Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I'm afraid I forgot to mention the secondary purpose of this blog in my first post. The threats on democracy go far beyond a book which scarcely circulated outside of a few private circles. No, that is merely the threat we face from above - from a ruling class that increasingly fears their ability to keep us duped. A dry, secular fear of angry peasants who might resort to violence has bred affection for anti-democratic means on an international scale, but oppression is like Baskin-Robins, it comes in many flavors.

A second grave danger comes from outside of those private circles, rather from a different set of exclusive clubs, the fringes of culture, seeing themselves as most pure, most sacrosanct and most awesome.

Over the past few weeks, there have been four events which stand in my mind.

18 days ago, four Muslim men were arrested for plotting to bomb two synagogues in the Bronx and then attack an Air National Guard base in New York, all in retaliation for civilian deaths in Afghanistan.

11 days ago, Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad opened fire on military recruiters in Arkansas, killing one soldier and critically wounding another, clearly a response to the military actions in the Middle East.

10 days ago, George Tiller was shot, in a church no less, by Scott Roeder, who was also linked to vandalism against a Kansas City clinic. His intentions were made clear within a matter of days as he recorded a manifesto from within his prison - denouncing Tiller as a "baby-killer".

This morning, Stephen T. Johns, a security guard at the National Holocaust Museum, prevented lone gunman James von Brunn from killing multiple civilians, but paid the ultimate price.

The last is most disturbing. It combines the virulent anti-Semitism of the first, the clear aggression against the state's legitimacy of the second, and the increasingly terrifying pattern of right wing violence of the third.

Further, there's no goal, no veneer of sanity or rational. Just hatred. And bullets.

More than anything, this blog needs to catalog these actions and call them what they are - threats to democracy. The United States and the other countries of the world can overcome the sporadic yet overwhelming violence of extremist. But if our elites lead us away from democratic government, how can we expect to defend ourselves against this sort of thing?

Look to the Shah's Iran. Look to Musharraf's Pakistan. Look to Indira Gandhi's India. The destruction of democracy leaves people crippled and defenseless. Extremists convert by extorting weaknesses, transforming people who have lost everything into people who have everything to lose. Those who do not submit, are crushed, with no means of escape or self-defense. That is the fate we could easily face in my country if we don't turn back two tides: cultural extremism and crony anti-democratic politics. Ultimately, this is one battle, but with two fronts.

Good night and good luck, because we need it.

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