Thursday, January 26, 2012
Over at Salon is an article that likens the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt to the Republican Party in the United States.
[T]he Brotherhood is a free-market party led by wealthy businessmen whose economic agenda embraces privatization and foreign investment while spurning labor unions and the redistribution of wealth. Like the Republicans in the U.S., the financial interests of the party's leadership of businessmen and professionals diverge sharply from those of its poor, socially conservative followers.While I disagree with Avi Asher-Schapiro that the economic interests of wealthy individuals and poor individuals differ, I think this writer has a point. Since privatization, as the term is too-commonly used today, does not necessarily even really mean "privatization", and many people who are said to be "free market" are not really pro-capitalists, but advocates of a less government-controlled mixed economy, I think that the article is right to note that each political party is a coalition between such "free market" types and theocrats. (I wouldn't tout either party as "pro-capitalist".) The article clearly depicts this as a bad thing for the wrong reason: Asher-Schapiro seems to regard any vestige of capitalism in post-Mubarak Egypt as a bad thing.
What is actually bad about this is that Islam (like Christianity) is, in fact, ethically incompatible with capitalism. These businessmen are already soothing foreign investors: If their economic policies really do represent a loosening of the economy, the theocrats in their coalition will be in a position to falsely gain credit when, as often happens, the loosening of state economic controls brings about an economic boom. The "free market" part of this coalition is, like that of the GOP, serving as "useful idiots" for the theocratic part of the coalition, and will, ultimately, either have to leave the coalition or lose after the theocrats entrench themselves and some choice has to be made between businessmen remaining wealthy (or free to enjoy their wealth) and the dictates of Islam.
In the meantime, watch for other unwarranted or premature sighs of relief from the West.