Mark Steyn’s brilliant piece on the Arab spring contains a paragraph that is likely oft passed over but deserving to be highlighted.
Whatever one feels about the sharia-enforcing, Jew-hating, genital-mutilating enthusiasts of the Muslim Brotherhood, they do accurately reflect a significant slice — and perhaps a majority — of the Egyptian people. The problem with the old-school dictators was that in the end Mubarak, Ben Ali and Gaddafi didn’t represent anything other than their Swiss bank accounts.
This is the wild card, in Egypt, Libya, Syria and the rest of the Arab world. The axiomatic truth that people should have the right to govern themselves directly classes with the reality that what the people want doesn’t include what we would consider basic human rights.
Let us not forget that the reason why Japan is a country that respect these same rights, is because they were imposed by a victorious United States and allies.
Let us not forget that the slave trade internationally was suppressed by the might of the British Empire not by the altruism of Spain or their former colonies or the Arab world.
Let us not forget that the reason why India is the largest democratic nation in the world is because those democratic traditions came from their colonial masters and those same principles only have any bearing in many spots worldwide because the sun never set on that British Colonial empire.
The days of Kipling and colonialism are over. We are not going to invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity, nor should we, but that doesn’t mean we should be silent about the values that we believe in, assuming we actually DO believe in them nor give financial and material support based on those values.
It’s up to the Arab World if they want to live in the modern world or not, but if they choose to live in the middle ages, persecute Christians and treat their women like chattel, they should not expect our support or succor.
And if they choose to make war against Israel or support those who would kill us and do so as the will of their populace they should be prepared to meet the consequences of a free people’s free decisions.
Rights come with responsibilities, lets hope the leaders who rise from the Arab spring selected by the popular will choose to be responsible.