Francis Fukuyama is sceptical of the much touted Arab Spring. Looking at Egypt he concludes that nothing much will change as a result of the election. Fukuyama's "Last Man" apparently has not yet been found in Egypt. The joyous annunciations of emerging Western secular democracies throughout the Arab world appear to be a bit premature. A bit hyperbolic. A bit naive.
Here is Fukuyama's survey of the candidates and parties currently heading the pack in Egypt.
It is hard to know whom to root for in Wednesday’s presidential election in Egypt. Two of the leading candidates, Amr Moussa and Ahmed Shafiq, were officials in the former Mubarak regime and are suspected of having ties to the military. Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh is a self-proclaimed liberal Islamist who was expelled from the Muslim Brotherhood, but who is for some reason being endorsed by the ultra-conservative Salafis. Lagging behind these three is Mohamed Morsi, candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization that came out of the starting blocks showing a moderate face but which has recently given out disturbing signals of a more conservative religious agenda.The elephant in the room which naive euphemists in the West refuse to see is the religion of Islam. Egypt is an overwhelmingly Islamic country. And Islam, when dominant, produces an authoritarian social order of chain of command and control. "Islam" means submission to Allah and his rulers.
One of the reasons the Commentariat in the West does not grasp this abiding characteritistic of Islamic social order is because of the secular West's ignorance of theology and theological constructs. Islam is a monotheistic religion to be sure. But its god is unitarian. There is no complexity or diversity within Allah. There is no equal ultimacy of the One and the Many. When a society becomes dominated by such a theology, society itself necessarily becomes authoritarian. There can be no separation of church and state, or of family and state.
There are no limits to a unitary authority ruling everything on earth because the deity (Allah) itself is univocal. For example, Allah does not have a law for the family which establishes the existence and independence of the family over against the clergy, the mullahs, the law courts and the state--such that the will of Allah for the family makes the family autonomous in its own terms--beyond the will, word, or control of the state or the mullahs. Rather, Allah is allegedly omnipotent; his law is univocal; his authority manifests itself in an endless chain of superior to inferior to the still more inferior. You either accept your place in the authoritative chain or being or you don't. If you don't, you risk extermination as a rebel against Allah.
In this religious and social context, liberty of conscience (in the sense of being free from the control of human authorities) is impossible. Therefore it is no surprise that in the Egyptian elections there are no liberal (that is, limited government) candidates.
What is missing from this lineup of potentially electable candidates is a genuine liberal, that is, a candidate with no taint from the authoritarian past, and who does not advocate an Islamist agenda in some form.Not surprising. The only oddity is that folks like Fukuyama are surprised. One suspects that were they more theologically literate they would not be thus blind-sided.
Fukuyama asks why the uprising in Egypt has not produced a disciplined liberal political party contesting the elections. His working assumption is shared by so many in the West: that is, underneath the skin of most Egyptians lies a western liberal heart waiting to break forth.
. . . . surely a liberal, modernizing leader could have appealed to the hopes of many Egyptians for economic growth and political freedom, and placed at least within the top four presidential candidates?Egyptians, you see, are just like us ordinary folk in the West. Their religion has nothing (or very little) to do with their dreams, hopes, or aspirations. The reported fact that just over eighty percent of Egyptians believe that converts to Christianity or another religion should be executed is irrelevant, because the "inner Egyptian" really seeks a secular public square. Just like us in the West. Really? Yes, really!