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Monday, December 19, 2005

Why democracy is fun 

I suspect that there are people with starry eyes that think that if we export democracy to the Middle East, that all the Middle Eastern countries will appoint democratic governments that are pro-Western and will buy lots of hot dogs and wave American flags.

However, the point of democracy is that the voters, not the U.S., gets to choose a government's policies. Thus, it is entirely possible that a Middle Eastern government may hold democratic elections and form a government that really really hates the Yankee Crusaders.

Don't believe me? Think about Iran. While some argue that democracy in Iran is limited, Iran is certainly more democratic than, say, Saudi Arabia. And look what this democratically-elected government has done (emphasis mine):

Hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has banned all Western music from Iran's state radio and TV stations....

Today...the sounds of hip-hop can be heard blaring from car radios in Tehran's streets, and Eric Clapton's "Rush" and the Eagles' "Hotel California" regularly accompany Iranian broadcasts.

No more — the official IRAN Persian daily reported Monday that Ahmadinejad, as head of the Supreme Cultural Revolutionary Council, ordered the enactment of an October ruling by the council to ban all Western music, including classical music, on state broadcast outlets.

"Blocking indecent and Western music from the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting is required," according to a statement on the council's official Web site....

Ahmadinejad's order means the state broadcasting authority must execute the decree and prepare a report on its implementation within six months, according to the IRAN Persian daily....

The ban applies to state-run radio and TV. But Iranians with satellite dishes can get broadcasts originating outside the country.

Ahmadinejad won office in August on a platform of reverting to ultraconservative principles, following the eight years of reformist-led rule under Khatami.

During his presidential campaign, Ahmadinejad also promised to confront what he called the Western cultural invasion of Iran and promote Islamic values.

Since then, Ahmadinejad has jettisoned Iran's moderation in foreign policy and pursued a purge in the government, replacing pragmatic veterans with former military commanders and inexperienced religious hard-liners.

He also has issued stinging criticisms of Israel, calling for the Jewish state to be "wiped off the map" and describing the Nazi Holocaust as a "myth."

International concerns are high over Iran's nuclear program, with the United States accusing Tehran of pursuing an atomic weapons program. Iran denies the claims.

The latest media ban also includes censorship of content of films.

"Supervision of content from films, TV series and their voice-overs is emphasized in order to support spiritual cinema and to eliminate triteness and violence," the council said in a statement on its Web site.

The council has also issued a ban on foreign movies that promote "arrogant powers," an apparent reference to the United States....

And before we claim moral superiority over Iran by saying that the U.S. government (unlike the Iranian power center) doesn't prevent anyone from running for office, note that the government doesn't have to do this - the political parties are capable of doing it themselves.

If Murtha were Iranian, the U.S. Republican Party and Hugh Hewitt would defend his right to oppose the policies of the Iranian government, and would demand assurances from the Iranian government that Murtha's rights would be protected. However, since Murtha is an American who opposed the American President, he has been denigrated and/or ignored by the White House.

If Jim Gilchrist were Iranian, the U.S. Republican Party and Hugh Hewitt and everyone else would brand him as a courageous freedom fighter who needs to be supported. However, since Jim Gilchrist is an American who ran against an anointed Republican, he is a pariah, and anyone who supported Gilchrist is worthy of contempt.

So are we truly better off than Iran? Will the U.S. support the same right to oppose government views in THIS country that it demands in other countries?

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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