A warning about the Arab Spring

Among all the cheerleading for democracy in the Middle East, no one bothers to ask the question “can Islam and democracy coexist?”  The only country in the region to have previously attempted democracy was Algeria, a move which precipitated a decades long civil war.

The following words were written during a period in European history which closely parallels the contemporary situation throughout the Middle East

“The loneliest and most independent mind of the century foresaw not liberty but tyranny as the fruit of democratic equality”  -J. Burckhardt, a friend of the author of the following excerpt 

‘Equality of rights’ could all too easily be converted into an equality in violating rights – by that I mean, into a common war on all that is rare, strange, or privileged, on the higher man, the higher soul, the higher duty, the higher responsibility, and on the wealth of creative power and mastery- today the concept of “greatness” entails being noble, wanting to be oneself, being capable of being different, standing alone…

It is the age of the masses: they lie on their belly before all that is massive. And so also in politics. A statesman who rears up for them a new Tower of Babel, some monstrosity of empire and power, they call “great” – what does it matter that we more prudent and conservative ones do not meanwhile give up the old belief that is the great thought that gives greatness to an action?

The democratic movement in Europe will probably arrive at results on which its naive propagators and panegyrists, the apostles of “modern ideas”, would least care to reckon. The same new conditions under which  an average leveling and mediocratising of man will take place- a clever gregarious man – are in the hightest degree suitable to give rise to ecxeptional men of the most dangerous and unattractive qualities. For, while the capacity of adaptation, which is every day trying changing conditions, and begins a new work with every generation, almost with every decade, makes the powerfulness of the type impossible; while, therefore, the democratising of Europe will tend to the production of a  type prepared forslavery in the most subtle sense of the term; the strong men will necessarily in indivdual and exceptional cases, become stronger and richer than he has perhaps ever been before – owing to the unprejudicness of his schooling, owing to the immense variety of practice, art and disguise…

The democratising of Europe is at the time an involuntary arrangement for the rearing of tyrants.

-F. Nietzsche

1886

 

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