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Top News | Reuters.co.ca:
"BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Secular Iraqis said on Wednesday a proposed new constitution left no room for doubt about the Islamist path the country was heading down two years after a U.S.-led invasion was supposed to produce greater freedoms.
Great, maybe we should let Pat Robertson have a shot at writing our constitution?
"We had hoped for a secular constitution that would separate religion from state," said Mirza Dinnayi, leader of the Yazidi sect viewed by Islamists now running Iraq as devil worshippers.
Here we call them liberals. Don't they know its "freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion"?
The irony of course, is that our own homegrown fundies will see this as further reason to turn America into Jesusland -- to protect us.
So what's our progress report as we "march toward freedom in the middle east"? Well, we had a fairly secular Iraq with little to no ties with Islamic terrorists and an Iran that was inching ever so slowly towards reform.
A shiny new constitution in Iraq enshrining religious law and an Iran that has tightened its grip on reformers and is looking to restart its nuclear program.
So what went wrong -- besides the 2000 election when we elected a moron to lead the most militarized nation in the history of humankind?
After that? A fundamental lack of understanding when it comes to democracy. Its more than just writing up a constitution and telling people to go vote. Its an idea that has to mean something to people. At its heart is a fundamental desire for self determination. You have to want to take control of your own life. This idea runs counter to various movements that want you to concede control to them, be it a religion, the state (monarchies, communism, etc) or something else entirely. These obstacles have to be overcome. In Europe, the Enlightenment tore down many of the existing power structures that were keeping people from realizing greater freedom. America, influenced greatly by many enlightenment thinkers was a consequence of that revolution in thought. Here was a nation that declared itself free from all things except its own willingness to decide its own fate.
No kings, No popes, No single authority.
Sometimes, I am amazed that America came into existence in the midst of a cultural bubble. Since then, the power gained from the enlightenment has been eroded away. Today we take it for granted that people will discover more about the nature of the world in which we live. We savor the technology that science brings us but not the process by which science operates. Then, explaining the mysteries of nature gave people an aura of authority. Now, people willingly ignore scientists and great social thinkers in preference to loony throwbacks like Pat Robertson who claims his authority from a selective reading of the Bible.
I worry that we are on a path to reject all that people fought so hard to achieve.
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