Members of the American chattering class have been tripping over one another to show off their solidarity with the popular uprising in Egypt.
After being hammered left and right for his hands-off approach to Egyptians’ demand for democracy, Barack Obama complied, and waxed fat about those universal rights that belong to the Egyptian people.
You know, the same rights sundered stateside by U.S. representatives – who’ve designated for the Great American Unwashed special “free speech zones” where they may lawfully assemble, and who’ve proposed emergency Internet-killing and net-neutrality laws, individual health-care mandates, and on and on. For the edification of Egyptians Against Freedoms Flouted in America, it has been estimated that our federal government may use the criminal process to enforce over 300,000 federal regulations. Hey, you could be an outlaw and you don’t know it!
But I digress. Like Obama, the Israeli prime minister’s response to the developments on his country’s southern border was muted. “The peace between Israel and Egypt has lasted for over three decades,” Benjamin Netanyahu reminded the press. “Our efforts have been intended to continue to preserve stability and security in our region.”
Understandable. Netanyahu lives in a rough neighborhood. Cairo is approximately 264 miles from the prime minister’s doorstep. “Without Egypt,” worried Haaretz correspondent Aluf Benn, “Israel will be left with no friends in the Mideast.” Indeed, Israelis have no problem accepting that “the old order in the Middle East is crumbling,” as Ari Shavit, also of Haaretz, put it. “Just as the officers’ revolution in the 1950s brought down the Arab monarchism that had relied on the colonial powers, the 2011 revolution in the square is bringing down the Arab tyrants who were dependent on the United States.” “Modernization, globalization, telecommunications and Islamization,” by Shavit’s estimation, have created an unstoppable impetus in the Middle East.
Israel’s habitual haters, on the other hand, have a hard time understanding the country’s justified apprehension about losing the peace with Egypt, and having to consider an increase in a defense budget that was cut, “starting in 1985,” precisely because of that precious peace. (Cuts that greatly benefited Israel’s relatively robust economy.) And so the haters piled onto the Jewish state, blaming it for the fact that successive American governments have supported Hosni Mubarak. “Israel is an enormous detriment to the U.S.,” averred former CIA operative Michael Scheuer. “The longer we pursue this relationship with the Israelis, the more blood and lives it will cost us.”
Yes, poor, little America has been “Jewed” into its foreign-policy follies.
As reprehensible has been the position staked out by Israel’s die-hard American boosters, who’ve tried to discredit the Egyptian uprising. They claim it has been fomented by the Muslim Brotherhood, the ideological and tactical progenitor of Islamic Jihad and Hamas. This tack has allowed the fractious neoconservative faction to cheer for Mubarak with little appreciation for the aspirations of his downtrodden people. The likes of former ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton and Frank Gaffney have not bothered to explain how the Egyptian democratic revolt and the Iranian 2009 uprising differ. Both neoconservatives liked the latter a lot.
For their part, Europeans urged the Egyptian leader whom they loved last week to respect Egyptians’ “freedom of expression, the right to communicate” (the words of European Council President Herman Van Rompuy), as well as “the freedom of opinion” (German Chancellor Angela Merkel). That’s good for a laugh, coming as it does from leaders who wage “lawfare” – “the use of law and legal skill to advance a political agenda” – against “subversive” speech when uttered by their subjects.
“I know nothing so miserable as a democracy without liberty,” wrote Alexis de Tocqueville in the mid-1800s. He speaks for me. I find myself unable to get lathered-up about democracy for others, while I live in the democratic despotism that contemporary America has become.
Tocqueville “foresaw the coming of the social welfare state, which agrees to provide all for its subjects, and in turn exacts rigid conformity.” Above this race of conformist men “stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratification and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild. … it seeks … to keep them in perpetual childhood.”
The “planners’ society” I inhabit is “dominated by a bureaucratic elite.” This unnatural elite, “manages its people’s principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances. … Thus it every day renders the exercise of the free agency of man less useful and less frequent.”
What remains of the rights to property and self-ownership in the soft tyranny that is the USA is regulated and taxed to the hilt. When they travel, Americans are routinely patted down and irradiated with photons like meat in a packaging plant. In contravention of their naturally licit rights, many thousands of my compatriots languish in prisons for ingesting unapproved substances, or for violating information socialism laws (so-called insider trading infractions). Others are hounded by democratically elected despots for daring to form militia (as many Egyptians have recently done) in order to repel the trespassers who traipse across their homesteads on our country’s Southern border, killing their cattle and imperiling their kin.
More often than not, Americans who yearn for the freedoms their forebears bequeathed to them are labeled demented and dangerous. I’ve yet to hear liberty-deprived peoples the world over stand up for the tea-party patriots. When they do – I’ll gladly galvanize on their behalf.
Until then, I wish the Egyptians better luck with their next “son of 60 dogs” – that’s an Egyptian expression for political master. But that’s about it.