Democracy – What if I disagree?

May peace be upon all who follow guidance.

Dear readers, and dear fellow bloggers. When i watch the news, when i have discussions with native danes – yes practically all the time – i get confronted with the common thought that what the arabs and muslims need is democracy. The danish prime-minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen refuse to have any dialogue with Hizb-ut-Tahrir, because it is “anti-democratic”. Naser Khader, a member of the danish parliament, lately expressed in TV during a debate on the danish state-sponsored channel DR2 that “children in Denmark should be raised democratic”. “Immigrants do not have to be danish, as there is many ways of being danish, but they have to be democratic”, he continued.

Democracy seems to be the solution to everything, but what are the limits of this democracy? In the danish debate, the limit exists. I have located one. At least i think so.

In the danish debate, there is appearently no room for opposing the democracy. Muslim citizens must be democratic. The way i see it, the democracy is the new religion of Denmark – the new ultimative truth, that none will oppose, except someone who mentally lives in the Dark Middle Ages.

But we should ask ourselves the question;
Is a democracy really a democracy if there is no room for opposing it?

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17 Responses to “Democracy – What if I disagree?”

  1. Andrew Brehm Says:

    Doesn’t Danmark have a queen?

    In Danmark not democracy but the monarchy is the ultimate truth. And the monarchy said, let there be democracy, hence there is democracy.

    Disproving the democratic system by applying democracy to it might work, but you’d have to disprove the monarchy it is based on. And you cannot do that within the framework of the monarchy.

    So while, perhaps, the argument “what if a majority voted against democracy” is valid within the context of democracy, the same argument “what if a majority voted against monarchy” will not be within the context of the monarchy.

  2. abuskander Says:

    Yes we have a monarchy but only constitunional. There lies no political power in the queen.

  3. Andrew Brehm Says:

    That’s the point exactly.

    The queen is the base of the system, not the power in it.

    She is that representative of G-d who makes sure that the land is ruled as it should. And she decided that democracy within certain limits is the way to do it.

    The result is a constitutional monarchy.

  4. csi Says:

    When you say “there’s no room for opposing democracy”, do you mean such opposition is against the law and you’ll be in legal trouble for doing so? Or does “no room” mean regular folks simply mocking you and nothing more? Big difference.

    If the former, that’s a problem and yes, that’s not democracy.

    But if it’s the latter….well, that’s democracy, i.e. the freedom to oppose another’s oppositions against democracy…and the freedom you have to oppose them right back w/o fear of being punished by the gov’t for doing so.

    Your question begs yet another question: If you oppose democracy, what do you suggest replacing it with?

  5. abuskander Says:

    “When you say “there’s no room for opposing democracy”, do you mean such opposition is against the law and you’ll be in legal trouble for doing so? Or does “no room” mean regular folks simply mocking you and nothing more? Big difference.

    If the former, that’s a problem and yes, that’s not democracy.

    But if it’s the latter….well, that’s democracy, i.e. the freedom to oppose another’s oppositions against democracy…and the freedom you have to oppose them right back w/o fear of being punished by the gov’t for doing so.”
    – It is the latter. It will not per se cause legal problems here to oppose the democracy.

    However, in Denmark, there are plans to teach kindergarden children in democracy, if a muslim organization opposes democracy, they are not to be dealt with, and muslims in Denmark should be raised in Democracy and be democratic. And this is what causes the problems in my head.

    Why should we share the state ideology? Why is that a demand? Is’nt it most important that we are good citizens who work hard and do not make trouble for the native danes, that we learn their language and participate in society?

    Why do you HAVE to be democratic?

  6. Don Cox Says:

    You have to be democratic because one of the duties of a citizen is to vote in elections for local and national government. The State needs your opinion.

  7. Roman Kalik Says:

    When you say “there’s no room for opposing democracy”, do you mean such opposition is against the law and you’ll be in legal trouble for doing so? Or does “no room” mean regular folks simply mocking you and nothing more? Big difference.

    If the former, that’s a problem and yes, that’s not democracy.

    I’m not sure that I agree with that. I personally don’t see room for a party that clearly and openly wishes to abolish the system, within the playing field of the system itself. Democracy does not equal freedom without limits, it equals giving the average citizen the ability to affect the ruling and day-to-day policy of the state.

    If, by means of the democratic process, a party that is not democratic gains power through democratic means – then the democratic process is henceforth dead, and the people have basically voted away their ability to have any control of their ruling system. It is like giving a man a gun and telling him that he is free to blow his brains out.

    “freedom without limits” is just words. If you do not limit freedom, then you will no longer have any freedom within short order. I do not view democracy as perfect in any sense of the word, but I also view the alternatives as worse. The definitions of “undemocratic party” are very wide, because you must also keep the current government from utilizing this concept as a means to keep itself in power – but there are cases when such a definition is very clear.

    In my view, total freedom is anarchy – anarchy is a void, quickly filled by the man with the biggest lead pipe to swing around. Further, I view the intelligence of a mob as very low – a mob led by populist notions will vote in people like Hitler and Mussolini, thugs with gangs that rule the streets and who have shown themselves to be little interested in giving anyone save themselves any say in the ruling of the state. So a line has to be drawn, and it has to be a pretty clear one.

    Of course, it all depends on how people view democracy. Is it about having the ability to influence the state, or does it also include giving people the ability to vote away that influence?

  8. Roman Kalik Says:

    However, in Denmark, there are plans to teach kindergarden children in democracy, if a muslim organization opposes democracy, they are not to be dealt with, and muslims in Denmark should be raised in Democracy and be democratic. And this is what causes the problems in my head.

    If you live in a democratic country, then at the very least you should understand the system and participate in it.

    Is’nt it most important that we are good citizens who work hard and do not make trouble for the native danes, that we learn their language and participate in society?

    These issues and learning about your country’s ruling system, understanding it, and participating in it, are in no way mutually exclusive.

  9. abuskander Says:

    “If you live in a democratic country, then at the very least you should understand the system and participate in it.”
    – Well i absolutely agree that we should understand, and i myself participate, and i view participation to be very important as i stated in my HT-post.

    “These issues and learning about your country’s ruling system, understanding it, and participating in it, are in no way mutually exclusive.”
    – But why do i have to agree with the ruling system of my country? Is the same true in Egypt – do i have to agree with the ruling system there? Is it fair when the Egyptian government does what i can to make everybody agree with the state, or is this a privelegia only held by democratic states?

  10. Roman Kalik Says:

    Is it fair when the Egyptian government does what i can to make everybody agree with the state, or is this a privelegia only held by democratic states

    If you disagree with the policies and views of the government in a democratic state, then you simply vote in someone else. The same is not true for Egypt – there is one governing group which doesn’t plan to leave.

    ‘democracy’, in this contexts, means supporting a dynamic and ever-shifting form of government. The particular policies of each and every ruling party are irrelevant to the democratic process – if the people find that they are unhappy with them, then they can change them, but the *system* endures.

    You confuse the government and policy with the framework that allows such policies and governments to take place, Ahmad.

  11. abuskander Says:

    No i do not. The state policy i am referring to is in this case “democracy”. This is the state policy of Denmark.

    For what if my brother in Egypt believe in democracy, while i in Denmark do not? Is there really no room in a democracy for opposing a democracy, and if there is’nt, is it really a democracy then? That is the questions.

    The question is not whether i not i agree with the ruling party, but if i believe in the ruling SYSTEM.

    Please note that i do not say that i do not believe in democracy.

  12. Roman Kalik Says:

    Is there really no room in a democracy for opposing a democracy, and if there is’nt, is it really a democracy then?

    It would largely depend on which form the “opposition” to democracy would take. If the change demanded is seen as an evolution of the system rather than a change towards a tyranny, then such a change would most likely be still allowed.

    But a democracy is still a democracy if it does not allow the majority to vote it away – one of the defensive mechanisms of the process is to prevent the tyranny of the majority, after all. The system is built to allow for choices that further the ability of the average citizen to control the fate of the state, rather than those that end up limiting them.

    But me, I’m all for letting people vote in whomever they want. I just want them to fully live with the consequences of that. That’s another thing that democracy is good at, putting the blame all the way down to the average citizen.

    The question is – are the consequences worth it? This is why I say that “freedom without limits” is just words. Democracy, in order to keep its own stated goal, must place clear limits on what people can or can’t do. Because when you vote away your own freedom, you also vote away the freedom of everyone else.

    It’s a gray area, true, and it’s very problematic to define what a democracy can or can’t do to defend itself from within.

  13. Halalhippie Says:

    Good to see you blogging away… and you raise an important Q.

    “Why should we share the state ideology? Why is that a demand? >
    Whoever said you should ? I don’t . I take it you mean constitution, not the ideology of whatever party is in government.

    “Is’nt it most important that we are good citizens who work hard and do not make trouble for the native danes, that we learn their language and participate in society? ” Yep, what you do is most important, what you believe is your own business.

    In this part of the world we drive in the right side of the road (right as opposed to left) in some other places they drive in the left side. Now, you may disagree to that, find it stupid, have a lot of reasons why it should be different, doesn’t matter. But if you insist on driving in the left side, you’ll bump into trouble sooner or later.

    Why do you HAVE to be democratic?”

  14. Halalhippie Says:

    oops! the last line was yours: I’ll add to it anyway. You don’t HAVE to BE democratic, you have to ACT democratically.

  15. Andrew Brehm Says:

    If you don’t like the democracy in Denmark, ask the Queen to abolish it.

    She won’t.

    But, ironically, once there is no democracy any more, she can do whatever she wants, including reintroducing democracy.

    There is no way out.

  16. csi Says:

    “Is there really no room in a democracy for opposing a democracy, and if there isn’t, is it really a democracy then? That is the questions”

    Your question still sounds like one asking if they can be an atheist if they still believe in God. Or if one can consider themselves “employed” if they’re not working.

    Another thought — If a group chooses a system that takes away their choices (tho’ I can’t understand why anyone would want to do that), and they later find they don’t like who ends up being in charge, can outsiders (even democratic ones) really be blamed for “propping up” those leaders? I’m thinking of the way the USA gets blamed for “propping up” Saudi rulers. If Saudis prefer a system where they don’t choose their own leaders, why should they then appeal to outsiders to bring undesired leaders down? That’s a catch-22 of their own making, IMO.

    “Isn’t it most important that we are good citizens who work hard and do not make trouble for the native danes, that we learn their language and participate in society?”

    If you’re already willing to learn the language and participate in society, wouldn’t that include participating in the system of gov’t Denmark’s adopted? Some folks won’t even learn the language of their adopted country (which of course, they’re free to do).

    Not all democracies are the same. Many democracies place limits around themselves, to prevent mob rule or inefficiency. E.g. the people of the USA elect representatives to make certain decisions for the people (i.e. not all decisions are “by the people”). Also, term limits prevent a popular president from staying in power for his/her whole life, even if the people want him/her to stay.

    “if a muslim organization opposes democracy, they are not to be dealt with,”

    If Danish Muslims offer no better alternatives to democracy, it may come across as just opposing democracy for opposition’s sake. What if Danish Muslims make a case for what they see as better alternatives? If presented well, people may not be so dimissively suspicious of why there’s opposition to existing systems to begin with. Of course, non-Muslims may still not agree with what you have to offer, but as long as you’re not going to be fined or thrown in jail for presenting such alternatives, that’s part of “participating in society”, democratically speaking.

  17. Halalhippie Says:

    True enough, should the Danish Muslims in time make such a good cause for the caliphate that we adopt it, then there’s no problem. I don’t see it happening this year, tho.

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