Democracy? On s’en fout royalement!


Everyone is probably as sick and tired as I am of the succession headache that all Arabo-Muslim countries from the Middle East to the Mediterranean basin go through every time they need to choose/ appoint a successor. Go back as far as the death of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and you will find exactly the same scenario which had split the Ummah ever since. The fact that Arab leaders seem to have been endowed with genes for longevity makes the agony of the ‘choice’ of a successor more intensely futile and therefore a favorite pastime of the otherwise unemployed masses.

I was reading this article this morning on CiF and the idea occurred to me that maybe coming clean and admitting we are all a bunch of hypocritical monarchies will be a change in the good direction. Many perhaps would find the prospect of a self-proclaimed revolutionary regime turning into a hereditary autocratic dynasty shocking, but (thankfully) I am not one of them and I will even add that to those I say: ‘Who cares?!‘. Sorry but I had to let it off my chest.

Hear me out now because I do think I have stumbled upon a seminal idea in the creation of a new political theory for the Arabo-Muslim world and perhaps even the entire globe. The idea behind democracy is political pluralism through structures like the parliament, democratic elections where a diversity of political parties participate etc. Now what I am proposing for us is that we keep the mayhem of pluralism but not under the exclusive umbrella of democracy, oh no, we should extend it to all political systems known to man. What this means in plain English is that for every Arabo-Muslim country, we will have all political systems known to man coexisting with each other but in an insular way – you cannot get better pluralism than that. I shall call this ‘meta (political) pluralism‘. So for example in Egypt, you’ll have the Mubarak dynasty carrying on with their monarchy stuff, the military will do their fascist stuff but on a narrower number of sectors, the parliament will continue doing its democratic stuff and so on but none of them will be sovereign outside the limits of its own supporters. All these systems will coexist with each other but will be insulated from each other to avoid things like revolutions which are only good for re-establishing other monarchies in the case of the Arabo-Muslim world. Insularity means that we will also avoid such headaches such as succession questions: each power group will appoint its own leader via whatever mechanism it deems fit and this will have no effect whatsoever on anything outside this power group. This state of affairs will ultimately make people realize that power is useless or at least not worth as much hassle as they were prepared to undertake to get and keep it which will be a good thing because they will tend to obsess less about holding on to it for eternity.

The people will be ruled by communitarianism according to their affiliations most of which are of a religious type (which will give rise to a multitude of mini-theocracies in practice). To minimize the risk of clashes between the communities, a national football team will have to be created which will be composed of players from all the communities, this will help provide a meta-unifying factor between the communities which will transcend religion and ethnicity in the form of a football. So if you’d care to take the trouble ladies and gentlemen of the audience to imagine with me a football with each one of its black and white hexagons symbolizing a community. Replace nationalism with football. Beautiful.

With a system like this propagating and cloning itself in every country within the Arabo-Muslim world (through an imperialist-like mechanism), I dare say that Israel will no longer be the ‘beacon of the Middle East’ but rather the Beaker of the Middle East. The world will be charmed by it because it does have consumerist features embedded in it which give people more choice to opt in and out of whatever political system that takes their fancy. This will also appeal to the modern masses because it involves no long term commitment to anything whatsoever.

There are obviously many holes in my theory but not to the extent that it may be branded full of holes! Rather, the holes are the small detail which needs to be refined in order to bring the theory to perfection. For example, how the different co-habiting political systems can be insulated from each other will need defining, through what mechanisms the country will communicate and deal with the external world is another important question to consider (a federal central government might be necessary). However, the most important detail of all is how on Earth shall we call such a country?! Such appellations as ‘Popular and democratic republic of so and so‘ will simply be inadequate and frankly more misleading than they are now.

There are already many countries in the world today where two different and divergent political systems co-exist (eg. constitutional monarchies such as the UK, Spain and Denmark, theocratic democracies such as Iran (or should that be democratic theocracy?)), and some other countries where completely contradictory political systems co-habit (eg. republican autocracies such as Egypt, Lybia and co.). So the principle of co-habitation is not defective per se, rather the challenge is how to minimize the problems this sort of co-habitation will induce.

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2 thoughts on “Democracy? On s’en fout royalement!

  1. Interesting idea algerianna, but I am not sure I understand it well. You mention the constitutional monarchies as cohabitation instances but I am not sure about it. In most of these systems, the monarchies are given only the “moral” power and everything else is left in the hands of the constitution. So the contradiction has been solved by dissolving the monarchies. And in Iran, it’s actually democracy that has been dissolved in the theocracy (if it is one that is).

    Let’s be practical and take an example, Algeria. We already have many systems running in one with Boutef’s clan, the DRS, etc. and each system holds power on an aspect or more of the Republic’s institutions and possessions. All these nice guys have managed control each other so the power balance is saved. Obviously, it’s not a very stable balance.

    So we have already a pluarlity within the Republic, but who control the same people and land. Do you suggest to give them pieces of land and populations on which they would exert their power?

    • Well I am not very clear on the details myself Mnarvidz, but it seems to me that despite democracy’s many advantages, it is a very slow system and one which can have dangerous outcomes (giving power to the clueless majority to decide on important issues is bound to be). This is why I think democracy is always a sham, especially in countries which boast democratic ideals – of course democracy works but within narrow limits of land and population (the bigger and more diverse a population, the more unfeasible a real democracy will be in practice).

      You say that cohabitation is impossible in practice, but I think that even if a power or institution keeps a moral power, this is still an important political power because it influences people. So institutional monarchies are an example of two systems cohabiting, here monarchy provides a link to a past and helps in consolidating a feeling of ‘palpable’ continuity in the history of the people concerned. In many countries, of which Algeria, politicians have deemd it better to do away with all vestiges of the past and assigning the zero time point to the exact moment they and their clan have entered the ‘scene’, I think that all these countries have suffered tremendously from this approach because the links (even symbolic) with their past have been severed at worst or completely consufed at best (meaning people are left to their own devices to look for the zero time point which fits them best leading of course to all sorts of divisions).

      Your last point about splitting the land and people, I am not sure, it is an idea which my (acquired) nationalist side finds abhorent, but I think that the problem should be turned on its head (i.e. the question you are posing should really be posed the other way round), namely: what are the strongest forces which make people feel attached to a land and a group of people? Power structures should come into being from ‘natural’ forces and not via some artifical mechanism – in almost all former colonies, power structures have been shaped by colonialist influences or their remnants. So at their base, they are not sustainable because they are not ‘natural’. Not sure what it would take to change this.

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