In a distinctly bad sign for the future of Egypt, the military dictatorship buckled to appease Islamic fundamentalists yesterday, rejecting a secular candidate for Prime Minister after earlier announcing that he had been appointed to that position.
From the perspective of my column posted yesterday, this sets a disastrous precedent. Theocracies fare badly economically in the modern world. Islamic theocracies are also fundamentally hostile to any true concept of democracy.The reason for this is that Islam as a religion is still trapped in the 14th century. Sharia law is viewed as supreme over any secular thinking. And the idea that an illiterate 7th century Prophet can determine institutions required for a modern global world economy is simply ludicrous. It is equivalent to believing that the pre-Reformation Spanish Inquisition could provide good economic governance for the West.
The die, it would appear, has now been cast. Egypt will remain a seriously economically undeveloped, repressive nation for many years to come. The military has chosen England’s 1660 Restoration over its 1689 Bill of Rights. Some 30 years of the equivalent of the Stuart doom will surely follow.