Last week Tony Blair delivered a high profile speech at Bloomberg in London on the Middle East in which he placed Islamist ideologues in a ‘Titanic’ struggle with those who want to embrace ‘the modern world’ of pluralistic societies and open economies.
He added:“Underneath the turmoil and revolution of the past years is one very clear and unambiguous struggle: between those with a modern view of the Middle East, one of pluralistic societies and open economies, where the attitudes and patterns of globalisation are embraced; and, on the other side, those who want to impose an ideology born out of a belief that there is one proper religion and one proper view of it, and that this view should, exclusively, determine the nature of society and the political economy”.
“There is a Titanic struggle going on within the region between those who want the region to embrace the modern world – politically, socially and economically – and those who instead want to create a politics of religious difference and exclusivity. This is the battle.”
Karl Popper, the apostle of ‘open societies’, thought that the only permanent restriction on democratic government should be the protection of democracy itself. He said:
“A consistent democratic constitution should exclude only one type of change in the legal system, namely a change which would endanger its democratic character.”
“In a democracy, we hold the keys to the control of the demons. We can tame them. We must realize this and use the keys; we must construct institutions for the democratic control of economic power, and for our protection from economic exploitation”.