30 November 2009

Democracy/mob rule

Sorry I've been a little quiet lately - nets been playing up for one, and I've been busy, kind of lost my impetus to write, hopefully I'll get it back soon

One thing that interested me though, was the Swiss vote to ban minarets (or muslim towers)

There's been a fair bit of praise in the blogosphere for 'democracy' - the right to stop islamification and what-not, and of course the issue of sovereignty

Now if a country does want to stop islamification by such measures, and even if that includes extreme measures such as repatriation, then that's their choice, I'm all for sovereignty

But I personally do not see how Switzerland can call itself a liberal democracy (or direct democracy) if it's going to attack one religion over all others, this is against the idea of freedom of religion, simple as that

That is my issue, it's nothing to do with Islam per se, could've been Jewish or Hindu temples for all I care, but I just can't see how you can say you believe in freedom of conscience and tolerance and then pick on one religion because you dislike it

Many people dislike Islam, fair enough - but to ban certain aspects of it? Some have said that non-muslim practices aren't welcome in the Middle East so why should we be accommodating, but that really doesn't matter to me - the fact is we are the liberals with a long history of freedom, we shouldn't be engaging in a tit-for-tat battle with religious dictatorships any more than we should deny Chinese immigrants economic rights for coming from a communist country

I honestly couldn't marry this with Britain - we have allowed all religions to exist here for several centuries and the principle remains, simple fear of a certain religion is hardly a rational reason to deny a certain group the right to practice their religion

What I see this as coming down to is the age old question of when democracy becomes rule of the mob

I ask - would it be right to ban gays simply because a 60% majority disagreed with their practices? Or how about if 60% wanted to ban free speech (e.g. through the BNP, blasphemous literature etc)? Any minority viewpoint could be crushed in this system, that's why we have fundamental, inalienable rights

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