Vaquas Alvi

Memac OgilvyAction

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Democracy vs. Dictatorship

It took France over 140 years to become democratic; USA, Germany, UK are no different. All those countries put sweat and blood in becoming what they are today. I can guarantee my bottoms that democracy can never work in an Islamic country. Look all around the world. Give me one example of a democratic Islamic world. And the developed world wants to influence their definition of democracy and that will not prosper. Look at what is happening in Egypt. Now there isn't any Hosni, but we don't even recall the name of the president. There is a big gap of leadership out there. And then we have checkered democracy in Pakistan. Yes the west must be happy and content that finally Pakistan is a democratic state. Three years completed of the current regime. The country has nose dived, uprooted with poverty, terrorism, intolerance, corruption. I know that a country whose majority doesn't vote and majority of those who vote are illiterate. They are under the influence of landlords who have flourished since independence and pretty much dictate the electoral process.They are backed by illiterate, captivated and cash strapped people who vote not to expect things will go better for them but to ensure they continue to live on the landlords land and get grains to lead their lives. They don't have guts to listen to their hearts. Landlords will continue to enjoy the ride as they will not allow their slaves to get education and the likely ability to question them. So filthy is this viscous circle that the country should be given to some outsiders as a brand to manage for 5 years. Their task will be to provide a system without any pressure to run the country. Democratic set-up will never have the guts to do it and the dictatorial regime will be too busy to please these landlords in order to extend their run in the power and the common man will continue to suffer.

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    May 11 2011: democracy is Dependant on education, without it democracy fails. Unless people are making informed political decisions guided by a sense of personal responsibility, the whole system becomes a sham. I am not one who thinks that democracy is the best form of government in all contexts, "Democracy is the worst form of government, except all those others that have been tried" ... Winston Churchill...
    Plato to thought democracy one of the worst forms of governance, equating it to a mob mentality.
    I'll take a good dictatorship over a bad democracy any day. and at least if the dictator is bad you know who to blame and hold responsible, but in democracy no one is held accountable for anything.
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      May 11 2011: Agree to some extent about democracy & education but how you see it once even people from highly developed country with high literacy rate votes someone for being just "Handsome" ?
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        May 11 2011: You hit on another of my major criticisms of democracy, being literate does not make one intelligent but rather imbues people with the sense that they are.Plato pointed out in The Republic that people will elect anyone claiming to be on their side. Anyone who stands up and says "i'm one of you and i will do what is best for you" can gain the sympathies of a majority. It is not enough to just be educated, in a democracy people must be exceedingly critical and intelligent because politics is very complex and it is easy to sell even the worst of ideas to people that don't understand what their interests are and how those interests would best be achieved. I have very little faith in even the most educated of people to be able to make sound judgments, the human mind is easily bought by gimmicks and glamor. Modern rhetoricians are very good at manipulation and can trick even the smartest people into making bad decisions. Just by analyzing incumbency retention (90% for American politicians even for those with the lowest of low approval ratings) it becomes clear that people prefer the bad governance that they are used to over the potential for new and fresh governance. The tyranny of ignorance will always thwart the potential for true democracy.
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    May 10 2011: "It took France over 140 years to become democratic [...] I can guarantee my bottoms that democracy can never work in an Islamic country. Give me one example of a democratic Islamic world"

    eer. you just defeated your own argument. maybe the arab world just needs the same 140 years?
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    May 15 2011: The path to full democracy is littered with mistakes but all the while the population grows in a capability to develop the system to improve all the while. I do not think democracy is perfect but it is a healthier system than dictatorship. To take your example of Pakistan it certainly has been a struggle for democracy to take. The path to democracy took a backward step when the military imprisoned the 9th President, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, and eventually executed him in 1979. After this period it looks like all progress stopped. At some point the people in Pakistan will push for a greater say in their future but there are many obstacles to overcome. The argument that people are ill educated and are not equipped to have a voice in how their country evolves is unacceptable since it is the dictatorship system that is holding back education to serve their own ends.

    If you look at history you will see that the UK developed a parliament system at a time when only a small percentage of the population could read and write. The democratic system came under threat many times but the people rallied to parliament and pushed back, as was evidenced in the English Civil War in the 1600's. Since that time people have become better educated largely because they demanded education with ever rising standards.

    Just because the road to democracy is a hard road it should not be the reason to begin or give up the journey.
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    May 12 2011: democracy vs. laissez faire!
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    May 11 2011: Though, I don't know much about Islamic World, I want to tell you my country's history. My home country, South Korea, has achieved democratization within just a generation. At that time, my state was a developing country under military dictatorship. And there were just few high educated people, the rest just graduated elementary school and were peasants or wageworkers. So many people said "It is hard that South Korea will achieve democratization in near future."
    However we has achieved democratization and we're really proud of it. Now we can demand the government better health care, social security, and so on. We can vote our president and our congressmen by our hands. These things, now taken for granted, were impossible just few decades ago. It has past just 23 years after democratization and we've still been facing a lot of problems to solve. But we've achieved a lot of things such as 5 peaceful president elections with 2 peaceful changes of government, continuous economic growth, better health care, education system, and so on.

    Though Islamic culture may be far different from what developed western counties say, it's could be wrong to say that it is impossible for Islamic world to achieve democratization.
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    May 10 2011: I don't understand what you wanted to mean by "Islamic State"!!! Is there any single face of "Islamic State"as you mentioned in your explanation? Do you wanted to mean countires with muslim majority to be Islamic State? If so it's actually a complete misnomer. In your so called Islamic State there is Barbarian Kingdom to medieval dictatorship to pseudo democracy. It's really a wide range !!!

    Democratic Islamic World is another misnomer. Real democracy can't be limited with any particular race , religion, colour or creed.

    Unfortunate matter is that the so called developed democartic nations so far had very close tie with those your so called "Islamic Nations" , started talking about estabilishing democracy there when the people started fighting back putting their own life at stakf against the tyrants of all those countries.
  • May 10 2011: So what is so great about democracy? I'm not saying it is or it isn't, I'm simply asking, what is so great about it?

    It's pretty easy to see what is wrong with dictatorships. It's great to live in a dictatorship -- so long as you are part of the privileged class (but not TOO close to the dictator, since they are prone to paranoia). Most of the utopian visions of the world involve a Supreme Leader -- Jesus, Mohammed, King Arthur, Solomon -- who communes with God Himself and rules with absolute power in justice, compassion, and wisdom. But real dictatorships aren't Camelot, and if you aren't part of the privileged class, it kind of sucks -- or so I understand. Those of you who live in a true dictatorship can speak to that impression.

    The basic idea of democracy is that if a larger group of people is politically empowered, they will look after their own interests.

    I think this reveals one of the pitfalls of democracies and republics. What if the masses DON'T look after their own interests? If they don't vote, or they don't become politically involved? Or what if the election process is corrupted (there are thousands of ways) so that they have no real power? What if the people of the democratic nation cannot rise above tribal differences and work together? I point out that keeping the United States together has come close to complete failure a number of times in its history, starting with the original thirteen fractious colonies, then the American Civil War, and now our Red/Blue divide.
  • May 10 2011: Having recently observed Ukraine which is pretty new to democracy, the road is certainly not an easy one and it is quite unfair to compair very mature countries with fledglings. However, I think the real driver for the former communist states was the development of a middle class, and a maturing youth who, based on a wider education, wanted more say in the way their countries run. The recent out breaks in North Africa really seem to suffer from the lack of a crediable alternative due to the fact that any opposition has been repressed for so long. I am thinking here of Poland, and the Czech Republic, where the uprisings appeared to be organised with some structure behind them. The Arab Spring uprisings seem to be coordinated through social networks, which is a very interesting question in itself.
    That's what I think, time will tell, but definately democracy can be an inhibitor to growth and development.
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    May 10 2011: Nobody calls themselves a dictator, they all operate under a disguise of democracy.

    "I know that a country whose majority doesn't vote"

    Perhaps the same could be said of The United States Of America. When pure democracy is at work in the United States voter turn out is far below majority, there are counties in Michigan (My home state) where voter turnout may be below 20% on an off election year.

    As for "managing a country for 5 years" that sounds an awful lot like the dictatorship you'd prefer to prevent.
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    May 10 2011: Hello Vasquas!
    Do you believe that there is something unique in the Islamic nations and their personalities (other than the faith) that makes these human beings unable to direct their own destinies?