Thursday, February 16, 2006

Arguments for Islamist Governments

In this editorial, the Telegraph comes close. No banana, but close:

Unlike Hamas and Hizbollah, the Brotherhood does not have a military wing.
Having renounced violence as a means of gaining political power, it should be
allowed a fair crack at the presidency at the end of Mr Mubarak's fifth term in

Actually, if Churchill is correct about honesty being the best policy, and I believe he is, then the best possible thing that could happen would be for everybody to simply get out of the way and allow Egypt and any other place that wants to be run by Islamists.... to be run by Islamists. I'm sure that my argument has detractors, but here are some quick defenses.

The Competency Defense
Hamas, et al, are fundamentally unsuited to government, and thus the death-fetish "caliphates" of the extremists will be exposed for the adolescent comic-book delusions that they are. Hezbollah's third-rate fascist government can barely keep an economy afloat, and Hamas can't even figure out whether it can form a government, let alone do anything with it.

The Consistency Defense
It's hypocritical to say that "the people should govern, but only if we like what the people have to say." If we stand for freedom, we should stand for freedom. Point-blank.

The Transparency Defense
It's also good to know who your friends and enemies are, so that you are able to act with moral clarity.

The Civilisation Defense
It's said that Islam is incompatible with modernity. Thus far, no openly Islamist government has been able to pull it off... though Morocco is making strides, and big ones, in that direction. If Islamists think they can create a superior society according to those mores, they should be allowed the chance to prove their case.

Seriously, it remains to be seen to what extent a popularly-supported, relatively clean Islamist government -- in stark contrast to the utterly corrupt mullahcracy in Iran, or the toadlike House of Saud -- could produce a superior civilisation than, say, the "secularism = crushing religion" postmodern euro-states, which are militarily helpless and a half-step away from demographic collapse.

Similarly, would such a society be more efficient and thus able to outcompete the Russian Lakedaimonian Despotism (hat tip: Andrew Blair), or the traditional Mandarin Fascism in China?

We'll never know, and neither will they, unless they're given that chance.

The Political Evolution Defense
Once in power, the Islamists have to either root out corruption and fix potholes in the streets, or else:
1. Sink into globally-irrelevant miasma
2. Prop up the regime with foreign adventurism (with historically predictable results)
3. Be replaced by popular dissatisfaction
All of these work out to our advantage in the long term, since properly-running governments with a free citizenry are more efficient, and can easily outcompete despotisms. In fact, 1 tends to lead to 2, which tends to utterly fail, leading to 3... which tends to result in proper popular governance.

The Humility Defense
As an American, I want to see the world in peace and freedom. Under no circumstances do I want this country to try to run the world or preach at it. If the muslim world will collectively get over its death fetish and actually decide to stop murdering all their non-Islamic neighbors... what do I care how they order their societies?

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