Democracy is not the answer

Yesterday, CNN lamented “How Egypt’s generals cut the revolution down to size.” What was the revolution? Not what anyone thought it was. As the inimitable Mark Steyn points out, Western media hailed these students as the future liberalizing force for freedom and democracy in Egypt. Now, events are showing them once again as the convenient tools of power players. They were mobilized in numbers, but not towards the ends they hoped for.

Students also aren’t usually emblematic of a country’s culture at large. How do we know this? In the case of Egypt, the people voted the Muslim Brotherhood into power.

After the Egyptian presidential election this past Sunday, the US Embassy in Cairo tweeted:

We congratulate Egypt on this presidential race. It’s a historic event 4 democracy in Egypt.

But democracy does not always mean progress, and democracy does not always result in what’s best for American interests overseas. Like Facebook, direct election of representatives is not a value system in and of itself, outside of letting people choose for themselves. That’s a good, libertarian start, but people choose all sorts of good and bad things. Democracy is not an end, only a means. It can be used to liberalize, or it can be used to oppress. Culture matters. Continue reading