Light Fuse, Stand Well Back

A hat tip to Lawrence Auster for bringing to our attention an excellent article by Caroline Glick on the strange-bedfellow convergence of rose-bespectacled, democracy-exporting conservatives and West-loathing, Howard-Zinn-style leftists in cheering on the uprising in Egypt.

Both viewpoints, argues Ms. Glick, are animated by narcissism about the West, though of very different kinds: the democracy-evangelists imagine that the abstract values of Western liberal societies (and in particular, this one) are so universal that in any nation given sufficient exposure to them, the light of sweet Jeffersonian liberty will begin to glow as soon as the fetters of tyranny are struck off. The anti-imperialist left, on the other hand, believes that Western civilization, though utterly vile, is nevertheless the engine of all human destiny: that the oppressed peoples of the world, in their helpless and dusky multitudes, are not accountable agents, bearing any measure of responsibility for their fate, but mere objects, upon which the Western devil exerts his will, for good or ill (almost exclusively, of course, for ill).

Meanwhile, the realistic prospects for a West-friendly, secular democracy in the region fall, as an English record producer I used to work with might have put it, “somewhere between nil and fuck-all”. Ms. Glick, reminding us that “the character of the protesters is not liberal”, refers us to a recent poll:

According to a Pew opinion survey of Egyptians from June 2010, 59 percent said they back Islamists. Only 27% said they back modernizers. Half of Egyptians support Hamas. Thirty percent support Hizbullah and 20% support al Qaida. Moreover, 95% of them would welcome Islamic influence over their politics. When this preference is translated into actual government policy, it is clear that the Islam they support is the al Qaida Salafist version.

Eighty two percent of Egyptians support executing adulterers by stoning, 77% support whipping and cutting the hands off thieves. 84% support executing any Muslim who changes his religion.

Read the whole thing here.

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  1. the one eyed man says

    I would like to hijack this thread to describe my showdown with The Man earlier today.

    In July, I was seen by a red light traffic camera crossing the line of scrimmage 0.37 seconds after the light changed. I received a $466 ticket. Needless to say, I was mightily cheesed off.

    My trial was today. I argued that red light traffic cameras violated the due process clause of the 14th Amendment, because a) they are based on hearsay evidence and b) there is no bona fide relationship between a 0.37 second red light violation and public safety. I said that looking at the video, the runner made it to first base. I referenced Woody Allen (insofar as red light cameras are enforcement for enforcement’s sake, like the dictator in Bananas who decreed that his subjects all had to wear clean underwear, and in order to prove it, you have to wear it on the outside.) I said that $466 was wildly disproportionate to the severity of the offense.

    The Man said: guilty, pay at Window Seven. An hour later, the Court called to say that the judge reconsidered my case, and is dismissing the charge. As we say in New York: go figure.

    Posted February 1, 2011 at 9:02 pm | Permalink
  2. Malcolm says

    Really? No wonder California is going bankrupt.

    Posted February 1, 2011 at 9:40 pm | Permalink
  3. the one eyed man says

    All true. A friend of the devil is a friend of mine.

    Posted February 1, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Permalink
  4. howsurprising says

    I don’t think I care Malcolm whether we personally like the Egypt that results from this, or for that matter whether the narcissistic Israeli state likes it either. What matters first of all is whether the Egyptian people retain the right of self-determination. Sorry, Americans should never hide under the comfy blankets offered by dictators. It is a stain on our national character that we do, and a massive disappointment that so many conservatives would rather have an entire people ruled by a dictator than their choosing a path for themselves. But then again, most of the monarchs and aristocracy of Europe looked askance out our own revolution, and those that followed. I guess I know with whom you would have stood in 1775.

    I suppose the obvious counter-argument is one of real politik…it is simply naive, the Israelis would have us believe. Of course, Israel would say that. The US needn’t be wagged by that tail all the time. Israel (and Egypt) get about a 1/3 of our foreign aid, mostly in military aid. They are our client states, not the other way around, right? But such political calculations are ultimately self-destructive, corrosive to a nation’s moral spirit, and as David Brooks would have it, a denial of the irrepressible principle of human dignity. We should not shy away from this development in fear. Embrace it, and embrace their self-determination, reaffirm with them our support, and welcome them. Muslim democracy has worked, and can work. Your cynicism and attempt to legitimize some of the ruthless and criminal behavior of the Israeli state does not help anyone’s cause, especially, in the end, your own.

    I may add, that while the polls you cite are depressing, you may give thought to comparing these with American attitudes and behavior in the last two centuries. I think an honest assessment will find that our Republic did not thrive for lack of fundamentalists, bigots, or cruelty, racism, sexism, and violence. And I think if you polled the US asking folks if they would welcome “Christian influence over their politics” a very large number of people would say yes. It was not very long ago that the conservatives were pushing to institutionalize prayer in school. And in my own high school I had teachers trying to shove creationist crap down my throat too…

    Posted February 2, 2011 at 3:14 am | Permalink
  5. Malcolm says

    Spare me the sermon, Reverend. I am always sympathetic to anyone who wants to cast off the chains of tyranny.

    I haven’t really expressed anything in these posts other than pessimism about what Egypt will become, and how the strategic realities of the region and the world will be altered, once the lid is off.

    If you think Egypt in 2011 is America in 1775, you’re in for a surprise.

    Posted February 2, 2011 at 9:09 am | Permalink
  6. @Posted February 2, 2011 at 3:14 am

    “Your cynicism and attempt to legitimize some of the ruthless and criminal behavior of the Israeli state does not help anyone’s cause, especially, in the end, your own.”


    Ironically, your remark, Reverend howsurprising, is true to your chosen nom de keyboard. The relativism of your morals is abundantly clear.

    Perhaps you could explain which people’s or country’s (Arab’s? Iran’s? Egypt’s?) ethics and morality you are comparing when you assert “ruthless and criminal behavior” on the part of Israel.

    And what of your own cause? Could it be to enlarge the community of those you consider to be some of your best friends, including those of the Jewish persuasion?

    Posted February 2, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Permalink