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David Brooks: Egyptians Too Stupid, Incompetent to Govern Themselves

David Brooks

“Afghanistan and other troubled lands today cry out for the sort of enlightened foreign administration once provided by self-confident Englishmen in jodhpurs and pith helmets.” ~ Neoconservative warmonger, Max Boot

David Brooks is a veteran neoconservative who now earns his living fouling the pages of the New York Times. Inspired by the overthrow of Egypt’s democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi, Brooks put his racist, colonial mentality on full display, suggesting Egyptians are too stupid, and “Islamists” (Muslims?) too inept, to govern themselves.

David Brooks Is Mentally Unprepared for Egyptian Democracy

by Max Read, Gawker

New York Times columnist David Brooks is “defending the coup” today. Why? Because “Egypt… seems to lack even the basic mental ingredients” for democracy.

It’s not just that, as Brooks writes, members of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists “lack the mental equipment to govern”—”Once in office, they are always going to centralize power and undermine the democracy that elevated them,” which, heh, sounds like a good line from a column about the modern American presidency!—it’s that all all of Egypt does:

“It’s not that Egypt doesn’t have a recipe for a democratic transition. It seems to lack even the basic mental ingredients.”

It’s worth asking here if Brooks himself has the basic mental ingredients for democracy. He seems confused about what democracy actually entails, in particular when he attempts to contrast “those who emphasize process,” (the softies who argue that Morsi was democratically elected) “those who emphasize substance” (the keen-eyed realists who understand that what democratic values really call for is people with tanks and guns who are willing to remove elected Islamists from power).

The problem with this distinction, beyond the glib oversimplification, is that it makes no sense at all. There can’t be a distinction between “those who emphasize process” and “those who emphasize substance” because the “process”—you might know it as “democracy”—is the substance. This is, in fact, the point of democracy!

When an election produces a terrible, misguided, incompetent government, the democratic thing to do is to elect another government. Even the Egyptian Army seems to understand this, which is why it has been careful to frame its seizure of power in democratic terms—that the military removal of Mohamed Morsi from power was the will of the people, and the procedures that followed were constitutionally correct, and the entire episode is merely a brief state of exception until a new, better government can be chosen by Egyptians. General Sisi, who undertook a coup on Tuesday, is one of Brooks’s people “who argue process”!

Brooks, on the other hand, is arguing that the army was right to take over because Egyptians are children unable to self-determine. Brooks, King of Substance People, is arguing against democracy itself:

The substance people are right. Promoting elections is generally a good thing even when they produce victories for democratic forces we disagree with. But elections are not a good thing when they lead to the elevation of people whose substantive beliefs fall outside the democratic orbit. It’s necessary to investigate the core of a party’s beliefs, not just accept anybody who happens to emerge from a democratic process.

This would be a decent seminar for Brooks himself, who seems disinclined to “investigate the core” of the beliefs of America’s two major political parties. But it’s not a great introduction to democracy. What does it mean to “accept” whoever emerges from a democratic process? Something like … “allow to hold elected office until the next scheduled democratic transition,” maybe. Unfortunately, with a childlike and incompetent people like the Egyptians, that kind of patience cannot be indulged.

Shall we note here, the day after Independence Day, that it took the United States of America 13 years after rejecting monarchy to settle on a stable constitutional form of government?

Related:

The Racism of New York Times’ “Muslims are not ready for Democracy”

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  • Pingback: The Fruits of Tunisia’s Uprising: An Extraordinary Constitution | Spencer Watch()

  • The Turkish left wing (including not only the Kemalists but practically the entirety of the Turkish left wing) sides with this coup d’etat in Egypt and with the Asad regime in Syria. A popular “revolutionary leftist” music band called “Grup Yorum” has recently given a concert to boost the morale of the Asad regime’s followers in Damascus. These are the same people who rioted against the elected democratic government (the most democratic one Turkey has ever seen) last month. Unfortunately, thinking that these are kindred left-wing souls, Western and American left-wingers sided with them, as did Pamela Geller, CNN and other anti-Muslim loons…

  • Razainc_aka_BigBoss

    Unfortunately the extremist drive the conversation, but I hope LW and other places highlight more of these stories

  • Pingback: David Brooks: Egyptians Too Stupid, Incompetent to Govern Themselves | Islamophobia Today eNewspaper()

  • The idea of living in an theocracy – Islamic or Christian – is very undesirable even if the theocrat is an elected one. I don’t know what kind of “democracy” Egypt is supposed to be, but modern governments claiming to be “Western” democracies should never be run by theocrats and/or persecute people of religious faith.

    Also – DO NOT trust elections! Voters are never rational people in the voting booth and elections outcomes can hing on many different things. We see the nasty outcomes of elections in Europe, when any flock of loons can call themselves a “political party” and get seats in parliaments and governments by frightening voters with the Islamisation myth. The election results in the June 2010 Tweede Kamer elections in the Netherlands, where Wilders’ “political party” got 24 seats — should serve as a pointed example…

    Ultimately – it’s about legitimacy of the elected – and in some parts of the world, in different national cultures, upheavals and revolts can occur, which can also be legitimate. Armed revolution in America is now impossible and unworkable.

  • Reynardine

    Transformed Chile into an economic success? For whom? At what cost? How many thousands tortured, raped, dismembered, disappeared? How many millions declassed, beggared, starved? Sir, you belong in a septic tank, with your fellow ideologues.

  • Mehdi

    Unfortunately, noone is interested in these kind of examples these days.

    There is an african proverb that says “A tree that falls makes more noise than a forest that grows”, it’s so true, people are always more focused on over-exposing extremist, no matter how minority it is, than show more positive examples.

  • Erdogan was actually “lucky” to have been able to do so, having found a few allies among the top level generals who foiled the coup attempts of other generals. Indeed, he survived several coup attempts, of which the perpetrators are being prosecuted right now and defended as innocent people by the same party (Atatürk’s party CHP) that was largely behind last month’s riots.

  • Reynardine

    I am reminded of Goya’s etching of a group of well-fed, well-dressed gentlemen looking with smug amusement at starving refugees too weak even to stand. Caption: “Are they of another species? ”

    Mr. Brooks has been too far removed from common human necessity for far too long. It would do him a world of good to have to live on four hundred dollars a month, with no end in sight.

  • You could make the same argument about Russia, and some East European countries … It takes sometimes decades to change nations and states toward “democracy,” and it many not be the “democracy” that pleases the Western neocons, but shaped more along the lines of collective and national identity…
    The reality is that it’s the Western right wing that lacks “mental ingredients” for “democracy.”

  • Jon Diamond

    I remember when Bill Clinton, as President, bombed a pharmaceutical factory in the Sudan. There was this protester holding a sign stating, “Screw Monica. Not Sudan.”

    I got a good laugh out of that.

  • RD Sultan

    Take a look at the clip below, even though it was translated by the idiots in MEMRI. There’s something about this clip I find ironic (I just can’t figure it out).

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=dgn8T0ZPFZI

  • Rights

    Contrary to what David Brooks thinks, it seems to me the Egyptians understand democracy only too well. That’s why they want the real thing, not just the type that bears the crown of ballots. But democracy there is barely beginning. Morsy should have been given more time to prove himself; little over a year is hardly enough to make a difference in the history of a nation, especially one that has seen turmoil for so long. In due time, Morsy would have either proven himself a leader that the Egyptian people wanted, or a dictator and usurper of just another ilk.

    That said, it also seems that the Egyptian masses already concluded that they would not stand for Morsy’s approach to governing the nation. I do not know how else to read the events in Egypt, given the millions that showed up in the streets. Then, too, I hope the people never let the military control their lot again. I hope they never let anyone become in charge of that proud nation, no one whose hallmark qualification is subservience to the West and its policies in the Middle East, nor anyone whose hallmark is senseless antagonism with the West, notably the US.

  • RD Sultan

    All of this hatred of the Muslim Brotherhood/Morsi stems from one thing: it’s hatred of Islam in general. Most of the people in the West (and a small percentage in Egypt) hate Islam and because the MB is a conservative party, it translates to a hatred of them.

  • Tanveer Khan

    0_0 Someone call Mr Crook NOW xD

  • RD Sultan

    Erdogan was smart when he jailed/fired some of Turkey’s military generals. He managed to place the military back to the barracks. I think the biggest mistake Morsi did was not rig the military with folks sympathetic to him. When Abraham Lincoln faced military opposition from his generals during the civil war, he fired every one of them. A smart move.

    PS: I’m jealous you live in Turkey. My retirement home would either be in the UAE, Qatar or Turkey, Allah willing.

  • From this we understand that the USA is such an incompetent tyrannical country that it does not yet deserve democracy, by the crook’s, er, Brook’s logic.

  • Razainc_aka_BigBoss

    Here is feel good story

    Muslim Jewish Conference Meets In Sarajevo To Combat Islamophobia And Anti-Semitism

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/05/muslim-jewish-dialogue_n_3539708.html?utm_hp_ref=religion

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