The Muslim Brotherhood and Religious Fascism

This is being reported by the AP today:

Mustafa Hegazy, a political adviser to interim President Adly Mansour, told a press conference Saturday that […] Egyptians took to the streets on June 30 – the day that led to Morsi’s ouster – to revolt against “religious fascism.”

I concur. The Muslim Brotherhood cult in Egypt today is akin to the Nazi cult in 1930s and 1940s Germany. It should now be outlawed in Egypt exactly as Nazism was outlawed in Germany after the war. It has ruined the country, and it cannot be brought back into a governing coalition–ever.

Egypt’s population consist of 10% Christians, many in Alexandria, a city of four million people. The Christians are in mortal peril should The Brotherhood ever claw its way back to power.

This is a lesson in the separation of religion and state. Ideas matter. Reason matters. Cosmopolitan openness to the world matters. Had Alexandria, for example, somehow remained within the domain of Western–not Islamic–civilization over the past 1500 years, who can doubt it would today be a rival to the world’s great cities–a Paris on the Mediterranean?

Now it’s a backwater.

The following quote comes from Middle East analyst Theodore May, and appeared as part of an opinion piece at CNN’s website last year:

[A] Muslim Brotherhood-led government – because of the widespread mistrust Islamists engender around the world – will inherently deter the international community from engaging Egypt on a business level.

He, of course, was correct, and it’s now the tragic and necessary duty of the military–allied with secularists, moderate Muslims, and Christians–to keep the Muslim Brotherhood from ever returning to power.

May Egypt’s future belong to this twelve-year-old Thomas Jefferson and not the religious fascists:

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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9 Responses to The Muslim Brotherhood and Religious Fascism

  1. Staffan says:

    “Had Alexandria, for example, somehow remained within the domain of Western–not Islamic–civilization over the past 1500 years, who can doubt it would today be a rival to the world’s great cities–a Paris on the Mediterranean?”

    Since you’re a fan of evolution you may want to consider what happens to people who inbreed for a long time. As evolution predicts their loyalty to relatives increases as does their suspicion and hostility towards outsiders. This due to higher inclusive fitness of relatives which creates a selective pressure that increases the gene variant for familial altruism. You’ll find this all over the world: where people are inbred they are also clan-oriented rather than civic-minded.

    • Santi Tafarella says:

      Even if your genetic proclivites theory is correct, it doesn’t mean that such proclivites must always be expressed (and in their most powerful manifestations). Under different structural conditions (less poverty, clear separation of powers, urbanization, secular education, etc.), things can be different. You plant a tree in one soil, it grows tall. In a different soil, it’s stunted. The Muslim Brotherhood stunts Egypt, and the chicken-egg problem you’re raising doesn’t change the fact that things can be done right now (such as outlawing the Brotherhood outright and Obama sharing intelligence and military resources with Egypt’s secular army).

      • Staffan says:

        Urbanization is not necessarily helpful; keep in mind that Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Libya are highly urbanized. As for the rest of the “different conditions”, how do they come about if not by the people themselves? And how easy is it not to corrupt the institutions that uphold these conditions if your heart isn’t in it. It’s not a chicken-egg problem since the people are the cause. Look at southern Italy or the Appalachian region. They have that clan-based background too and they are much more under the influence of liberal democracies – they are growing in fertile soil as you would put it – and yet they still struggle with crime, corruption, poverty and racism. Egypt, that’s on a completely different scale.

        This is a good example of why I’m a conservative. You and other reformists want to fix Egypt but you can’t even fix West Virginia which is nothing in comparison. The only thing that will happen is that a lot of people are going to die and then they will have either a puppet dictator or a theocracy.

      • Santi Tafarella says:

        That’s a sad conclusion, if true. You sound like Burke on a bad day. If you had lived at the time of the French and American revolutions, I imagine you might have said similar things about the rabble of that time, and their inherent inability to achieve democracy, and you would have been wrong.

        But we’ll see. My guess is Egypt will muddle forward and probably keep the Brotherhood from winning back power. Progress will be in fits and starts, but in the right direction. That’s my hope.

  2. Mikels Skele says:

    I agree with your characterization of the MB, but I have to say the current tactics of the Egyptian army are only playing into their martyr mentality. I wish there were a better answer.

    • Santi Tafarella says:

      It’s a hell of a mess brought on by religious fanaticism that was bred in poverty, lack of education, and political oppression. But Obama has to get this right. Egypt must not be lost on his watch, devolving into a Sunni version of Iran. Obviously, he’s walking a tightrope between what he can say and do publicly and what he can do behind the scenes diplomatically and with military aid.

      Democracy with the separation of powers (legislative, executive, judicial), the separation of religion and state, and powerful and unambiguous constitutional guarantees of individual liberty (that is, a constitution like that of the United States and South Africa), has to be the goal in Egypt. Somehow secularism combined with individual rights have to be codified into the way the government of Egypt does business.

      It will mean decades of ongoing terrorism and religious conservative resentment, but what else can you do? You’ve got to stand with the saner forces of the culture who can interact peacefully with the world and get the economy growing again. It would be evil to abandon Christians, secularists, urban educated men and women, and moderate Muslims to generations of fanatic and theocratic rule.

  3. Staffan says:

    “That’s a sad conclusion, if true. You sound like Burke on a bad day. If you had lived at the time of the French and American revolutions, I imagine you might have said similar things about the rabble of that time, and their inherent inability to achieve democracy, and you would have been wrong.”

    No, this theory is about outbreeding as well as inbreeding. hbd chick has done a great job tracing mating patterns of various peoples back to medieval times. Her idea is that we have a spectrum with the Arab world at the one end and Northwestern Europeans, particularly the English, at the other. This spectrum is not, as some might assume, one of good versus bad. At the outbred side we find problems too, when people don’t understand the importance of blood. The English almost single-handedly created the Enlightenment, but they live in an intellectual world of ideas and principles. Most of these apply to themselves but not to the more clannish peoples. Instead of admitting this they try to bless the rest of the world with their ideas with mixed results. And they gladly accept mass immigration under this assumption that their ideas will fix everything. They have a naive sense of trust and assume that strangers will be kind and reciprocate just like themselves. They are in short a bit autistic, and if things go on like this they may well become extinct since they have so few children and are so fond of diversity.

    The irony is that people into Human Biodiversity (like hbd chick) are often worried about this suicidal tendency of outbred liberals and its consequences. We want a balance between the WEIRD/liberal and the clannish. The clannishness is part of our universal nature and the outbred intellectualism is a recent and fragile branch of humanity. Sadly, liberals have a very hostile reaction to HBD and persist in making friends with the clannish instead speeding up the decline of Western civilization.

    So if I would have been a pessimist back in the 1700s I would have been wrong. But who is wrong today?

    • Santi Tafarella says:

      I’ll ask my British wife about your curious theory about her and the English generally. And I think we are living on different planets when you say that Western civilization is in decline. I see everywhere the signs that it is the exact opposite. I don’t mean to sound triumphalist, but all the inventions and norms of Western civilization have become the global norm: science, technology, capitalism, sky-scraper and postmodern architecture, university systems, feminism, democratic governments with constitutions, Christianity, etc. All of these are Western inventions, and everywhere you look you see the West.

      By contrast, Islam is a civilization under siege and in serious decline, fitfully but definitely succumbing to Western cultural pressures. Shanghai doesn’t even look like old China, but is a new and shinier version of New York City.

      And barring plague or a nuclear weapons exchange, the world will be as different 50 years from now as today is from 1900. That’s how fast the world is shifting under our feet. And those changes, driven by Western science and technology, will swamp the old categories of evaluation. The Egyptians of fifty years from now will have no more comprehension of their grandparents’ concerns than Russian youth today have of their grandparents who lived through the Soviet era. This whole Islam v. the West drama is going to be swamped by other megatrends (urbanization, robotics, surveillance technology, drone and cyber warfare, biotechnology, eugenics, cheap and renewable energy, virtual reality, computers in our pockets that have levels of function that are greater than the human brain, etc.). And we are rapidly, for good and ill, becoming hybrids of man and machine (cyborgs). It will happen within the lifetimes of my children (who are 7 and 9), and Islam and tribalism, of all things, will be utterly impotent to stop it.

      The gene and the meme are owned by the West; by Western science and technology. Islam and tribalism don’t even have skin in the game that is about to play out.

      • Staffan says:

        It’s not a curios theory; it’s just the very reasonable assumption that human behavior will differ depending on the varying degrees of inclusive fitness that in- and outbreeding leads to. People with more inclusive fitness tend to care more about their relatives than about society.

        And yes, the West really is in decline. Democracy is turning to oligarchy. Mass immigration is lowering the level of intelligence making all that technological innovation you dream of harder to accomplish as well as creating a climate of corruption – a major correlate of tribals.

        These things don’t just fall down from the sky. Civilization is created by people. So you have to ask what kind of people will create what kind of civilization. Import low-IQ people and tribals and you will have decline. The are not doing it in their home countries and taking them over the border won’t transmogrify them into Westerners and fulfill those techy visions of yours. Not if genes and evolution have anything to say about it.

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