Violence, Revolution, and Lessons from Egypt

There’s a nasty undercurrent of triumphalism latent in much analysis of recent events in Egypt. When considering how the “Egyptian Revolution” seems to have gone awry in recent weeks, some commentators have lauded the experience of the American Revolution and proclaimed the importance of civil society. If only Egypt had the mature society America possessed in the 18th century, they seem to say, maybe there wouldn’t be a necessity of military control. It’s as if they read Tocqueville and assumed that he spoke timeless truths about the entirety of American history, rather than really thinking deeply about the process of winning Independence. (Then again, we already knew that about George Will, didn’t we?) Continue reading

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