Poll: Egyptians Want Democracy . . . and Stonings

1024px-Election_MG_3455stone-1I had a fleeting sensation of hope yesterday when a poll of 1,000 Egyptians by the Pew Research Center found that 59% percent said that their preferred form of government is democracy. Then a little below the poll found that 82% feel adulterers should be stoned and 84% believe that apostates from Islam should face the death penalty.

The poll captures a long-standing tension in Muslim countries, which favor differing degree of democracy while applying Sharia law and deny basic rights like free speech and association and privacy in the name of Islam. The Egyptians have long been one of the most educated and modern countries in the Arab world. Yet, 95 percent believe that it is a good thing not to have separation of mosque and to allow Islam to play a large role in politics.

Some 85% say that Islam’s influence on politics is good

While 80% think that suicide bombings are never or rarely justified and 70% are concerned about radical Islam, 54% believe men and women should be segregated in the workplace and 77% believe thieves should be flogged or have their hands cut off.

The lack of separation and secular principles will continue to result in the denial of fundamental human rights in Muslims countries until citizens recognize the relationship between such rights and liberty. Democracy is little protection of rights since, in nations with overwhelming Islamic voting blocks, these laws are always popular. This is the very meaning of what the Framers viewed as majoritarian terror or tyranny. Liberty requires citizens to take a type of leap of faith in giving up their ability to dictate the views, associations, and beliefs of their neighbors. That takes a great deal of education to instill such values of governance in a population. Even in this country, many seek to impose their morals on their neighbors through morality laws.

The corrosive impact of Sharia law is well-documented on this and other legal blogs. Freedom of the press and freedom of speech (as well as freedom of religion) are denied in such systems where people may be punished and even put to death for uttering irreligious and minority views. Democracy becomes a tool for opposition in the absence of guaranteed rights of speech, religion, press, and association. Without such protections, it merely allows ordinary people to participate in the oppression of their neighbors.

Source: Globe and Mail

109 thoughts on “Poll: Egyptians Want Democracy . . . and Stonings”

  1. David,
    Do you remember the old Driver’s Ed movie “Be right, not dead right”? I try to consider that in civics discussions to remind me to move cautiously or else I will kill the opportunity for meaningful debate.

    The point you’re making is legitimate but to accept it requires a deeper understanding of the founding principles that have not been established here. Had you told me that 6 years ago I would have rejected it completely. That was the first time I recall having ever read the Constitution. At that time, I still had not studied the DoI or any events leading up to it.

  2. John –

    I just realized that it was you that went on endlessly about who was a “natural born citizen” several weeks ago. Squeeky and I had delighted in our rebuttals, however I’m in no mood to relive that moment. For your purposes, suffice it to say that I, along with 50% of this nation, are Communists.
    Please hide under your bed.

  3. David,
    You realize Article VI of the Constitution states otherwise:

    “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.”

    This would be the technically correct answer and at this point in the thread, there is absolutely no value in challenging it.

    1. Olly, the supremacy clause does not state otherwise. That clause in Article VI is about the federal laws (Constitution plus other laws and treaties passed) being supreme to State laws. It isn’t necessary to mention the DOI there, which was the law that basically created the legal status of the States.

      There is value to understanding that the Declaration of Independence is foundational law to the Constitution. Just look at all the foolishness being argued about certain politicians confusing the two documents, as if they were two separate and completely unrelated things.

      In the United States Code, when States are admitted to the union, the law admitting them usually states that their Constitution must not be repugnant to the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. I remember reading this in regards to Alaska, and I assume it was the same for the other States admitted.

  4. “Our government is based on the Consitution, it’s the supreme law.”

    Why? Why isn’t our government based on the Articles of Confederation? Why do governments even exist? What was wrong with the British government? Not everyone wanted independence; why was it necessary? Why couldn’t we have just become independent and not established government? What was the purpose of the Declaration of Independence? What was the purpose of putting the self-evident truths in the DoI? Why does the Preamble say “a more perfect Union” instead of just perfect? Why have an amendment process and not simply a rewrite? Why not just establish local governments? Why not just stop at state governments? Why a bicameral legislative branch? Why 2 years for the House? Why 6 for the Senate? Why was the 17th amendment bad for the 10th amendment?

    There are so many Why’s that we should all know the answer to. Lincoln’s Fragment on the Constitution and Union might be helpful:

    “January 1861
    All this is not the result of accident. It has a philosophical cause. Without the Constitution and the Union, we could not have attained the result; but even these, are not the primary cause of our great prosperity. There is something back of these, entwining itself more closely about the human heart. That something, is the principle of “Liberty to all”—the principle that clears the path for all—gives hope to all—and, by consequence, enterprise, and industry to all.

    The expression of that principle, in our Declaration of Independence, was most happy, and fortunate. Without this, as well as with it, we could have declared our independence of Great Britain; but without it, we could not, I think, have secured our free government, and consequent prosperity. No oppressed, people will fight, and endure, as our fathers did, without the promise of something better, than a mere change of masters.

    The assertion of that principle, at that time, was the word, “fitly spoken” which has proved an “apple of gold” to us. The Union, and the Constitution, are the picture of silver, subsequently framed around it. The picture was made, not to conceal, or destroy the apple; but to adorn, and preserve it. The picture was made for the apple—not the apple for the picture.

    So let us act, that neither picture, or apple shall ever be blurred, or bruised or broken. That we may so act, we must study, and understand the points of danger.”

    Maybe Abraham Lincoln is “conflating” the two as well. 🙂

    1. Olly responded to: “Our government is based on the Consitution, it’s the supreme law.”

      I would just like to point out that the Declaration of Independence is a higher law than the Constitution. It is the supreme law of our land which is unamendable and unchangeable. The Declaration of Independence was passed before the Constitution, and nothing in Constitutional law can ever contravene the Declaration of Independence. No Amendments to the Constitution can ever violate the Declaration of Independence.

  5. Olly, you and others conflate the Declaration of Independence with the Constitution. I don’t believe the Consitution mentions God or Nature. Our government is based on the Consitution, it’s the supreme law. It was a posited (positive) law by the founders. I don’t hold myself out to be an expert on this anymore than the next person. The “humility” which you keep mentioning might be your desire for me to say you are correct. Why would I say so if I think you were not? That would be dishonest. You simply haven’t proven your case, I’m sure you think I haven’t either, that’s perfectly OK.

  6. What If you DON’T have a government designed on unalienable rights? Then your question is moot. You are presupposing that it is based solely on unalienable rights.

  7. “What chaps your butt is that your argument is so ‘holy’ as in full of holes and falls apart without ‘faith’ in an unseen, unknown.””

    When you lose intellectual honesty, you not only lose a debate partner; you lose the debate and more importantly, you lose as a person.

    I have NEVER stated Natural Law theory required a belief in God. I spent most of my adult life without a belief in God. I reasoned my way to understanding Natural Law theory absent a belief in God. I studied enlightenment era philosophers to understand how our Declaration justified the move towards independence and why Jefferson chose Creator over God as the source of unalienable rights.

    I have the humility to understand the Framers were far more enlightened than I am. I bring that same humility into blogs like this because I know I lose as a person if I’m not ready to learn another truth. If you are so fixed in your position then you should have no problem answering this question:

    7. If you already have a government designed on the principle of unalienable rights, then WHY would you ever want to change that government so that nothing you have is unalienable?

  8. Biology and ecology were fascinating classes I had in high school and college. I think it was a combo of the subject matter and the teachers, knowledgeable and motivational. My ecology teacher taught me to appreciate the very important aspect of wetlands. Wetlands are not sexy like global warming, but much more important and science that is verifiable. Wetlands are natures sponge, is how he taught it. When there is excess rain, they absorb moisture, in a drought they dispense it. My high school biology teacher also used metaphors to help us understand the parasite/host relationship. He taught us the parasite feeds off of and eventually destroys the host. The teacher was also my football coach. He compared it to a player on a team that was always latching onto good disciplined players and leeching off them until they destroyed the good player, then moving onto another host. He said the only way to rid an organism of a parasite was to deny it a host. Those lessons from great teachers resonate w/ me after decades. There are great teachers, just too few.

    1. Nick – I have a book you might be interest in. Just started it for my non-fiction book club. The Land Grabbers. Fred Pearce. I have only finished the first two chapters. Agree with the second chapter, do not agree with the first. However, it is an interesting read.

  9. Annie, holey would be the correct form of the word. You go ahead and deny you have unalienable rights and I’ll continue to fight the real bogeyman; ignorant citizens. Thanks

  10. Maxcat, if John presents an opposite opinion to yours, that’s a good thing, no one really wants to think like him, because his offerings seem to be mired in an overwhelming fear of Commies under his bed.


  11. Olly,
    Help me understand? When you become condescending you lose a debate partner. I fully understand…that your assertion of Natural Law is fallacious, but it’s your right to believe any nonsense you want. What chaps your butt is that your argument is so ‘holy’ as in full of holes and falls apart without ‘faith’ in an unseen, unknown. I’ll live in the real world, thanks anyway.

    Max, yes I heard they removed the forcing of Airmen to swearing an oath to an entity they may not believe exists.

  12. “Yes Olly, we’ve gone down that road. And yes, that relativity and absolutism IS up to the beheaders… er, beholders.”

    Thank you for making my point. Maybe that will help Annie understand that when you discard natural right principles then you are at the mercy of the will of the people…or the local Mullah or any entity that wants to set your rights subordinate to their “rule of law”.

  13. “Did you hear how the USAF removed from their Oath, “so help me God” because that statement is a recognition of a singular superior being recognized by Jew, Christians and Muslims alike although to hear them discuss it God wouldn’t be recognizable to any of them.”

    You should be aware, from the official Air Force press release, that you have not accurately reflected the change. They have not “removed” those four words from the oath:

    “WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The Air Force has instructed force support offices across the service to allow both enlisted members and officers to omit the words “So help me God” from enlistment and officer appointment oaths if an Airman chooses.

    In response to concerns raised by Airmen, the Department of the Air Force requested an opinion from the Department of Defense General Counsel addressing the legal parameters of the oath. The resulting opinion concluded that an individual may strike or omit the words “So help me God” from an enlistment or appointment oath if preferred.

    “We take any instance in which Airmen report concerns regarding religious freedom seriously,” said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James. “We are making the appropriate adjustments to ensure our Airmen’s rights are protected.”

    The Air Force will be updating the instructions for both enlisted and commissioned Airmen to reflect these changes in the coming weeks, but the policy change is effective now. Airmen who choose to omit the words ‘So help me God’ from enlistment and officer appointment oaths may do so.

    The language in previous instructions was based on an Air Force legal interpretation of 10 U.S.C. 502, 5 U.S.C. 3331 and Title 32, which contain the oaths of office.

    The Air Force requested the review following a ceremony at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, in which an enlisted Airman struck out the words, “So help me God” on the Department of Defense Form 4 and did not include them in his verbal oath. The Airman’s unit was unable to process his paperwork due to the guidance in Air Force Instruction 36-2606, Reenlistment in the United States Air Force, which prohibited any omissions. Now that the Department of Defense General Counsel has provided an opinion, the Airman’s enlistment paperwork will be processed to completion.

    (Information courtesy of the Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs Office)”

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