Post-Arab Spring: Next?

Many Libertarians and conservatives, and not a few liberals, are expressing intense concern about the aftermath of the Arab Spring. The preliminary results of the first post-Spring elections, in Tunisia, deepen their concern. An “Islamist ” party prevailed easily in what everyone agrees were fair elections. I would prefer a market-oriented democratic party favoring separation of religion and state had won. Unfortunately, Tunisian history and thirty years of tyranny did not produced conditions propitious to those views. The reality is that the dictatorship persecuted the Islamists and that they resisted bravely and effectively. Of course, the average democratically inclined first-time Tunisian voter was appreciative. What else would you expect? The leadership of the winning Islamist party insist loudly it’s a moderate party with no intention of turning back the clock on such things as women’s rights, for example. Why not believe them for a while? I, for one, with my origins, am deeply aware of the fact that the parties that rolled back the progress of communism in Europe post-WWII and who presided over an expansion of both prosperity and individual liberties called themselves “Christian Democrats.” An overt religious affiliation in a country that is largely religious is not the worst thing possible. What’s the alternative, anyway? Do you want to call for a return to dictatorship? Will you begin missing Saddam Hussein, or even the small corrupt despot Ben Ali of Tunisia?

About Jacques Delacroix

I am a sociologist, a short-story writer, and a blogger (Facts Matter and Notes On Liberty) in Santa Cruz, California.
This entry was posted in Current Events, Socio-Political Essays. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Post-Arab Spring: Next?

  1. robert goldstein says:

    Most of the experts say that the future of the Arab Spring countries can’t be predicted. This appears to me to be a struggle for human rights especially womens rights. The common denominator amongst the Middle Eastern regiemes is the fear that the male leadership has of the western male/female role concepts. It is simply intolerable for most muslim men to imagine a society where they are not in control of their women. I will be watching to see how much women are being allowed to participate in the new institutions and political parties. That should be a tell-tale sign of where the arab spring is headed.

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Arab men in Tunisia don’t seem to have been threatened by years of female autonomy. The head of the Islamist party that seems to have prevailed in the election there goes to great length to declare that there is no plan to roll back women’s rights in Tunisia. I would be careful about making broad cultural generalizations because they are true until they are not true, often overnight. I think it’s difficult to answer any statement that begins with the words: “Most of the experts…” How would you know? How would anyone know? What’s an expert? Has anyone polled enough experts to be sure he has got “most’ (50% plus one) agreeing to anything? I think what you are describing is an overall press opinion by default. It is fed by the intellectual timidity of the American press today, by an anti-Arab prejudice maintained both by the ignorance of what passes for intellectuals in the media and by Arabs’ own public actions and declarations. (The international Arab political class invented the circular firing squad!)

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