November 24, 2012
Morsi's Unavoidable Purges (Walter Russell Mead, 11/24/12, Via Medea)
While Morsi is being criticized in and out of Egypt for his assumption of dictatorial powers, it's worth noting that his plans to bypass Egypt's judicial system are grounded in a reality: Egypt's judges were handpicked by the thoroughly corrupt Mubarak regime and did the old dictator's bidding without protest for many years. Neither the judges as a group nor the judiciary as an institution are entitled to any particular respect.This is an example of a problem that many revolutionary regimes face around the world. Do you allow the judicial lapdogs of the old dictator to act as umpires in the new regime, or do you destroy all the institutions of society and try to rebuild everything from scratch? Do you allow yourself to be bound by corrupt judges defending privileges of the old regime, or do you cast down the legal system and cast off the restraint of the laws?Neither alternative is a good one and this is one of the reasons why most revolutions end in disappointment and new dictatorship.Morsi is right that the judicial system often acts to protect the interests of the Mubarak power elite, and right too to hold the system in deep contempt. But his critics and opponents are right to warn that his action paves the way for dictatorship and opens the doors to widespread abuse of powers.
Posted by Orrin Judd at November 24, 2012 2:34 PM