Monday, October 18, 2010

Democracy is driving us towards nationalism

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We are witnessing a shift in many European countries towards nationalism, and this will by necessity entail greater fascism, since governments will accept every opportunity to assert their authority to preserve peace. I give people this warning because its inextricably the direction in which the world is heading. It will start in Europe for three reasons:
1. The cultural (racial and religiously defined) boundaries in Europe are looser in Europe than anywhere else. i.e. Its easier in the EU to jump a border for economic reasons than anywhere else.
2. The European cultures are more strongly collectivist than many other cultures, and with their Western traditional, they are more nationalistic than others.
3. Europe already has a historical legacy of fascist extremism, cultural persecution, so those elements will be resources to be used by extremists trying to incite violence.

Democracy as long been celebrated as an instrument to achieve democracy. The problem is that democracy has only been successful where it was adopted by a homogeneous culture, where minorities were so small, that they were less important, or the value disparities were insignificant. It is also evident that the collectivist baggage of welfare statism was not present in the past, and so thus minorities were always easier to tolerate. This is not the case in the modern world. Democracy has failed to provide a stable regime for the former Yugoslav states, its failing in the Middle East, and its unravelling as we speak in Germany.

People will tolerate democratic discourse if the disparities are incidental or the individual is sufficiently alienated by the weight of majoritism. This is not the case however when tyranny is socially defined as some sub-culture, most particularly when they are a group of persecuted, well-organised minorities.

Chancellor Angela Merkel blamed the doctrine of 'multiculturalism' for Germany's woes. But I would suggest the problem is not the policy per se, but democracy, which fails to reconcile opposing interest groups. It is difficult to tolerate a sub-culture which compels you to change your values, and you have difficulty expelling a sub-culture which has developed such deep roots, even citizenry in your midst. This is the problem with democracy. It does not reconcile the divergent values, but instead it allows one group of citizens to become an imposition on another, so we have victimisation on both sides. i.e. Germany is burdened by the alienation of 'lazy' Turks who see no reason to learn German, and Turks are disenfranchised by discrimination which makes any improvement impractical. This is a recipe for an escalation in ethic-based division. More problematic is when you have a self-righteous Chancellor Merkel saying 'take it or leave it'.
Germany did not welcome these Turks on the proviso that they spoke German or adopted Christian values. It has decided to adopt those standards after the fact. The other problem is the appearent nationalism in Merkel's statements. She assumes that Christian values are the proper ones to learn...irrespective of the fact that the distinction between Germans and Turks has less to do with religion and more to do with parenting and organisational styles or discipline. After all, Islam was derived from Judaic-Christian tradition, so that is hardly a point of contention. The common denominator however is a self-righteousness which could lead to violence, incited by either side.
Merkel suggests that the 'Turks should integrate' as if there was something special about German culture, and something intrinsically bad about Turkish values. That might be true of false, if one looked at the basis for either value system, however the problem is the implicit lack of objectivity. Nothing could incite racial violence more than the following remarks by Merkel:
Merkel: "We feel tied to Christian values. Those who don't accept them don't have a place here".
The problem of course is that no person should repudiate the values of others because they subjectively think their values are better than others. They ought to be reconciled in a forum where reason is the standard of value. The fact that Germans, to the extent that Merkel represents them, are not open to reason can only incite violence because they are likely to find Turks retain as much false pride as them, as just as little respect for reason.
WWIII - bring it on. Most people never learn.
Want to read more about Chancellor Merkel's speech - see Yahoo News.
Andrew Sheldon

ConvinceMe.Net - Anyone up for a debate?