An article titled ‘The Problem is Authoritarianism, not Islam,’ by Dani Rodrik, Professor of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey, was published the other day in project-syndicate.org, an online magazine portal.
Its content? The recent turmoil in the troubled nation of Egypt and how the current state of affairs is extremely counterproductive to the country’s welfare. Rodrik argues that the military-backed uprising against the democratically-elected but admittedly-tyrannical Morsi administration is not the answer to Egypt’s plight. ’An entity that is authoritarian and hierarchical in nature cannot be relied on to protect and promote a democratic transition,’ says the author about the army, arguing that the problem is, like his article title suggests, not Islam per se, but authoritarianism in general. (Click here for the full piece.)
An astute argument, which can only be expanded further. By that token, and on the same principle, if the army can’t be conducive to democracy due to its rigid, authoritarian structure, how can Islam, an institution at the top of which sits an infallible God whose word is final, whose authority is absolute, and whose agents on earth are never to be crossed or doubted — how can this organization be conducive to democracy? How can such a belief system cultivate a free society?
Yes, the problem is authoritarianism, and Islam suffers from it as much as the army does, to each their own. Egypt needs neither of these institutions administering its state affairs. Egyptians need a secular state, one which operates on a logical and pragmatic basis, where people are allowed to observe their faith, should they have one, whatever it may be, and feel free to have none at all, should they so choose, so long as they don’t impede on or harm others — a basic tenet of democracy, functionality, and a society that carries on advancing. It’s a human right. The sooner Egyptians come to terms with this idea, the better. The sooner the army and organized religion are pried away from the country’s political and administrational affairs, to be kept firmly at bay, the safer for everyone.