Hoping for the Best
From the NY Times, an article describing the class conflict lying just below the surface of the Egyptian uprising. Hat tip to Che Bob. A wealthy beneficiary of the Mubarak regime and policies says from behind the wall of his upscale gated "community":
"I wish we could be like the United States with a democracy, but we cannot. We have to have a ruler with an iron hand."
Implicit in this statement is the persons admiration of a system which has so perfected the illusion of liberal, neutral "democracy" to mask the kind of inequality he enjoys. It is so much more Western and sophisticated to convince your citizens they are free, to make them complicit in their own oppression! This iron hand is so crude, so 1980's.
Am I saying a "bourgeois democracy" is no better than a dictatorship? No. I am saying it is all contingent.An Egyptian elite with his yacht and mansion looks at the minority American rotting in prison on a drug possession charge. I'm free to write my ignored revolutionary manifestos and if capitalist democracy is allowed to flourish in Egypt they may elect their own Ronald Reagan or Silvio Berlusconi in a few years.
Dr.Ahmed Zewail believes "a constitutional assembly of wise men should be assembled to draft a new constitution, based on liberty, human rights and the orderly transition of power."
There you go, some Founding Fathers with large land holdings and superior educations perhaps?
They could inscribe the freedom of private property, capital and markets along with the liberty to pass dynastic wealth from one generation to the next and start to really BE somebody! I believe you could get Hillary behind that one.
I saw two amazing interviews yesterday. Both John Kerry and Tom Friedman were in Davos and were asked their reactions to what was going on in Egypt. The tip toe, Death Mask blathering about "flat earth" and " stability" and "rights" was priceless. The doubling of oil prices may have some effect on "stability" however and I know Ehud Barak is in a tizzy. The one thing they all share is a deep distrust of democracy.