Monday, January 23, 2012

Islam and Democracy II

Following up on secular blood's comment on my previous post,

Considering that you read Half Sigma (that is how I got here), you obviously believe in HBD (or aren't extremely offended by it). Knowing what we know about HBD, it seems pretty obvious that Islam is incompatible with democracy.

It isn't Islam itself, but the people who subscribe to it that are the problem. It would be like observing the violence in Mexico, and the fact that they are predominately Catholic, and concluding that peace is incompatible with Catholicism.

I disagree.  HBD is important, definitely, but for producing safe and productive societies, not for democracy, per se, and it's quite irrelevant when you look at whether it respects minority religious rights.

At least Bill Maher agrees with me!

So, getting to the meat of the matter, I want to look at some of Thomas Friedman's posts on the Egyptian revolution:

In this one, he is reasonably skeptical:
We believe in free and fair elections, human rights, women’s rights, minority rights, free markets, civilian control of the military, religious tolerance and the Egypt-Israel peace treaty, and we will offer assistance to anyone who respects those principles.

Which is an improvement from his earlier column:
Many said they voted for Islamists because they were neighbors, people they knew, while secular liberal candidates had never once visited. Some illiterate elderly women confided that they could not read the ballot and just voted where their kids told them to. But practically all of them said they had voted for the Muslim Brotherhood or Salafist candidates because they expected them to deliver better, more honest government — not more mosques or liquor bans. 


In Egypt, 82 percent want stoning for those who commit adultery; 77 percent would like to see whippings and hands cut off for robbery; and 84 percent favor the death penalty for any Muslim who changes his religion.

They hate gays
Homosexuality is so detested in Egypt that the country's largest rights group says it cannot campaign against persecution of gay men despite international concern. 

Copts are scared

This is not going to turn out well, people.

The only saving grace? They're not going to have enough money to sponsor terrorism, at least.

Why?  The Egyptian economy is collapsing.

But how are we supposed to solve it?  There is no long term fix to the economy.  It has been far too dependent on Western aid and tourism for too long. Poverty is endemic.

Mubarak's legacy is a country of 80 million in which one fifth of the population struggles by with $2 a day, many of them working in a huge parallel economy where job security is absent.

How are you going to solve this?  You can't.  The IQ and PISA scores simply aren't there.  They have no major resources to rely on.  Ahead is simply abyss. Will Western governments have the stomach to bail out Egypt's government?  And once they run out of cash, what happens? How are you going to compete with China?

With any other country, I'm not as worried. Bangladesh is in a similar hopeless situation, as well as a good chunk of central america and sub saharan africa, and probably indonesia too (but they still have a bit of growing before they hit their limit). 

The difference, of course, is that Egypt is next to Israel.  

1 comment:

  1. I doubt western governments will bail out a nation dominated by Islamists... at least I hope not.

    Thanks for the link on the blogroll. I will be sure to add you to mine.