Sunday, May 17, 2009

The radicalism of democracy

"Democracy lays its stress on personal conscience; fascism on authority and obedience." - Count Coudenhove-Kalergi.

I found this quote in a book that I am reading that is basically doing a comparative analysis between protestantism (presented as the the good guys) and catholicism (presented as the bad guys.) Nevertheless, it (the quote) has a much broader scope than simply religious evaluation, and would touch on other elements of life such as family (parents saying such things as "Do what I tell you!!",) politics/government and even, I would venture, education/science (as in evolution vs creation) as well as several other disciplines that are floating around out there.

There is a danger in attributing too much positive on "democracy", in the scope of "personal conscience", as well as too much negative on "fascism" in the scope of authority and obedience. Were it all about personal, that would be anarchy, where every one would do what he/she individually considered "right" in his or her own mind. Were it all about fascism, that would be dictatorship, where every one subserves the desires of a single person or entity - regardless of whether it is individually considered "right" or "wrong". Either position - taken to the extreme - is not "beneficial" in the broad sense, as no collaboration or exchange of thoughts and/or ideas is possible.

See what is missing in either position? Responsibility. Someone, at some point in time, has to stand up and say, "Wait a minute, who do 'you' think you are?"
This can be addressed to either the individual anarchist or the dictator/flavour of the month.

As far as Christians are concerned, that moment (from the Reformed perspective) took place when Luther took hammer in hand.

For homeschoolers, that moment took place when their children were removed from "education centres" (maybe more properly called "indoctrination centres"...) and placed in home study.

For the United States, that moment took place when a bunch of guys, dressed as native Indians (for disguise to escape punishment), threw a bunch of packaged tea into the convenient harbour.

For an average Canadian citizen, that moment took place when she recorded on her cell-phone video the lethal TASER attack by several heavily-armed Police Officers on a recently arrived Polish immigrant.

For an average Canadian family, that moment took place when an agent of the state wished to interview the children, without cause, and such request was refused.

For an average Christian worshipper that moment took place when Church Elders were questioned regarding the preaching that was going on and the subsequent behaviour of the Elders in general and one Elder in particular.

For those Chinese in Tianamin Square (spelled wrong, I know!) that moment took place when one, grocery bags in hand, defiantly stood face-to-face with a fully armed and fully armoured tank to "prevent" its advance.

3John 1:11 Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God.

Think on these things, and I will continue this discussion more in part 2...