Sunday, February 27, 2011

Further on the Middle East

Let's take a conservative and natural law approach to the current events in the Middle East. 

First, let's not get swept along with euphoria about people power etc.  Sure, democracy is a good system: it reflects human dignity by giving a measure of participation in the government, and it provides a feedback system that operates in a legal and non-violent manner.  But let's remember that there's no intrinsic right to democracy (consider, for example, the non-democratic government of St Louis IX).  And recall that the merits of a democracy depend on the maturity of the governed to take informed and responsible decisions. 

Second, let's not expect the same outcome in each middle eastern country.  Pan-islamic rhetoric hasn't translated to a lasting pan-islamic state because different communities and countries have their own histories and cultures.  The likelihood is that the "people power" revolutions will produce different outcomes, perhaps with a repressive dictatorship in one, a somewhat democracy in another, and an islamic state in a third.

As the servant of God, G K Chesterton wrote, "human beings ... never have from the beginning of the world done what the wise men have seen to be inevitable".

And, remember Ps 121/122:6, which bids us pray for the peace of Jerusalem.  Sure, this refers primarily to the Church.  But the Catholic approach is to embrace all aspects of Scripture, and of reality, and so we are bidden to pray for the earthly Jerusalem also.  

One final point.  Consider Colonel Gaddafi's humility.  How come he or the Revolutionary Command Council didn't upgrade him to General or Field Marshal?  I guess it's too late now. 


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