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Should DEMOCRACY and FREEDOM be promoted as universal values?

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posted on Jul, 22 2005 @ 02:18 AM
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In light of the recent revival of promoting democracy in the world(you know by whom
), I suggest we have a discussion here. Just as the subject says,

Should the two "values" be promoted all over the world?
Given the reason behind promoting democracy and "freedom" is that it is a basic human rights, the question should be:

FREEDOM & DEMOCRACY - BASIC HUMAN VALUES OR WESTERN IDEAS ONLY?

My personal opinion is that all form of human societies are acceptable as it is, there is no right or wrong here as everything is relative to the person concerned. I believe that FREEDOM and DEMOCRACY is only a concept of the western cultures and it is not universal, therfore should not be forced upon other cultures.

disclaimer:

By freedom i mean the "right to free speech" etc. just to clear things up. freedom has a lot of meaning you know...

By democracy i mean an election between parties that are all secular. True democracy can include the people choosing a non-secular leader and through means different from election. (Remeber Khomeini and Iran?)


My arguments:

1. the culture that is commonly held as complete anti-thesis of the western culture nowadays is Islamic culture. From what i understand, it is not that they are less civilized and human respecting than western people, they just have a different sense of what is "VALUES" to them.

Islamic culture is commonly percieved as "oppressive", "theocratic dictatorial" and "intolerant". These views are only prevalent in societies that is western.

What western people may perceive as dictatorial, for the muslims as rule by allah through leaders implementing koranic rules. Nonetheless, the people SUPPORTS the system because that system is PART of their culture.

Intolerant because they persecute people who did not follow islamic culture. Except for islamic extremist that kill "infidels abroad", those promoting islamic teachings are applied only to ARAB and predominantly MUSLIM lands and is not for "external consumption". foreigners living in the lands of islam is expected to follow but those outside are not.

2. people living in totalitarian and authoritarian govt. are percieved as victims of the oppressive regime and should be "liberated"

example: former communist dictatorship and their leftovers. South and central american "strong man rulers", african "tyrants" and so on...

western media (those supporting "liberation" agenda mostly) always presents those people living in this countries as oppressed by the lack of freedom and democracy.

Do these people really want democracy? Is it in their culture to elect leaders? In their history, has leaders been given power through people choosing between contenders and not by inheritance and power-grabs?

How about countries that are now "failing states" that adopted "democracy" despite it not being a part of their culture?

Freedom, now that is very hard to define! even philosophy had a difficult time defining that one. Does everyone wants the "right to say anything you want"? Does everybody values "the right to criticize your govt"?
these are political "freedom", how about societal "freedom":

if freedom means the ability to buy things, dictatorship also allows that!
If freedom means the right to purchase ANYTHING YOU WANT, then even western democracies does not allow that. (America and drugs = NO)
It is really a matter of the culture allowing the "right" of its constituents to buy something that is contradicting to the culture.


Again as my previews thread, lets have a nice discussion, give your views and support it. Remember, no one is right or wrong in this one. it is a matter of cultural perspective.

To mods, I believe this topic is very relevant to current events going on in the world (Promote democracy) and should be placed here..However if you want to transfer it again...go ahead!


[edit on 7/22/2005 by thaei]




posted on Jul, 22 2005 @ 02:40 AM
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Democracy & Freedom are not the same thing, no matter how often the government uses the terms nearly interchangably.

As a matter of fact, USA shouldn't even be a Democracy anyway...It's supposed to be a Constitutional Republic. No matter how many times the government wipes their collective arse with it, they're still sworn to uphold & defend it.



posted on Jul, 22 2005 @ 07:28 AM
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I don’t think that democracy is a form of government that can successfully be ‘imposed’ on a country or a culture. The very essence of democracy is that it is chosen by the people. I think many assume that because we think our democracy is so great that naturally, anyone would want a democracy. And maybe they would. But a democracy is an internal movement of a society by its people to better their culture and take control of their government. Most (if not all) democracies are a result of the people taking action to establish their democracy.

I’m not at all sure that the majority of people in the world want a democracy. And certainly forcing or imposing our ideals on a country that isn’t ready for it or open to it is a huge mistake. If a democracy is established by an outside force, will the people be inspired to maintain it - if they didn’t work for it in the first place? It’s not their idea. The Middle East is an ancient culture and we (in our immaturity and arrogance) think we know better how they should live? And we barge over there like the heroes and serve it to them on a platter? No, I cannot support that and I don't think it would be successful.

If they want a democracy and asked our country for help, I would totally support that. But they would have to do the work of figuring our what they want and whom they want and how it would be done. I would support our military taking out a tyrant if we had been asked for help by the people of the country and if the they had a plan as to what to do afterward. But for us to be the instigators and orchestrators of another country's democracy, I think is bound to fail.

Freedoms (freedom of speech, freedom from tyranny and so on) are established by one's own democracy.

Democracy is BY THE PEOPLE. Anything else is occupation.



posted on Jul, 22 2005 @ 08:23 AM
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I suppose really what we should be concerned with is human rights. Because that's what we, in the USA, really fought for all those years ago. The freedom to accomplish certain things, the pursuit of happiness, freedom of religion, of tyrany, a belief in that people have certain inalienable, if you will, God given, rights.

We can't help but see a lack of freedom as anything less than wrong. And the best way to ensure that is free elections in some form of Democracy.

Can these basic human rights be addressed by another way? A king? A dictator? An Ayatollah? Less likely I think, but sure, they could I suppose. A good King, a pious Religious leader, a benevolant dictator?

Do other cultures really want this Democracy you say? I'd think it would matter on how happy the people are. Non-Democracy doesn't automaticly equal oppression, but Oppression does equal a lack of basic human rights. I'd think people, no matter the culture, would want certain things

.



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