Identity and Causation in Politics

Monday, January 23, 2012

Approximately a year ago, I said the following of the so-called Arab Spring":

[S]ince Islamic totalitarians are so strong in the Middle East, I have a hard time imagining anything good coming of the unrest over there.

Two interesting historical parallels come to mind on the subject, though. (1) Tunisia's last ruler was installed after a popular uprising decades ago, showing how useful it is for people to revolt absent a coherent (and substantially correct) theory about the proper purpose of government. (2) Swap Islamic totalitarians with communists and consider how many such uprisings simply resulted in communist dictatorships during the Cold War. [minor format edits]
The people of Egypt have, sadly, proved me right. This isn't really a surprise, given that people act based on the ideas they hold true, and what most Egyptians regard as true. The people there voted as they were. Sadly for the dissenters, they, too, will get what the majority deserve to get as a result.
Final results on Saturday showed that Islamist parties won nearly three-quarters of the seats in parliament in Egypt's first elections since the ouster of authoritarian president Hosni Mubarak, according to election officials and political groups.

The Islamist domination of Egypt's parliament has worried liberals and even some conservatives about the religious tone of the new legislature, which will be tasked with forming a committee to write a new constitution. It remains unclear whether the constitution will be written while the generals who took power after Mubarak's fall are still in charge, or rather after presidential elections this summer.

In the vote for the lower house of parliament, a coalition led by the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood won 47 percent, or 235 seats in the 498-seat parliament. The ultraconservative Al-Nour Party was second with 25 percent, or 125 seats.

The Salafi Al-Nour, which was initially the biggest surprise of the vote, wants to impose strict Islamic law in Egypt, while the more moderate Brotherhood, the country's best-known and organized party, has said publicly that it does not seek to force its views about an appropriate Islamic lifestyle on Egyptians.
I wonder how long it will be before some Islamist politician says something to the effect that Islamic law isn't being crammed down anybody's throats since such a huge majority wants it. Such will be the fruit of the United States promoting "democracy" in the Middle East, rather than pursuing its national self-interest, and, along the way, standing up for government that protects individual rights, including against misguided popular will.

So now, our press is calling the Muslim Brotherhood, whose motto is, "Islam is the solution", "moderate"? All I will say about that at the moment is this: Even more wishful thinking isn't the answer.

-- CAV

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