THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 605, January 30, 2011
"The Age of Authority is coming to an end.
The Age of the Individual is dawning."
Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise
As usual, what few, tiny scraps of solid information we receive fresh, at the very beginning of monumental eventsbefore vested interests begin to cover up or distort the truthis accompanied by plenty of disinformation, deliberate or otherwise, and above all, contradiction.
Suddenly Egypt, an erstwhile ally which, only days ago, seemed to be among the stablest, most modern nation-state in the Middle East, is on fire with noisy protest and violent rebellion, just like Tunisia, Yemen, possibly Syria, and potentially (one can only hope) Saudi Arabia.
As longtime Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak struggles for his politicaland probably his literallife, he's making all of the usual authoritarian mistakes, as well as inventing a few new ones. He has used his equivalent of the "kill-switch" that Barack Obama aches to have so badly (and let this be a lesson to us), to shut down his country's Internet providers and cell phone servicewhich might have helped to coordinate the popular rebellion and keep it relatively peaceful.
He has declared curfews. His army has filled the streets of Cairo with tanks and water-cannon and is injuring and killing people while looting storefronts and vandalizing what may be the most important museums in the worldin an attempt, it's said, to intimidate the oppositionwhile the police strip off their uniforms and join the protests. That, plus the widespread character of these eventsnot just in the capital, but in many other cities of Egypttell me that Mubarak is finished and so are a great many other of the planet's despots.
The Old Medianot to mention Hillary Clinton's comic relief State Departmentapparently don't have a clue what's really going on. Conservative talk radio already assumes that the whole thing has been orchestrated by militant "Islamists", in particular, the 80-year-old Muslim Brotherhood. Whenever you see that word, mentally remove the first R to get a clearer picture if what they're really up to.
The Botherhood of Man is gonna gitcha if you don't look out.
But I digress.
America's home grown would-be dictators clearly believe "It can't happen here", as demonstrated by their reactionsdazed at first, then hystericalto the far gentler rise of the Tea Parties and the results of the 2010 election, which they are trying to believe never happened. They've spent all of their time since, not changing so that they won't be despised any more, but trying to shut their critics up by destroying talk radio and requiring individuals to have Internet permits.
They are mistaken. Thanks to so-called progressives and their pet media provoking it, America today is teetering on the brink of civil war.
Out of sheer habit, if nothing else, it is very difficult not make the same mistake as the pundits and politicians. As Robert A. Heinlein observed, every revolution is a freak. By definition there can be no rules to govern or even understand them, and we must avoid thinking collectively about them. There are as many reasons to rebel as there are rebels, and that's the only important truth we'll ever glean from them.
It's also very difficult to say from what we know now, and I could easily be wrong (I have been before), but it seems to me that this is not a fundamentalist uprising like we saw in Iran a generation agoalthough the fundamentalists are desperately trying to coopt itbut an essentially secular revolt by the productive class against both fundamentalism and the fascist management states that dominate the region.
If I'm right about the character of the middle eastern revolt, and the right-wing pundits are wrong, there's a way to tell. Iran, if not the source of the rebellion, will be one of the next dominos to fall to it. Iran, too, is teetering on the brink. Most people there want to junk fundamentalism, join the 21st century, and the women are getting tired of wearing those damn silly clothes. What do they want? Just at a guess, all of those things we've come to take for granted in the West: freedom, peace, progress, and prosperity, with an emphasis on freedom.
The Age of Authority is coming to an end.
The Age of the Individual is dawning.