Egypt and Democracy

I really want all our hopes and dreams on the revolution in Egypt to come true. I would love for them to discover and earn freedom. Sadly, judging by the most influential players, this revolution has very little to do with what we as Americans understand as “Democracy”. We can save for another time a more in-depth discussion of what Democracy really is. For now, lets focus on some basics and see how it all applies to the real situation on the ground in Egypt.Our founders, believe it or not, were convinced that  “Democracy” (in its true form) was to be absolutely avoided. In “The Decline and Fall of the Athenian Republic”, Fraser Tyler wrote:

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship.”

For that reason, our founders created a Constitutional Republic. They learned from the failures of nations going back thousands of years. So without going down this particular political philosophy hole, it is good to remember that we are hoping for a very high level of political sophistication from this Egyptian revolution. For most Americans, when you start to get more specific, their fuzzy idea of “Democracy” is really more in line with the founders idea of the Constitutional Republic.

What is more concerning is the fact that The Muslim Brotherhood is apparently playing a big part in this effort. In fact, in recent discussions with the current regime, The Muslim Brotherhood is singled out as the primary negotiator for the protestors. Since The Muslim Brotherhood, as part of their mission statement, wants to impose global Sharia Law via a Caliphate. This is not a theory, these are their published goals. Here are some insights into The Muslim Brotherhood:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ETzOClvQZc

Anyone who believes that extremists are going to simply stand on the sidelines and let the Egyptians do this on their own is a new kind of nieve. In addition to The Muslim Brotherhood and Iran there are all flavors of political extremists who will see this as their chance to at least build a new political coalition if not seize huge levels of power. There should be no question whatsoever that The Muslim Brotherhood will use this revolution to grab power as quickly and violently as they possibly can.

So while we should be concerned with the influence of groups like The Muslim Brotherhood, the popular opinions of the average folks in Egypt are another source of concern. In a recent poll published by Reuters, some disturbing stats about the opinions of Egyptians was published. Here are those results:

Democracy

59%: Say democracy is preferable to any other form of government.

22%: Say a non-democratic system can be preferable in certain circumstances

Islam in politics

95%: Say it’s good that Islam plays a large role in politics

85%: Say Islam’s influence on politics is good

48%: Say Islam currently play a large role in Egyptian politics

Islamist extremism

80%: Think suicide bombings are never or rarely justified.

20%: Think suicide bombings are sometimes or often justified

70%: Are concerned or very concerned about Islamist extremism in the world

61%: Are concerned or very concerned about Islamist extremism in the Egypt

Traditional Muslim practices

54%: Believe men and women should be segregated in the workplace

82%: Believe adulterers should be stoned

84%: Believe apostates from Islam should face the death penalty

77%: Believe thieves should be flogged or have their hands cut off

Take a good look at the above numbers? How many of those popularly held opinions fit into the American vision of freedom and liberty much less a western democracy? Some of these opinions actually stand in full opposition to my understanding of Constitutional Republic. Note that 84% of Egyptians believe that an apostate from Islam should face the death penalty. To translate that, it simply means that if I decide after careful consideration that Christianity is more my style and I leave the Islamic faith, I should be killed for that decision.

Next, lets consider what the folks in the streets of Cairo were saying before anyone managed to put some spin on their rhetoric. Make sure and listen to the last half to get to the meat of this one. Listen to what these folks are saying. They hate America, they hate Israel. They say that America does not want them to succeed because they know that Egypt without Mubarak will result in Egyptians rising up and fighting for the Palestinians and destroying Israel.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPGtfc5Mqrk

Here is the long version of the above video from CNN:

CNN video on Facebook – CNN.com Video

So if we distill all this new knowledge down and try to come up with an idea of where this will all lead in Egypt, where does it take us? Given the players, the opinions of the protestors and the opinions expressed in the recent polls, we are likely looking at an Islamic Theocracy that is hostile to the United States and its non-islamic neighbors in the region. At the very least, a new supporter of terrorist groups, giving them a new location from which to train and plan.

A few more sources:

http://www.businessinsider.com/egyptians-dont-like-america-and-they-hate-israel-2011-2

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/01/egyptian-protester-claims-destroy-israel/

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