Monday, January 24, 2011

Tunisia, Egypt, and the World: Speculation and Opinion

We're seeing more 'after Tunisia, what?' speculation in the news. Like a piece on the CNN website that boils down to 'we don't know.' There's an interesting set of observations on the way, though:It does look like:
"Tunisia has brought a blast of reality to Mideast politics. Aging autocrats have been put on notice they can no longer count on docile citizens.

Setting Fire to Yourself?!

On the other hand, maybe there's not so much change coming. Like what didn't happen in Egypt. The Tunisian turnover seems to have been sparked by Mohamed Bouazizi. He was a young vegetable market trader who was upset about Tunisian economics: and so he set fire to himself. He's dead now, no surprise there.

About a half-dozen Egyptians set fire to themselves after Tunisia's former president hightailed it for Saudi Arabia. The smoke has cleared from those demonstrations - and the Egyptian government is still there. No great uprising.

While I'm thinking of it: setting fire to oneself because you don't think your leaders are doing a good job never made much sense to me. Setting fire to the leaders: maybe. But either alternative has serious problems, ethical and otherwise.

I discussed Tunisia, Twitter, and being tense about change yesterday. At length.

Today, I'm going to touch on an opinion that may sound odd, coming from someone who is quite glad to be an American. I don't think democracy is the best form of government. I certainly don't think it's the only way that decent people would want to run a country.

The Ideal Form of Government: One that Works

As I said, I'm glad that I'm an American, living in a country where not even a moderately inept (my opinion), clueless (my opinion), meddlesome (my opinion again) government has bollixed up a nation of people who like to get things done - and know how to do so.

Our "Constitution-based federal republic; [with a] strong democratic tradition" (World Factbook, CIA) has, for the most part, worked pretty well - for us. Most of Europe - including countries that still have monarchs - use some flavor of democracy to take money from their citizens and provide bureaucrats with a means to earn a living.

These Western countries could be doing a lot worse.

But I don't think that a constitution-based federal republic is the only 'right' way to run a country. I've written about this before:

Military Rule as the Ideal Form of Government

No, I don't really think so, but look at this:
  • Government by Religious Leaders
    Example: Afghanistan under the Taliban
    Result: Terrorism
  • Government by Monarch
    Example: Saudi Arabia
    Result: Terrorists
    • (15/19 of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudis)
  • Government by Elected Leaders
    Example: Somalia
    Result: Terrorists - and pirates
  • Government by Military Ruler
    Example: Guinea
    • Assuming that the elections were as faked as critics claim
    Result: No terrorism (and no pirates, either)
You see?! That 'proves' that military rule is superior to old-fashioned monarchies, theocracies, and constitutional democracies.

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Pretty obvious, isn't it? I carefully selected examples that supported my claim. That can make for effective propaganda, but it's not good reasoning.

As a matter of fact, I don't have the visceral, reflexive revulsion that many Americans have toward the idea of having a country run by military or religious rulers. I think it depends on what individuals are running the show, and which side of the eighteenth century most of the country's people live on.
(December 29, 2008)
Does this mean that I think Saudi Arabia's monarch is doing a wonderful job, and that Queen Elizabeth II should disband parliament?


But I don't think it would be better if all countries, everywhere, were McYankee clones, complete with bicameral legislatures.

What I do think is that countries work better if their leaders have some common sense; and care more about how the folks who share the country with them live, than how many solid-gold faucets are in the presidential palace.

I think that the American system, choosing leaders based on how well they dress, talk, and do their hair, works fairly well. I also think that systems that choose leaders based on what family they were born into can work fairly well, too.

I think what kind of people the leaders are matters more than how they got into the top jobs. Which isn't as radical as it may sound. Think about it: just how altruistic would you expect a person to be: who had bribed, poisoned, and stabbed his way into office?

Related posts:News and views:

No comments:

Unique, innovative candles

Visit us online:
Spiral Light CandleFind a Retailer
Spiral Light Candle Store


Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.