Religious Freedom

Freedom is theoretically possibly without democracy, one supposes. It would have to consist of a benign dictatorship (most likely possible in a historical Monarchy) with all of the shortcomings that that would entail.

Democracy without freedom is another matter altogether. Not only is it conceivable, it is a daily reality if one looks around, and events have caused me to believe most people would actually prefer to be able to vote away at least some of the rights of at least some of their fellow citizens. Religiously oriented (in the worst connotation of the term) societies readily spring to mind as support for this proposition.

Umm Doha cuts hair and waxes eyebrows in secret from her living room because making women look pretty can get a person killed in her Sunni-dominated Baghdad neighborhood.
Hardline Muslim extremists who believe it is sinful for women to appear beautiful in public have forced many beauticians to move their trade underground.

Sunni and Shiite militants began blowing up salons roughly two years ago. They killed several stylists and bullied others into putting down their scissors and makeup brushes for good, all in an effort to stamp out what they view as the corrupting spread of Western culture.

It isn’t known how many secret salons exist in Iraq, but many women bullied out of their shops work on customers at home. Such an arrangement cuts into profits because the beauticians will deal only with women they already know.

Freedom and democracy make for an attractive pairing in my mind. Allowing one to be divorced from the other, however, just naturally creates mischief. And we are responsible for creating the Iraq that exists today.

“Purple fingers” was such a wonderful image at one time. But the right wing still complains that the media never reports the “good news” from Iraq. And now we see that even reporting about the elections that were so loudly boasted of by the Administration was not, in reality, reporting good news. All it really was was reporting a process by which the popular majority was allowed to choose the bureaucrats who would oppress certain of their fellow countryman on behalf of the majority.

This kind of “democracy” was worth what to our nation? Thousands of U.S. soldiers killed and wounded, hundreds of billions of dollars “invested” so that beauty parlors could be driven into the underground economy. God forbid that we allow others to conduct themselves in harmless ways that we disapprove of. Or actually God does not, but we bigots can and do try to behave this way and God makes for a very convenient scapegoat.

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