We all know the eschatology taught in democratic societies. People in the United States and Europe like to delineate all nations into two fairly black and white categories: democratic and pre-democratic. In the mythos, all are implicitly nudged to think of history as a gradual march in all parts of the world into more democratic and open societies, whether by institutional change or by revolution. We'd like to think that there is an immutable momentum that overthrows tyranny of all forms and all classes of cultural repression and creates in the wake of their destruction free and cosmopolitan societies not too unlike our own.
As it happens, it seems as though the Middle East has recently moved to become an all the more democratic region after a spatter of public protests and uprisings. However with this democratic sentiment, it can be seen that instead of a movement toward a more secular and internationalist cultural framework, Islamism and insularity are the new democratic dictates.
The mistake arises in the fact that most members of western societies don't bother to make the imperative distinctions between modern democracy, liberalism, constitutionalism and general cultural toleration. These all came to being rather quickly and simultaneously in the United States and in Europe in several centuries, but it is not so that they are the same idea or necessarily related. It is certainly not true that people with access to democratic elections become more cosmopolitan or respectful of differing peoples and opinion without cause.
There has of course been a significant ideological shift in the Middle East within the last decades, but it is not the glorious modernization and opening of Arabic society. The post-war Arab World had originally become dominated by varieties of Arabic Socialism and Nationalism whose central tendencies were quite divergent from the the current standard and what we might imagine. Arab socialists envisioned a political unity of the entire Arab world under socialist principles and political solidarity.
This might not appeal to too many westerners, especially on the political right, but the key word of the planned Arabic union would be "secular," a word which although considered the absolute basis for our own expectations of democracy has now been conclusively struck from the Arabic lexicon with much thanks to the Arab Spring. As it happens, religious attitudes now are such that any unrestricted democratic mechanism without constitutional limits in government implies an Islamic outcome.
The Arab Spring has conclusively performed the coup de grâce on Arabic Socialism, perhaps not entirely in its last enclaves of power, but the public has demonstrated that Islamism is the new ideology of choice. The once lunatic fringe of the Muslim Brotherhood and its Islamist offshoots have garnered the majority of votes in all of the elections up for grabs. While the west rooted for the overthrow of Libya during the NATO incursion, the Yemeni government was being pushed into similar chaos by a loose coalition including al-Qaeda. As it happens, the forces for democracy and theocracy are united in struggle, seeing that the former must produce the latter in a Middle East reignited in religious fervor.
With all hope, newly elected Islamist governments in the east shall not pursue paths of policy as ludicrous as cleric Safwat Higazi's characterization of now president Mohammed Mursi's policy initiatives. In the company of a riotous and elated crowd at a party rally, Higazi proudly stated that Mursi, seated to his left would reengineer an Arabic State with a capital in Jerusalem and would lead his people to martyrdom in taking Gaza and Jerusalem. It might be safe to say that Israel has lost its only ally in the region.
Perhaps I cannot sense the pulse of Arab political rhetoric as well as I'd like, and thus it's difficult to see how much of these kinds of endorsed statements are appropriate suggestions versus mindless appeals to the crowd, but it should say something about the coming quality of democratic policy that this is precisely the kind of policy the democratic crowd demands.
Surprisingly, for all its stones thrown in the aid of revolutionary movements, the west will certainly be getting nothing or less from the coming state of affairs in the newly reIslamized Arab World. The intervention of infidels will be just as thoroughly scorned as the intervention of imperialists was several decades earlier. It's unlikely that any western government would publicly interfere with the dictate of the democratic masses, which they view to be so sacred; even the "imperialist" United States never had the composure to demand of the interim government of Iraq a state not explicitly based on Islamic law, so it's dubious as to whether any outside force will question the inevitable Islamist consensus of government, whether its rulings be against blasphemous free speech, Jews, Copts, heretical Muslim sects, internationalism or the changes of modern society.
As strange as it is, the western media, even the ravenous anti-Muslim elements of it has been relatively silent of the radicalism of the new parties in control and of the inevitable conflicts soon to bubble between non-Arab and non-Muslim states. It goes to show that any dangerous ideology has to have the respect of westerners simply by virtue of being chosen by a masochistic demos. The fact of the matter is that this swelling of democracy has only shown its intentions to further itself from free society, liberalism and modernism thus illustrating the fundamental gap between democracy and the factors that truly make the modern political system more liveable.