June 25, 2012
First, congratulations to Egypt on their first real Presidential election in over 50 years. I mean that. No sarcasm.
Second, you get what you voted for. So, when the democratically elected leaders of your country fulfill their promises and begin to take away your liberties you'll have no one to blame but yourself.
On some level, I'm glad the Brotherhood's candidate won. It's a grand experiment in so-called "moderate" Islamism. We'll now get to see whether or not Western academics who keep telling us that the "real" sharia is really just like the Bill of Rights is accurate or not.
When the Brotherhood legalizes genital mutilation and outlaws blasphemy I'm sure we'll have a few converts. They'll be horrified. Rightly so. This, they'll say, is not what we expected. They will realize that they've been lied to and were misled by people with an agenda.
But I'm also sure that an equal number will simply say that what happens in Egypt isn't the "real" sharia either. They'll be like those Marxists who say that "real" Marxism has never been tried. This despite over a hundred years of communism in dozens and dozens of countries implementing Marxism differently, all of them oppressive on some level, but that that not a single one of them have got it right.
Oh well, you can't fix stupid.
And the extent to which radical multiculturalists will bend over backwards to explain away even the most horrific of practices really does know no bounds. I once heard a mulituculturalist argue in front of a large audience that pedophilia really is a social construct so immigrants caught engaged in perverse acts with prepubescent minors should be able to use this as an affirmative defense at their child molestation trial. People clapped. Unfortunately, Jerry Sandusky was too white to use this type of defense.
But after the fall of communism a lot of people who were not necessarily supportive of Marxism but who were in what we might call the tolerance camp defected to our side. That is to say, a lot people quit denying the evils of communism given the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
I'm afraid that we are going to have to put up with states like Egypt if we are ever going to make the point that even so-called "moderate" sharia denies people of their fundamental human liberties.
Under sharia people do not have freedom of speech. One cannot criticize religious figures, for instance, because of blasphemy laws.
For the same reasons people do not have freedom of the press or religion. But freedom of religion for even more extensive reasons, for instance because it is illegal under sharia to leave Islam.
It is also illegal to be a practicing Christian under sharia. I know Muslims deny this, but this is because they fundamentally misunderstand Christianity. Christians are commanded by Jesus to spread the gospel. That is, Christians must proselytize. Which is forbidden under sharia. So minority Christians in Muslim countries are not able to fully express their religious practice because they are constrained from doing so under threat of legal punishment.
The ability to choose one's religion is fundamental to human liberty. Any political system which denies this fundamental human right is illegitimate.
So, Egypt has chosen to go down this path. I feel sorry for the many minorities and secularists in Egypt who will now be oppressed. But I also feel sorry for the many Muslims who voted for the Brotherhood candidate because they too will be oppressed.
No one is free when the force of the state is coupled with religion. That is true in modern Muslim countries as much as it was true in medieval Europe.
Hopefully democratic institutions will remain long enough that when the Egyptian people (hopefully) see the error of their ways that they will be able to change course again and choose a government dedicated to the fundamental principle of separation of mosque and state.
Unfortunately, I doubt very much that this will be the case.