Christianity, Democracy, and Capitalism: The Road to Prosperity

Where Christianity, democracy, and capitalism have gone, economic prosperity has generally followed.

In Turkey, Erdogan has replaced a liberal democracy with an authoritarian regime (WikiCommons).

If we perform an honest analysis of the modern world, it becomes abundantly clear that there are three key variables that determine where human civilization has thrived…bringing with them peace, prosperity, stability, and human development. Wherever Christianity, democracy, and capitalism have spread, people and nations have thrived and flourished.

The notion that this assertion would be controversial on almost any college or university campus in the Western world is a sad indicator of just how far academia has allowed political correctness to dominate academic life and discussion. Fortunately for all of us, there is a movement in academia to break the shackles of political correctness and end the insanity. University of Toronto professor Jordan Peterson, for example, has been leading the charge, amassing an impressive following on social media in the process, while making hundreds of media appearances and speaking engagements, in front of an audience of millions.

Why is it that, more than any other factors, Christianity, democracy, and capitalism have led to prosperity? It might behoove us, first of all, to examine the factors that have led to poverty and economic stagnation. In general, wherever Islam (particularly politicized radical Islam), Communism, socialism, and collectivism have gone, the results speak for themselves.

We see the poverty and deprivations of Communism and socialism in Latin America, in Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Bolivia. We see it in the Middle East in Libya, Syria, and Iraq…all nations modeled on the principles of socialism. We see it in Asia in Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and North Korea…all nations devastated by their experiments with socialism.

Islam, however, is an even more pernicious and destructive force when it comes to human progress and happiness. It is no surprise that the correlation between poverty and Islam is astounding. Throughout the Islamic world, we are seeing the resurgence of radical, politicized Islam, in frightening fashion. In Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, purports to lead the Islamic world, as he has dismantled democracy and instituted totalitarianism in what was once a bastion of liberalism in the Middle East.

Democracy and Islam are largely incompatible, as any honest analysis will readily demonstrate. As the Economist Intelligence Unit‘s study, the Democracy Index, quickly demonstrates, the prospects for democratic rule in the rapidly growing Islamic world are grim indeed. Of the world’s 50 majority Islamic countries, none classify as democracies. Just 4 classify as “flawed democracies”: Malaysia, Indonesia, Tunisia, and Senegal. The rest rank as “hybrid regimes” or “authoritarian regimes.”

Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of the most authoritarian regimes, are nations heavily dominated by Islam: Syria, Chad, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Yemen, Sudan, Libya, and Iran…round out the ten most authoritarian states on earth. 10 of the 16 most authoritarian states are Islamic.

Libertarians and paleoconservatives (and some leftists as well) regularly level a completely valid and important criticism on proponents of neoconservatives and the Bush administration; the people who got is into a series of disastrous wars around the Middle East: spreading democracy organically in Islamic lands is a fool’s errand.

It is a noble idea, it is a worthy cause, but reality has quickly dismissed it as a viable option.

In the wake of the Arab Spring, how many success stories have we seen? Scholars generally can point to only one: Tunisia, which has always had a close social, political, economic, and geographic relationship with its European neighbors to the North across the Mediterranean.

The sad reality is that democracy is hardly the rallying cry of the teeming masses of the Middle East and North Africa. A small, upper-income, educated liberal minority may clamor for democracy…but the commoners are perfectly happy with religiously-based authoritarian regimes. We have seen this time and time again.

The Islamic world is not turning to democracy and capitalism, by and large, but turning away from it.

Where do we go from here?

As the Soviet Union quickly found out during the course of a disastrous decade of “modernization” in Afghanistan, authoritarian or totalitarian rule from above is hardly an effective strategy to bring about lasting societal change. Islamic forces defeated the second most powerful nation on earth, through a slow and steady guerrilla campaign of attrition.

The same lesson is no less true for the imposition of capitalism and democracy on a nation.

The world’s capitalist democracies can not impose ideology from above: if the peoples of the world’s Islamic and socialist countries want to live in real social, political, and economic freedom, they must rise up of their own volition…a la Romania.

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