Islam is the main obstacle to democratization in the Muslim Middle East. What is your response about that?
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Islam is one (not necessarily the main) impediment to democratization. While it is true that the religion and the political system in, for example, Iran are very closely tied (parallels can be drawn to early American influences on democratization, fleeing from English religious strictures, etc.), other factors stopping democracy are the paucity of self-sustaining natural resources (not withstanding oil), the globalization of economic factors, and, frankly, the dilution of the value of the theory of democratization. In this electronic world, cultures and societies are sometimes artificially created—the so-called “Arab Spring” looks like a strong joint cry for equality, but could also be seen as simply rebellion against totalitarian government, or even just a youth-driven mass “sit-in” driven by hormones and emotion rather than political ideologies. Islam itself is a driving ethical force in these cultures, but is also a calming, organizing set of principles to live by. Western democracies are particularly disturbed by inequalities to women in the Muslim culture, but it should be remembered that Democracy also excluded women from all power until the 1920’s, and resisted sharing equlity until at least the 1960’s.
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