Two Perspectives on Egypt

Harvard Law professor Noah Feldman bemoans the coup as a defeat for democracy.

The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg has a more ambivalent reaction but ultimately seems to think the coup was a good thing, because “the Muslim Brotherhood is a totalitarian cult, not a democratic party,” and totalitarian cults are hardly likely to respect democratic outcomes in the future, and meanwhile Egyptian women and Christians can breathe a big sigh of relief.

FWIW, I think the Egyptian election, in which Islamists dominated the outcome, presents a very good example why pure universal suffrage is not necessarily a good idea for new democracies. Perhaps have one house of Parliament elected that way, another with a literacy and/or property test, have the prime minister elected indirectly in a way that tries to mitigate populism and encourage compromise and consensus, and have another branch of government in which minorities, like Christians in Egypt, can have try to prevent or negate policies and legislation directed against them. Where are James Madison et al. when we need them?

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