Does Liberalism, Properly Understood, Justify Egypt`s Coup

This is the best-argued liberal case for the Egyptian coup that I have seen ( I think, however, it can be criticized both for the numerous unverifiable assumptions that have to be made about the future behavior of Egyptians, both Islamist and non-Islamist, as well as a misreading of Locke's reasons for the exclusion of Catholics. As far as I understand Locke's reasons for the exclusion of Catholics, it was that they owed exclusive loyalty to the Pope, and thus they could not be loyal subjects of the British Crown. The Muslim Brotherhood cannot be reasonably accused of acting on behalf of a foreign power or owing some kind of extra-territorial loyalty to a foreign power (although I realize that much of the anti-MB rhetoric makes precisely that claim). It might be more realistic to analogize them to Locke's atheists whom Locke says cannot be trusted to uphold public trusts because they lack sufficient belief in Christianity to be trusted with these offices. For the Egyptian nationalist (or hyper-nationalist), the Muslim Brotherhood are untrustworthy in a similar way insofar as they do not have sufficient "belief" in the nation to be trusted with any of its offices. But such a conception of Egypt hardly seems liberal or worthy of liberal support. A more persuasive argument might be that the MB (and other Islamists) are not sufficiently committed to liberty ("the priority of liberty") to be trusted with rule, but that criticism (aside from its essentially contestable empirical basis) hardly seems to distinguish them from other groups in Egypt. More problematically, however, if we take these arguments as the true reasons motivating Egyptian liberals, we are left with no reasonable pathway for democracy in Egypt in the absence of Egyptian Muslims themselves becoming less religious, something that does not seem very plausible in the short to medium term. It also requires the heroic assumption that the current leadership in the Arab world can be compared to Enlightenment era European monarchs such as Fredrick the Great or Louis XIV. I anticipated, and responded to, many of these arguments in my earlier piece for The Boston Review, What Killed Egyptian Democracy (

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