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I disagree with Mr. Brooks assumption that Islamists (all Islamists) lack the mental prowess to govern.  His assumption is too ridiculous to even counter.  

However, I do believe Islam is a ridilcuous structure to draw from in terms of governing, laws, justice and matters of war and peace.  A person's religion or lack there of should have no relevance when it comes to governing.  Building roads and getting the trains to run on time, etc has nothing to do with Allah. Allah is irrelevant.  

So when Egypt elected a hyper religious group to run thier government, they elected a group of people using the wrong the framework to run a democracy.  I don't think this means Islamists are too stupid to run a government but I believe Islam in not a credible intellectual framework from which to build a functioning liberal democracy.  It would be the equivilent of America electing a party called "The Christian Brotherhood" to run our nation.  They would do a horrible job because the New Testament is not designed to be a framework for a 21st century western democracy.

America works because our nation was founded on the principles of reason and fairness.  We are governed by an essentially secular constition, not Judeo/Christian values.  Our reliance on reason, logic, equality, opportunity,etc has very little to do with any religious brand.  America works because our founders rejected The Church as a starting point for government.  Reason, facts, evidence, equality...these are the guiding priciniples set forth by our founders.  Islam as a philosophy/religion implicity and explicitly rejects reason, facts and equality and instead relies on faith, belief and compliance to absurd religious laws and traditions.  These goofy beliefs have no place in a modern democracy.

So while I disagree with Brooks that Islamists lack the mental capacity to govern, I do believe a political party dedicated to using The Koran as a blueprint for governing is destined to fail...and fail The Muslim Brotherhood did.  

Poll

Does Islam provide a good framework for a modern Democracy?

11%5 votes
88%40 votes

| 45 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  when we elect (26+ / 0-)

    a non-christian, or when we have a president who refuses to participate in national prayer breakfasts, then i think we can begin to consider lecturing other countries about who they elect.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 02:16:26 PM PDT

  •  I'm looking forward to Brooks' follow-up column (16+ / 0-)

    ... on how fundamentalist Christians are not capable of running government, either (see: Texas, South Carolina, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Georgia...).

    Calling other DKos members "weenies" is a personal insult and therefore against site rules.

    by Bob Johnson on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 02:49:02 PM PDT

  •  I guess since I'm gay I don't get this (7+ / 0-)

    readiness to condemn people who criticize Islamist theocracy as bigots. It actually seems to me rather the opposite to be true--that nobody who cares about the safety and rights of women or gays could possibly excuse such a form of government.

    “liberals are the people who think that cruelty is the worst thing that we do” --Richard Rorty Also, I moved from NYC, so my username is inaccurate.

    by jeff in nyc on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 02:53:30 PM PDT

    •  DK is a bastion of political correctness. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Farugia, PubliusPublicola

      Although Islam is anti-liberal it must not be criticized according to many here.

      "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Thomas Paine

      by shrike on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 03:06:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's the faith of billions of people (6+ / 0-)

        and I think you need to know an awful lot about it to assume you are smarter than all of them.  

        As for liberals, Keith Ellison, leader of the progressive caucus is a Muslim.  

        Egyptians voted for it.  They may be having buyer's remorse and may choose something else if they're allowed to do so.  

        I believe in self-determination.   People have the right to choose the form of government they want.  They don't have to choose the form of government I would choose for myself.

      •  At least the poll results above are sane (0+ / 0-)

        Some of the clattering is more for display than anything.  I actually believe that most DK types would fight like hell if anything remotely like the MB had a chance of taking over here.  And no, I'm not talking about Rick Perry.

      •  Which Islam? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JDsg

        Yours is a typical ignorant Western/Christiantist statement.

        "Islam" is not anti-liberal, any more than generic "Christianity" is anti-liberal. Islam is an immense spectrum of cultures and beliefs with a common religious origin, but a spectrum that has evolved over space and time in all kinds of directions.

        The current iterations of Islam that you hear about 24/7 on the TeeVee are exclusively 1) the crazy-ass terrorist fundamentalist version related to 9/11 and 2) the extremely conservative version promulgated and funded by the leadership of Saudi Arabia for many decades in a largely successful effort to deflect popular pressure for reform and democracy in their own country.

        But there are many other forms & stripes of Islam, some of them far more open-minded and tolerant than most stripes of Christianity. If all you know about Islam is what you see on mainstream American TV news, you'll be about as well informed about it as you would be about Christianity by watching nothing but televangelists.

    •  I don't know about (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shrike, gramofsam1, skohayes, unfangus

      the bigotry point because I'm sure some of it is, but as someone who can't stand the Christian theocrats who want to run our government (many of whom have been democratically elected), it's hard to see the positives of theocrats of any other stripe being in charge either.

    •  Agree 100% (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shrike, Farugia

      Calling people bigots is too often a tactic these days to silence speech that one opposes, rather than address the substance of the matter, often because the criticism raised is valid and accurate.

      This occurs at Daily Kos as a norm, and too few here do or say anything about it.

  •  We have separation of church and state. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IreGyre, HeyMikey, Be Skeptical

    I wouldn't want a Pope installed as President or our laws written by a church or based on religious principles.  

    What we need is a Democrat in the White House. Elizabeth Warren 2016

    by dkmich on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 03:06:40 PM PDT

  •  Consider Germany (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenbell, JDsg, ZenTrainer, Ahianne

    The Christian Democrats are the mainstream center-right party.  Despite their name, the Christian-ness of its members is not a major factor behind the policies.  

    Sometimes I think Americans are quick to judge The Muslim Brotherhood based on their name, regardless of their policies.  We can't get past the name.

    The question in the case of Egypt is whether their last election was free and fair.  If yes, then I'm with Obama.  If no, then I'm with the protesters (and, I guess, the military?). An additional factor is whether the Morsi government has acted according to the new Egyptian constitution.   I will watch Al Jazeera and see if I can learn enough for myself to get off the fence.

    Secrecy breeds hypocrisy.

    by YankInUK on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 03:26:25 PM PDT

    •  Watch Al Jazeera? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Farugia

      That's like watching FOX news to get a fair balanced view on the Republicans.

      Qatar is a very strong backer of the Muslim Brotherhood. It is also one of the reasons Mursi was elected. Both the government (Qatar) and Al Jazeera (which is government owned) went full campaign mode for Mursi. This was at a time when Al Jazeera still had a reputation.

      •  Disagree (4+ / 0-)

        I've watched Al Jazeera English (AJE) extensively; what follows relates to it, not its Arabic-speaking parts, which I cannot judge with confidence.

        During the Egyptian Revolution, I observed lots of excellent journalism on AJE, with no bias in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood--rather, I'd say a bias against them.

        Further, consider that the current protesters against Morsi are obviously not pro-Brotherhood.  AJE seems to be on their side.

        I suggest that perhaps your view of AJ is based more on second-hand information rather than actually watching the network.  Even if I am wrong about that, your analogy to Fox is comical. AJE does journalism; Fox does propaganda.

        Secrecy breeds hypocrisy.

        by YankInUK on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 06:44:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Read about the principle of Ijtihad... (0+ / 0-)

    and then what Brooks said may become more clear.

  •  tricky having a coup against elected govt. but (0+ / 0-)

    in a nascent democracy in danger of being subverted by religious fundamentalists... it may be the only way to try and find a balance... but dangerous... and not a precedent to be emulated rather avoided in most instances... military coups or whatever it could be called do not have a very good track record... but there is somewhat of an exception in Turkey and Egypt is closer to that template. Not that Turkey avoided some dire excursions during military rule in the past but as military takeovers go they were more moderate and generally shorter and less destructive...
    Junta-lite? the proof is that Turkey has been fairly successful at avoiding the more extreme variations and come out fairly well in the long run. Hopefully Egypt is a similar combination and a "coup" in today's climate may succeed in avoiding extremes... however the religious extremists are more open and less compromising in Egypt... it may get only a little worse but then again it could all turn into a disaster.

    If the military is firm but does not go overboard in suppression... a pretty big hope... with no guarantees... and it keeps communication open with all factions and shows moderation and continuous progress to new elections... the worst may be avoided... but equally this could ignite a firestorm. Was Morsi headed towards an unrecoverable theocracy? or have the military overreacted? The public demonstrations were unprecedented globally speaking so they do have a lot of support... but will that just translate into an inevitable civil war between two irreconcilable extremes? Those kinds of struggles end badly and do not heal for decades at least.

    The Spanish Civil War is an example of the worse variety and there tellingly Franco was defending the religious side against secular and progressive trends... In Egypt it is a military not apparently following a Franco style strong man model defending religion and conservatism and is instead the side opposing that and defending secular balance...

    The rule here seems to be that when the military coups are in the name of secular politics they are arguably less harsh than say ones like the junta in Argentina or Pinochet in Chile where they were on the side of the religious conservatives.

    Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

    by IreGyre on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 03:33:34 PM PDT

  •  If that was all he said, I'd still disagree... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JDsg, Ahianne, skohayes

    ...but your diary would make more sense. As it stands, though, Brooks said elsewhere in his op-ed:

    It's not that Egypt doesn't have a recipe for democratic transition. It seems to lack even the basic mental ingredients.
    That's not just talking about the Islamists, my friend.

    it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

    by Addison on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 03:37:23 PM PDT

  •  Islam is different. We need to understand. (0+ / 0-)

    I am not an expert on Islam by any means, but--my understanding is that Muslims consider it a religious duty to work for justice in the ummah, that is, the community. Thus for Muslims, being politically involved is a religious duty.

    Areas for exploration:

    * Is the ummah the community of Muslims, or does it include nonbelievers living in the Muslim world? I believe there are arguments for both.

    * While some Muslims may see no difference between "a just ummah" and "everybody has to follow Islamic rules as I interpret them," we should not assume that is true of all Muslims. There is obviously an argument to be made that a just community requires freedom of conscience. If this is so (and I obviously believe it is), then it results in a paradox: it is a duty of Muslims to ensure freedom of expression of non-Islamic and even anti-Islamic ideas. We should not be surprised that many Muslims find it hard to wrap their heads around this. Many Americans similarly find it hard to agree that the First Amendment really does protect anti-Christian ideas.

    * A lot of fundamentalist Muslims, like a lot of fundamentalists of any sort, just have not been exposed to a wide range of ideas. It is easy for us Americans, who have benefited from our long history of freedom of expression, to look down on those whose ideas have been limited by dictatorship, poverty, and a closed culture. They may be wrong--I certainly believe they are. But they are human beings; at root their and our human nature is the same; and we should look on them with a degree of sympathetic understanding.

    "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

    by HeyMikey on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 03:44:47 PM PDT

    •  Oh good Lord, where to start... (0+ / 0-)

      That and the comment just below by The Knute...

      I deal in facts. My friends are few but fast.

      by Farugia on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 06:13:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Comments (0+ / 0-)
      Thus for Muslims, being politically involved is a religious duty.
      This is a matter of debate among Muslims; even the question of whether Muslims should vote in elections is debated.  You're correct that Muslims consider it a religious duty to work for justice within the ummah, but that work can also be done in a non-political way.  Personally, as a Muslim, I believe in political involvement and Muslims voting, but not all Muslims would agree with me.
      Is the ummah the community of Muslims, or does it include nonbelievers living in the Muslim world?
      The ummah is the community of Muslims only.  Non-Muslims can and do live within large Muslim communities (eg, Muslim-majority countries), but that does not mean they are part of the ummah.
      it is a duty of Muslims to ensure freedom of expression of non-Islamic and even anti-Islamic ideas.
      No, this is not the case, and Muslims are not required to do so.  This is wishful thinking on your part.  To give a non-Muslim example, the Thais revere their king, and to denigrate him in any way will get the offender jail time (and deportation if the offender isn't a Thai citizen).  I've seen several cases like this in recent years. Thais aren't required, legally or morally, to ensure freedom of expression for anti-Thai ideas.  This is an American idea expected of non-Americans; it doesn't necessarily work that way outside the US borders (even in Western Europe).
      A lot of fundamentalist Muslims, like a lot of fundamentalists of any sort, just have not been exposed to a wide range of ideas.
      I seriously doubt this.  I'd say it's more probable that the fundamentalist Muslims are quite familiar with other ideas, but have rejected them, some of them for quite good reasons.

      Muslims and tigers and bears, oh my!

      by JDsg on Sat Jul 06, 2013 at 07:58:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  So when Muslims stone women (0+ / 0-)

      Because the Koran told them to, should I be sympathetic and understanding? When the MB shut out all other religions from governing in Egypt should the people be sympathetic and understanding?

  •  The Americentrism that Pervades this Diary is (5+ / 0-)

    breathtaking.

    The Islamic form of government that the diarist rejects as inherently unworthy actually presided over one of the greatest renaissances the world has ever seen -- at precisely the time that the West was in the throes of its own dark ages.  

    I'm an American, and I'm a big fan of pluralistic liberal western democracies, but that's NOT the only form of government under which people can lead meaningful and fulfilled lives. And for hundreds of years, Muslim theocracies actually tolerated Christians and Jews as "dhimmis," or "protected people," or "people of the book." Dhimmis were allowed to use mosques for their own religious services and they were allowed to take part fully in the economic, intellectual, and social life of the "Caliphate."

    In many ways, these medieval caliphates were more tolerant of Christians and Jews than America was to Islam after 9/11. The idea that a church or synagogue would have been burned in the Abbassid was unthinkable 1,200 years ago. In America? Not only is it entirely thinkable, but its happened.

    I don't want to idealize the Islamic religious state, because it's definitely not the top choice for societies in which I'd choose to live. But to assume that our system is invariably and self-evidently superior is not only incorrect, it's also part of the problem in the world today. It is possible for religious states to be run in compassionate and tolerant ways, and it's also possible for western liberal democracies to behave tyrannically and cruelly.

    Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. --Margaret Mead

    by The Knute on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 03:48:00 PM PDT

  •  Two comments. (0+ / 0-)
    Building roads and getting the trains to run on time, etc has nothing to do with Allah. Allah is irrelevant.
    If government were only about infrastructure or the economy, I'd be more inclined to agree with you, but governing is much more than that.  One of the most important aspects of Islam (indeed, of all religions) is that it helps to define the relationships between man and Allah (swt), and man and man.  As Muslims, we will be guided by our principles for these relationships in our decision-making, whether it's at a national political level or at the individual level.  In that regard, Allah (swt) is always relevant.
    I do believe a political party dedicated to using The Koran as a blueprint for governing is destined to fail...and fail The Muslim Brotherhood did.
    This is only one case; there are numerous political parties guided by Islam and the Qur'an worldwide that successfully govern on both the state/provincial and national levels.  I'm not even convinced that the MB failed due to being guided by Islam.

    Muslims and tigers and bears, oh my!

    by JDsg on Sat Jul 06, 2013 at 08:13:16 AM PDT

  •  Somebody forgot to tell the US Congress (0+ / 0-)
    However, I do believe Islam Christianity or wealth is a ridilcuous structure to draw from in terms of governing, laws, justice and matters of war and peace.  A person's religion or lack there of, or money should have no relevance when it comes to governing.  Building roads and getting the trains to run on time, etc has nothing to do with Allah. Allah is irrelevant.  

    400ppm : what about my daughter's future?

    by koNko on Sat Jul 06, 2013 at 08:43:10 AM PDT

  •  Countries and cultures do differ and form (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JDsg

    differentgovernments. Why does Scandinavia and other parts of Europe, and CAnada, have socialized medicine for example, but America can't bear the thought of it.

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