Monday, February 07, 2011

Reuel Marc Gerecht: How Democracy Became Halal

Gerecht on one of the most missed intellectual events of the last century that as far as I can tell every UU thinker has missed despite electrons spilled defending Muslims from discrimination in the US (not a particularly heroic thing here with no Jihadists blowing up Mosques: unlike Iraq or Afghanistan).
One of the great under-reported stories of the end of the 20th century was the enormous penetration of the West’s better political ideas — democracy and individual liberty — into the Muslim consciousness. For those of us who speak and read Persian, the startling evolution was easier to see. Theocracy-versus-democracy has been a defining theme of the Islamic Republic of Iran since the revolution, which harnessed both Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s religious charisma and the secular intelligentsia’s democratic aspirations. Over the last three decades, clerical Iran has nurtured an intense intellectual discourse about the duties that man owes to God.

When the legitimacy of theocracy started to unravel amid the regime’s corruption and brutality in the late 1980s, democratic ideas, including powerful democratic interpretations of the Islamic faith, roared forth. The explosion on the streets after the fraudulent presidential elections of June 2009 was just the most visible eruption of the enormous democratic pressures that had built up underneath the republic’s autocracy. More regime-threatening moments are surely coming.
A great movement of thought roars forth and UU's stuck shaking the Tyrant's hand.

1 comment:

Doc Häagen-Dazs said...

The short version of the story is all politics is a blood sport. It is a rough and ragged process. Democracy is never the nirvana of political evolution. Even our own republic, the United Corporations of America is deeply flawed and probably seen its better days.