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Egyptian Nationalism and Islamic Fascism go head-to-head

… and if ever there was a race in which I have no horse, this is it.

That said, at least the Egyptian military seem to be global ideology-free and thus are common-or-garden variety statist thugs as opposed to their democratically sanctioned but entirely totalitarian Islamo-Fascist rivals.

So as the blood of pro-totalitarian Islamists runs in the streets of Egypt, no doubt soon to be mixed with that of their enemies, perhaps those who hold up unfettered democracy as a self-evident Good Thing Everywhere and Always might care to reconsider and ponder where that can end up. I mean it is hardly as if a totalitarian regime has not won an election before.

Nah, never happen. Who am I kidding?

Or then again

45 comments to Egyptian Nationalism and Islamic Fascism go head-to-head

  • Russ in Texas

    Michael Totten says that al-Sisi in the military is an islamist as well. So it’s islamofascism on all sides, apparently.

  • Paul Marks

    The security forces do have an ideology Perry – at least in economic policy.

    It is the same “Social Justice” one that all the other factions have.

    Price controls (when I heard the cries for “Free Bread” in the first Arab Spring protests – I knew the thing was no good).

    They will keep “land reform” (stupid penny packet sized farms) and government control of distribution.

    All the Nasser madness.

    Creating professional armies was the big mistake in the Arab world.

    The monarchies should have relied on “feudal” landowners and the (private) armed men they could provide.

    “But Paul that is FEDUALISM”.

    Yes I know it is.

    But feudalism is better (vastly better) than either Islamism or “International Community” semi socialism.

    Monarchies that put their trust in the landed (rule by the landed) would have been the least worst option for the Middle East.

    Not (what actually happened) the various countries setting up professional military forces (and the rest of the apeing of the “modern” countries).

    The first order of business of these professional military forces was to invade Israel (and fail – in 1948) and then launch coups at home.

    In Egypt, Syria, Iraq (and on and on).

  • Richard Thomas

    “Democracy” has always been used to say “Hey, look at what a great government we are” by… democratic governments.

    On thing makes a nation great, its people and culture. Democracy just makes it harder for the government to get in the way. At first.

  • Mr Ed

    The first three horses in that German election all had the Knacker’s Yard in mind, for their opponents.

    The Egyptian Army is like an armed British Rail but bigger and nastier, it owns vast sectors of the economy and gets lots of money and toys from the US government.

    If all the nasty thugs (who make the running in all politics) went away, who would be left?

  • Regional

    There was no Nazi Party, they were the National Socialist German Worker’s Party, Nazi is a derogatory term for a Bavarian back woodsman, remember chainsaws were first into Bavaria in 1928, Nazi was a term that described the mindset of Hitler’s followers and henchmen, ignorant yokels.

  • Mr Ed

    The ‘ignorant yokels’ were probably in the Bavarian People’s Party. The BVP. It would not be correct to equate rural Bavarian, Catholic thinking with the NSDAP and its ugly sisters the SDP and KPD.

    It may be that, had the Reichswehr shown the tolerance of nutters that the Egyptian Army has of nutters it dislikes, then the whole horror show of 1933 onwards might have been avoided.

  • Regional

    Mister Ed,
    The origins of National Socialism can be traced back to the Gymnasiums in Allemagne during Napoleon’s times where the local councils were the pseudo occupation forces and if you really want to get technical go back to the Teutoburg Forest massacre of the Roman Legions, nothing is a fact then it’s open to interpretation.

  • Paul Marks

    For the intellectual origins of National Socialism (and, yes, they did not in the early years use the word “Nazi” about themselves) see Hayek’s “The Road To Serfdom” and Ludwig Von Mises’s “Omnipotent Government”.

    Actually at least one of thinkers that the National Socialists drew upon was from Napoleonic times – Fichte.

  • Mr Ed

    Regional, you fail to address my point and raise a red herring. I do not know if you speak German, but if one is not a near native speaker or better, it is very hard to know where the truth lies. I would like to see that attested to by reliable native Germans who were at least into adolescence at the time.

    Notwithstanding that, I do not see how speculation about nicknames has anything to do with the mindset of Bavarian backwoodsmen, it would seem to me to be a calumny to equate them with those we now refer to as Nazis. Bavaria in the 1920s was so backward that Messerschmitt was building aircraft there.

    Whereas, returning to topic, a vast mass of German political thinking was totalitarian, the SPD being the least vile of the big three parties in 1932. In Egypt, we may see if the support for the MB was a reaction to Mubarak’s lot, recent allies of the Labour Party in the Socialist International until they got too embarrassing.

  • Regional

    Mister Ed,
    The reference Nazi is to a small demographic of Bavaria

  • Ljh

    The hallelujahing media seem to think that all you need is a vote to have a democratic society. Without equality before the law, enforced protection of minorities and a social contract between rulers and ruled, voting means diddly squat. Did they learn anything from post colonial history? The shortterm feelgood narrative trumped any scepticism.

  • LJH: I guess all those conditions need to be true. Here in the UK we have the latter two and voting STILL means diddly-squat.

  • M. Thompson

    1. The US should have let the whole Suez adventure go down as it was planned.

    2. It’s a shame both sides can’t lose.

  • llamas

    I also have no horse in this race, but a minor (although pleasant) side-effect is that the witless vapourings and impotent gestures of President Obama and the incompetent village idiot that he made his Secretary of State once again allow all the world to see how totally outclassed both men are in this area. Now they’re reduced to what amounts to cargo-cult foreign-policy – tyey really believe that if they carry out certain rituals, peace and wonderfulness will simply descend for the sky.

    It’s a pity that Egyptians have to die to make this clear, but they are going to die no matter what. As M. Thompson says, it’s a shame that both/all sides can’t lose. No matter what their labels, they’re all just gangs of autocratic thugs who plan to oppress the citizenry – the exact means by which they plan to do it matters little.

    Everyone in Washington, from the President on down, is wringing their hands in panty-wetting hysteria becasue they can’t decide which side to choose. Like a wind-up clockwork automaton, SoS Kerry is still chattering on about a ‘peace process’, as though he’s mediating a zoning dispute in Peoria, IL. I wish we had a President who was wise enough to say ‘A pox on all their houses. We have no strategic interest here. Egypt is presently a failed state that’s busy tearing itself apart by civil war. The US doesn’t do that. Our monetary and military aid ends today. When Egypt clambers out of the pit that it has dug itself into, and shows itself ready to re-join the community of civilized nations, the US will be there with a helping hand up, as we always are. Meanwhile, we hope for the best, but will do no more.’

    But of course, the current administration is so siezed of its own wonderfulness that it just can’t leave well enough alone. The first rule on finding a hornet’s nest is – Don’t Poke It With A Stick. But our President Narcissus truly believes that he has a Magic Stick, and that ordinary rules are rendered void by his superior awesomeness. This will not end well.



  • RRS

    What we are probably witnessing is the further unraveling of what has come to be regarded as the “Arabic” Culture.

    While Egypt, particularly the Cairo area is not as genetically “Arab” as is the central portion of Iraq, such as Baghdad, the two situations are far more comparable than in the references made to post World War I Germany.

    There are the same levels of mortality occurring in Iraq, albeit in smaller daily bites than in places like Cairo.

    Many years ago, I read in a novel about Egyptian history:

    “When the gods change blood will flow.”

    The “gods” are changing, blood is flowing.

  • RRS

    In Praise of LLamas –

    The arrogance we are witnessing is born of ignorance. The arrogance remains and their ignorance is not understood by the supercilious.

    Indeed we are inundated by the need of those ignorant to say something about everything, without understanding of, or regard to, consequences.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Look at the bright side:
    It is now possible, in the Arab world, to oppose both Islamism and US foreign policy.
    Until a few years ago, anti-Islamists had to suffer the indignity of defending US foreign policy, or keep their mouths shut.

  • Snorri Godhi

    PS: similarly, it is now possible, in Europe and the world at large, to be libertarian without having to defend the US economic model.

  • Mr Ed,

    Nazi is a term which, I am told, was in use prior to the founding of the National Socialist German Workers Party, and meant pretty much what Regional claims.

    The Nazis didn’t use the term to describe themselves – they called themselves socialists, it was an appellation stuck on them by their opponents.

    If anyone knows any more about this I would like to learn it.

  • Paul Marks

    I am enemy of the Islamists – BUT….

    The passionate speech by Barack Obama denouncing the killing of the MBs whilst he continues to give a billion Dollars a year to the killers, made my skin crawl.

    The man fakes sincerity very well.

    It reminds me of his passionate speech on the IRS – promising that action would be taken to punish the targeting of conservative groups.

    Then (as soon as the heat was off) this (and Bengazi and everything else) became a “phony scandal”.

    Barack Obama is no good – he really is no good.

    It is not just Marxism – I think he would be a bad person whatever his belief system was.

    A bit like those power mad poems (about how the world was nothing compared to him – and how the world would bow down to him and worship him as a God) that Mao wrote as a boy (when he was not threatening to kill himself – to make his father and brothers do anything he told them to do).

    Remember Mao wrote those poems before he had even heard of Marxism (he was taught about it in Teacher Training College).

  • Mr Ed

    Cats, the origin of the term matters naught, I have my doubts about the derivation of the ‘nickname’.

    The impression I received was that there was a reportedly a similarity between Bavarian yokels and NSDAP types in German life at that time, that bothers me. The NSDAP, the KPD, the SPD, 3 ugly brutes dominating German politics, all alike in their hatred of civilisation, the BVP was no threat.

    Bavaria was not backwards in the 1920s, and it still has a culture of its own today.

  • The original meaning of the term “Nazi” is irrelevant, only how it is used now… however this is not a suitable article in which to discuss the term “Nazi” in the comments.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    cargo-cult foreign-policy

    Simply an awesome quote from llamas!

    As for Obama, is he just ‘no good’, as in stupid, or is he ‘evil’?

    I used to think the latter, but if he was smart and evil, he probably wouldn’t be in this mess now. So he’s just probably incompetent, as so many have recognised.

    What’s truly scary? A voting majority didn’t care in 2012. The US isn’t that far away from Egypt’s situation.

  • He is not stupid – my guess is that his is just about an average level of overall intelligence. If it were not for his particular background – both ideological and racial – we would have never heard of the man.

    Evil? Not really, either. Although most certainly no-good, the guy is not a sadistic psychopath or some kind of an extremely asocial type. The ideology to which he subscribes is evil though, and by its nature tends to attract the no-good, as well as the truly evil individuals. Plus, positions of power tend to enhance the negative qualities a man may possess, which otherwise would only be apparent to people close to him.

  • On Egypt: I completely share the pox-on-all-their-houses sentiment (duh, considering from where I sit, typing this). But I still think that the secular faction (the Egyptian military, in this case) is the lesser evil, for several reasons.

    BTW, I just looked up the voter turnout in the last elections, and the highest in all the different phases and runoffs seems to have been 62% of eligible voters. This is high, by Western standards, but is still quite short of even 90%. I find this encouraging, in that it may be a sign that close to half of adult Egyptians share the aforementioned sentiment. Or at least one can hope so.

  • Paul Marks

    I have been watching various Middle Eastern specialists making the case that Alisa is pointing to (that the military are the lesser evil) and it is fairly convincing.

    However, the economic situation in Egypt (penny packet farms, government controlled distribution, endless state owned companies, impossible spending commitments….) is untenable.

    If the military were led by a Pinochet type figure who, after machine gunning the enemy, then said “right then – how do we roll back the state?” it would be one thing.

    But the military of Egypt is led by people who, after machine gunning X, Y, Z, will then say “how do we deliver Social Justice – how do we get more free good and services to the masses?”

    Of course they are also corrupt (but that is the least bad thing about the military top brass) – it their beliefs that are the danger (and the do have beliefs).

    Presently the country is being propped up aid (more from the Gulf than from the Americans)

    But the population of Egypt is simply too vast to be maintained in this way – not for long.

  • I doubt that the generals believe in any kind of justice, including the social kind. From what I can tell, these people are motivated by little more than self interest – which is a good thing which differentiates them from the Brotherhood: I’ll take self interest over nutter ideology any time. That said, and even though self interest may well include an understanding that it at least partly depends on the wellbeing of one’s country, these people are also ignorant on basic economic principles, having drank the Keynesian Koolaid like the rest of the world “leaders”. All of which tells me that the situation is going to get much worse before it gets any better.

  • RRS

    If you are looking at “motives,” do not overlook that a little over a third of Egypt’s economic activity (and all the “fallout” that entails)is in the hands of the “Military;” which is an oligarchy within oligarchies and more influential upon public attitudes than dependent on them.

    For many societies Democracy (which is a process not a condition), particularly where tribal affiliations are being displaced, consists of selections amongst oligarchies.

    Hey! it may even be moving that way in the U S!

  • Mr Ed

    The great Ukranian writer Victor Suvorov (ex Soviet. army GRU and defector) wrote of the power structure in the USSR, the Party and the KGB were like two trainers holding a crocodile on two leashes, neither Party nor KGB dared kill the other with the croc, as they alone could not control it. They could even kick the croc and get it to attack external enemies, as well as cow their population, but the croc knew that it did not need the trainers, if it could just break free, it could gobble up whatever it wished, or just sit there digesting and having a quiet life.

    The Egyptian Army is now like that croc, except that it is so big and cumbersome that it needs meat thrown over the fence of its enclosure to feed itself, so its friends oblige. The croc knows that if it goes for one small but feisty neighbour, it will be a handbag and shoes.

  • Paul Marks

    Not all the opponents of what the military has done are Muslim Brotherhood types.

    Now a private building (and place of worship) is under attack – that can not be defended as “clearing the public streets”.

    Neither side is any good – the Muslim Brotherhood are as bad as their foes say they are, and the military are corrupt and brutal, AND are making impossible promises to the people (the free-bread social-justice stuff).

    Even the Pakistani military (also corrupt – also with a stranglehold on large section of the economy – in India that is not so) did not make such foolish promises.

    As for Russia – now the Party and KGB are one (a new Party and a new KGB) both controlled by Putin (whose friends also control organised crime).

    Putin is a bit like the President of the Federation from the early episodes of “Blake’s Seven”.

  • Paul Marks

    “To control absolutely one must control both sides of the law”.

  • Paul Marks

    RRS – remember that the military officers do not own these things as individuals.

    Indeed the move of a few state assets to real private assets (under Sadat and Mubarak)was actually a GOOD thing (although corrupt) as it got things that were under the dead hand of the state back in the market (if the new private owners were no good – they would sell the business enterprises and land to owners who would prove to be good, or sell them in their turn).

    The great curse that hit Islamic civilisation was the lack of security of private property (especially in land).

    Sadly the military (dominated by the ideas of Nasser and so on) want to continue the practice of collective ownership – the secular Nasser was actually acting (although he did not seem to understand it) like an ancient “oriental despot”.

  • RRS: indeed, that was exactly what I meant by ‘self-interest’.

  • Mr. Ed, you are about to be quoted on The Social Network – very apt.

    Paul, an interesting point about assets being owned by the state, rather than the generals themselves (at least nominally). What it means is that whoever manages to hold on to power (such as MB), becomes the nominal owner of those assets. I always knew that members of even the most radical Islamist organizations are not motivated by their religious beliefs alone. Not that those beliefs preclude greed and lust for power to begin with – quite the opposite.

  • RRS


    If anyone posting here understands oligarchies, it surely must be you.

    It is control of the benefits from activities rather than “private” ownership of assets that make that kind of system work.

    The various levels of the military are somewhat like “shareholders” (or unit holders in a “Business Trust”).

    Not much has been written about it, but the political oligarchy in China faced the same issues (more deeply ingrained) of decentralized (almost “warlord”) domination by the military of regional economic activities. In my view, that clash (amongst oligarchies) was a major element in liberalization of individual activities by which the political did not have to struggle to divest the military, but instead has “diluted” its role by allowing new forms of activities and wide-spread movements of people away from regional military domination.

    Alisa points to the role of “self-interest” which is also determining how the coming oligarchies of the Middle East will be formed to supplant the previous order of families, clans and tribes. We can not expect individuation to arise out of those precedents.

  • Paul Marks

    RRS – I do not dispute what you say.

    My point was simply that they are “in to” short term exploitation not long term development.

    They are like (not “like” – they are) the hangers on of an Oriental Despotism, not like the Feudal nobles of the West who expected to hand on their estates to their children and grandchildren.

    These military and official types in Egypt are not the sort of people who plant oak trees – and it is not because of the climate.

  • Nick (nice-guy) Gray

    On general principles, I think I would prefer the military to have remained politically neutral. The corrupt muslim Brotherhood should have been left in charge to carry the blame when things go wrong because of their policies. As much as possible, libertarians should espouse the principle that the military is controlled by the government, not the other way around.
    So the dog we are backing in this fight should be ‘The rule of Law’.

  • Nick, my view is that had the German Army ejected the Nazis from power in, say, 1935, I would be very much in favour of that, even if the German Army were run by a bunch of thugs… rather than saying “well once the Nazis have killed all the Jews and invaded their neighbours and brought about the ruination of Germany in a catastrophic global war, the Nazis will get the blame and Fascism will be totally discredited”.

    I think the price of underlining the sheer inanity of Islamo-Fascism by letting it run its course might just be too damn high.

  • I think that principles exist to be applied to reality as it exists on the ground. To do that, one first must have an understanding of that reality.

  • RRS

    Nick G.(GG)-

    So the dog we are backing in this fight should be ‘The rule of Law’.

    as per Alisa:

    “. . . principles exist to be applied to reality as it exists on the ground. To do that, one first must have an understanding of that reality.”

    So, let us proceed to examine “reality” as it applies to LAW in the social order that is Egypt (at least urban Egypt).

    To repeat: LAW describes, defines, and delineates the observed and perceived order and relationships of a society.

    What are the observed and perceived order and relationships in urban Egypt?
    What LAW would describe, define, and delineate that perceived order and relationships?

    One probable answer to the first question is that the present form of order is what remains out of the eroding social structures of family, clan and tribe; with oligarchical forms of tribal cooperation, reflecting the hierarchal and oligarchical structures within families, clans, and tribes.

    That would shape the answer to the second question that the LAW would describe, define and delineate oligarchical interests and relationships necessary to the structure of order (basically mitigation of violence).

    Here we may look to the scholarship of Douglas C North, et al. in studies of social orders of “Limited Access” as contrasted with our own social order of “Open Access.”

    Our society does not have its origin in clans and tribes; and, the devolution of individuation from families has not carried with it any determination of the social order or the relationships within it. Thus, our “Rule of Law” is not to be expected in other social orders.

  • Paul Marks

    Under the old dictator there was some (small) move to making state assets private (as there had been under Sadat also) – yes it was corrupt (the sons of the dictator properly did better than they would have done had they been the sons of Joe Soap – or rather Mohammed Soap). But it was still better than nothing.

    Civil Society (private ownership and civil use – of the means of production, distribution and exchange) had to start somewhere, and property migrates (if people really are bad managers they lose it – over time).

    The trouble is the “twitter” and “facebook” generation thought they could have the products of civil society (freedom of speech and so on) without civil society itself (a capitalist economy).

    For in a backhanded way Marxism is correct – liberalism (real liberalism) is “ideological superstructure” of private “relations of production” (but that does not make either liberalism or these private relations of production a bad thing).

    To give an example…..

    To talk of “freedom of the press” is meaningless if all printing presses are collectively owned.

    “Press freedom” only has a real meaning if there are privately owned newspapers.

  • Paul Marks

    Strong large scale (not penny packet) farmers – FREE TO FARM (not controlled and/or subsidised), dominating rural areas.

    And merchants and manufacturers dominating towns – not governors and officials (and government paid “intellectuals”).

    Without this liberalism can not become really important.

    And when this goes (and it has been undermined in most of the modern West) so real liberalism must decline.

    People who think that “human rights” or “civil liberties” can flourish without such a “capitalist” economic setting – are just wrong (flat wrong).

    Rothbard was wrong about many things – but he was not wrong about “human rights are PROPERTY RIGHTS”.

    This the “Arab Spring” did not (and does not) have a clue about.

  • Paul Marks

    None of this is to deny the independence of ideas – they can arise without any economic cause.

    It is a matter of whether such ideas have a good chance of an impact.

    For example a state official in a state planning board may think to themselves “state domination is a bad thing – people should be free”.

    But how are they going to put theory into practice without a “social constituency” (for example large scale landowners and important merchants and manufacturers) interested in limiting the tax and regulation power of the state?

    And, by the way, the idea that modern levels of taxation and regulation benefit large scale enterprises (by preventing competition) more than they hurt them – is FALSE.

  • Nick (nice-guy) Gray

    Perry, it is a sobering thought that if the British and French had stood up to Germany over the retaking of the Rhineland, then Germany’s Generals might well have overthrown Hitler. We don’t know if they would then have ruined Germany, as Juntas don’t seem to worry about economies, but it would have been different.
    I still believe that soldiers should obey politicians, as a general principle.

  • Paul Marks

    Yes Nick – and not just the Rhineland in 1936, as late as the threats to the Czechs in 1938 (the German tanks actually broke down on the road to Prague – the Nazi war machine NEEDED those Czech factories).

    Opposition to British policy in the 1930s used to mean opposition to Appeasement. Now it means (in the hands of Pat Buchanan or the person in Kent) opposition to any British (or American) opposition to Hitler at all.

    Only a person in advanced state of mental perversion can regard Neville Chamberlain (the appeaser) as a war monger – yet some people (including people who call themselves libertarians) de facto take that position.