Denial (of Freedom) Is Just a River in Egypt
Two years ago the Arab Spring sprung in Egypt. Quasi-western young people tweeted and Facebooked themselves into a revolution. Crowds gathered in Tahrir Square wearing tee-shirts with logos of hip Western companies like Google printed on them and carrying English language protest signs. CNN breathlessly reported that Tahrir means ‘freedom’ and experts told us that this was a chance for a re-set with the Arab street, a chance to show the teeming oppressed masses of the world that, this time at long last, we were on their side. I appeared as a guest on Maria Bartaromo’s show on CNBC and debated with a young tech entrepreneur who was giddy with optimism. “They can download any constitution they want.” he said. “Yes, but do they have the wisdom to know the best one to download?” I replied.
Not long after that I was a guest on Neil Cavuto’s show on Fox News. Shortly before I came on the air, Obama held a press event in which he announced that the US wanted Mubarak to go. Neal called it the velvet boot. I said, now whatever happens, whatever blood is shed, it’s on our hands too.
And now we have the week of Egyptian reality. The regime lasted one year. The Arab Street hates us still. A hostile Islamist government is in power and there is violence in the streets. Perhaps those CNN Arabic experts can let us know that Tahrir Square does not mean Freedom Square, it means Liberation Square, as in yet another of that long line of national liberation movements which kicked out the evil foreign oppressors, nationalized their property, promised heaven on earth and delivered something closer to hell on earth. Tahrir Square’s significance is associated with Egypt rejecting all things British: Christianity, common law, capitalism. Only one Western institution was kept, the military, because only that one was truly essential to the ruling class.
And, we see now that it is the only thing standing. The country is still a Muslim Brotherhood country and as such it is ungovernable in any reasonable sense of a free and modern nation. The Christian minority is more oppressed than ever. The modern minority (and its Google t-shirts) really only has one weapon: the ability to look good on CNN. But elections will mean Sharia for a long time. They’re not ready to be us, and any investors who bumbled or were inspired by either the conservative or liberal version of the ‘freedom agenda’ into believing that Egypt was a good bet are now staring reality square in the face in the form of collapsing equity values and currency exchange rates along with a collapsing political order.
Jerry Bowyer is a Forbes contributor, contributing editor of AffluentInvestor.com, and Senior Fellow in Business Economics at The Center for Cultural Leadership.
Jerry has compiled an impressive record as a leading thinker in finance and economics. He worked as an auditor and a tax consultant with Arthur Anderson, as Vice President of the Beechwood Company which is the family office associated with Federated Investors, and has consulted in various privatization efforts for Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. He founded the influential economic think tank, the Allegheny Institute, and has lectured extensively at universities, businesses and civic groups.
Jerry has been a member of three investment committees, among which is Benchmark Financial, Pittsburgh’s largest financial services firm. Jerry had been a regular commentator on Fox Business News and Fox News. He was formerly a CNBC Contributor, has guest-hosted “The Kudlow Report”, and has written for CNBC.com, National Review Online, and The Wall Street Journal, as well as many other publications. He is the author of The Bush Boom and more recently The Free Market Capitalist’s Survival Guide, published by HarperCollins. Jerry is the President of Bowyer Research.
Jerry consulted extensively with the Bush White House on matters pertaining to the recent economic crisis. He has been quoted in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes Magazine, The International Herald Tribune and various local newspapers. He has been a contributing editor of National Review Online, The New York Sun and Townhall Magazine. Jerry has hosted daily radio and TV programs and was one of the founding members of WQED’s On-Q Friday Roundtable. He has guest-hosted the Bill Bennett radio program as well as radio programs in Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles.
Jerry is the former host of WorldView, a nationally syndicated Sunday-morning political talk show created on the model of Meet The Press. On WorldView, Jerry interviewed distinguished guests including the Vice President, Treasury Secretary, HUD Secretary, former Secretary of Sate Condoleezza Rice, former Presidential Advisor Carl Rove, former Attorney General Edwin Meese and publisher Steve Forbes.
Jerry has taught social ethics at Ottawa Theological Hall, public policy at Saint Vincent’s College, and guest lectured at Carnegie Mellon’s graduate Heinz School of Public Policy. In 1997 Jerry gave the commencement address at his alma mater, Robert Morris University. He was the youngest speaker in the history of the school, and the school received more requests for transcripts of Jerry’s speech than at any other time in its 120-year history.
Jerry lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, Susan, and the youngest three of their seven children.