The 'Arab Spring'—Good and Hard

As H.L. Mencken wrote right around the time that Woodrow Wilson started giving America its first taste of liberal fascism in the 20th century, “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”


Kate McMillan of the Small Dead Animals blog likes to describe the so-called “Arab Spring,” as “What We Really Need Is Democracy. With a totalitarian party to vote for.”

Guess what! They’re in luck. Allahpundit delivers his trademark “good news,” noting that “Libya embraces shari’a law while Islamists are poised to win big in Tunisian elections.” In other words, time for the Arab world to really get it good and hard:

Whatever meager civic institutions existed in Egypt and Libya before Mubarak and Qaddafi have long since disintegrated. In Libya, especially, they’re basically rebuilding society from scratch, so no surprise that they’d turn to their one common bond as a foundation, especially when that common bond comes with a ready-made legal code built into it. And if you agree with Reuel Marc Gerecht that all societies follow the same basic civic learning curve — although some take much longer than others to advance — then a period of Islamist fascist rule is all part of the lesson on the way to something better. (Iran, of course, has been there and done that.) As Gerecht once put it, “you don’t get to arrive at Thomas Jefferson unless you first pass through Martin Luther.” Let’s hope so. And let’s hope it takes less than 250 years this time.

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And Gerecht’s model tacitly assumes that the makings of a more liberal society are there if the right leadership is installed. I’m skeptical about that for the same reason as Spengler, writing about Egypt a few weeks ago: “Western economists can concoct all the economic recovery plans in the world, but a country that can’t teach half its people to read, and can’t produce employable university graduates, and can’t feed itself, is going to go down the drain.” So the Islamists will fail — and then the moderate regime that replaces them will fail, so who knows what the real next stop on this learning curve is. Only one thing is certain: Given the region’s track record, it’ll be awesome.


Hey, remember back in August, when President Obama told us, “You had an Arab Spring in the Middle East that promises more democracy and more human rights for people,” and Al Gore said that America needed its own “Arab Spring?” Good times, good times.


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