Nasser’s immediate successor Anwar Sadat further built upon this state-controlled socialist political and economic system by forming the National Democratic Party which is the current Egyptian ruling party. The National Democratic Party has been a member in good standing in the Socialist International right up until this present week (January 31st in fact when, to save political face, it became politically necessary to expel them).
The Socialist International may want to hide this fact, but the plain truth is that Mubarak and his political predecessors had the unlimited power and pursued for many decades exactly the same type of top-down, expert-devised, and centralized government-run collectivist development and investment programs of the type that are now proposed by progressives in this country and socialists around world. And the results, or lack thereof, of 50 plus years of authoritarian socialist policy in Egypt were the same as in every other nation (like the old Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, China) that has experimented with similar economic and political systems: poverty, political repression, institutionalized government corruption, and ultimately social chaos.
At its core, socialism is an ideology that uses government force and coercion to make people behavior in a manner that they would not otherwise if given the freedom to choose. Therefore, violations of basic inalienable human rights (life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness) are the inevitable result of this attempt to socially engineer economic and other ideological outcomes from the top down.
Likewise, centralized state control of the economic decision-making and resources in the hands of an elite few, no matter what collectivist or populist ideology they profess, invariably leads to poverty and political corruption. The notion that a small group of experts can centrally plan an economy and make the correct choices for tens or hundreds of millions of people is a core tenet of socialist ideology. The purported necessity of this control, according to the collectivist rhetoric of socialism, is to ensure equality of economic outcome. But the real world result where it has been tried has been equality of economic poverty.
The only people who escape this economic poverty and prosper under Socialism is the political class who run the system (who after all are still chosen from the ranks of us self-interested humans and not the Angels) and the super-wealthy who can buy influence and favoritism from the government for their business interests. This leads inevitably to the kind of political corruption and rent-seeking we see rampant in Egypt today:
“[An Egyptian Mother] added that she hoped in a future Egypt her daughter’s ability to get a good education and good job would not depend on “wasta,” which translates roughly as connections or influence — a requirement that many Egyptians bemoan.”
Predictably, our socialist-leaning experts in government and in our mainstream media outlets have chosen to highlight only the surface-level symptoms of the anger amongst the Egyptian people (platitudes like “40% of the nation living in utter poverty” and “lack of human rights”) rather than the root causes (authoritarian socialist rule and policies) which created the conditions of revolution. Thus, the experts prescribe entirely the wrong cure for the unrest.
Instead of recognizing the problem for what it is: decades of government sanctioned violations of inalienable individual rights and liberty (to include economic liberty which in turn stifled economic prosperity) which are part and parcel of socialist policy, many choose instead to further promote their favored collectivist ideology by claiming what is now needed in Egypt is a government that promotes “a society that cares for the poor and vulnerable” i.e. yet more socialism. Therefore, the dominant theme currently being espoused by Western governments and media outlets is that nothing is wrong with the idea of centrally imposed socialist policy; the only problem is that this socialist policy wasn’t brought about via elections or democratic methods in Egypt as it has been in the West or other parts of the world.
The idea that the same failed socialist ideology can somehow fix the problems it created in Egypt or that it can now somehow be made to work now if imposed there through democratic processes is farcical to say the least. The cold reality is that the breakdown of civil society in Egypt followed by the rise of radical Islamic elements is the predictable outcome of exactly the type of top-down socialist/collectivist polices our experts in the mainstream media and in the highest levels of the American government think are the solutions to the chaos we see occurring now in that nation and to a growing degree in our own.
What is not needed in Egypt — or in our country for that matter — is simply a doubling down on or continuation of old fashioned and failed central-government imposed collectivist policies that are simply repacked through democratic political structures. What is needed in Egypt — and in this country — is an embrace (or re-embrace in our case) of the American Revolutionary ideas of popular sovereignty, inalienable individual rights, personal and economic liberty, and limited government. Only through adoption and adherence to these timeless and universal principles can personal freedom, economic prosperity, and ordered liberty be achieved in Egypt — or retained in the case of our country.