James Kirchik At The American Interest: ‘Egyptian Liberals Against the Revolution’

Full essay here.

Kirchik homes in on a problem:

“…a media narrative developed about the political state of play in Egypt that persists to this day. It presents a story that is as simplistic as it is erroneous. There exist, according to this analysis, roughly three groups in Egyptian politics: the “liberal” protestors, the Islamists and the military. The last of the three has been the easiest to define: The military is the strongest and most respected institution in Egypt, and its agenda—preserving its economic power and privilege in society—is evident in every action it takes.”

There are, apparently, are some Egyptian liberals actually against the recent revolution (a la Burke):

‘But Rezkalla—along with a small band of other young Egyptian liberals whom I’ve met—has no time for the discredited ideologies of the past like Arab nationalism. Grouped around a relatively new non-governmental organization, the Egyptian Union of Liberal Youth (EULY), they look to the classical liberal thinkers of Europe and America—to John Locke, not Gamal Abdel Nasser…’

and on the poverty, need, and want of a majority of Egyptians:

‘This is why, Badr says dismissively, the secular protestors who initiated the revolution were mostly middle class. The vast majority of the country, which remains poor, did not have serious problems with the Mubarak regime as it was steadily enjoying a higher quality of life under it. But the aspirational class, which has access to the Internet and some means of foreign travel, whose social advancement is more visibly thwarted by the corruption and nepotism of a dictatorial regime, and which is not living hand-to-mouth, places a higher value on political rights than do residents of Cairo’s vast slums.’

This reminds me of Niall Freguson’s observations (halfway through the video) on China:

Now that China has enacted economic reforms (by the old Communist structure) and is developing capital markets rapidly, it’s developing a broader “middle-class” of 200 million or more.  This is the group with a longer time-horizon that will force a diversification of institutions, challenge the old authoritarian structures as they demand more freedoms and opportunity.  This is the next wave (if it appears) that can go about creating longer-term political stability.

Would Egypt have similar options?

Addition:  Via Instapundit, more not promising reports.

Related On This Site:  It seems like one point of discussion is what kind of Western ideas lead the debate:  Some Quotations From Leo Strauss On Edmund Burke In ‘Natural Right And History’Paul Berman At The New Republic: ‘From September 11 to the Arab Spring: Do Ideas Matter?’…french Liberte?: Charlie Rose Episode On Libya Featuring Bernhard Henri-Levy, Les Gelb And Others

Yes, Edmund Burke opposed the French Revolution: Sunday Quotation: Edmund Burke On The French Revolution..

From The National Interest Via The A & L Daily: ‘Rawls Visits the Pyramids’Francis Fukuyama At The American Interest Online: ‘Political Order in Egypt’From Abu Muqawama: ‘Mubarak And Me’From Michael Totten: ‘The New Egyptian Underground’

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