Are we not to blame for the Iraq invasion regardless of political affiliation? Conservative or liberal, and the blurriness between that is so often polled senselessly by the media, the independent -- what are their responses, what is their response in total to the question: what government is best? They speak democracy in varying degrees of quietness realizing the looming trickery in such a simple question. Why is it the best? It manifests the ideals of freedom and fairness. All citizens vote, each vote counts equally, and the majority wins.
But, leaving this initial sketch of democracy uncriticized, to what extent should we support a democracy or a move toward democracy outside of our own country? If a country has a totalitarian regime, should it be replaced by a democracy? Most Americans would answer with a variance of yes, but emphasize their wariness of ambiguousness of "replaced." Most are pro-democracy but fearful of the ironies of forcing democracy on others.
While many abhorred Bush and his foreign policy, the neo-conservative force in this country, now in its wanning phase, was partly the end result of liberals being unable to clarify their position. What kind of government is best? A democracy. How do we achieve this for other countries? A question never honestly answered.
While some talk of education, others of economic improvements, others of international communities to provide networks of support for democratically developing countries, the underlying fact remained that to "give" an undemocratic country a chance to be democratic, sovereignty is ignored and the freedom of the nascent democrat is considered merely senseless ignorance that must be stomped out by the truth of democracy; the irony is rich when democracy must first be given by force.
Neo-conservatives took this ideology of international democracy and militarized it. Democracy is the best form of government, and the most effective way to provide a country an opportunity to become a democracy is to overthrow the country's government by military force. Would this have been an existent ideology and resulting foreign policy if we were more honest about the nature of power in democracy?
The first intellectual step towards avoiding another Iraq war is to begin a sincere analysis of democracy and its relationship to power. The religiosity, the dogmatism, the idolization of democracy brings about justifications for violence on both symbolic and physical levels. Democracy needs to be pulled from the naiveté of Enlightenment thinking from which it was born in its current conception. Because of its god-like status in the West, its untouchable secular holiness, a truth and a belief for all regardless of tribe or religion, a total system as if a mathematics or science of government, people have left it unscathed as an ideology for hundreds of years. The revelations from Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, to name the big names among many, have contributed to the total annihilation of Enlightenment thought's universally rational, ahistoric, bodiless, individualistic chooser. In most contemporary thinking and academic thought, those that are not regressive in their ideologies, talking about the individual and their mind can no longer be free from the contexts of power, history, biology, economy, among other pertinent issues. Yet, democracy asks us in bad faith to suspend all that we have learned about the human being, and to assume, that we are all freely rational agents choosing without coercion by any force outside the self. But, even beyond the initial problems of outside power undermining the free chooser, can we be so sure that the self, the foundation from which all choices, all thoughts are made, is anything beyond a manifestation of or a discovery by coercive power?
And it seems more and more, upon reflection, that democracy, like church, asks us to suspend all knowledge in the glimmering hope of belief. What new crusade awaits its believers?