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Klavan On The Culture

What Egyptian Violence Says About Democracy

August 15th, 2013 - 7:36 pm

From ScrapeTV

In light of the sickening violence now washing Egypt in blood, I am hearing a number of people — from the often brilliant Fouad Ajami to the not-so-much Peter Beinart – speak sternly of the military coup that overthrew democratically elected Islamist dictator Mohamed Morsi. In the Wall Street Journal, Ajami made the characteristically intelligent argument that the coup was not necessary because power was already divided among Morsi, the military, the police, and the judiciary. On Anderson Cooper’s 360 show on CNN, Beinart made the characteristically incoherent and simplistic accusation that those Americans who supported the coup were abandoning (I have to quote from memory here) America’s commitment to democracy, the rule of law, and minority rights.

No one can know whether Ajami is right or not. Would patience have served the Egyptians, as he says? Before he was overthrown, Morsi seemed to be moving to secure all power to himself. If the military had waited, it might have been too late to get rid of him.

Beinart, though, is inadvertently raising an issue that really should be addressed more often: the cry of “democracy” as an excuse for oppression.

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Top Rated Comments   
A number of posters have said it well. There is a cultural, philosophical and spiritual component to enabling a Republic to form. It does not spring whole cloth out of nothing. There were several centuries of thought that led to up to our Republic. We delude ourselves to thing that we can skip that learning curve in the ME and end up with other than what has happened.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Suddenly the millions of people who protested across Egypt starting on June 30 and were not going home, were not taking "no" for an answer, were not going to allow Morsi to stay in office is a non-event.

I laugh at Eltahawy with her "we." She doesn't live in Egypt, she just makes money pretending she does. No surprise she supports El Baradei's resignation, since he only recently actually started living in Egypt.

As for the commentators, I don't blame them; they aren't in Egypt and don't know what's happening. Beinart can talk about principle all he wants, what these people fail to understand is that they talk as if the army is pro-active here but they have had their hand forced since June 30. The army has no plan; they are reacting to the street and taking the least destructive path to make the streets quiet.

The MB introduced live fire into the civilian side of the street protests for the first time and the result was inevitable against the military. Then, in an act of insanity, the MB goes and attacks a bunch of churches cuz there's no Jews to blame a minority conspiracy on.

50 members of the security forces died. How? By slingshots? The disparity in casualties is what one would expect with one side heavily out-gunned but gunned nonetheless. We can say all we want about a vote - Morsi would've been dragged out and killed and thousands of Egyptians too had the army not intervened. In my view, the army has made no mistakes.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Spot on Andrew. We far to often make the mistake of equating democracy with freedom.

Freedom is when others are not allowed to infringe on your inalienable right to life, liberty (religious, economic, political), property, and the pursuit of happiness and you are not allowed to infringe on theirs.

Freedom can exist under a monarch, under an aristocracy or under democracy. Tyranny can exist under all three as well.

Since power always corrupts, republican democracy has proven to be the most reliable of the three forms of government because it divides the power between so many different entities.

Unfortunately the tyrannical urge runs deep in us and the jury is still out on whether we humans can ever remain free for any amount of time.

It can be said just as much today as it was in Lincoln's day: "Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure."


1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (53)
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Well, if you're going to be applying logic and reasoning to the middle east, be prepared for "unexpected" results.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
To have a successful democracy, the underlying society must have certain values that will support it. Egypt and most of the Middle East do not have these values.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It is obvious that Islam and democracy are incompatible. Islam REQUIRES its adherents to discriminate to be faithful. The bigger question is WHY doesn't our administration realize this fact?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I dont like the word "FREEDOM". to me its a liberal word to mean without responsibility. liberals say free all the time , freedom from worry, from offense, from thought. like the word "democracy" it can be twisted to support tyrranical ideals. I like the word INDEPENDENCE. I believe thats why our founders declared independence, not freedom. Independance is the core spirit that the constitution and bill of rights were drafted from. Independence to me means you have the right AND RESPONSIBILITY to live as you wish.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Well, they did use "liberty" in their writing a lot.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Footnote 2: I would like to suggest another Nazi proganda piece of the highest quality, being a product of Leni Riefenstahl. The piece in internest is entitled: "Sieg des Glaubens - Leni Riefenstahl" (= "The Victory of Faith"). Most of the piece is without words and will transmit a feeling of POWER coagulating in Hitler as its expression. That is, however, not the reason for my suggestion, rather the crescendo of the film into the speach by Hitler. There are subtitles that, well, catch some of the meaning. At one point Hitler cries out to the mesmerized participants in that hugh, hugh stadium so full of men and boys, that: there are assembled here Germans, boys and men, "die sich zusammengebunden fühlen", i.e., "who feel bound together", "in einem grossen Glauben und grossen Wollen", i.e., "in a great faith and great willing". Unfortunately, the English translates "Wollen" as "determination" (a derivative meaning). No, it is the unanimous and fused "Wollen" <=> "willing or wanting" that generates the "sich zusammengebunden fühlen" <-> "feeling bound together" of the masses, i.e., the very feeling that generates the "Volksgemeinschaft", viz., the "people's community" or, better, the "DEMOS/VOLK-commonality". This "demos-feeling" constitutes and generates the central totalitarian nature of "DEMOcratic oneness". I have rendered "Wollen" as the communal "willing" or "wanting", the emotional heart of DEMOcracy, pure and simple.

If the masses there had voted, I am sure they would have with one voice "voted in full democratic unanimity for Hitler". Instead, they collectively roared out "Heil Hitler". Translate "Heil" as "I vote" and you have the nature of democrary in its purest form, i.e., a pure consent of the governed to the governing enbodiment of the people's will, a governmental form that the Founders of the American REPUBLIC wanted to avoid (and that freigthened my parents).

The collective "Wollen" of citizens is a semantic lie as it does not exist. What can exist is the minupulation of individuals in a crowd situation into one gigantic "Wollen" and thereby constitute that crowd as the "demos" incarnate. Unfortunately, such a fine writer as Klavan has allowed himself guilt feelings in light of Ajami and Beinart's criticisms of our democtraic traditions. After WW II we Americans in particular gave NO "democratic" rights to the Germans until they had reconstituted themsleves (under the watching eyes of Americans). A dictatorial blessing for that destroyed country and probably one that Egypt needs. Germany today is a constitutional "democracy" (sic) structured federally. And a "federal" structure limits the "democratic" moment. Whoops, that was Germany because it, as iAmeirica, is becoming more "democratic" with signs in Germany of surrendering to the despotism re the euro and the EU. That is another story. --Mr. Klavan, get rid of your guilt feelings and analyse the situation "realistically" as a Barry Rubin or a Gen. Pacepa or, earlier, a James Burnham would do, i.e., what are the realities of the situation and what response is favorable to promoting American needs (not to speak of Israeli needs down the road). I apoloigize for another note. C'est tout!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Obama has put his foot in it now. Tamarrod, the anti-Morsi movement that started this whole chain of events is now calling for Egyptians to reject U.S. aid and get rid of the peace treaty with Israel. Keep in mind, this is the movement most against the MB morons sacking churches, openly calling for war against Christians, and burning Cairo. This effectively puts Obama squarely on the side of Hamas and the MB.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Even with all that's happened starting with the fall of Mubarak, nothing comes close to the foreign policy disaster facing the U.S. and Obama if Tamarrod makes good on their threat, and they will. Obama has finally found a limit to his identity politics. I only wish Americans were as smart. Every American should be saying "no" to policies based on identity, starting with getting rid of Holder and illegal aliens.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Democracy doesn't work in a society ruled by a medieval and misogynistic abomination like Islam. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were brilliant men whose star rose in an inquisitive, freedom seeking land of promise. No one like that comes to power in the land of darkness under the star and crescent.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Democracy doesn't work... PERIOD.

I'm glad America isn't a democracy.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Andrew
Perhaps they are not ready for "Democracy"= "Polis" , they are still a tribal society with a different code of conduct. why would we like to impose on then "Democracy". They sublimate differe
ntly than us.
Perhaps they will be happy with a Pharao for another 300 years
Evolution is slow
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The Copts they are killing are the descendants of the Pharaohs and ancient Egyptians. Egypt converted to Christianity about 250-300 A.D. The Muslim Arabs we now call Egyptians invaded about 400 years later.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Not just laws protecting natural rights, Klavan, but a population whose deep rooted religious beliefs inculcate the vast majoirty of the population to support the upholding of those natural rights....aka Christianity. Islam is a failure in this regard.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
FOOTNOTE: For those of you interested in how Hitler became the "demos" (though that word was not used) of the German youth of the 1930s to the end and beyond the end of WW II, turn to internet and look up "Heil Hitler! Confessions of a Hitler Youth (HBO Movie)". Not only were young kids assimilated (Bork-style to quote Star Trek) into the totality, the Volk (= German for "demos"), but just about any "body", even opponents of Hitler when confronted with a Nurnburg 1938 experience. The short HBO movie is an excellent introduction by a former German youth who speaks an acceptable English. From my point of view, it is the feeling of oneness, no deviation allowed, with the people that manifests the totalitarian essence of DEMOcracy. I think any reader who views said documentary will gain an insight into my rejection of the whole "democracy" framework in terms of which the current coup is being discussed. We have lost the propaganda battle because we have adopted a "demos" vocabulary.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I knew a man who had been a sergeant in the SS in a tank division. He was 13 years old [sic] at the end of the war. He said the Hitler Youth was great fun. Parties, hikes, excursions, sports and games and many other activities were being held every weekend or more, usually at no cost. They were all being brainwashed the entire time, he said.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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