Well, Mubarak is out, and for some reason (perhaps because of what they’re being told by the media), many people see this as an opportunity for Egyptians to have “freedom” of some sort. Obama is throwing around words like “justice” and “democracy” and even the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, who I assume is a Republican, is encouraging Egypt to form some sort of “democracy” instead of letting the “extremist” elements, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, take over.
First of all, why do intelligent people, especially so-called conservatives, even use the word “democracy” anymore? Democracy means rule by the majority — i.e., mob rule. Democracy can result in all sorts of horrible things, such as making Socrates drink hemlock, the majority of poor and middle-class people voting to confiscate the wealth of the 5% most productive people in the country, putting a Hitler or Hamas in power, etc. Any serious freedom-loving person does not speak of creating a democracy, rather, he speaks of creating a constitutional republic, dedicated to the protection of individual rights. (For more on this, I refer you to Ayn Rand’s essays, “Man’s Rights” and “The Nature of Government.”)
I guess the reason people still speak of democracy is because they think it is important that everyone have their “say”, that everyone’s opinion is just as important and worthy of attention as everyone else’s. Said Obama in one of his recent speeches, “Above all, this transition must bring all of Egypt’s voices to the table.” Well, let’s see what we are likely to wind up with if this approach is applied.
In this editorial, you can read a condensed summary of the results of a Pew Research Center poll, conducted of Egyptians last year. Some highlights (or, should I say, lowlights):
• 95% prefer the religion play a “large role in politics.”
• 84% favor the death penalty for people who leave the Muslim faith.
• 82% support stoning adulterers.
• 54% support a law segregating women from men in the workplace.
• 54% believe suicide bombings that kill civilians can be justified.
• Nearly half support the terrorist group Hamas.
• 82% of Egyptians dislike the U.S.
Do these data points make you think that Egyptians want anything that even remotely resembles “freedom”? No, me neither. What would the poll data look like if the sample population was limited to the “extremists”?
But, hey, look on the bright side. Perhaps whatever government is formed in Egypt will adopt the Obama Administration’s trait of selective hearing. The majority of Americans didn’t want Obamacare, it’s probably not even constitutional (see my previous post), and yet Obama insists on moving full-steam ahead with it anyway.
[Update: David Hayes had this to add on Facebook. I reproduce it here by permission:
Ayn Rand wrote:
“… in 1917, the Russian peasants were demanding: ‘Land and Freedom!’ But Lenin and Stalin is what they got.
“In 1933, the Germans were demanding: ‘Room to live!’ But what they got was Hitler.
“In 1793, the French were shouting: ‘Liberty, Equality, Fraternity!’ What they got was Napoleon.
“In 1776, the Americans were proclaiming ‘The Rights of Man’–and, led by political philosophers, they achieved it.”
Quote from “Blind Chaos,” in “The Ayn Rand Column,” pages 45-46, and Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal (this piece is reprinted as the second half of chapter 12), pg. 137-139.
Egyptians have been right to be protesting, but what they’re asking for is vague. We’re right to be concerned that this will come to lead to the worst consequences. (I nonetheless want that the Egyptian people be spared this if they can bring about a proper government.)]