Some Democracy!

Afghan Case Highlights Debate Over Religious Freedom

I guess democracy can mean different things to different people, but I don't see much sense in declarinig a government democratic if it is not going to uphold the principle of religious tolerance. Alternatively, if religious tolerance is not a facet of democracy, then democracy is not the goal for which to strive.

It looks like this individual, Abdul Rahman, will be spared because of the international outcry over his trial. However, how many of these types of cases are lurking below the surface? If the number is substantial, we are doing a great disservice by upholding Afghanistan as a democratic country while it practicies such undemocratic procedures as trying and executing converts away from Islam.

I just finished reading Arthur Miller's "The Crucible", which is his play about the Salem witch-hunts. The play is a powerful polemic against religious intolerance, and extremely relevant to what is happening in the world today.

Comments

Sean said…
for starters, let's just get the missing 'c' in the title out of the way ;-)

part of what Tom says is that good democracy requires good markets. we hook 'em up to global economics and let'er rip. i can't think of an instance where good markets have not led to 'liberalization' (in the classic sense) over time.

so, i disagree that we are doing Afghanistan a disservice. if we stick with it, and help make that country safe for globalization/capitalism, the tolerance will come.

another good thing about this situation and the rest of the Middle East, including the Hamas election, is it shortens the 'product cycle'. now Hamas is responsible to their populace for more than killing Israelis. let's see how they do on administering sanitation (for example). same with Afghanistan: make the Islamists responsible, keep connecting the economies, turn up the churn.

overthrowing the Taliban in no disservice to anyone when it comes to religious tolerance!

give capitalism a chance! ;-) the smart money says if you get their standard of living up a little, Afghanis will sell out (to security and income and education and a rising middle class, etc.) like so many before them have.
Eric said…
This is good feedback, Sean. And, I'll fix that missing c. Dang!

I'd like to think about this a little bit and then respond, so look for a new post or an e-mail from me, because I find the 'capitalism leads to liberalization cause/effect question/theory' quite interesting.
Sean said…
cool. i'll stand by. email me with thoughts/questions.

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