Friday, November 01, 2002

Religion and politics do not mix.

By insisting that they are inseparable, too many Muslims commit their own disenfranchisement.

Most western liberal countries, and especially Australia, extend an incredible tolerance to religion, as practised in the private, or ethno-communal domains. Conversely, politics is almost universally held in contempt, as well as – and NOT coincidentally – being the archetype of the public domain.

“Philosopher Kings” can sound like a good idea – until the practicalities are dealt with, in that a wise leader must primarily be one or the other. This is not a facetious dig; rather, it is just common sense that a person cannot excel in both public and private domains – he or she must simply make a choice, and then live by it.

In addition, in countries where religion and politics have been mixed (which usually has happened only through some kind of force), both have re-emerged, mutated into something else completely. In the nominally theocratic dictatorship of Saudi Arabia, “religion” and “politics” are no more than two opposing rabbles of baby boomers, whose respective excesses, stupidity and general illegitimacy perfectly balance each other out. The result is theological and political paralysis – with the victims being mostly the young.

Mind you, Australia is not a total cleanskin when it comes to (mis)rule by baby boomer rabbles. Economic rationalism, or, as I would prefer, “economic fundamentalism” is also all ill-advised conjunction of religion and politics. The shame is that it has, so far, mostly been spared swingeing rebuttal, due to its “private” boundaries being respected - viz the globalisation conferences and the think-tanks, with their express and implied no-go zones.

Any creed or political movement that arrogates itself to being both simultaneously, deserves in my opinion, united open contempt and unyielding opposition.

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