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Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Egypt's Elections: The Full Haircut

Egypt has had elections and we are hearing about it:

Catastrophe in Egypt: Islamists Win, Military Rules

There’s no spinning this one: the parliamentary elections in Egypt are an unmitigated disaster. The right-wing, reactionary Muslim Brotherhood is on its way to claiming 40 percent of the vote, and the even more reactionary, violence-prone Koran-thumpers of the Salafist movement Nour are winning 25 percent.
Imagine if the Bible-thumping partisans of Rev. Pat Robertson ilk won the presidency for their deranged preacher-god, and you get the picture.
It’s a disaster not for the United States, which will probably end up doing business fine with the Brotherhood. Nor is it a real disaster for Israel, although the Israelis will use the Brotherhood victory as yet another excuse not to make a deal on Palestine. Who’ll suffer most from the vote now is the people of Egypt themselves, as a two-thirds majority in parliament steers the country toward separate-sex education, veil-wearing women, corrupt Islamic banking empires backed by Qatar and Saudi Arabia and various forms of ersatz-sharia laws that propel Egypt backwards.
I do not wish to dispute with Mr. Dreyfuss. This is his opinion, and maybe he will be correct... for a while.
His language is that of the man with an agenda, and his logic is intricately interwoven with metaphors and images which are designed to create fear and repulsion in our minds. That is the way such things are done.

However, I believe that everything that Mankind does comes from our God-given intelligence, and - therefore - all human phenomena are closely related. I think of it as "One Thing is Everything", by which I force myself to remember that not only "nothing human [is] remote from me", but also that nothing human is remote from any other human thing.
Life created by human behavior is a mixture and medley, sometimes well-mixed and impossible to disentangle - like cream into coffee; sometimes things settle out and the mixture becomes layered and defined - like drops of vinegar in the oil... but everything is very "Cousin, Cousine"... meaning - to my mind - a family affair.
(Personally, I have always had the highest regard for the people of Egypt and I think they will be a beacon to the world in time.)

Therefore, I see the parallels between Sociology and Economics. If a country democratically wishes to be dysfunctional, let the sequence of events play out, just as some economists have cautioned us to let the bankruptcy of nations play out: after the pain, things will get better.

And I believe this. I am no friends of Salafists, whether they are "Koran-thumpers" (it should be "Quran"... I dislike sloppiness) or not. However, if a nation wishes to plunge itself into the 12th century or the 21st, that is its prerogative.
Even though many radicals are violent, their violence is mostly directed at their friends and neighbors; very few seek the route of international terrorism. (Of course, international terrorism was born within two long-term events: the Arab-Israeli conflict starting in 1948 and continuing to this day, and the radicalization of Arab youths caught up in that conflict. In a sense, we made hatred international by our inability to solve the issue.)
There may be burkas and fatwas flying, but the painful results are all to the Egyptians, not to anyone else. If they wish to inflict injury - or blessings - upon themselves, they are a free people. I no longer wish to be in the midst of armed conflicts part of whose justification is the fact that the indigenous enemy in the land in which we fight "oppresses their own women" or "stones adulterers". As repugnant as those practices are, to claim them as justifications for our interventions is an insult to our serious mindedness and those who are dying for our ill-defined aims.

My opinion is let the "Market of Society" be free to find its own level. Some regulation is necessary, but for the most part, things will work out the way Markets dictate - for what are Markets but the emergent behavior of our own habitual behaviors?

If Egyptians want to issue bonds of spiritual corruption, they are the only buyers and they will get the full "haircut" when the time of possible default comes.

A haircut, in the financial industry, is a percentage discount that's applied informally to the market value of a stock or the face value of a bond in an attempt to account for the risk of loss that the investment poses.

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