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Bhutto and the Creationists of Democracy

Bhutto Assassination

Unlike Pakistan, American’s live in a culture where political assassinatio ns - at least the violent kind - are mercifully rare. We can usually depend on an orderly transfer of our ever-lengthe ning national to-do list from one nitwit to another every few years without bloodshed. But as Benazir Bhutto’s assassinatio n shows, trying to create and run a democracy is no easy feat - despite what neocons would have you believe.

Modern-style democracies are relatively rare and few countries that try them on for size stick with them more than a few violence-wra cked years. Americans have been at it longer than most and we still haven’t perfected it. Our democracy survives as much because we’re too disorganized and lazy to do anything else than because we’re all similarly dedicated to high-minded principles, open debate, and honoring our fellow citizens.

The life cycle of democracies have eerie parallels in the Creationism/ Darwinism debate. True to their right-wing roots, neocons are the Democracy Creationists . To them, it’s a simple matter of a powerful, benevolent, and unseen hand chucking out the evil despot du jour and waiting a few weeks for a Democratic Garden of Eden to spring magically from the fertile earth just as foretold in the Holy Briefing Papers. Throw down a little seed, sprinkle some water, and you’re good to go.

‘Real Men’ Don’t Believe in Evolution
Neocons don’t believe in that evolution crap. Their Democratic Gardens of Eden will thrive because beings with unfathomable wisdom and beneficence will guide their development. Playing the part of God will be Donald Rumsfeld on Broadway and Paul Wolfowitz in the road show. Adam and Eve will be played by body bags.

Neocons believe this despite the lack of any empirical evidence that it’s so. They take it as a matter of faith that if the Deity-in-Chi ef commandeth a people who’ve never experienced a democracy to build one in the next seven days, it will be so.


Democratic Darwinists are more pragmatic. They’ve observed democracies’ track records and concluded they survive about as often start-ups like Webvan. They know democracies are much nastier to create than sausage because they’ve actually handled the chitlins and can tell you first hand it’s a dirty, smelly, unpleasant affair. Since they’ve never observed a lush democracy farm out on the back forty next to the spaghetti farm, they conclude that Democratic Gardens of Eden are exceedingly rare and one should take great care before investing in one.

Asking the Right Questions
If democracies are so difficult to achieve, can they ever be created? Well, yes Virginia, they can. And oddly enough, usually at the point of a gun just like the neocons say - see American Revolution. But like anything done at the point of a gun, there’ll be gore and blood galore before anything useful happens. People will die and be maimed and that’s OK if you are the unseen, benevolent hand attached to an arm half a world away. After all, it’s not your hand getting ripped off, it’s some poor Pakistani’s.

Whether democracy building is a good thing depends on asking the correct question. Can we create a democracy? Yes, with untold deaths and at great expense, we can. Should we create a democracy is another question entirely. That decision lies with the people who will pay the ultimate price for the democracy. If they believe strongly enough - as did Benazir Bhutto - the answer is yes. If they believe strongly otherwise - like America’s BFF, Pervez Musharraf - the answer is an emphatic no. But either way, false Gods like the neocons shouldn’t be making that call, the poor bastards who will die over it should.

Sometimes the smartest creator is the one who learns to keep his benevolent hands to himself. It’s a shame our wayward creationists haven’t learned that lesson.


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