February 3, 2011

Power, realpolitik, and freedom: Egypt and US Ideals about Freedom

What absolutely blows me away is how quickly some folks drop their supposed ideals about freedom and democracy when the people under consideration are far away (like in Egypt, for example). It's shocking, actually, to hear some folks out there calling for the support of Mubarak as a close ally (check the comments section). I don't get it. Democracy, it seems, only applies here at home. When it comes to a distant population like the people of Egypt, it seems that many people are willing to sidestep all of the rhetoric about political freedom and openly advocate supporting a repressive policy state, all in the name of "our interests." Horribly ironic, no? Granted, the situation in Egypt is far from clear, but I definitely do not think that going back to the "support the nearest dictator who will toe the line" model is the way to go. Absolutely not. Anyway, here are some quotes that are apt for folks on all sides of the political spectrum here in the US:

Concentrated power has always been the enemy of liberty.

-Ronald Reagan

Democracy is worth dying for, because it's the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man.

-Ronald Reagan

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

-Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), Letter to Josiah Quincy, Sept. 11, 1773.

A little rebellion now and then is a good thing.

-President Thomas Jefferson.

Those who expect to reap the blessing of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.

-Thomas Paine.

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