Friday, November 07, 2014

The will of the people

The BBC reports about the Pakistani couple (and unborn child) martyred by a mob. It ends with this:
Pakistan is a long way from changing or repealing its notorious blasphemy laws.

At best, the only thing the country's vulnerable and at risk communities can really hope for now is that the authorities will treat this case seriously and possibly deter similar gruesome crimes from happening again.

What this conclusion skims over is the implications of this:

Clerics from local mosques used loud speakers to incite violence. Soon, hundreds of angry people converged on the brick kiln looking for the Christian couple.

This didn't happen because of blasphemy laws in Pakistan. The blasphemy laws happened because this is the attitude of the people. You know and I know that burning harmless people alive is unjust and vile. But it is also perfectly democratic--this is what they want; or at least what a large number want while the rest are willing to go along with it.

Is "free and fair elections" a sufficiently powerful incantation to purify the vices of a people and automatically produce good government?

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