Posted 26 October 2009 - 12:53 AM
I was expecting something like this. Before I respond properly, I will say that liberal democracy comes from the liberal tradition, which might or might not support capitalism, depending on what definition of freedom you subscribe to.
To say socialism and democracy are the same is missing the point, really. The basis of both are quite different, so are the scope. For one, socialism is in what we call the 'left' in the political spectrum, and it advocates higher government intervention. I think in theory, some parts of socialism can work in a democracy, though the totalitarian approach such as that in Russia and China might not be compatible with the ideals of democracy. Their ideologies are much more complicated than your binary way of thinking about them, I'm afraid.
Now, I have not said anywhere that I support liberal democracy as it is practised nowadays. But I am also apprehensive of talking to people who do not want to learn, which is the reason for the curt replies that I have given.
With regards to Madaniah and Hadharah, the problem is that it is always easy to illustrate something if we take the most obvious cases. But in cases where it is not so obvious, then the classification might break down into greyer areas as opposed to black and white. For example, the Church is based on Roman Basilicas as they were converted from basilicas into churches in the early stages of the adoption of Christianity by the Romans. They used the Roman arches and other Madaniah and turned them into objects which has spiritual meanings in their religion. In fact, the dome was used in the Pantheon and the Hagia Sophia and therefore has a spiritual dimension to it. But the Muslims took the shape of the dome and used it for mosques later on. It is certainly Madaniah, then, but it can be argued that the basis is Hadharah. So the Muslims took the more useful parts of the architecture and then disregarded the philosophical underpinnings behind it.
I do think that the same can be said about governing systems. If you want to be strict, the idea of the bureaucracy and system that the Byzantines and the Persians heavily influenced the Muslim, and both of them are based on the idea that the Emperor is chosen by God, something like the idea of the Son of Heaven in China. So then the structure had significant spiritual dimensions to it, so why did the Muslims take lessons from them? The same is true for liberal democracy. It might not be based on Islamic ideas, but some parts of it can be used. The same is also true for the other concepts, the only question is what parts to exclude and to include. To do that, one needs to read the literature properly and not just rely on soundbites like democrazy before deciding what the philosophical underpinnings are and what institutions and method might be employed to make that idea a reality. The former is proactive and progressive while the latter is just plain lazy, in my view.
And there is the issue of practicality. What counts as practical and feasible and what does not. Critiques are great and all, but the solution might not work at all. Marx's criticism of capitalism was a prime example of this. He thought that classical economics was not good, but his solution to that led to the massacre of thousands under Stalin. Keynes, however, thought that classical economics failed and then radically transformed the way economics are done forever. So it is not entirely clear which method works best before you tried it, and to do that one will have to dabble in the dirt, so to speak.
The challenge to those who disagree with any system is always whether or not their system could actually work, and work better in contrast to the old system. Any amount of rhetoric is useless otherwise.
And owh, by the way, the birth liberal democracy was not overnight, there is a reason why things are the way things are. Perhaps we all should read more on the subject matter before deciding anything.