Mubarak, Kadafi, and Then…

By | October 24, 2011 | 36 Comments

The dictator of Libya for 42 years is dead. As videos reveal, he is − like the Wicked Witch of the East in “The Wizard of Oz” − really most sincerely dead. This relieves the people of Libya from the burden of four decades of bloody, psychotic rule, and it relieves us from the burden of deciding how to spell his name.
Still, we can wonder why we had the obligation of handling Bin Laden’s body with respect, according to Islamic law. We did not publish photos of his corpse, we wrapped it in a white cloth, and we buried it at sea with an imam present. And yet some journalists questioned whether we had shown Bin Laden sufficient respect. But when Libyans killed Kadafi, they beat him, then shot him, and then disrespected the corpse by leaving it on public display on the floor of a meat locker − and no one complained.
The lack of respect was excused because of the hatred people felt for Kadafi. Apparently Libyans are entitled to hate those who kill their countrymen, but Americans are not entitled to hate those who kill their countrymen. Apparently Muslims are not bound by Islamic law with regard to the dead, but non-Muslims are bound by it. Such is the illogical world of multiculturalism, which teaches respect for all cultures except our own.
But now we must ask what will result.
Intelligence tests include series-completion questions. You are given two or three items, then asked to complete the series by adding another appropriate item. Life itself is an intelligence test, but not in an academic sense − not for the purpose of scoring IQ points. The purpose of this test is a bit more practical − to remain alive.
So how should we complete the series: Mubarak, Kadafi, then…? This question can be taken in two ways. The first is: Who’s next? Who will be the next leader to fall? I would guess it will be Saleh of Yemen. But I hope it will be Assad of Syria, who is even bloodier and more dangerous. I hope it will not be King Abdullah of Jordan, who is as much of a friend to us as circumstances allow. And who knows what might happen if the Saudi dynasty falls?
The other way to interpret the question is even more significant: What’s next? When the current ruler falls, what sort of government will result? This raises a more basic question: What is our objective, democracy or freedom?
They are not the same. Our Founders knew this well. They took care not to establish a pure democracy, in which a popular vote can enact anything the majority’s current whim favors. Instead, they established a republic with a brilliantly written Constitution. Jefferson said it best:

In questions of power, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.

This brings us back to our “complete the series” question. Mubarak fell, and what is happening in Egypt? It is too soon to be certain, but the signs are ominous. The extremist Muslim Brotherhood grows stronger, pro-freedom elements grow weaker, and persecution of Christians grows more brutal.
Now Kadafi has fallen, Islamist extremists are active among Libyan rebels, and about 20,000 surface-to-air missiles are missing − and possibly in the hands of terrorists. It does not take a prophet to foresee the threat to civil aviation, or to predict where this trend is heading.
The “Arab spring” looks like it is bypassing summer and heading directly for a long, cold, dark winter. The world stood by idly when Israelis evacuated the Gaza Strip, and every Jew was removed. Then the people of Gaza elected the terrorist group Hamas to represent them. How’s that for democracy?
The Palestinian Authority openly declares that no Jews will be allowed to live in Palestine, although about 1.2 million Arabs live in Israel. In short, Gaza is already judenrein, “cleansed” of Jews to use the Nazi term, and all of Palestine − that is, all of Israel − is next.
But as history shows, Jews are the canary in the coal mine. Jews may be first to suffer, but they are not the last. We see this now in Egypt, where almost 100,000 Coptic Christians have already left, even though they are allowed to take with them only the clothes on their backs and a few belongings. The object is clear − to make Egypt christenrein, “cleansed” of Christians.
This will take some time; there are about 8 million Christians in Egypt. But the process is well under way. The plan is to make conditions so miserable and dangerous that Christians will leave “voluntarily,” just as about 900,000 Jews were forced to leave Muslim lands “voluntarily,” and therefore are not counted as refugees.
And what is happening as the Copts, one of the oldest Christian denominations in the world, are driven out of their homeland? Where are the demonstrations in the cities of the West? Where are the loud denunciations from leaders of Christian churches? Where are the stinging rebukes from the Vatican, from the Church of England, from Lutheran pastors in Germany, from Evangelical pastors in America, or from Orthodox clergy in Russia?
Oh wait, there aren’t any. There are only a few tepid remarks. If you combine apathy with fear, you get a really rancid combination plate. Persecution is forcing Christians to flee Iraq, our supposed ally. And in the West Bank − the potential Palestine − most Christians have already fled Bethlehem and Nazareth, the birthplace and home of Jesus. But if rare politicians or clergy do speak up, they are accused of “Islamophobia.”
You see the difference between democracy and liberty? A plurality of Germans voted for the Nazis, and Hitler was named chancellor; this could be called democracy. A majority − or just the loudest faction in the mob − demands that the Copts be kicked out of Egypt, and that could be called democracy, too. But it is very far from liberty.
Those who applaud revolutions in the Arab world should recall what happened after other revolutions. The American Revolution was the exception − it was led by people who loved liberty, not power. After the war was won, Washington relinquished command of the Army and returned home. When King George III heard this, he declared that Washington, his former enemy, was the greatest man in the world.
In stark contrast, after the French, Russian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Cuban, and Iranian revolutions, rebel leaders seized power as soon as they could, held onto it for as long as they could, and inflicted as much suffering as they could. They loved power, but they cared nothing at all for liberty − except as an empty slogan. Recall that Saddam Hussein and Muammar Kadafi came to power after revolutions that overthrew unpopular rulers − and things got much worse.
● Russians said, “Czar Nicholas is incompetent.” So they got Stalin, who was quite competent − at mass murder.
● Iranians said, “The shah doesn’t allow enough freedom.” So they got the ayatollahs − who allow none.
● Libyans said, “King Idris is weak.” So they got Kadafi, who was strong − strongly insane.
“Things couldn’t get worse” are extremely dangerous words. The activists of Occupy Wall Street, and those who sponsor them, should remember that.
Hope is a virtue, but naiveté is not. We can hope that the Arab spring will lead to a warm and sunny summer of freedom. But the weather forecast is not promising. Before we press for “change,” we need to specify what we want changed, what we want it changed into, and whom we trust to change it.
Dr. Stolinsky writes on political and social issues. Contact: You are welcome to publish or post these articles, provided that you cite the author and website.

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