July 9, 2013

NEW LEFT/OLD RIGHT:

Egypt's Illiberal Liberals (John Allen Gay, July 9, 2013, National Interest)

[E]gypt's secular-liberal revolutionaries seem to be living in an alternative reality of their own. The most fundamental fact in their world is that Egypt's coup was not a coup--that the Egyptian army can inform the Egyptian president that he is no longer the president, use its commandoes to remove him from his office and then have its head appear on national television to announce the suspension of the constitution without committing a coup. (Helpfully, the Obama administration is weighing the incorporation of this fact into its reality, as well.) And the chief argument for this fact is the enthusiasm of the coup's civilian enthusiasts--in other words, there is no "objective fact separate from how [they] feel about it." [...]

The Egyptian liberal's alternative reality is a very illiberal place, for it cannot bear contact with anything outside itself. Dissent threatens its very existence. And so pro-Morsi journalists are shouted out of press conferences by their colleagues. Opposition parties must be banned, their leaders rounded up, their media outlets shut down. Blotting out offensive views becomes a form of political speech. The liberals are not calling for a liberal state--what they want is a fury-state, where the government derives legitimacy from serving as a funnel for the public's revolutionary anger. It's New Left, not liberal democracy. It's the vision of Maximilien de Robespierre and Hugo Chavez, not James Madison and John Stuart Mill.

Posted by at July 9, 2013 6:45 PM
  

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