Friday, February 4, 2011 – A Word on the National Interest by Benjamin Ra
Are we witnessing the democratic revival of the region? The New York Times believes so. David Brooks believes it to be “a great time to be alive… the world will be far safer when more of the world is normal, meaning mostly open and democratic.”
Such outright optimism from a sophisticated observer shows the extent to which the current conflagration in the Middle East has taken a hold on the imagination of Americans.
Is Brooks correct? I sure hope so, but let us not forget the wise words of Alexis de Tocqueville – that in a revolution, as in a novel, the hardest part to invent is the end.
Rebellions and riots are not unique to the democratic age. They have occurred throughout history wherever tyrants and oppressors have underestimated the patience of the people they rule. Starting a revolution is the easy part.
Let us therefore observe these events from afar and judge them according to their merits. Are the revolutionaries living up to their standards? What are their standards? Are they hungry for freedom? If so, are they just as hungry for the rule of law, without which freedom degenerates into anarchy?
None of these questions have yet been answered and until they are, it is wiser to hold one’s tongue. I for one am inclined toward pessimism.
Brooks writes, “If we have to go through a period of turmoil to get there, it is more than worth it.” I will excuse his use of the word “we” – as if he is identifying himself, unconsciously and wrongly, with the protestors and their spirit. I find it difficult, however, to excuse his blasé attitude toward turmoil when we have yet to see how great that turmoil will be.
- Triumph and Agony in Egypt (opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com)
- McCain v. Clinton on the Muslim Brotherhood (israelmatzav.blogspot.com)
- Kristol on Beck on Egypt (outsidethebeltway.com)
- Egyptian Turmoil Helping to Lift Oil, Food Prices (abcnews.go.com)
- Does the turmoil in Egypt threaten the economic recovery (yzerfonteinchronicles.blogspot.com)
- China Censors Egypt Coverage (newsweek.com)
- Washington state exports affected by Egypt turmoil (bizjournals.com)
- Reasons to be Optimistic about Egypt (unreasonablefaith.com)
- Quote of the Day: Egypt’s Turmoil Has Divided the Neocons (themoderatevoice.com)
- Wednesday Lowland Snow?? (cliffmass.blogspot.com)
- ‘This Week’ Transcript: Crisis in Egypt – ABC News (news.google.com)
- Analysis: Cheap Egypt assets attractive but not yet funds (reuters.com)