Another idiot: Orhan Pamuk: we have to accept democracy even if people vote to abolish it

11 Oct

Because, I guess like Plato said, the “δήμος”, the people, are “τυραννόφρων”…tyrant-inclined.

No, Orhan Bey, it’s not some complicated Zen conundrum, though it may qualify as an oxymoron: it simply should not be constitutionally permissible for a politician, or political party, who make it abundantly clear that they won’t respect democratic principles if they come to power, to be allowed to participate in the electoral process and…come to power. 

Of course, as a Westerner and an infidel, I’m not allowed to talk about taqiyya, because the MESA girls will get after me (“Do you even know anything about Islam, Niko?” — Yes, I do, in fact have a much more sophisticated understanding of Islam and its place in the unfortunate history of monotheism’s development than you do.), since I’m clearly not an Islamic scholar and I don’t have the right to latch an entire attitude towards Islam on one supposedly obscure concept that I apparently don’t even understand.  But when Erdoğan has gone on the record saying: “Democracy is a bus that we ride to where we need to go, then get off” — echoing similar pronouncements from Morsi that come from a shared Muslim Brotherhood background — you can call it whatever you want, but it’s…well…

Well, I’ll tell you a story.  When Benjamin Franklin came out of the constitutional convention in Philadelphia in 1787, a gathered crowd wanted to know what sort of new government they had, a monarchy or a republic.  And he replied: “A republic, if you can keep it.”

The other concept out of American political history we can draw into the thread here is this line from the 1776 Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” [my emphases]

Let’s keep the rest of the Muslim world out of the narrative here (but keep Russia and China and — most disconcertingly — India, in mind).  Just Turkey.  And Turks.  Clearly Turks have not been able to “keep” their “republic”.  Since their “independence”, or since Atatürk’s death, about every decade and a half reason enough has surfaced to call out the military and abrogate the “government” the “people” have “instituted”.  Clearly there is not a developed enough a civil society, despite the tricky surface appearances in Turkey of hyper-modernity, that can stand up to a government that has become “destructive” of the rights of the “consenting” governed.

But those “governed”…”consent”… and that’s our big-brother neighbor’s problem.

“Ζήλος λήψεται λαόν απαίδευτον” says the Septuagint translation of the Psalms: “Zeal will take hold of an unschooled people.” — roughly.  At what point do the “governed” lose their rights — when would Franklin call it — and when are we forced to take a position opposed to Mr. Pamuk’s, and disregard the voice of the people?  Why, when they have voted for him now, three or four times, not counting his first round as mayor of Pera, each time giving him a greater mandate on power, and eroding Turkey’s already cotton-candy democratic institutions, should we respect what to the people “shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”?  What do they know?  And who’s there to effect a process of resistance in Turkey? to stand up to this charmless, dangerous narcissist and his kabal, even if there were sufficient popular opposition to his climb to power?  A bicameral government to force a vote on his unconstitutional behavior?  A Turkish Nancy Pelosi to begin impeachment hearings?  Anybody at all? who wouldn’t end up in jail the same night he even dared to express such ideas?

The old solution, the army, is gone.  An “unschooled” new provincial, religious, middle-class (God help us) and young and young-ish left-leaning White Turks (God help us) who voted for Erdoğan, guilty about their parents’ and grandparents’ monolithic Kemalism, were happy to stand by and watch the Turkish army being castrated since the beginning of the Padishah’s reign.

Know what?  What horrified me most about events in Turkey in the past decade was the supposed “counter-coup” to the “coup” of July 2016 — an “Auspicious Event” for the 21st century.  The tearing apart, by revolting, lit Turkish mobs (who, as I wrote at the time, must make any Greek or Armenian’s hair stand on end), of poor Mehmetçiks who were just following orders, to support a democratically elected dictator.  It’s more than just a little Orwellian, and all I could think of that night was a favorite verse from  Mayakovsky:

Чего одаривать по шаблону намалеванному

сиянием трактирную ораву!

Видешь — опять

голгофнику оплеванному

предпочитают Варраву.

Why bestow such radiance on this drunken mass?

What do they have to offer?

You see — once again

they prefer Barabbas

over the Man of Calvary.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: