Of course, your text says exactly otherwise:
[i]The article comes from Townhall.com which is run by Hugh Hewitt, an evangelical Christian who started as ghostwriter for Nixon and held a variety of job in the White House under Reagan. Regular contributors to Townhall.com include people such as Ann Coulter and Robert Novak.
Suzanne Fields wrote the article presented and, at the risk of sounding JustTheFact-ish, I have to point out that she is a regular at the "Jewish World Review". A conservative (that's euphemism for the Z word) Israeli online magazine.[/i]
Why raise who wrote the article and where it was posted unless you think that proposes a problem with the thesis from the outset? You wouldn't have mentioned any of this unless you thought it represented a problem with the idea.
I never suggested you personally attacked Irish.
That is precisely the problem so many around here have with you when they try and engage you in a debate on issues in good faith - you don't return in kind. If your advice is good advice, presumably it is good advice for yourself, as well. Don't read this as an insult - it is an observation that has played itself out time and again.
Foucalt is certainly not one of humanity's great thinkers, but that is a different thread. That said, what is ironic is that when pressed to explain yourself in your opposition to certain ideas, you almost always opt for some version of bad faith slur, which does not seem to fit in with your desire to see "bad faith" characterization in a debate.
You can call "neocons" all sorts of awful names, but someone calls a radical-leftist an awful name, then suddenly manners apply?
Point is - it is a two way street. You can't indulge in the aggressive talk and then complain about aggressive talk.
Here is the thing - I have, on many occasions, tried to meet you squarely on the merits of the issues. You don't reciprocate, instead engaging in deflection, convenient ignorance of arguments made that hurt your position, and general red herring yet inflammatory rhetoric.
You want a debate on the merits? Then opt for some response other than your usual approach - if you continue to sidestep the arguments placed in front of you to revert only to recycling ideological bullet points, you will continue to be derided for failing to hold yourself to the standards you claim you want around here.
Actually, it isn't an elusive concept, because since I spelled Enlightenment with a capital "E", I was clear I was referencing the Enlightenment of the Western variety that is known for a very specific set of principles of philosophy. Any old "enlightenment" won't do - and I suspect you knew my argument was to parallel specifically the Enlightenment.
That said, Islamic societies have no such event in their thread of history. We know that democracy emerged as a concept in classical Greece - which presumably, by the lights of the Islamic world preserving much of antiquity's materials, the Islamic world had access to - but was augmented by the Age of Enlightenment, when thinkers began to evaluate the nature of man and the state, the rights of individuals, and the birth of what we know as liberalism. Not only did the Western world enjoy the fruits of such a movement, but also the process of serious self-audit became a sacrament among emerging societies.
Islamic societies, despite touching the fundamentals of antiquity and then surrounded by the amazing transformation in thinking going on, the Islamic empire(s) shared in none of it.
And curiously, the Age of Enlightenment occurred when Islamic empire(s) were at the peak of their powers, enjoying great power and strength - so no "colonialism" was preventing these societies from sharing in the transformation and transmission of knowledge.
Instead, it was rejected. Much of the Enlightenment was a reaction to the repression of the development of reason, primarily due to religious oppression. Islamic civilization experienced no such challenge to its religious institutions, and we see that trend in place today.
So, since the Enlightenment created fertile architecture for the rapid development of Western democracies - in particular, the intellectual gunpowder for the American and French Revolutions -
and the Islamic civilizations have no such tradition or experience encouraging democracy, basic cause and effect explain that the Islamic lack of embrace of Western-style rationalism, skepticism, empiricism, and devotion to individual rights (all fruits of the movement, all necessary for a people-driven democracy) is a clear explanation for why democracy doesn't exist in Islamic society.
The lack of Reformation is not about a "church" or a "person" - the important point of the Reformation was that a major religion underwent a powerful self-scrutiny, challenging the assumed dictates and dogmas that controlled its believers. A cousin of an Enlightenment-type challenge, the Reformation was also a philosophical reaction to the church, causing an important self-critique and self-audit to occur within the religion and the society it dominated.
Islam has had no such challenge. As you stated, no one can dictate anything about the religion - no one can rightly question it. Therefore, the important process of philosophical self-audit - "does it makes sense for us to do that anymore?" - is stillborn in Islam. Its adherents don't have the confidence to ask tough questions, and since government and religion are practically inseparable, there remains no serious movement to Reform a culture and religion stuck in the 10th century.
Without the courage to make the kind of challenge a Martin Luther undertook, no way to have a functioning democracy, which relies on citizens to raise hard questions. Therefore, again, no predicate for democracy on the basis of internal aspects of submission to the religion/state - democracy means a possible disagreement with authority, and as you made clear, that is not permitted, nor is their enough "social bravery" to take on the challenge.
Democracy can't exist in that kind of social arrangement, period - so there is no independent catalyst to get democracy moving.
The tough question remains - despite the Islamic world's stewardship of the classical materials (true to a degree, but often overstated), the Islamic world did nothing to build on that heritage of wisdom. In fact, after the Golden Age of Islam, we have seen nothing short of backsliding. So, here we have an Islamic world with every opportunity to piggyback on the wonders of Greek and Roman philosophy as it related to democracy and republican government - and yet, it never happened.
For some reason, the West took the ideas and used them to blossom the world's great democracies with unprecedented freedom and prosperity. The Islamic world did not.
There is a reason - just as Europe "rediscovered" classical wisdom through a Renaissance, the Islamic world largely ignored it. Why? All the reasons listed above.
It would make little sense to expect the Islamic world to enjoy democracy in the modern world - modern day - when the Islamic culture of the past saw the starter seeds of such an important human institution and ignored them completely. Democracy is most certainly a work in progress - but the Islamic world never even got in with a "starter kit". Therefore, one more reason why Islamic society - by virtue of its own cultural attitudes and choices - has no democracy today.
The evidence of Islamic advances in math and science don't help your argument, it helps mine - after all, what has Islamic society done to build on those great advances of many centuries ago. See above, w/r/t backsliding.
From a source you love, Wikipedia:
Islam holds that political life can only function properly within the context of Islamic law, and since God's law is universally true and beneficial to all people, any state law or action contrary to God's law would be harmful to the citizens, and displeasing to God. Many Muslims consider the Western concept of separation of Church and State to be rebellion against God's law. There is a contemporary debate in Islam whether obedience to Islamic law is ultimately compatible with the Western secular pattern, which separates religion from civic life. However, some majority Muslim nations are secular, such as Turkey, Senegal, and Albania.
This really isn't all that controversial - this has been a center of the debate for years: can a secular government among Muslims and Islam exist independently? If secular government and Islam were compatible, there would be no debate.
I offer you an opportunity to produce a list of Muslim nations that offers legitimate freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, universal suffrage, due process rights in law - all under the same government, guaranteed by a constitution or equivalent.
This is irrelevant to your argument. Your primary complaint is that Muslim nations suffer because they were the victims of empires. And yet, Islamic civilization itself was most certainly an empire, created by the sword. No doubt some kneeled to the Islamic throne without fighting, but that doesn't dismiss the plain and uncontested fact that Islamic empires had no problem with the very "colonialism" that you claim is so foreign and troublesome to modern Muslims.
Moreover, the once conquered places under the thumb of the Islamic empire suffer from none of the colonial afflictions - and yet you don't explain why. Societies that threw off their Islamic overlords don't suffer from your "post-colonial" maladies - but under your theory, they should.
A short answer: Muslim nations are no more "victims" of colonialism than those they victimized when they were the ones exacting tribute from their subjects.
This is completely irrelevant to the topic being discussed, and it is an obvious to attempt to try and insult America instead of focusing on strengthening your argument. What America did or did not do in its past is a red herring to the question of whether Islamic societies were master imperialists.
We are discussing the people of Islam - it doesn't do well to try and obfuscate the point being discussed. You can't "victimize" a religion, you can only "victimize" human beings, which you brought up. Such sophistry is no answer, and is irrelevant to the point.
It isn't flamebait - it is a directly stated fact related to the end results of WWI and the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire.
Your point flatly goes wide of the mark, mostly because your point - that democratic states do war with neighbors - have little to do with the inherent tribal rivalries that exist within the same Islamic state. There can be no democracy when members of other tribes are not allowed political/civil rights on the basis they are apostates. As long as this fight that has extended centuries continues, no functioning democracy can exist - each faction will claim the other has no right to determine what the law should be.
See above: no separation between political and religious law, and no insistence on freedom of religion.
Therefore, because democracy cannot flourish when these tribal conflicts exist, it is a clear explanation why democracy hasn't blossomed in Islamic societies. You only extend democratic rights to those you think worthy of living in your democracy, and Islamic societies continue to struggle mightily with allowing that level of tolerance within one political space. So, no democracy.
Generally speaking, the Islamic world engages in gender apartheid. This is not news.
Other forms exist as well, but the blatant disrespect for women as political citizens is undisputed.
If the Quran does not provide for subjugation of women, why do so many Muslims practice as though it does? If the Quran is iron law, not subject to interpretation or modernization, and the subjugation of women has persisted for centuries - can so many Muslims be wrong?
Surely if Islam called for equalization of women - and Muslims followed the Quran to the letter - we would see equalization of women. We do not, of course, and actions speak louder than words.
One might ask, if democracy is so central to Islam, why are a lot of Muslims ruled by dictators? The answer is quite simple. Bluntly put, Muslim countries were all colonized until very recently, and some are still under occupation (e.g: Somalia, Gaza, The West Bank, Iraq, Afghanistan...). It can also be easily revealed that the West did everything it could (brute force, covert assassinations, blockades..) to smother democratic movements in any of the (former) colonies.
If Muslims would have developed democracy but for the colonialism of Western powers, and they have been harmed as such, they are definitionally "victims" of said colonialism.
Again, don't try and obfuscate your point. They have to be victims, according to your own argument.
Actually, you aren't. A belief in causality requires you to begin with a framework of "cause and effect" and building a logical, coherent connection based on observable, objective phenomena. Then, you state how the causality works, and you don't care about the outcome - you only care to explain how the outcome came about.
You do the opposite. You don't examine the observable, objective phenomena and then form a connection. You start at an ideological conclusion you prefer, and then you work backward, being selective in the information you use, conveniently ignoring very important information that hurts your arguments, and often trying to "fill in the gaps" with conclusory statements of a particular preference without ever offering evidence of the conclusory statement's validity.
No scientist would operate this way, but it is your process. You demonstrate it often, and it is often pointed out to you when you do it. It is the opposite of rationalism and empiricism, even though you occasionally make reference to these concepts.
I am off to the gym.