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Monday, January 31, 2011

Intellectual freedom: David Warren’s take on the uprisings in the Muslim world

He’s somewhat pessimistic, and I would say, for the right reasons:
From what I can make out, in Egypt and elsewhere, the people on the streets are the "accredited" -- the bourgeoisie. They are the ones who could most benefit from western-style constitutional government and would suffer most if the government falls into the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood. They are, in terms of "class," the same people who have revolted in Iran -- haplessly against the Islamist regime of the ayatollahs.

[ ... ]

While I recognize that support for "democracy and freedom" is substantial, within each Arab national society - that the middle class is not a nothing; that each economy depends on it - I doubt this "faction" can prevail. Worse, I think we are watching its final, hopeless bid for power.

The key fact, in Egypt (paralleled in Yemen and elsewhere), is that the Muslim Brotherhood has not declared itself. The Islamists could put vastly more people on the street. They could subvert the loyalties of policemen and soldiers, who already resent the moneyed middle class. They could generate just enough heat to make large districts of Cairo and Alexandria, now simmering, boil over.
It’s a much darker and more dreadful version of what we find in Canada: The protest of people who remember a political order in which reason was a valid concept is easily swamped by angry affirmations of God or Government  from those who never, ever had a truly dissenting thought to begin with.

My mental picture of that last has always been yuppie moms who parade their tots in adorable little Che Guevara tees and drop cliche after cliche on the world about non-violence, appealing for “understanding” of other cultures’ mistreatment of women, while professing to be feminists themselves. They like to think of themselves as “transgressive,” but have actually never been good enough to be bad.

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