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Plymouth Rock Foundation’s E-News – February, 2011
by Dr. Paul Jehle, Executive Director
Ronald Reagan & the Egyptian Crisis
On Sunday, February 6 of this year, Ronald Reagan would have turned 100. As we celebrate President’s Day, we should remember the significance of Reagan’s life by some of the words he uttered, and their application to current events such as the crisis going on in Egypt. For those of us who lived through the “Reagan era” of the 1980’s, there was something reassuring about his words, his demeanor, and the fact that you knew he really believed what he was saying, for he taught Americans the philosophy of its founders whenever he gave an address.
Nations crumble from within when the citizenry asks of government those things which the citizenry might better provide for itself…. I hope we have once again reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: as government expands, liberty contracts. – Ronald Reagan, 1989
This is an axiom of self-government emphasized by our 40th President. It is something desperately needed to be understood in Egypt, especially those demonstrating in the streets. Caution must be exercised that the people who truly desire freedom not get hijacked by other forces. One such premise is that the people want the government to provide them with jobs and financial security. Asking the government to do what individuals should do for themselves only expands the very corruption the people are experiencing and wish to change. There is something worse than a corrupt monarchy, and that is a dependent citizenry.
As Reagan put it in his inaugural address of 1981: “government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem…. We’ve been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. Well, if no one among us is capable of government himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else?”
There is something insidious going on in Egypt, unreported and distorted by our media. It is the lure of democracy as a means to an ugly end. Democracy is the “rule of the majority”, and this form of government is lifted up as the ideal for all nations, and the reason we all ought to support those who are seeking it, even if it is by lawless violence. How hypocritical when true peaceful rallies in America are viewed as “dangerous”, especially when suggesting criticism of our own government. Many know that more than 80% of the people in Egypt are Muslims, so naturally they would vote for an Islamic leaning government if given a chance. But, let us remember what Ronald Reagan said in 1983: “Tyranny, like fog in the well-known poem, often creeps in silently ‘on little cat feet.’… If history teaches us anything, it teaches that simple-minded appeasement or wishful thinking about our adversaries is folly.”
The adversary seeking to creep in to Egypt through appeasement and wishful thinking is the Muslim Brotherhood. Their creed is “Allah is our goal; the Messenger is our guide; the Koran is our law; Jihad is our means; and martyrdom in the way of Allah is our inspiration.” These are hardly silent, little, cat feet but they are creeping in. Open and public confrontation with government is the fourth of five stages in the take-over of a nation in the Muslim Brotherhood’s own strategic plan for the infiltration of a society. They are now the catalyst for much of the uprising around the Middle East in many nations.
Mubarak, who has now resigned, was no saint but was a dictator. His faithfulness to keep the peace treaty with Israel was notable, though for self-centered ends. However, the Muslim Brotherhood, catalysts for turning peaceful demonstrations into riots, were upset with his administration since he had not implemented Sharia Law though the Egyptian Constitution (as amended in 1980) makes it the source of law. Where are the leaders of the free world who, when facing tyranny in either Mubarak or the Muslim Brotherhood, would speak the truth like Reagan did to Gorbachev when he said…
Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!
What nations need is the rule of law, not the rule of the majority. Pure democracies are easily manipulated, but a constitutional republic where both people and leader are under the same law is true security. But no such republic, where the powers are separated by jurisdictions, is possible under Sharia Law since Islam is ultimately more of a political philosophy than a religious one, merging all powers in a centralized fashion under the State.
The only religion that teaches decentralized and separated powers is Christianity built on its Jewish roots from the Old Testament. In order to implement this kind of rule of law, it will take time to teach and practice the character of self-government. Remember, Hitler used the rhetoric of pure democracy to get elected, and then promptly abolished all elections “for the good of the people”. We must learn from history, and ponder some of the wisdom God gave to “the great communicator” as he was called; Ronald Reagan. Though certainly not perfect or strictly constitutional, his words offer wisdom and hope at a time like this and during President’s Day it is a perfect time to rehearse these truths to our children.
It is time to remember him on what would be his hundredth birthday. As we live in such momentous days when history is in the making and the destiny of future generations hangs in the balance, let us ponder words from his Farewell Address in 1989.
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
May we read current events in light of wisdom. May we understand today’s events in light of those who have gone before and understood the flow of history such as Ronald Reagan. Things are not always as they appear, and so let us heed the words of Scripture when God says “judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24).