AMDG of La Yijad en Eurabia has written a thoughtful article about democracy and its relationship with other forms of government. He was moved to write his essay after reading a review of a book by the political scientist John Keane, who maintains (among other things) that Islam had a formative influence on modern democracy.
This is how AMDG begins his essay:
Let me start with a disclaimer: I am not a democrat. I think that “the people” cannot really rule a polity, save temporarily and under very special circumstances. I am for the Rule of Law against the rule of majority, even if it is an encompassing majority. And not of any Law, but only the traditional Christian Natural Law.
On the other hand, that people cannot rule does not mean they should not have a role in political affairs. Possibly, that role could be more influential than the one they currently have in the “oldest democracies” of our world. In particular, I agree with the “no taxation without representation” rule (a representation of auditors, not “lawmakers”). People have the right to scrutinise how the taxes collected from them are spent; as a matter of fact this was the most important role of the medieval parliaments, the real predecessors of our “democratic” ones.
The first of those parliaments was not — as it is usually stated — the English parliament, but the Cortes of Leon, a kingdom taken over by Castilla later on during the Reconquista. The wikipedia has the following details on the Cortes de Leon:
Although there are documented councils held in 873, 1020, 1050 and 1063, there was no representation of commoners. What is considered to be the first Spanish Parliament (with the presence of commoners), Cortes — was held in the Kingdom of Leon in 1118. Prelates, nobles and commoners met separately in the three estates of the Cortes. In this meeting new laws were approved to protect commoners against the arbitrarities of nobles, prelates and the king. This important set of laws is known as the “Carta Magna Leonesa”
I had never read any suggestion regarding an Islamic influence on that institution up until this summer, in a local newspaper from Leon, the old capital of the kingdom and a quiet provincial city nowadays. This is my inverse translation, from Spanish, of a quotation from the book:
‘With some exaggeration, one could say that Muslims were responsible for the emergence of parliaments, since they were born from the power struggles among Christians aiming at the military conquest Islamic territory from Spain to Constantinople. “
I was thinking about buying the book (The Life and Death of Democracy, by John Keane), but my to-read-list for the next months is already fully booked (pun intended). I decided therefore to have a look to the online information on this book and its author. His home page has a summary of the book; Democracy. A short history and this Introduction, whose extension is double that the former. These summaries are enough to conclude that we have, once more, another case of “deconstruction” of our institutions and of demeaning of the Greek, Rome and Christian roles in the framing of our culture. I list the main ideas and copy the most relevant points from the latter, adding some comments…
|1.||Democracy is not originally Greek.|
|2.||Only democratic forms of government are really human.|
|3.||Democracy knows no limits.|
|4.||Islam contributed greatly to the development of democracy.|
|5.||The EU experiment is a democratic endeavor.|
|6.||The current enemies of democracy: markets, populism, material insecurity, US militarism…|
The process at work here is one that has become quite familiar in recent years: the rewriting of history in order to denigrate European civilization and elevate Islam. Historians, social scientists, government employees, and politicians are busy creating an alternative version of history and thus paving the way for the ascendancy of Islam.
According to the New History, the emergence of Islam is a natural development arising out of indigenous democratic conditions, and it is not at all incompatible with our European heritage. Only racism and xenophobia cause its critics to see things any differently.
It doesn’t really matter whether the intention of the New Historians is to elevate Islam or simply to engage in the favorite pastime of the Left, the destruction of Western Civilization. The end result is the same: a field of rubble where the cherished institutions of our culture used to be, and a totalitarian Islamic theocracy built upon the ruins.