Wednesday, 9 November 2011

James Madison's Argument in Favor of Arab Spring Democracy

Lorianne Updike Toler

"That the people and the States should, for a sufficient period of time, elect an uninterrupted succession of men ready to betray both; that the traitors should, throughout this period, uniformly and systematically pursue some fixed plan for the extension of the military establishment; that the governments and the people of the States should silently and patiently behold the gathering storm and continue to supply the materials until it should be prepared to burst on their own heads must appear to everyone more like the incoherent dreams of a delirious jealousy, or the misjudged exaggerations of a counterfeit zeal."

If this sounds like a secularist in Egypt or Libya or Tunisia arguing against those in the West who maintain that Islam and democracy are incompatible, you would be wrong.

Instead, it is James Madison in Federalist 46, arguing that the American people will never chose something actually and imminently dangerous to their own interest and security.  I believe the same could be applied to those in MENA countries.  No matter what religion they espouse, it is impossible that a majority would willingly vote and hold in power those who would do them harm.  

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