Democracy and Tolerance:

The Foreign Policy journal which suggests that Muslim attitudes towards women and homosexuality may make them unsuitable as potential democrac polities. Citing large-scale intolerance of homosexuality, as well as what is commonly known as "women's liberation," the piece concludes:
The United States cannot expect to foster democracy in the Muslim world simply by getting countries to adopt the trappings of democratic governance, such as holding elections and having a parliament. Nor is it realistic to expect that nascent democracies in the Middle East will inspire a wave of reforms reminiscent of the velvet revolutions that swept Eastern Europe in the final days of the Cold War. A real commitment to democratic reform will be measured by the willingness to commit the resources necessary to foster human development in the Muslim world. Culture has a lasting impact on how societies evolve. But culture does not have to be destiny.
Well, what about the Republic of Ireland, in which divorce and abortion were both quite illegal until recently? Democracy came first, though it was largely at first the "trappings" of democarcy--the Fianna Fail, for example, could not take their elected seats in the Dail for years because they refused to take a loyalty oath. It took some time before democracy's trappings became democracy, which in turn did eventually yield to the social reforms that the Foreign Policy piece seems to want in place before democracy.

Indeed, the FP piece includes this paragraph:
But economic development generates changed attitudes in virtually any society. In particular, modernization compels systematic, predictable changes in gender roles: Industrialization brings women into the paid work force and dramatically reduces fertility rates. Women become literate and begin to participate in representative government but still have far less power than men. Then, the postindustrial phase brings a shift toward greater gender equality as women move into higher-status economic roles in management and gain political influence within elected and appointed bodies. Thus, relatively industrialized Muslim societies such as Turkey share the same views on gender equality and sexual liberalization as other new democracies.
Well, then, it sounds like democracy is JUST the way to liberalize the Middle East, doesn't it? Turkey has long been a "democracy" in name only, with the army in real power. Only lately has "democracy" been giving way to real democracy. But already the social reforms the author desires are beginning. There is more:
In every stable democracy, a majority of the public disagrees with the statement that �men make better political leaders than women.� None of the societies in which less than 30 percent of the public rejects this statement (such as Jordan, Nigeria, and Belarus) is a true democracy. In China, one of the world�s least democratic countries, a majority of the public agrees that men make better political leaders than women, despite a party line that has long emphasized gender equality (Mao Zedong once declared, �women hold up half the sky�).
So why the conclusion? All the evidence they cite points the other way. Even partial democracy--early Irish Republic, or Turkey--seems to start the "modernizing" transformation that is linked to sexual liberation. Lacking partial democracy, even strenuous attempts by the government to enforce ideas of gender equality fail.

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