A liberal Muslim friend (yep, they exist — though by the standards of the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts, she's a "right-winger") forwarded this article
to me today.
All the trends that the writer laments...I consider good things. The "economic liberalism" he writes of despairingly is just the thing Egypt needs. It'll raise everyone's standard of living — yes, even those of the very poor — so that instead of being drawn into religious fundamentalism and knee-jerk anti-Americanism, they'll have a chance instead to focus on the things that really matter: dressing the way they like, enjoying good music that takes artistic risks, exploring new paths toward psychological health, obtaining an education, falling in love, and working hard toward success. The Egyptians should pay as much attention to the Islamist scolds in their midst who condemn such things as we pay toward the elitist intellectual scolds in our midst who condemn such things. That is, absolutely none.
Of course, the fruits of freedom are bringing the usual canker worms: "thoughtful" young Muslims interested in joining the anti-globalization movement. Oh, well. Foolishness is part of both youth and of human nature, and certain brands of it seem to be inevitable when a populace becomes wealthier and thus better-educated. I think it's reasonable to hope that most Egyptians, like most ordinary people with common sense, think there are better things to do with one's life than follow the protest circuit Deadhead-style.