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Thursday, November 06, 2003
I hesitated to put this up, because my last post was about discussions on a forum, and I'm working on another post along the same lines. This might get tedious. But then I remembered this was the BBC, which it is my sworn duty to bash whenever possible, until such time as it ceases to suck.
The Belgravia Dispatch points to this BBC comments forum on "Bush's version of democracy". The intro says:
Naturally an overwhelming number of the responses posted (which, as you know, "reflect the balance of the views we have received") conclude that democracy is not workable everywhere, that democracies have to grow internally, and that to suggest otherwise is cultural imperialism.
Many comments, naturally, are knee-jerk responses to nasty American imperialism. (The imperialist Americans want to set up an Iraqi democracy? Then democracy must be a tool of imperialism!) Some are slightly more thoughtful, noting that democracy can't just be plastered on, but will only thrive if the people have a democratic mindset. Those people might mean that it won't be instantaneous, but few of them qualify their remarks. They may mean that it's forever impossible for the dar---er---poor little brown people.
I can't decide if this is the soft racism of the left, or the old-fashioned racism of the right.
It's amusing and dismaying to read the foreigners' denials of the existence of American democracy (it's much more dismaying to read them from Americans), such as this gem from Mark MacCallum of New Zealand:
It's true that the Constitution gives the less populous states more power than their populations would warrant in some areas, but that was sort of the point, so that the majority does not ride roughshod over the minority. I suspect Mr. MacCallum's chief argument against this is that it gives power to conservative states.
The BBC liked Mr. MacCallum's comment so well it posted it twice. The comment above is on the first page of comments. Another, almost identical, comment is on the second page:
Did he send in two letters and they didn't realize they'd published the first? Or is one of these an edited version of the letter he sent in?
I don't suppose that pointing out that we've had the same system for 200 years---so that those small "conservative" states have had this "disproportionate" power all this time---would do any good. After all, as Hamed Al Mahruqy of Oman so wisely points out:
Then there's this scathing indictment of Western democracy:
He signs himself "Simon Moore, EU", which I think explains that.
All in all, the BBC debate is best summed up by Jim of New Jersey: