The Muslim Brotherhood and Inalienable Rights

The Muslim Brotherhood, The Fourth of July: compare and contrast.

The Muslim Brotherhood, The Fourth of July: compare and contrast.

The Declaration of Independence reflects our founders’ understanding of man, State and God. The rights that come to man from God are unalienable – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – and drawn broadly enough to encompass all the people of all the religions, all the nationalities, all the ethnicities, all the genders and all the political and economic philosophies that have come ashore here in the subsequent 235 years. As people we are not perfect and so it has taken many years, a horrendous Civil War and enormous political and social effort to move toward ensuring that “inalienable rights” accrue to everyone; E Pluribus Unum is a process. We are proud of the fact that “American” is something one can become (try becoming Chinese) and neither God nor the founders can tell us how to be one.

Governments, on the other hand, need tight human rein. They are there only to “secure these (inalienable) rights” and they derive “their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Government is further limited by “the right of the people to alter or abolish it,” specifically if it “becomes destructive to” the end of securing the inalienable rights derived from God. The hallmark of our system is that the people who make up “the Government” have to come back periodically and individually to ask how the people how they’re doing. They have to ask for more time, another term. And if the people say no, they have to leave. And some people – second term Presidents – aren’t allowed to ask for more.

That’s a lot of power in the hands of the people. A great many people have come here to exercise it and a great many people died to ensure that we keep it.

On the other hand, Mohammad Badei, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Supreme (and very unelected) Leader told the Egyptian newspaper, Al Youm Al Sabi’e late last year, “Our Fiqh (jurisprudence) choice is that women are not suited to lead the state,” nor are non-Muslims. Asked whether people should be able to “choose what they want,” he replied, “If the people choose something against the Sharia, it is not proper to implement it. If there is a conflict with the Sharia, it must not be put into force.” It should be noted that Badei declared jihad against the United States and Israel last year as well.

It is sad, then, in the run up to Independence Day, that the Administration has decided to open relations with the Muslim Brotherhood on the grounds that it is likely to gain elected power in Egypt and is a “rising force” elsewhere in the Arab and Muslim world. Aside from the obvious problem that lots of rising forces in the world are anathema to us and shouldn’t be dealt with – they tried it in the 1930s, and it didn’t work out very well – the Muslim Brotherhood takes a view of governance that is incompatible with ours and which, if we accept it, consigns large segments of whatever population it rules to second-class, dhimmi or simply sub-status.

What is the United States Government telling Egypt’s people about their future? What does it tell the region’s various ethnic and religious minorities – not to mention women and homosexuals – about their inalienable rights? Is it that rights are only inalienable in the United States and only for Americans? That would not be “leading from behind” but abandoning the world to whatever evil forces rise now and in the future. It would make the President an intellectual isolationist while he’s prosecuting wars in six countries (the drone war came to Somalia this week).

When Ronald Reagan went to Bitburg, Eli Wiesel said to him, “That place, Mr. President, is not your place.” When people are divided into status and sub-status, it is not our place to stand with those who do the dividing.