creators.com opinion web
Liberal Opinion Conservative Opinion
Dennis Prager
Dennis Prager
18 Nov 2014
Poverty Causes Crime?

One of the first clues that this Columbia-educated, liberal, Democrat, New York Jew had that there was … Read More.

11 Nov 2014
When Republicans Win, Politics Are 'Dysfunctional'

Since the Bolsheviks inaugurated the first edition of their party newspaper Pravda (the Russian word for truth),… Read More.

4 Nov 2014
The Left's Tactics -- a Personal Example

The Left's Tactics — a Personal Example Last week, I was a speaker and the emcee at a rally convened by … Read More.

Eight Reasons Not To Be Optimistic About Egypt

Comment

From the moment the Tahrir Square demonstrations against Hosni Mubarak began, optimism has dominated American reporting and commentary on what is being called the Egyptian revolution.

I fervently hope I am wrong, but I find it hard to share this dominant view, even as I identify with all those Egyptians and other Arabs who yearn for freedom.

I offer eight good reasons for my pessimism:

1. Countries almost never go straight from dictatorship to liberty.

For the past 250 years, the general rule of revolutions has been this: The more tyrannical the regime that is overthrown, the more tyrannical the regime that replaces it. Though post-Soviet Eastern European countries might seem to invalidate this rule, they do not. The reason Poland, Romania, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Bulgaria became more or less free countries almost immediately after overthrowing communist dictatorships is that all those dictatorships were imposed from abroad (the Soviet Union). When a country overthrows a homemade dictator, it rarely replaces him with a free society. The French Revolution replaced the French monarchy with revolutionary terror. The Russian Revolution replaced the autocratic Russian czar with totalitarian commissars.

2. When pro-American dictators are overthrown, far more repressive anti-American tyrants usually replace them.

In 1959, the pro-American Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista was overthrown and replaced by an anti-American communist totalitarian state under Fidel Castro. Most Cubans had far more freedom under Batista than under Castro. In 1979, the pro-American Shah of Iran dictatorship was overthrown and replaced by a far less free, far more repressive, virulently anti-American Islamic tyranny.

3. Islamists have a near-monopoly on passion in Egypt and elsewhere in the Arab world.

In politics, passion matters. That is why small impassioned groups can dominate a more passive majority of a country. And in Egypt, no group or cause has nearly the passion that the Islamists have.

4. Neither liberty nor tolerance has roots in the Arab world.

It is very hard, perhaps impossible, to plant the trees of liberty and tolerance in soil that has never grown them. And if these trees are planted, they are likely to take many years to grow.

5.

People have been trained to depend on the state.

In addition to political obstacles, there are economic and psychological ones. Most Egyptians and other Arabs have known no economic life other than reliance on the state. In order to foster liberty, the state must shrink. But if the state shrinks, so do government subsidies for food and so do the number of state employees. Even assuming Egyptians' yearnings for liberty were more intense than their yearning for an Islamist state, in order to make a free country, Egyptians would have to wean themselves off of dependence on the state. That is almost unheard of — see Madison, Wis., to see how difficult it is even in a prosperous, free, First World country.

6. The American media have been hiding the bad guys.

You have not been getting the whole truth about Tahrir Square. To this day, the print edition of The New York Times has not reported the sexual assault on Lara Logan, the chief CBS TV foreign correspondent, by 200 Egyptian men in Tahrir Square yelling "Jew, Jew" while they assaulted her. CBS News itself did not report on the incident until others exposed it. Likewise, few mainstream news media have reported or shown the depictions of Mubarak as an Israeli agent or attacks on other Western news teams accused of being agents of Israel.

7. Getting closer to Iran

In one of its first actions after taking over control of the Egyptian government, the Egyptian army allowed two Iranian warships to sail through the Suez Canal for the first time since the Iranian revolution. If that is not a bad sign, nothing is.

8. Egypt is saturated with Jew and Israel hatred.

Finally, and arguably most significantly, Egypt and the rest of the Arab world have been swimming in a sea of Jew and Israel hatred for decades. Historically, anti-Semitism has been a perfect predictor of a society that will cause others problems and that will eventually self-destruct. The preoccupation with destroying Israel has been the single greatest obstacle to Arab countries joining the modern world. No Arab progress will be possible until the Arab world gives up its obsession with Israel's disappearance.

Against these eight powerful reasons, we read about individual Egyptians who are sick of dictatorship and yearn for freedom. Such wonderful people also lived in Cuba in 1959, and in Iran in 1979. They usually end up in prison.

Dennis Prager hosts a nationally syndicated radio talk show and is a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He is the author of four books, most recently "Happiness Is a Serious Problem" (HarperCollins). His website is www.dennisprager.com.

COPYRIGHT 2011 CREATORS.COM



Comments

1 Comments | Post Comment
Israelis a red herring for Arab politicians--a way to distract their people from the real problems of their societies. If the Great Rift Fault were to open up and swallow everything from the Jordan to the Mediterranean, not a practical thing would change in any of the Muslim countries.
The history of the Arab world has been one of power struggles from the beginning. The Caliphate has always been a bone of contention, and three of the first four "rightly guided Caliphs" were assassinated. Compromise and cooperation are not virtues valued in that part of the world. Not understanding the very concept of anger management and self-control is endemic. (My in-laws are from the Middle East.)
What I can't figure out is that a society that is ostensibly fatalistic and sees the existence of Israel as against the will of Allah--if Allah is as powerful as they claim to believe, why does Israel exist? You can't suppose that the Jews and Christians are right in thinking that God does specifically allow Israel to be?
Comment: #1
Posted by: partsmom
Tue Mar 1, 2011 10:39 PM
Already have an account? Log in.
New Account  
Your Name:
Your E-mail:
Your Password:
Confirm Your Password:

Please allow a few minutes for your comment to be posted.

Enter the numbers to the right:  
Creators.com comments policy
More
Dennis Prager
Nov. `14
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
26 27 28 29 30 31 1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 1 2 3 4 5 6
About the author About the author
Write the author Write the author
Printer friendly format Printer friendly format
Email to friend Email to friend
View by Month
Authorís Podcast
Marc Dion
Marc DionUpdated 24 Nov 2014
Deb Saunders
Debra J. SaundersUpdated 23 Nov 2014
Steve Chapman
Steve ChapmanUpdated 23 Nov 2014

8 Jan 2008 Sen. Obama's Calls for Unity Are Not What They Seem

17 Dec 2013 'Tolerance' Now Means Government-Coerced Celebration

16 Sep 2008 The Gibson Doctrine