What is democracy? According to the mainstream media, is it the modern regulatory welfare state or, to use Robert Higgs’ critique, participatory fascism. As long as one has the right to go to the polls to choose one’s oppressors, then democracy is in effect. Note the absence of any concern with freedom. Of course there is lip service to “human rights” but for some reason this never applies to forking over 50%+ of ones income, mass incarceration for the “offense” of ingesting certain substances, etc. For the mainstream press, the word democracy has lost any connection with freedom that it had in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Pater Tenebrarum of Acting Man blog noted this disconnect in an outstanding post about the recent events in Egypt as well as the so-called Arab spring. From “How the Arab Winter Could Become a Spring“:
‘But doesn’t the Arab world, long chafing under the rule of petty dictators, ‘need’ more democracy? Actually, something else is far more important, as Fraser Nelson recently pointed out in the Telegraph: What the Arab world needs far more urgently than democracy is capitalism.‘
Tenebrarum points out that when actual people are asked why they are taking to the streets, most point to a lack of economic freedom. There appears to be widespread discontent with the web of taxes, rules, regulations, etc. that strangle entrepreneurial activity.
This is obvious in Egypt. As I noted in “Bread Lines in Egypt” and was recently elaborated in “Egypt on the Brink of Starving“, what was once the breadbasket of the ancient world now must import food to prevent starvation. The causes that have ruined the agricultural sector in Egypt are surely numerous and complicated. I certainly have no detailed knowledge of conditions in Egypt. However, if a fertile land is importing grain, there must be an unholy mess of regulations, rules, etc. that prevent entrepreneurs from entering the agricultural sector. The potential profits to be made must be obvious to many.
Now we have a terrible confluence of situations in which entrepreneurs see opportunities but are not able to pursue them, while the hapless populace is sinking in to poverty and facing possible food shortages. No wonder the people have taken to the streets.