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Philosophy / Politics

Democracy in Libya?

We should be glad that the former dictator of Libya is no longer in power. From what the media is saying, the government will now become democratic. I don’t think so. I agree that the current leaders in Libya want to have a democracy. However, this by itself is not enough to ensure that a democracy actually appears. There are several places that must be compatible with each other in order to have a stable society – and to keep any democracy that has been started. They are educational institutions, government, the media, the military and religious establishments.

The government enacts laws, judges the laws through various justices and appoints high level people inside the military. It is probably the most obvious power within society. However, this power cannot easily act contrary to the other powers within society. Right now in Libya, this power is pro-democratic and secular.

The military is the other obvious power. When the government attempts to legislate something that your average soldier thinks is horribly wrong, they will refuse to do it. The military can also take over government if they are not paid, are mistreated by the government or they gain too much power. When the government and the military work together, they are very difficult to overthrow. The situation in Libya shows that it can happen. In Libya, this power is nominally secular and really a form of fanatic Islam.

Media and other forms of mass entertainment are also a power within society. They are the way that people know what is happening in society. If the media decides to bury a story or distort the messages of the government, they can block both the power of the government and the power of the people. The proper function of the media is to tell the significant truths of the world. In this area of the world, sharia law is promoted within the media.

Educational institutions also have a kind of power. By educating children, they can determine how these children think and can control the next generation. In a perfect world, such institutions would teach children to think and be objective. Such a thing has yet to occur. This is especially true in Libya. Like other Muslim countries, they promote sharia law in their education.

The final power in society is religious institutions. They tell the faithful what sorts of things are required of them by their religion. In the West, our dominant religion is secularism. In Libya, the dominant religion is Islam. Naturally, they tell their people to follow sharia law.

A simple survey shows that Libyan power structures are strongly inclined towards sharia law. Therefore, we can expect them to continue to promote sharia law. When the government is permanently elected, they will follow radical Islam rather than secularism and will no longer have modern freedoms. The only way to have a stable democracy is when all powers in society are compatible with democracy. Since this is not happening in Libya, they do not have a stable democracy.

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