Do you recall our article regarding the Arab Barometer surveys? If not, I would recommend that you take some time to read it in order to get a general picture of what’s to come.
Basically it highlights the usual double standards of the Western media when it comes to Islam: They enthusiastically shared the news of Arabs becoming irreligious, basing this on previous Arab Barometer “findings.”
Yet they didn’t cover another finding of the Arab Barometer research when it revealed that Arabs were actually becoming increasingly more religious.
But recently they did, well at least some of them… and those few either chose not to accentuate the rise of religiosity, or they decided to shift the focus onto something else altogether.
Take the BBC for example.
Unlike the triumphalist tone they took when it came to reporting the hypothetical supposed mass apostasy of Arabs, we now get a very mellow “BBC News Arabic reveal findings from major MENA survey.”
The part about the rise of Islam is timidly put as follows:
In the surveyed places, people appear to be finding their faith again, particularly young people, but trust in religious leaders continues to dwindle except in Mauritania.(…)
Among the under 30s, in seven out of nine places there has been a decline in those describing themselves as not religious. Tunisia saw the largest decline. Today, about a third of Tunisian youth describe themselves as not religious; in 2018/2019 it was almost half the young population.
I wonder why there are no staggering headlines full of exclamation points now? Such as:
“Islam Rises Once Again in the Arab World!”
The West is Doomed:Arabs are Becoming Increasingly MORE Religious!”
Yet, even if they don’t feel the need to talk about the strength of Islam, they do deem it necessary to lament the decline of another religion, or pseudo-religion: Democracy.
The same BBC dedicated an entire news article to this phenomenon titled “Arabs believe economy is weak under democracy.”
Michael Robbins, director of Arab Barometer, a research network based at Princeton University which worked with universities and polling organisations in the Middle East and North Africa to conduct the survey between late 2021 and Spring 2022, says there has been a regional shift in views on democracy since the last survey in 2018/19.
“There’s a growing realisation that democracy is not a perfect form of government, and it won’t fix everything,” he says.(…)
The future is “uncertain”, says Dr Robbins of Arab Barometer. Citizens in the region may be looking to alternative political systems, such as the Chinese model – an authoritarian one-party system – that he says has “brought a huge number of people out of poverty in the last 40 years”.
“That type of rapid economic development is what many people are looking for,” he says.
This activation of panic mode is understandable coming from the BBC, and Westerners as a whole, since the democratic set-up is one of the most effective ways to spread cultural liberalism. Democracy is predicated upon the “sovereign individual,” a liberal anthropology which deifies man, where the human ego is made the beginning and end of the whole political set-up.
Democratic egalitarianism mutates every man into a miniature Fir’awn.
In fact, even a liberal thinker like Alexis de Tocqueville observed over a century ago that modern individualism is a direct by-product of democracy.
In his classic Democracy In America, book 2, chapter II, he writes:
I have shown how it is that in ages of equality every man seeks for his opinions within himself: I am now about to show how it is that, in the same ages, all his feelings are turned towards himself alone. Individualism is a novel expression, to which a novel idea has given birth. Our fathers were only acquainted with egotism. Egotism is a passionate and exaggerated love of self, which leads a man to connect everything with his own person, and to prefer himself to everything in the world. Individualism is a mature and calm feeling, which disposes each member of the community to sever himself from the mass of his fellow-creatures; and to draw apart with his family and his friends; so that, after he has thus formed a little circle of his own, he willingly leaves society at large to itself. Egotism originates in blind instinct: individualism proceeds from erroneous judgment more than from depraved feelings; it originates as much in the deficiencies of the mind as in the perversity of the heart. Egotism blights the germ of all virtue; individualism, at first, only saps the virtues of public life; but, in the long run, it attacks and destroys all others, and is at length absorbed in downright egotism. Egotism is a vice as old as the world, which does not belong to one form of society more than to another: individualism is of democratic origin, and it threatens to spread in the same ratio as the equality of conditions.
This individualism, where man becomes an atomized individual with his only value being as a brainless consumer, would be sufficient to discredit democracy. However, we could also present the innate flaws in the electoral process itself and whether democratic politicians even genuinely represent the masses when it’s always the same liberal elite that are re-elected while they hide behind the facade of the “right” and “left” dichotomy.
This is the reason why the West is so obsessed with spreading democracy; even waging wars in its name. It’s just one of the most subtle ways to liberalize a society. All you need to do is inject a heavy dose of individualism—the bedrock of the liberal worldview.
It would also empower an easily corruptible liberal elite that would be connected, in the name of democracy, to the Western neoliberal world-system. For instance, through its financial institutions such as the IMF. And in this way, the native elite will continue the liberal agenda on its own for economic reasons.
Democracy thus impacts non-Western societies on both the level of the masses and also the level of the elite.
These are the reasons why the BBC, and the West as a whole, gets triggered when Arabs (or others) rebuke democracy.
So in essence it seems like the Arab Spring—which was supposedly going to democratize the Arab world—is being replaced by some form of Islamist Boy Summer.