Archive for August 15th, 2013

Democratization is Done

The idea that political seriousness can be evacuated from any situation by invoking (purely procedural) ‘democratic’ norms was always an evasion. It was a way to avoid the reality of ‘who-whom’, and thus dependent upon a haze of Cathedralist insincerity. The implicit selling point — “Don’t worry, the rabble will accept representatives that we can work with” — isn’t bought by anybody anymore. Things have gone wrong badly enough, often enough, for such promises to have been discounted down to zero.

If you don’t want the rabble in power, you have to keep them from power. That’s the simple, and now overt, understanding of the dawning post-demotic age. Michael Hirsh doesn’t like it at all:

As the Egyptian military consolidates control by murdering pro-Muslim Brotherhood protesters and declaring a state of emergency, we may be witnessing the most dangerous potential for Arab radicalization since the two Palestinian intifadas. Despite the resignation Wednesday of Mohamed ElBaradei, the vice president, in opposition to the Egyptian junta’s action, the discomfiting fact is that most of Egypt’s liberal “democrats”—along with the United States—have never looked more hypocritical. If the bloody crackdown is allowed to continue while the U.S. and West do nothing, the actions of the Egyptian military could de-legitimize democratic change in the Arab world for a generation or more.

Read without judgement, Hirsh’s article is a fascinating document, punctuated by a raging despair that marks a transition of aeons. “Egypt’s liberal ‘democrats'” can either change course in accordance with their name (as Hirsh would like, but does not expect), or they can teach the world that ‘liberal democrats’ know nothing of global political reality, and need to call themselves something new. A sound name would describe a plausible, though ambitious, aspiration: Modernity in Power (freed of democratic dreams). It will still be a while before we hear anything of this kind, but its intimations are not — any longer — difficult to detect.

ADDED: Crossing the Rubicon: “While we Americans are babbling about a new politics of ‘inclusiveness’, even some of the Twitter-Facebook liberals of Tahrir Square are coming to see Egypt as it is. Us or them.”

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Quote notes (#18)

John Lloyd on the other (and bigger) ‘no borders’ movement — the pink wedge:

Not so long ago how a country’s administration handled its ‘homosexual problem’ would be thought of as its business. Many still think that way. But most Western democracies don’t. They haven’t just adopted legislation that enjoins equality of treatment for all, irrespective of sexuality. They have taken seriously, for the most part, the claims made by gay organizations for many years: that discrimination against gay men and women is an affront to civil liberties, and that when some states pursue discriminatory policies, those who do not should make their disapproval clear. Gay rights are now part of the world’s clash of cultures.

Is Political Correctness emerging as an even more significant factor in international relations than it is in domestic cultural reconstruction?

ADDED: Jim Goad comments

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