One of the most dangerous causes that conservatives and Leftists alike have aligned themselves with over the past few decades has been that of democracy-promotion abroad. They all fail – usually out of omnipotence – to understand that representative democracy is a byproduct of a private property rights regime, much like everything that is good in this world.
In Egypt, the newly elected Islamist president has been clamping down hard on opposition movements, an obvious barrier to the democracy that many occupiers of Tahrir Square had called for. The latest target is Egypt’s version of Jon Stewart. I made a bet with Dr. Delacroix in October of 2011 concerning the Arab Spring. I wrote:
Time will tell, of course, which one of our predictions comes true. In two years time, Tunisia, which did not get any help from the West, will be a functioning democracy with a ruling coalition of moderate Islamists in power.
The Egyptian military will be promising the public that elections are just around the corner, and Libya will be in worse shape than it is today. Two years from today, Dr. J, you will be issuing an apology to me and making a donation to the charity of my choice.
Since you are very good at avoiding the facts on the ground in the name of democratic progress, I think we should establish a measurement rubric by which to measure the progress of Libya. How about GDP (PPP) per capita as measured by the IMF?
He declined to accept my challenge. As of today, I have only been wrong about the Egyptian military, but with Morsi (a former engineering professor at Cal State-Northridge) turning the screws on non-Islamist opposition as fiercely as he has, I wonder how much longer the secular military will tolerate his already shaky rule.
Liberty is the mother of democracy, not vice-versa. Hawks like Dr. Delacroix and Nancy Pelosi would do well to remember this (but they won’t; they believe themselves to be omnipotent).