By: Thomas Lee Abshier, ND
This following essay is in response to an article by Lew Rockwell, a Libertarian writer, on the uprising of the people of Egypt against his 30 year dictatorship.
The seed article by Lew Rockwell considers the Egyptian uprising and compares it to the rebellion against Soviet imperialism in the late ’80s by the Eastern block. Mr. Rockwell condemns America for its tacit complicity and support of the dictatorial regime of Mubarak and lauds the demonstrators for throwing off the chains of dictatorial suppression. To the extent that the tyranny of a dictator is replaced with a government guided by Righteous principles, the rebellion is good; but I fear that this particular replacement of tyranny will not turn out well.
The rhetoric and exaltations of freedom are seductive since freedom is good – at least within the limits of Godliness. We all want freedom, and but men only deserve it to the extent of their moral maturity. The Libertarian stands against government restricting men’s freedom, and rightly so. But, the government will assume this role if parents, neighbors, and community do not reign in the unGodly behavior of youth and rebels. The Founders declared in the 10th Amendment that all other functions of government not specifically elaborated in the Constitution were reserved for the States.
Restrictions of freedom should be a local issue. The man deprived of a degree of freedom should have the opportunity to resist, change, and influence his legislators. The unit of government should be sufficiently small that the ordinary man can agitate, excite, enroll, and organize enough of a voting block coalition to significantly confront his legislator.
There will necessarily be restrictions in any “free” society. And, those restrictions should ideally be those guides of Godliness and restrictions of unGodliness. If those restrictions are established at an extremely remote layer, far from accountability and protest, the individual is less free, since he is effectively subject to the rule and whims of a King, and that without effective recourse. There is no such thing as absolute freedom since my exercise of absolute freedom would restrict the freedom of others, which isn’t fair. As a value in judging who should have freedom and who should not, fairness is an important discriminator since no man is more important than another in God’s eyes.
But, having said that no man is more loved by God, on this earth there will be inequalities. And having noted that some men have more freedom than other because of their wealth, their influence or position, we must ask, if this is a proper and right system that allows some more freedom than others?
The Libertarian suggests that the inequities of life be negotiated in the context of the market, with each man accepting and giving freedom and restrictions according to the bidding and asking dynamic of society and the market. This system is very similar to the complex of limited government, capitalism, and Judeo-Christian ethics framed by the Founders.
The Libertarian system cannot be definitively critiqued because there is no monolithic Libertarian doctrine. Their concept of government ranges from limited government to anarcho-capitalist/pure market force government. The Constitutional Republic advocates a limited central government, with the distribution of wealth governed by the market, with the restrictions on behavior left largely to individual conscience, and the State serving as a disciplinarian to those who violate the space of others.
Regarding fairness, in general, money buys freedom, and wealth flows toward the industrious, intelligent, studious, entrepreneur, self-starter, risk taker, hard worker, inventor, networker, and the persistent. Life is not fair in the sense of giving equal results or even results strictly commensurate with effort. Is this fair? Does this meet the consideration of God’s non-discrimination? Yes, it does. God has given men free will, and a dynamic experience in the rise or fall of freedom, health, wealth, and power.
The fairness of life experience is not the primary criteria by which God judges the quality of life. God’s concern with life falls along the question of men developing Godly character. Men are tested, but not tempted. The various trials of life challenge men to develop character, and push against the various types of difficulties of life, whether they be riches or poverty, both of which must be managed with discipline and right choice.
In a generally moral society, we allow the moderate foolishness of youth for a short season, but we progressively restrain and punish the committed rebel. In a Righteous Society, we expect that every man is committed to restoring himself and becoming wise and righteously self-governed.
Authoritarian rule rises to suppress an unruly people lacking the discrimination to discipline themselves. Freedom has appropriate limits because freedom is a privilege of adulthood that can be abused by children. A “government of the people” can exist as long as the people are self-governed in righteousness. The greater the unrighteousness of a people, the more likely and the sooner self-government will degenerate into authoritarianism. Anarchy and authoritarianism are the likely poles of oscillation that an unrighteous people will experience.
Government may be best seen as a service agency that provides the focal point for handling needed group functions. The central principle which allows self and limited government and freedom is a people individually embracing and living around the absolute standard of Righteousness. Such a people exert pressure in the community to conform and maintain this standard throughout the population and the generations.
Law should not regulate belief, rather it should regulate action. Any religion or philosophy that brings a man to right action is helpful. A True standard is the organizing principle which will generate right action. We have only the right to do right since no one is hurt by right actions (neither self nor other). We have no right to hurt others because they have a divine Right to pursue happiness (avoid pain). We have no right to hurt self because our bodies are not our own. We are ultimately owned by God since he has formed and crafted us and given us the ability to act.
We can do both right and wrong by our volition/free will. But, God has called men to choose Right and allowed each to suffer the natural consequence of violating Natural Law. This is part of His divine plan, creating a world where men could choose to ally with Him or the Darkness that opposes His Kingdom.
The Darkness is the enemy of all men, it is the source of all unhappiness, yet men are seduced by the temporal pleasures of women, gold, and power. Compassion and love motivate the wise to warn and restrain the fool from exercising his foolishness. To worship freedom as the highest virtue is idolatry, and it bears the bitter fruit of authorizing men to do anything regardless of its consequence to self or others.
No man has the absolute (God-given) Right do whatever he wants at the expense of others to benefit himself. The Libertarian accepts the restriction against violating the space of others but generally believes that the “victimless crimes” (prostitution, any consenting adult act, drug use, pornography, etc…) should be outside of the realm of the state restriction.
The error is believing in the existence of a victimless crime. All thoughts, speech, and action have an effect that ripples eventually through the community. As such, the community has the right to codify behaviors it finds offensive and offers remedial, restrictive, and punitive measures to staunch the flow.
As an individual, as a mature and righteous adult, each man should exert appropriate force against those who have little understanding of the consequences of bad choices. The delusion of false maturity is strong, and those who have actual experience and wisdom should exercise the tough love of saying “no” to those who would unknowingly hurt themselves or others.
There is a place for allowing children to make mistakes and learn from their pain, but to abdicate parental guidance in deference to the teacher of experience is to condemn each generation to repeat all the mistakes of history. To a degree, every generation has a parental relationship to the next.
The physical parents have the highest right and obligation to shape the child in righteousness. The school and community function as de facto parents as the child weans from the exclusive association with parents. Ideally, parents, school, and community are congruent teachers and disciplinarians. Hence the need for parents to choose community wisely, and take an active role in shaping its ideology and action.
Pure democracy is a governmental system only fit for a society of wise and mature adults. Representative democracy requires a generally informed and righteous electorate, who can recognize and choose wise and serviceful elders as agents to conduct useful group transactions. Freedom is a privilege fit only for righteous people. Freedom in the hands of the profligate releases them to wreak havoc in the world.
When a government is dissolved by revolution, we should not stand by without intervention and let “democracy” choose its new form without taking a stand. If we truly stand for Right, we should actively present our standard of morality and righteous conscience to influence the ideology and seed concepts of those who would form a new government. But of course, our influence is of little true value if we embrace an erroneous paradigm, as has been the case with our societal/cultural descent into humanism and darkness.
One question that motivates the Libertarian philosophy is, “What right does any man have to influence the fate, life, action, or experience of any other man?” The answer is that we each have as much right to use persuasion as the context of our relationship allows. We can be the metaphorical parent, friend, neighbor, or brother. The value of our intervention is proportional to our wisdom.
Taking full control is the relationship of parent to infant, which is appropriate for a short season, and will only be appropriate if no other more intimate and righteous parental figure is present. Most of life involves other pair-dynamics (older and younger sibling, parent-adolescent, employer-employee…) All relationships have their place, and the influence should be appropriate for the particular relationship-dynamic.
The farther a party is from righteousness, and the closer the context of the relationship, the more appropriate is the (adopted) parent role. Likewise, the more separated in distance, affection, commerce, and communication the more casual the relationship.
But again, our influence is only of true value if we have a correct, Right, and Godly perspective. If we hold to the values of humanism, then our advocacy is of value to the extent that our moral paradigm is of greater Truth than the opposing ideal.
Rebelling Against the Egyptian Dictatorship
By: Thomas Lee Abshier, ND
Sadly the most likely outcome of the Egyptian drama is that the tyranny of the fascist dictatorship will eventually be replaced by the tyranny of Sharia Law. We should take a strong stand as a nation against an entire people exercising this “choice”. There are forces that are operating that are using the pretense of freedom and democracy to manipulate the rise of the Caliphate. Giving children democracy, i.e. the freedom to choose, is harmful when the child has no maturity in moral discrimination.
Releasing children (an immature culture) to “choose” Sharia is akin to allowing a child to choose to smoke dope, have sex, drive fast, and join cults. Yes, freeing people from tyranny is good, but it is not a good, inspiring, or a wonderful example of “freedom” to allow them to choose another tyranny. The outcome of freedom will be poor when people choose badly. The consequences of some choices are not easily reversible, and it is best not to give choice to the child, imbecile, madman, or rebel.
As the de facto puppet masters of Egypt, America has squandered its time of hegemonic influence – a time when we could have used our overbearing parental position to strongly influence the culture, dictatorship, corruptocracy, and economy. Of course, the distance between their present cultural/economic reality and true prosperity and righteous rule of law is of epic proportions, but we could have applied pressure slowly, respecting the desire of people to follow traditions and worship God in their own way. People will naturally move in the direction of freedom with proper boundaries. The hearts, minds, and actions of the people will follow, usually without coercion, when the Truth is properly presented. A paradigm shift is needed, and we could and should have used our time of influence to move the culture incrementally toward the form of a Christian Constitutional Republic.
(Obviously, the intent of the various administrations and powers over the past 30 years was not to produce a righteous government. They got what they wanted and paid for. And, this is exactly the reason why the Libertarian movement has arisen, to eliminate government, so that there is no institution that evil men could appropriate to manipulate for their selfish satisfaction of the desire for control, or to impose their particular form of an imagined utopian system on the world.)
What I am proposing is not politically correct. We are supposed to respect all religions, let everyone believe whatever they believe, never say that one religion is more true or correct, and above all we are never to say that there is only one way to the Father. But, we are operating under a double standard that actually reveals an agenda. The Godless Left wants to separate Christianity completely from State, despite the blessings that it has brought America. But, they loudly advocate for the right of the Islamists to rule themselves under the authoritarian rule of Sharia.
Moving a culture toward first world prosperity (feeding the body) involves progressing gradually upward through steps such as food, water, sanitation, housing, power, transportation, communication, righteous rule of law, and finally a philosophical embrace of The Right Standard of Law. But, starting with the Right Standard (i.e. Godliness) speeds up the process, which is what we saw with the rise of America. The fact that we were largely a Christian nation at our founding may have been the major factor in her meteoric rise to dominance of the world stage, and the abandonment of it is likely the cause of our decay and fall.
If we truly are Righteous, we should be nation builders, shapers of the world cultures. We should apply gentle pressure along multiple axi in the direction of Righteousness. (We should have done this throughout the 30-year reign of Mubarak, but in this, we failed miserably.) People long for freedom within the limits of righteousness. But freedom and a righteous society come slowly while under the weight of a totalitarian theocracy. The change comes faster in an environment of free exchange of ideas and prosperity. We did not foster this in Egypt, to our shame. We deserve the coming caliphate and all the horrors it will bring to our economy, world, and freedom. No one can use the devil for his own benefit – it’s only a matter of time until the user is used.
We could have used our influence to change hearts and minds by showing them the fruit of Godliness. The problem is we have been hypocrites, claiming to embrace freedom and democracy, while propping up dictators and enabling their suppression for our benefit. This is the empire that the Left so glibly criticizes America for being. There is no harm in a righteous empire or a righteous kingdom, but we have moved away from the moral authority that justifies our action. We must first live and be the ideals before we can export them. My real critique is of ourselves; we are not the change we advocate.
A major consideration for the Libertarian could be phrased as, “What right do we have to exert an influence or lifestyle upon another people?” And the answer is dependent upon the proximity of the relationship. If another people are largely dependent upon us for their life support, ideally we would exert the same influence as a righteous parent to mold a child. As parents, we have the right and obligation to teach children to love, distinguish good from evil, give honor to whom honor is due, and treat others as you want to be treated. These are the ideals that we want of our children, neighbors, and community, and everyone wishes that all men followed these precepts.
But, in general, with other people in our family, neighborhood, community, state, nation, and other nation-states, we do not have that full dependency relationship of the parent-child. The possible exception would be the colonial-state, but certainly, Egypt does not qualify as a fully dependent child. They are somewhat dependent, in that we give them foreign aid, which is probably used only for mischief. Thus, most international relationship contexts will be less intimate and dependent than the parent-child, and thus we would have less authority. The no-explanation discipline and directives of the parent-toddler must be replaced by a more complex mix of example, reason, and carrot-stick teaching of principles and behavior.
Again, we are confronting the right to influence another person (entity) in their behavior. I contend that we have the right, possibly even obligation, to influence everyone on some level. The question is only degree of obligation and influence.
We cannot fully shape the philosophy, beliefs, politics, laws, economy, or social structure of everyone in our individual to the world-nation community. But, neither should we ignore the growth and maturation of personality of the budding nation-state out of a sense of universal respect of all other people to do and develop as they please. Abandoning the individual or developing nation-state to grow as it will is the equivalent to allowing the orphan to raise himself with the help of the local street ruffians.
In general, the world is a community with about 200 neighbors. And as such, we have the de facto relationship of community. It is to our benefit to attempt to influence the minds and hearts of the people in our community in the ways of Righteousness. And, we have the right to use the tools of persuasion appropriate to our level of relationship to influence the thought, speech, and action of those who live in our community.
If we use people to developing nations, for our benefit at their cost, a time will inevitably come when they mature and retaliate against the abuse suffered in their childhood. The pathology developed in that formative period of dependency and immaturity will harden into the various forms of social personality disorder. We will create the signals that send negative feedback, the outcome that naturally comes from wrong action that informs us of the error of our ways.
Another important Libertarian consideration is, “Do people have the right to do what is wrong?” The answer is context dependent. From God’s frame of reference, He gave men free will. So, one could argue that God intended that men have the right to do anything they please.
But, this opinion is brought under question when we consider the perspective of man and his pain. “Do men have the right to do anything they want to each other?”
The answer is “No.” Men have no right to do anything that makes the world worse for another person. Everyone wants happiness and freedom from pain. Doing wrong causes pain and diminished happiness for other people. There are no victimless crimes and no sin that affects only self. There is only disagreement about whether an action is right or wrong. If it is right, no one is hurt, self or other. If it is wrong, both self and others are hurt. No one has the right to hurt anyone – self or other. Hurting self hurts others because we live in community. When a node in the web is damaged, the community suffers.
Men only have the right to do the Right and Godly thing. Every action, to self or others, makes the world better or worse, and we have no right to make the world worse for another person. Good and evil are not equivalent. Pleasure and pain are not equivalent. Poverty and wealth are not equivalent. Love and hatred are not equivalent. There are choices that make the world a worse place to live for our fellow man, and we have no right to inflict that polarity of pain, evil, hatred… upon him.
As fellow travelers on planet Earth, we all make wrong choices. And, we should give each other the grace to make mistakes, learn the right and good choice, and then go through the process of establishing that new behavior as character.
Freedom is a wonderful concept, but it has limits. I do not have a right to exercise my freedom to unrighteously inflict suffering upon you, simply because I enjoy the behavior. And, since there are no victimless crimes, no sin that affects me along, I do not have the right to choose to sin.
But, I do have a right to try to make the world a better place, whether you like it or not. I may have to suffer through opposition to make my world better. If you are addicted to an unGodly pleasure that opposes God’s law/rule/way, I have every right, maybe even an obligation, to confront you in the proper time and way to produce the desired change.
The problem is that every man’s way is right in his own eyes. So, every time there is a disagreement about anything, underneath that dispute is a variation of taste and/or philosophy. But, just because I believe I am right and believe God is on my side, does not make me Right. Thus, to resolve the tension between people in disagreement, we must engage in the contest of ideas and consider the merits of the philosophical understructure. Such an exercise will challenge and purify our thinking. At the end of the debate, there should be complete agreement on principle.
Issues of taste have no moral implications in isolation (color, sound, texture, organization, timing, etc. Are issue of taste). But, because issues of taste can conflict, the issues of space can be resolved by negotiation (which can be settled by compromise, separation, capitulation, and alternation). Issues of taste should ultimately be resolved around the principle of fairness, but absolute fairness is impossible, and grace must be given even though boundaries are crossed and taste offended. Fairness must include calculations of perceived sacrifice, and likewise be modified to some degree by the ability of each participant to adapt. The issues of taste are subjective, but impact the realm of morality because they reflect our heart.
When debating the more objective questions of philosophical standards and Truth, such debate should use as premises for the argument such tools as: revealed Truth (scripture), Natural Law as observed and used as metaphor for current life situations, the precedent of previous social judgments and community standards, my personal sense of pleasure, fairness, and the effect of generalizing my philosophy to all people.
If after sufficient consideration, I am convinced of the righteousness of my stand, I may have to exert the force of persuasion to change/enroll hearts and minds in embracing a new standard. This may produce alienation of affection because of the divergence of world views and life commitments. To capitulate to a perspective that is antithetical to my standard to maintain the bond and affection of commonly held belief is codependent and cowardly. But, the divergence of opinion should not separate a True love of the person; regardless of opinion.
The courageous man is prepared to engage the appropriate force and endure the consequences to stand for his Truth. It takes effort to oppose a man’s world, to convince him that he should/should not do x/y/z. But, opposing another’s wrong action should be done in the same respectful way in which I want to be corrected for my errors of thought, speech, and action. We are all proud, insecure, and have fragile egos. A gentle and kind rebuke, said with ownership, expressed in a tentative phrase, with faith in the other’s innate desire for goodness is always appreciated. In other words, “Speak the Truth with love.”
Of course, men can (are able to) do what is wrong, but they will suffer for it. They may prosper for a while, and the party may be quite exciting for a season, but in the end, the piper will be paid, the hangover will be felt, and the bill for violations of space will come due. The world will be degraded just a little because of every imperfection of thought, speech, and action, even if it is “just” personal debauchery.
Yes, God gave us the freedom to rebel, to choose other gods and self-destructive lifestyles, but none of those choices will optimize our happiness. If chosen, the value is only in experiencing the pain and rejecting the temptation for future repetition. The man who wishes to make a habit of sin should be shunned from the community and given refuge only by a hard teacher or others of like mind. There is no kindness extended in consolation and codependent enabling of the addict to evil/sin. Communities of reprobates should be isolated and made a public example so as to serve as a warning to the wise. As a parent, it is imperative to have and teach a right perspective/pattern of life; otherwise, the child will follow the ways of his scoundrel parents.
Of course, who can know for certain that he is truly embracing Godly principles? Which, is why we choose to live in community and be subject to its standards, rules, and culture. Likewise, we should be able to choose our community, since we will either be brought up, down, or fight the environment.
We each make choices about right and wrong, and we all support, choose, and teach by example our concept of righteousness. The parent has no right to train the child in the ways of crime and self/other abuse. The child will lead a life of suffering at the hands of a parent who trains him in the ways of evil. What right does the parent have to abuse the child by training him in ways which will inevitably produce suffering? A parent has the God-authorized right to direct a child’s mind, using all the tools of teaching, training, and discipline (the soft tools of force). As a nation, we have the same right, and obligation, if we love our brother nations.
A People’s Uprising Against Tyranny
By Lew Rockwell
View all 27 articles by Lew Rockwell
Those of the young generation, people too young to remember the collapse of Soviet bloc and other socialist states in 1989 and 1990, are fortunate to be living through another thrilling example of a seemingly impenetrable state edifice reduced to impotence when faced with crowds demanding freedom, peace, and justice.There is surely no greater event than this. To see it instills in us a sense of hope that the longing for freedom that beats in the heart of every human being can be realized in our time.This is why all young people should pay close attention to what is happening in Egypt — to the protests against the regime of Hosni Mubarak as well as the pathetic response coming from his imperial partner, the United States, which has given him many billions in military and secret-police aid to keep him in power.The United States is in much the same situation today as the Soviet Union was in 1989, as a series of socialist dominoes toppled. Poland, Romania, Hungary, East Germany, Bulgaria, and Czechoslovakia all experienced dramatic meltdowns, while the Soviet regime, supportive of these systems since the end of the Second World War, sat by helplessly and watched. Leaders made vague statements about the need for peaceful transitions and elections, while the people on the ground completely ignored them.What has sparked the uprising? There are economic considerations, of course. A good rate of inflation in Egypt is considered to be 10 percent, and currency depreciation works as a massive punishment against savings and capital accumulation. Unemployment is high — about the same rate as the United States’ — but it is even higher for young people who are worried about the future.Economic growth has been much better in the last decades, thanks to economic reforms, but this tendency (as in the old Soviet bloc) has only worked to create rising expectations and more demands for freedom. It remains a fact that nearly half the population lives in terrifying poverty.The core of the problem, it appears, relates to civil liberties and the very old-fashioned conviction that the country is ruled by a tyrant who must go. Mubarak tolerates no challenges to his martial-law rule. There are tens of thousands of political prisoners in the country, and it is easy to get arrested and tortured simply by calling the dictator names. The press is censored, opposition groups are suppressed, and corruption runs rampant. Mubarak’s will to power has known no bounds: he chooses all the country’s elites based solely on personal loyalty to himself.Mubarak has ruled for 30 years, and yes, there have been elections every 6 years, but these are widely seen as being only for show. Opposition candidates end up prosecuted for a variety of invented crimes. Democracy in Egypt is merely a slogan for one-party rule. And this is striking: the main excuse for his martial law is one that is all too familiar to Americans — the war on terror (and never mind the terror dispensed by the warriors themselves).Probably a more substantive issue concerns the digital revolution and the opening up of the entire world through the Internet — a species of the very thing that the United States cited as the reason for the anti-Soviet uprisings of the late 1980s and early ’90s. Many young people in Egypt are as connected to the world through social media as American teenagers, and they enjoy access to the sights and sounds of the modernity that the regime so opposes.To understand what is driving the protests, consider the date that they began: National Police Day on January 25. This holiday was created by Mubarak only in 2009. Talk about misjudging the situation! And sure enough, the government’s response was to jam nearly all Internet communications and shut down all cell-phone service on the day of the planned protest. But it didn’t work: Thanks to what is now being called “hacktivism,” the revolution is being broadcast around the world through Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, even as Wikipedia is being updated minute by minute. And the Al Jazeera English live feed has, as usual, put the biased US media to shame.Meanwhile, official government voices in the United States have been pathetically behind the times. Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton have been refusing to describe Mubarak as a dictator and lamely urging a transition to an election — run and ruled over by the Mubarak regime. The protest leadership immediately saw that line for what it was and rejected it outright. It is unbearably obvious that the United States is nearly alone in more-or-less supporting Mubarak, but that is exactly what you would expect of the imperial backer of the despot.What are the protestors’ demands? It is not complicated. As in 1989, the one demand is that the dictator go. This makes complete sense and is the only solution that accords with what is right and just. This and only this will establish the basis for a transition to anything. What follows after that is really something that has to be worked out, not by the CIA, but by the Egyptian people, who have had their voices muzzled for far too long.What the uprisings underscore is a fundamental reality that the world too often forgets. It is at the core of the relationship between any government and any people, in all times and all places. The people far outnumber the government, and for that reason — and even when the government is heavily armed — every government must depend on some degree of consent to continue its rule. If the whole of a people rise up and say no, the bureaucrats and even the police are powerless. This is the great secret of government that is mostly ignored until revolution day arrives.More than the anti-Soviet protests of the late 1980s, the Egyptian uprisings reveal what might eventually come home to the American empire itself. Under the right conditions and at the right time, consciousness might dawn right here at home. It could happen here for the same reason it could happen anywhere.Government knows this, and hence its accumulation of weaponry and relentless propaganda. The difficulty for the state comes when its will to power generates what Thomas Jefferson called “a long train of abuses” that create a burning desire within people to rise up and demand freedom. Because, after all, it is the right of a people — is it not? — to alter and abolish the form of government under which they are forced to live.
Reprinted from LewRockwell.com and Mises.org
Also by Lew Rockwell: Hazlitt and Keynes: Opposite Callings 01/27/11
The Unthinking Right 12/31/10
The Economic Lessons of Bethlehem 12/24/10
What’s Wrong With the Jobs Market? 12/03/10
Another Smear of Anti-Fed Forces 11/22/10
View all 27 articles by Lew Rockwell EGYPT: Placebos, Protests and Precious Metals
We are constantly being advised that the Egyptian Military has the situation under control. As the situation develops it is becoming increasingly apparent that there is something wrong with this picture. The military and the media assures us that the morganatic wedding between the Generals and the Masses will proceed as scheduled. As the old song goes, “its time to wind up the masquerade…the piper must be paid.”
There is a great hunger in the land. The people have access to Facebook and the faces they see increase their rage. They see Generals, unnamed and anonymous, promising to give them bread and democracy. However, they see that the truth is otherwise. They are well aware as we may not be that the Egyptian Military runs beach resorts, banks and bread factories. Their subsidiaries manufacture automobiles, televisions, furniture, washing machines and other myriad necessities. They even have the hubris to control the bottled water industry. The brand is named “SAFI” after one of the general’s daughters. From this gigantic conglomeration of businesses, the generals pay no taxes, use drafted workers and buy real estate on advantageous terms. They are not responsible to report anything to the Egyptian people or to the legislature.
The ouster of Mubarak was merely a placebo to attempt to cover up the fact that the generals have been the power behind the government. Their names are unknown except for the leader, Field Marshall Tantawi, who has often been referred to as “Mubarak’s poodle”. They have established martial law, dissolved Parliament and cleared Tahrir Square with the carrot stick of eventually permitting democratic elections. Still unanswered are the protestors with the release of thousands of political prisoners. Such brazen exercise of authority might be justifiably interpreted as a conflict of interest. However, the masses in Egypt, as well as the rest of the middle east, are growing increasingly restive.
The old games of propping up despots such as Baptista and Trujillo are in this age where internet is accessible to the men on the street and the students in the universities, is growing increasingly thin. Revolutions have never played out according to script. In Russia, the Czar was overthrown only to be replaced by a small minority party called “The Bolsheviks”. In Germany it was the “Nazis”, that replaced the Weimar Republic. The Iranian revolution gave us the “Mullahs” instead of the Shah. The recent elections in Lebanon gave us the terroristic Hezbollah. What is to be the future role of the military that has for the past thirty years played a crucial behind the scenes role in preserving its own vast business interests?
This morning the newspapers said that the military has already “begun
taking steps to protect the privileges of its gated economy, discouraging
changes…that are crucial if Egypt is to emerge as a stable and prosperous
country. Protecting its businesses from scrutiny and accountability is a red line
that the military will draw…And that means there can be no meaningful civilian
Some other disturbing headlines in today’s papers are:
1.“Battle Lines Harden Across The Mideast As Rulers Dig In”
2.“Dozens Reported Killed In Libyan Crackdown”
3. “Yemen Protestors Face Off For The 8th Day”
4. “The Committee Formed To Protect Journalists Fights Attacks”
5. “Egypt Disappearances Raise Concerns About The Military”
What does all this turmoil, restlessness and upheaval mean to Gold Stock
Trades readers? The message cannot be clearer precious metals will assume a more salient role as time goes by. It is interesting to note that when tyrants depart they make sure that the gold they stole has preceded them. In Tunisia, the ousted leader Ben Ali made sure that he looted the government gold coffers before he left. In Egypt, Mubarak’s son Gamal was reported to have carried off large amounts of gold. We do not have to be weathermen to determine which way the winds of change are blowing in the Middle East. Precious metals will remain a viable store of wealth and a quasi-currency. With Iran moving ships through the Suez the situation remains in flux.
Editorial: As Libya Burns, Obama Fiddles
Posted 06:45 PM ET
Democracy: As the flames of freedom sweep Libya, longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi’s days look to be numbered. With the outcome still uncertain, a question arises: Why is the U.S. sitting on its hands?
The Obama administration’s approach to yet another revolt in an Arab country seems weirdly passive, as if sitting on the sidelines and watching was a policy. It’s not.
People are being butchered in the streets of Libya — as many as 400 at last count.
Libya’s diplomatic corps has resigned en masse in protest. But so far, the White House has managed only tepid remarks in condemnation of Gadhafi’s murderous crackdown.
In a written statement last Friday, President Obama lumped Libya and two other Arab countries together, urging “restraint.” Apart from that, he has said next to nothing as the Mideast boils over.
“We join the international community in strongly condemning the violence in Libya,” said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Not exactly Winston Churchill.
Not surprisingly, Libyans want something stronger. “I want the U.S. to tell the world and to work with the countries who love peace . .. they have to stop this,” said Libya’s ambassador to the U.S., Ali Ojli. The Obama administration, he said, should “take a strong position that what’s happening in Libya must be stopped now.”
Yet Obama seems frozen, afraid to speak or even be seen taking any sides in these revolts. He seems happy to let the United Nations — which to this day keeps Libya on its Human Rights Commission even as it murders its own citizens — take the lead.
This is a huge mistake. Many people who have taken to the streets in places such as Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia and Libya want democracy and human rights to prevail. They look to the U.S. for support, but find none.
The same administration that goes into high dudgeon over West Bank settlements by Israel, our best ally in the Mideast, can’t rouse itself to influence the change now breaking out in the Muslim world.
A lot’s at stake. Popular revolts in country after country may lead not to democracy, but to a wave of repressive, despotic Islamic fundamentalism. A strong response now from Obama would at least put the U.S. on record as supporting a democratic outcome — and may even influence it.
But so far, none has come, which has been the problem all along with Obama’s Mideast policy.
Last summer, as democratic protests erupted in Iran, the U.S. stayed silent — giving Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s regime a pass as it crushed demonstrations. Obama was likewise nowhere to be seen as Egypt melted down, keeping quiet as a 30-year ally, Hosni Mubarak, was pushed from power. Turkey, proudly secular for nearly a century, is turning toward radical Islam. If the U.S. has a policy for that, we’re unaware of it.
America’s abdication of responsibility as the world’s only superpower leaves a dangerous power vacuum in the Mideast. If we do nothing, say nothing and have no coherent policy, Iran’s ruling mullahs and the radical Muslim Brotherhood will fill it.