This is likely to provide little solace to those who see Islamists, whatever their democratic commitments, as an existential threat. If it is in fact a zero-sum battle, then the other option is to marginalize Islamist parties or eliminate them altogether, which the military-backed regime in Egypt is currently attempting. Such an effort, which many regime supporters see as a necessary evil, is not only bloody and destabilizing but also a fool’s errand. You can try to kill an organization, but killing an idea is a different matter entirely.
Really? How powerful are Nazi ideas in the world today?
Look. If your message here is that liberal western democracies are going to have to become more like illiberal Islamist tyrannies in order to be democratic, then what you are writing is a prescription for the suicide of liberal democracy.
Of course, there is a third way. It’s the republican model of democracy that animated the American Founders and Framers. Keep religion away from the levers of power possessed by the state, so that the religious cannot tyrannize others against their will.
If Islamists cannot accomodate a notion like this, then I’m perfectly okay with killing them when they try to seize power and institute religious tyrannies. And when I say kill them, that’s exactly what I mean, for as many as it takes to remove the threat of tyranny.
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