Truthdig columnist Juan Cole has some sobering words of caution for those in the Arab world with a “once-in-a-century” shot at making their nations into thriving, functional democracies. In addition to preventing the institution of corporate personhood and making compulsory voting a national policy, Cole’s suggestions have to do with legislating against the ability of the moneyed classes to use their wealth and power to dominate a nation’s political process.

Cole speaks as a member of a society in decline, and his suggestions are written with the tenderness and concern of an elder who is painfully aware of the hazards of self-determination. –ARK

Informed Comment:

… Let me just warn you about democracy. It is a vague ideal and the old-established democracies like the United States are seeing it undermined by a whole host of undemocratic practices that are reminiscent of the police states you just challenged. Here is some advice on how to avoid the mistakes of my generation of Americans, who have perhaps fatally undermined our constitution and turned ourselves into a corporation-dominated national security state. From a twilight democracy heading toward being a large Company town where the workers are deprived of any right to privacy or a fair share of national income to a young vibrant set of democratic movements in the Arab world, I send you this dire warning.

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