The corruption of a system does not indicate the flaws of the system itself. What we see in terms of the domination of politics in the West by corporations and their pressure groups, for instance, does not argue against democratic systems of government per se. The system in America is democratic only on paper, not in practice…you could argue, in fact, that it is not even democratic on paper, actually. The word “democracy” does not appear in the US Constitution, and participating in elections is not a right guaranteed by the law, it is a privilege that can be conditionally bestowed or revoked at any time.
No, the practices that deviate from democratic theory do not disprove the theory. The problem in America is not that it is a democracy, because it isn’t a democracy. The same can be said of the old Soviet Union. The corruption and oppression in Soviet Russia did not disprove Communist theory, because, in practice, the country was not Communist.
When someone throws acid on the face of a woman for not wearing hijab, that does not prove that Islam is a sadistic, woman-hating religion, because the action contradicts the religion.
No belief system is to be judged by what are aberrations from that system; that is irrational and unfair.
You have to evaluate the theory as it is, not as it is practiced; and you have to evaluate the practice according to its conformity with the theory, or its deviation from it.
A system of “one person, one vote” has never existed in the United States, and still doesn’t; and there are all sorts of mechanisms for excluding people from participating in elections. These are just the official undemocratic features of the American system; the unofficial undemocratic, indeed, anti-democratic features, are far greater. If the US really had a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people”, about 35% of members of Congress would be on Food Stamps,15% would live in poverty, and at least 3% would be homeless. Instead, the median net worth of a member of Congress is around $1 million. So much for “representative democracy”.
And, yes, money buys political support. Corporations control policy; they buy politicians as an investment strategy. The hundreds of thousands they invest in campaign contributions bring a return of millions of dollars in government contracts and the millions they spend in lobbying earn billions of dollars in favorable policies that create market opportunities. All of that is undemocratic, and none of it is inevitable. This corruption does not expose an inherent flaw in democracy as a viable political system; it represents a circumvention of democracy; but, yes, it thoroughly disqualifies the United States from being even a symbolic advocate of democratization anywhere in the world. Democracy, anyway, is not something the US has ever actually promoted in practice; quite the opposite.
There is not doubt in my mind that democracy is our best option, if it is within the framework of an Islamic constitution that limits the legislative powers of the government. All across the Muslim world, overwhelming majorities support making the Shari’ah the law of the land, but, all across the Muslim world, the population is excluded from political participation. The absence of democracy in our countries translates to the absence of the Shari’ah. It is very straightforward.
Islamist arguments against democracy are simply illogical, and reflect both a lack of appreciation for the flexibility of the theory, and an ignorance about the real widespread support in the Muslim world for Islamic government. The Islamic project has nothing to fear from the Muslim population. We do not have to trick them into Islamism, and we do not have to force it upon them. If we develop a genuinely Islamic and comprehensive policy platform, the Muslims will support it en masse. Indeed, so will non-Muslims, if it is a set of policies that will actually achieve Islamic results in the society.
Al-Hamdulillah, we have from ‘Umar bin al-Khattab a number of mechanisms we can implement to avoid the corrupting influence of money in politics which has destroyed the American system. ‘Umar was so strict with his government appointees, and so detailed in his management of them, that he even stipulated how many rooms they could have in their homes and how high the ceilings could be, just to avoid any potential self-indulgence or abuse of power.
We have nothing to fear from democracy; rather, our enemies fear that our governments may begin to represent the popular, Islamic will of the masses.