The Dark Side of Democracy

The last time anybody actually saw and heard the kind of voices and trumpets that the White House claims to be hearing and seeing was at the Revelation at Sinai. I believe that what we are currently hearing and seeing are democratic delusions of grandeur.

Ellen W. Horowitz

OpEds לבן ריק
לבן ריק
Arutz 7
"Today... the world has heard the voice of freedom...." -- President George W. Bush.

"What we are seeing here is the emergence of an Iraqi voice of freedom...." -- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

"It is not the song of victory, nor the groans of the defeated. What I hear is simply noise...." -- Moses, Exodus 32:18.

This week's Iraqi election was hailed in the loftiest of terms as a "grand moment" and turning point for Iraq and the world - a veritable "defeat of terrorism".

I hate to rain on anyone's parade, but a bit of honesty is called for.

The last time anybody actually saw and heard the kind of voices and trumpets that the White House claims to be hearing and seeing was at the Revelation at Sinai. I believe that what we are currently hearing and seeing are democratic delusions of grandeur.

All of this talk of freedom, liberty and democracy against the backdrop of an increasingly violent, deranged and oppressive world is confusing. So, I returned to the dictionary and the Bible for some basic clarification. And I think I found the source of the problem.

The current online dictionaries offer a rather cut and condensed version of some very lofty concepts - poor old Webster must be turning in his grave (I imagine the ghosts of Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln are lamenting, too). The following is the Wordnet definition of freedom, found at

1. [n] the condition of being free; the power to act or speak or think without externally imposed restraints;

2 [n] immunity from an obligation or duty

Now compare and contrast the above with the condensed Biblical account of freedom via the Exodus from Egypt (may G-d Almighty and Moshe Rabbeinu forgive my abbreviated version):

A short time after the Jews were freed from the tyranny, oppression and slavery of Egypt, they approached Mt. Sinai and were slapped with all sorts of external restraints and repeated warnings about crossing established boundaries. They then had a mountain held above their heads and were basically coerced into accepting a series of do's and don'ts, obligations and duties, lest they die. It became remarkably apparent that freedom meant the right to choose between good and evil, life and death.

You wanna be free? Draw yourself clear boundaries, accept moral and ethical principles, be aware of yourself and sensitive to those around you, and serve a higher purpose. True liberty could be defined as the freedom to serve and fulfill obligations and duties that we know to be right. The ballot box and democratic reforms are simply tools to be used, or abused.

Contrary to what America's president will have you believe, this is not the first time that the Islamic world has seen a ballot box. Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini formed a post-revolution Islamic republic in 1979, under which a president was elected every four years. Dictatorial democracy may, in fact, be the preferred form of government in the Middle East - where people periodically get the symbolic opportunity to wave their purple fingers and pictures of their victorious clerics or strongmen. These type of regimes appear to reflect the true will of the people.

It's no surprise that the real victor in Iraq's elections appears to be Iranian-born and backed Ayatollah Al-Sistani, who caused the US coalition major headaches when he called for direct elections at a time when Washington was opposed to that option.

Two years ago, in an article called "Freedom, the Great Oppressor ", I wrote:

"The people [of Iraq] are calling for a theocracy and not democracy. This, just two weeks after Defense Secretary Rumsfeld said, 'Iraqis will be free to form their own government as long as it is not an Iranian-style theocracy... That isn't going to happen.' Why do I get the feeling that America may soon be wheeling and dealing with the Ayatollah?"

That the Iraqis braved threats from insurgents and voted in throngs is admirable, but it hardly spells a "defeat for terrorism". There is such a thing as terrorist states and state-sponsored terrorism, and insurgencies, rebellions, and revolutions are usually state-sponsored. And it's not always nations like Iran or North Korea behind evil developments. Democratic America's own CIA has had a substantial hand in creating much of the terrorist upheaval and tyranny taking place throughout the world. And, let's not forget that Adolph Hitler was freely and democratically elected.

[Allow me to divert and mention that this week Halliburton, the US oil and military services company once run by US Vice-President Dick Cheney, is planning to end its substantial business dealings in Iran after existing contracts come to an end. Seems they racked up some $80 million dollars in revenues from the evil, nuclear-weapons-producing theocracy of Iran in 2003.]

It seems America, always in need of a quick fix, has spun what is essentially a predicable Shiite Islamic revolution at the ballot box into a victory for peace and freedom. Saddam is gone, and that's very good, but it's a little premature and reckless to declare peace in our time.

Indeed, in his inaugural address, a very zealous President Bush spoke about how an "untamed fire of freedom will reach the darkest corners of our world." Frankly, untamed fires frighten me. Bush proudly declared, "I firmly planted the flag of liberty [in Iraq] for all to see...." I'm not sure what Mr. Bush planted, but come harvest time, if we run into a bumper crop of wild weeds, we'll know who to blame.

This same reckless, almost frantic, pattern has been seen over the last few weeks in Israel. Headlines had Bush "hailing" Abu Mazen's election victory of January 9th. Abu Mazen had been in office for just 10 days, and barely a week had gone by since the last Israeli casualties, when, with projectiles still flying , Bush stated that he was "very pleased by the courage and leadership shown by Abu Mazen." And Prime Minister Ariel Sharon says he is "very satisfied."

That's quickest positive job assessment in recorded history. Why the mad rush, guys? Even the hudna of 2003 lasted longer, before erupting with a big bang.

But when the terrorist group Hamas scored a stunning landslide victory in democratic municipal elections throughout Gaza, there was silence from the White House. Also, there was very little reporting of the grand victory celebration that sparked a shoot-out between Fatah and Hamas, and left 25-30 people wounded.

It seems nothing will get in the way of America's brand of liberty, and their vision of a divided and castrated Israel alongside a "peaceful, active, vibrant [Palestinian] state."

Not only does the emperor have no clothes, but today's Western leaders are running a globalized nudist colony, in which their latest fetish is to revel around a golden ballot box called "freedom and democracy". Meanwhile, the venomous creatures and Ayatollahs of the desert watch and wait patiently for the right time to strike.

Based on the examples set by Sharon and Bush, I imagine that it's the individual in a position of power, thinking that he is free and in control, who will eventually become the oppressor. That's the funny thing about freedom and the very dark side of democracy.