by wjw on February 4, 2011

The splendid Mr. Scalzi has kindly loaned me his blog today for a chat about Deep State, the Egyptian revolution,and what happens when a writer finds his novel coming true before his every eyes.

Please check it out.

TJIC February 4, 2011 at 2:31 am

“watching and cheering the Egyptian revolution” ?!?

That seems a bit premature given that we don’t know if the resulting state will be more or less free than the current government.

wjw February 4, 2011 at 4:22 am

Mubarak was in power for 30 years. It’s time he went.

That’s why international efforts need to be put into aiding a transition that will result in a democratic Egypt.

TJIC February 4, 2011 at 12:43 pm

I’m no apologist for dictatorships – quite the opposite!

And yes, we can both agree “death (or, at least, exile) to dictators”.

I’m not going to assert anything racists like “Arabs can’t handle democracy”.

…but, looking at the facts on the ground, I think it is an imperative question: “when the Egyptians jump out of the frying pan, will they land in an easy chair … or in the fire?”.

Given that the power players here are the Army, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the imams, I’m not exactly ready to go to inTrade.com and wager the farm on a democracy being established in Egypt. It might happen. It’d be great if it happened. …but is that the most likely outcome? Further, even if it does happen, how does the democracy vote?

> That’s why international efforts need to be put into aiding a transition that will result in a democratic Egypt.

Sometimes a state machine just does not have the end states that one desires, and no string of inputs into the state machine can drive it to the desired end state.

While I remain long term optimistic about freedom for all humans on the planet, it’s VERY far from clear to me that given the culture in Egypt that a functioning western style democracy with respect for human rights, ethnic and religious minorities, etc. is possible in the next 12 months. Or 12 years.

I’m not saying that it’s IMPOSSIBLE. I’m just saying that “cheering” a revolution that we don’t yet know the end of might be premature.

In other news: 100 pages into Deep State. Great!

wjw February 7, 2011 at 5:45 am

TJIC, you’ve stated very well the succession problems in a dictatorship. It’s impossible to know what’s going to follow the current government, whether the dictator dies in bed or not. WikiLeaks showed that no one knew who, or what, was going to follow Mubarak =even before the revolution.=

So I’m cheering for the Western-oriented middle-class geeks who started this thing. They’ve been abroad and know governments that aren’t autocracies, and they’re the ones that have been holding the revolution together with their electronic prestidigitation.

I’m not so much worried about the Muslim Brotherhood co-opting the revolution, simply because the Army isn’t about to let them take power.

That we end up with yet another general in charge is more worrisome, but at least the insurrection will have shown that it’s possible to topple such a government.

TJIC July 2, 2013 at 1:44 pm

Revisiting this thread two years later. Re this:

> I’m not so much worried about the Muslim Brotherhood co-opting the revolution

I’m quite sad that I was so prescient:


Following the 2011 Revolution the group was legalized,[1] and with an estimated 600,000 members or supporters[2][3] is considered the largest, best-organized political force in Egypt.[2][4] Its credo is, “God is our objective; the Quran is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader; Jihad is our way; and death for the sake of God is the highest of our aspirations.”

I’ve been libertarian all of my adult life, wanting everyone to have full rights to speak, live as they please, worship as they want, etc., etc., etc., but as I get older I start to realize that sometimes political rights are in conflict with individual civil rights: the majority is not only willing to vote away the rights of the minority, but they’re actively EAGER to do so.

Thus the neo-reactionaries like Mencious Moldbug have a point: sometimes POLITICAL authoritarianism can allow INDIVIDUAL freedom.

It’s messy, complicated, and an ugly thing to have to admit to oneself, let alone to say out loud (one comes across as being in favor of authoritarianism)…but I think that there’s some truth to it.

wjw July 4, 2013 at 4:12 am

What I’m worried about is whether the Army was playing rope-a-dope against the Muslim Brotherhood, and using the Westernized liberals as their pawns. It’s not often you get military rule from the efforts of liberal-democrats.

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