We mourn for the weeping people of France and abhor the despicable crimes of Nice and Paris.
Democracy it seems is not for everyone. The greatest threat to democracy is not violence but ignorance.
This assertion is in itself a difficult premise. For many who abhor the West and its self-satisfied democratic credo, see faith as superior to democracy. The snag is that many faiths deliver many tenets, from jihad to passivism. We teeter toward an ever more dangerous set of circumstances where violence and hate seem to be the common drivers. The Turkish coup has made even more perilous, the plight of the Turkish people and the already tinder like situation on the borders between Europe and the Middle East.
President Erdogan will undoubtedly use the failed coup as an excuse for crackdowns on the judiciary, freedom of the press and the idea of a secular government. It seems, if only superficially, that the majority of ordinary Turkish people agree with him and will happily allow him to govern as he pleases. Executions and persecution of the free press will become a daily occurrence in what was seen as a fledgling democracy. Turkey is a NATO member. For how much longer I wonder?
The USA the great bastion of Western democracy is descending into a violent race driven conflict which if allowed to rage unchecked will give fuel to an accelerated descent into mayhem. Donald Trump for President. Maybe? Surely not, but I wouldn’t bet against it happening.
The European scene is hardly brighter with most of the Brexit voters having no idea what they voted for. Or indeed in many cases what they voted against. Here is a single and outstanding failure of the democratic ideal. A large number of ignorant people voting for something they don’t understand and the Government of the day supporting the vote because ‘the people have spoken!’ At least they were allowed to speak, and they were allowed to speak without someone pointing a gun at them. They were allowed to speak even if they disagreed with their neighbour. They were allowed to speak even if they were ignorant.
They were allowed to speak because they have an unspoken faith in democracy, the freedom to say what they like, when they like, and to whom they like. (Incitement to hatred excepted.)
Now, if my faith is in a person who reinforces my religious beliefs then is democracy wrong? If I choose to follow him. Am I not allowed to follow my prophet who guided my forefathers? Even if I am ignorant of wider issues like my Brexit friends. Is this not democracy? These arguments lead us to hesitate before jumping to the conclusion of what is right and what is wrong.
However those who read this blog can give thanks that they have the unfettered right to do so.