Eight Reasons Not To Be Optimistic About Egypt


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From the moment the Tahrir Square demonstrations against Hosni Mubarak began, optimism has dominated American reporting and commentary on what is being called the Egyptian revolution.

I fervently hope I am wrong, but I find it hard to share this dominant view, even as I identify with all those Egyptians and other Arabs who yearn for freedom.

I offer eight good reasons for my pessimism:

1. Countries almost never go straight from dictatorship to liberty.

For the past 250 years, the general rule of revolutions has been this: The more tyrannical the regime that is overthrown, the more tyrannical the regime that replaces it. Though post-Soviet Eastern European countries might seem to invalidate this rule, they do not. The reason Poland, Romania, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Bulgaria became more or less free countries almost immediately after overthrowing communist dictatorships is that all those dictatorships were imposed from abroad (the Soviet Union). When a country overthrows a homemade dictator, it rarely replaces him with a free society. The French Revolution replaced the French monarchy with revolutionary terror. The Russian Revolution replaced the autocratic Russian czar with totalitarian commissars.

2. When pro-American dictators are overthrown, far more repressive anti-American tyrants usually replace them.

In 1959, the pro-American Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista was overthrown and replaced by an anti-American communist totalitarian state under Fidel Castro. Most Cubans had far more freedom under Batista than under Castro. In 1979, the pro-American Shah of Iran dictatorship was overthrown and replaced by a far less free, far more repressive, virulently anti-American Islamic tyranny.

3. Islamists have a near-monopoly on passion in Egypt and elsewhere in the Arab world.

In politics, passion matters. That is why small impassioned groups can dominate a more passive majority of a country. And in Egypt, no group or cause has nearly the passion that the Islamists have.

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  • AB7

    Mission One for the West should be to use all of our powers to make sure everyone in the West understands how and why Islam is 100% incompatible with freedom and democracy. Once the average citizen of the West knows this then all of our decisions and policies will follow naturally from that with regard to the problem of Islam and how to deal with it and all of the problems it causes. Of course, Mission Two is to end all further spread of Islam in the West so that we don't end up like every single other place in the world where Islam has spread and destroyed the existing societies eliminating their hope altogether of ever having freedom or happiness. Those hoping for any good to come out of the Egyptian or other Islamic uprisings against their latest dictators are truly naive and they represent a grave threat to the survival of the West in that in falling to understand Islam they not only espouse failed policies for the Middle East but they are welcoming the end of their own civilization with open arms in trying to assimilate the inassimilable Islam into our once healthy civilization.

  • Guest

    "They usually end up in prison."

    Or running restaurants in the West. I share your pessimism.

    • GKC

      Great article and succinct comment.

  • USMCSniper

    "they are welcoming the end of their own civilization with open arms " Sounds like evangelical Christians, or Hollywood making end of mankind movies from "On the Beach" to "Skyline" the latest.

  • sflbib

    The eight reasons can all be summed up into one that CBS commentator Hughes Rudd once said: "People are no damned good."

  • Reason_For_Life

    "Historically, anti-Semitism has been a perfect predictor of a society that will cause others problems and that will eventually self-destruct."

    Like the US at the turn of the 20th century? Like France in the 19th century?

    Anti-Semitism is a symptom, not a cause. It is a symptom of collectivism. Any group that sets itself apart from the surrounding society will be attacked when collectivism rears its ugly head. Many Jews see Judaism as the mover of the world and anti-Semitism as proof of Judaism's importance. Jews are merely targets of opportunity. There are few Jews in Egypt so Coptic Christians make a fine substitute.

    Aside from reason 8 this article points out the dangers that Egyptian society faces. Like Prager himself, I hope he's wrong but recent history suggests otherwise.

    The "rise" of Islamic collectivism isn't so much a rise as it is a lowering of rationality. This makes Islam seem more powerful than it is. As science and reason decline various irrational philosophies will jump in to fill the void. At present, Islam is the single most irrational philosophy on earth so it becomes the odds on favorite in this race to bring back the Dark Ages.

    • AB7

      You are mistaken, gravely. Jew hatred is a core central aspect of Islam. Muhammad himself lashed out at the Jews after they rejected his obvious delusional rantings and that is when he turned violent killing entire tribes of Jews in Arabia, taking the women for sex or slavery along with the children. Muhammad accomplished in Arabia what Hitler was not able to accomplish in Germany. In fact, there is more anti-Jewish hate speech in the Koran and Hadith than in Mein Kampf. So no, for Muslims, Jew hatred is WAY more than just some sort of collectivist lashing out at "the other" or some minority group, it is central to the life of Muhammad, central to Islam, central to the entire world view of Islam. Ignoring this reality has led to tragic results for the West.