Cultural perceptions, ideologies, traditions, and norms all factor into the political culture of a particular civilization. I do believe that Samuel Huntington’s statement, “What ultimately matters are not politics, but religion, family, blood,” certainly has validity, but I do not entirely agree. Civilizations tend to be grouped according to a broad cultural identity, primarily in terms of religion which can be linked to family and blood. However, in his statement, Huntington suggests that political culture is purely driven by personal identities that characterize certain civilizations such as language, history, and religion.
I disagree with how he asserts that politics are not of importance and places accountability exclusively on those three factors. If religion, family, and blood are solely the matter of civic participation, this would suggest that citizens in a democracy would have the most control over government and politics, which is not the case.
As told by Gabriel Almond and Sidney Verba, in a democratic civic culture, the people accept an authority figure under the condition that they hold the right and responsibility to participate in civic duties, which ensures that the government aligns with and represents the values and interests of the people.
For this reason, I feel that it is unreasonable to strike out politics as one of the important factors because politics plays a significant role in the electoral process that will determine who will govern and how policies are derived from values rooted in religion, family, and blood will be voted on. The statement overlooks other equally important factors that may affect civic participation and political directions such as gender, socioeconomic status, and education (or lack thereof), as mentioned in a review of Huntington’s works by Leonard Binder.
Binder also wrote that civic participation is either “a device for the attainment of equality or merely a reflection of existing inequality”. Whether democracy may be sustained under inevitable and inherent pluralistic viewpoints is a prudential question that may be answered by comparing conflicting civic cultures. I actually believe pluralism is rather essential to a certain degree for democracy to function. Many democratic countries have exhibited that conflicting partisan biases, such as those caused by distinct religious and cultural ideologies, may coexist as long as a basic consensus can be met.
On the other hand, authoritarian-style governments that are centered around specific beliefs and ideologies have proven to be incompatible with democracy, such as Islamic regimes that are traditionally rather despotic and reject the separation of religion and politics. In an interview with NPR, Jordanian diplomat Marwan Mausher recommends that “political pluralism, in other words, peaceful rotation of power, the right of all political parties to exist and organize at all times” should be exhibited in Islam-centric governments. He affirms that once cultural, religious, and gender pluralism are respectively represented in politics, democracy may successfully develop. Democracies would best be sustained by allowing the participation of the people in addition to the representation of pluralistic attitudes and values regardless of the religious, political, or economic basis.