but this was a result of their translating Greek texts.
Albert Hourani also refers to Indian and Persian texts but Arabs didnt go
beyond what these earlier civilizations had developed except in very minor
ways.  Hourani refers to some advances in astronomy and surgery.  


Western enlightenment began with the discovery of the Greek texts handed
on by the Arabic scholars, but what these scholars had done and were doing
wasnt in keeping with the Sharia and so was discontinued.  These scholars
were in violation of the Sharia and not exemplars of it.  They were shut
down.  The Arabs returned to the medieval teachings of the 7th century while
the West advanced.  As the West became increasingly enlightened, the Arabs
entered their own dark ages  not because they were conquered (although they
were by the Turks) but because they felt Sharia Law demanded it.


The Arabs did not invent the West.  Western Society began with Greece,
continued through the Roman period and on into a medieval decline where some
knowledge was preserved.  There were various high points in various cities
and then there was the European Enlightenment.


So not only did the Arabs not invent the West but the Arab scholars who were
congenial to Western thinking were repudiated by the Arabs.  The
Fundamentalist brand of Islam that we are contending with isnt pure 7th
century Islam but as close as the Fundamentalists can make it  sort of -- it
is their conception of it.  It began with Wahhab in the 18th century was
advanced by the Salafists, carried on by the Egyptian Muslim Brothers,
picked up by Maududi, Sayyid Qutb & the Ayatollah Khomeini. And they believe
the medieval crusades are still in effect.  They have declared war upon us.
I see no good reason for not taking them at their word.







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