essential that this video not be seen as just "funny". Remember how quickly the "I voted for it before I voted against it" video of Kerry was turned into an attack ad? The same must be done here, immediately. Whatever influence the lib blogsphere has must be brought to bear on getting this ad made.
its probably nlot fair to evaluate a 7th century society according to 21st century rules - espcially since the equality we enjoy in the US has only existed (arguably) since the 1960s. And is under perpetual attack. I guess I prefer not to follow that discussion tangent at this time, though I will address it later in a blog post, and if you are still interested, will drop you a line.
But as to the chicken and egg qiuestion of democracy vs constitutional liberalism, I think that again you have to look at historical evidence. Democracy is o guarantee of freedom. In fact, there are many illiberal democracies, and many liberal non-democracies. I freely confess to having been enormously influenced by Fareed Zakaria's recent book which I do believe is essential reading if we are to discuss and informedly critique the Bush Administration's rhetoric of freedom on the march. I will try to review the book, and focus heavilyt on the issue of democracy vs liberty (and how these concepts are not synonymous) as Zakaria presented it. If you are still running the book club thing here at mydd, do think about adding that one to the rotation. Even if you fervently disagree with everything that is said, it will still be hugely useful. Its opened up entire realms of criticism of the Bush Administration for me!
ps jerome, its a pleasure to chat with you again. Its been far too long. Your daughter's loveliness matches her name's. get some sleep!!!!
Historical examples abound, Jerome, which contradict the general assertion that lack of separation of church/state automatically equals exclusion of some groups. For example, many (though emphatically not all!!) of past Islamic dynasties, notably the Fatimids in Egypt, were unabashedly a Shi'a regime, however had Christians and Jews serving at highest levels of government, including Wazir (pretty much second in command after the benevolent monarch). Also, given the backstory behind why the Prince of Wales also holds the title of Defender of the Faith (an interesting read, check it out via google), you have to admit that England still manages to get along pretty well with its non-Anglican minorities.
My point is that religion is not a litmust test for who can be in a government. It is often instead a guiding set of principles for the internal structure of that government. No one need be excluded and history proves the point.
Separation of chrch and state can be abused. I am not suggesting otherwise. But neither am I going to accept that lack of separation is automatically abuse.
And "democratic" ness is simply whether citizens can particip[ate in government. But democracy is just one mechanism at work within a nation - in fact, the US itself is only partially democratic, by design. There are grossly undemocratic institutions as well - ignore the elctoral college, just look at the Legislative branch. And teh Senate used to be also before the 17th amendment.
The real goal is not democracy for democracys sake, but constitutional liberalism. Theres a huge distinction. The latter is a means of ensuring that individual freedoms are preserved. The former is just a means of doing so, to some degree.
To be clear, I wasnt talking about a specific post,but more of a general attitude that I see developing. However, when you wrote:
"What I've written about is that Sistani is going to sway the now majority Iraq Gov't, and he's a member of the long-oppressed minority, and is a member of a fundamentalist belief that is anti-secular, and therefore, anti-democratic and against the beliefs of this nation."
I think that you have made some leaps there which are rather unfair, and that really do exemplify the mindset I am concerned about. Namely, that the belief that one cant have their politics informed by their religion, or that being anti-secular is anti-democratic. Being secular is perfectly copmpatible with democracy - especially in Islam.
Im not out to write a polemic here, Im trying to point out just what the implications of that bolded statement above are.
Agree that Bush is a bonehad but that is tangential to the issue of whether sistani is a force against democracy. Ultimately I believe that a functioning Iraqi, Shi'a dominated but constitutionally liberal state (not neccessarily a democracy, mind you, but read Fareed Zakaria's new book ...) will be the one piece of good to come out of an otherwise boneheaded legacy of the present administration. But the issue of iraqi domestic politics is exactly what i am trying to separate from the issue of US domestic politics.
My position on Kos: He said a dumb thing, then apologized. I think he deserves benefit of the doubt given his history. End of story. Kos most vocal critics are unwilling to grant him that benefit, but they do so from the cover of pseudonymity and thus are immune from being held accountable to the same standard. I, for one, welcome the implicit acknowledgement that the Left is held to a higher moral standard than the Right. We may, as a group, fail to meet it, but it speaks well of the expectations.
Like Kos himself, I can't fault the Kos advertisers for pulling their ads. Running for office is a complex political calculus, which it is pointless to pretend doesn't exist. As Kos keeps saying, don't punish those who withdraw, reward those who stay - such as Jeff Seeman. For the record, Dean Nation is ready to accept any ad from any candidate.
In fact I will make it a policy that Dean Nation will allow free advertising - from Democrats or Republicans alike - who also place a paid ad on Daily Kos AND link to Daily Kos from their blogroll section. (A link to us would also be nice, but not neccessary). I encourage all Dean Nationals to spread the word on the various other liberal blogs about this policy.
As Jerome points out, the Kerry weblog team has burdened themselves with the responsibility of policing every weblog on their blogroll for potential exploitation by the Right. They are welcome to their burden. I however suggest that the proper response is to de-link the Kerry blog from as many liberal blogrolls as possible - a slap on Kerry's wrist, so to speak.
Finally, I will continue to support Kerry by linking to his contribution page, but I will no longer use my Kerry Team link. The only Contribute link to Kerry's campaign that I will promote on my blogs is via Daily Kos. In my opinion, it would be best if ALL blogsphere donations to Kerry were done solely through the Kos link. I enocurae any other liberal bloggers to add the following Donate! link to their pages if they agree:
they have been actively pushing supporters to run for office at local and state levels. They ave already counted over 100 people who have been inspired to run, and counting. The way to take Democracy back is participation in it, and DFA is the standard bearer on that score now. Check out teh oblog and the dfa website for more info...