The great majority of Western powers and intellectuals alike make it very difficult for progressive activists to push for democracy and secularism in the world today.
Sheep by G Ober
The crunch is this: Western secular types typically describe themselves as more "rational' and "human rights oriented' than others. They use condemning and condescending language in their common conversations even. Sure, no one is perfect. We all have to grow and learn to treat each other better as the globe shrinks in our perception.
Western hypocrisy is the bane of secular democrats everywhere.
The West commits mass murder and invades other countries through NATO and, if they can get away with it, the UN. Their regular "regime changing' rampages that are routinely supported by their supposed "intelligentsia' -- as was the case in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, and is today in Syria -- are accompanied by a flood of "local' freedom fighters who more often than not turn out to be any hotchpotch of international mercenaries that will do it for some reason or the other and regardless of what kind of crazy ideology they might subscribe to. Al Qeada, Halliburton, CIA, Mossad, freelancers, you name it. Even cannibals are found on the side of the West's agenda.
It really doesn't matter why they do it. Some mercenaries will do it for the love of killing, some for the money, others will do it for the love of dying. But mercenaries, by definition, are not democratic in their core.
In fact, should Saudi Arabia turn democratic, it is very unlikely that it would continue to act like USA's poodle in the Arab region. This has happened to some extent in Egypt and Tunisia already.
Independence, democracy and even secularism for subservient nations under imperial control would run against the interests of the imperial master. Why rock the boat if you are the captain?
It is therefore of no surprise that the CIA would work with the Saudi government and Mossad and Qatar, for example, to destabilise the only secular, independent nation -- Syria -- in the region. Of course, they scream about democracy and freedom while the fighters they pay for and arm are literally eating people's hearts on camera and using chemical weapons in Syria.
The Real Axis of Evil today is the West-Israel-Al Qaeda one, funded by Arab monarchies, for whom no cause appears too low to kill for.
On a more personal level, anyone who takes up a weapon and tries to shoot their way toward democracy in an offensive operation (rather than a defensive operation against a direct threat to one's life) simply doesn't understand what s/he is doing.
People who use brute violence supposedly for the sake of "democratic freedom' must ask themselves why it is that violence is justified to them.
And why is it that instead of a majority of people being in their camp, they are actually having to kill for their cause?
This is not to claim that no cause is worthy of use of violence. That discussion is just too difficult.