Or is the view here that *any* democracy is significantly better than what they had before, even if it is not certain yet to be a Republic or a very limited democracy...? (e.g., if they elect some radical Muslims or something).
What exactly is it in your view that is so good here, about the [Iraqi] election--is it just an improvement; or is it something about democracy now that is inherently good, in your view?
Just curious, I don't mean to challenge you.
Stephan, I take the question entirely in the spirit I know you intended.
My view about the Iraqi election is that it represents an important, if incremental, step toward individual liberty. I view this in an historical perspective. The political implementation of individual rights did not simply start with the Declaration of Independence. Prior to that came such measures as the Magna Carta, common law, etc. Even the U. S. Constitution was inconsistent in its defense of individual rights (e. g., slavery!).
But each step in this historic process, though hardly sufficient to define or guarantee full individual rights and liberty, represented a move forward toward greater and greater liberty and autonomy for individuals.
In this context, consider the enormous step forward represented by the Iraqi elections. Here diverse and often rancorous people, long held in brutal and total subjugation, were able to peacefully register their own preferences concerning the shape of their future governing institutions. Did any one of them get 100% of his own desires institutionalized? Of course not. But they each had, for the first time in memory, a say -- and the system they are hammering out allows for all major factions of society to have a meaningful voice, and meaningful protections.
That is an enormous step forward for formerly rightless individuals and cruelly exploited groups and factions. And the Iraqis know it, and were moved to profound acts of bravery, and to tears over their success -- even if Great Libertarian Minds fail to grasp it. It's quite a stunning spectacle, when you think about it: those people immediately affected by the elections were overwhelmingly supportive and grateful; but a culturally marginal pack of intellectual cranks living outside of Iraq are complaining bitterly that the elections are all a big sham, and don't reflect TRUE "libertarianism."
Now I don't wanna get off on a rant here, but...
Reading many anarchists and paleo-libertarians on the issue of the Iraqi elections reminds me of that old adage -- that moral fanatics demonstrate that "the perfect is the enemy of the good." The elections, they complain, are only "democracy," reflecting the utilitarian principle of majority rule -- greatest good for the greatest number -- but not full individual rights. This isn't REALLY libertarianism...
Well, you could say the same thing about the Magna Carta: a better deal for local nobles, but certainly not a full program of individual rights for all the lowly subjects of the Crown. You could say the same thing about the Constitution: What about rights for women and blacks? In fact, at any given period you can ALWAYS make the case that things could be more perfect, that there could be more liberty.
But for Iraqis, what they have now is an ENORMOUS increase in freedom over what they had under Saddam. And before these people can fully secure or exercise individual rights as WE know and define them, they first must have even such preliminary rights as the right to choose their own form of government without getting themselves shot for daring to register an opinion, or plunging into civil war. Which they have done.
I know this doesn't apply to you, Stephan, but it's not a compliment to many libertarians and anarchists that they seem so transparently unhappy with the results in Iraq. Many of them smugly predicted in advance that the elections would never be held -- or, if held, be a total flop, with few people going to the polls, and massive violence suppressing turnout. The brave Iraqis defied these dire predictions. You'd think true libertarians would be happy to have been proved wrong. But no. Go peruse the postings on LewRockwell.com, AntiState.com, AntiWar.com, and see what these Lovers Of Liberty are saying. They're still taking the worm's eye view of events. Still dismissing the outcome as mere "democracy" rather than full individual rights. Still predicting civil war.
They just can't bring themselves to admit that the hated W just may have gotten it right, in Afghanistan AND Iraq -- and that millions of ordinary people may be happy with the results.
Anyway, I think my answer to your inquiry is clear. No, there's nothing "inherently" good about democracy; but there's certainly something comparatively great about it -- if you're comparing it with Islamofascism, communism, or Saddam's Batthist thugocracy. And the newly liberated Iraqis know it, even if some anarchs don't.