Tag Archives: Hosni Mubarak

Mubarak and Gaddafi were in it for the money. Tyrants always are.

Just in! Muammar Gaddafi has grown rich on the back of the Libyan people.

The dictator’s dough: Astonishing wealth of Gaddafi and his family revealed

The astonishing wealth of Libyan tyrant Muammar Gaddafi and his family has been laid bare as countries around the world begin freezing billions of dollars worth of their assets.

The U.S. alone has seized $30billion (£18.5bn) of their investments, while Canada has frozen $2.4bn (£1.5bn), Austria, $1.7bn (£1bn) and the UK, $1bn ($600m).

These assets appear to be just the tip of the iceberg, as no one is yet certain exactly what the family owns around the world.

Story continues here…

Previously, we learned the same thing about Hosni Mubarak in Egypt:

Mubarak family fortune could reach $70bn, say experts

President Hosni Mubarak’s family fortune could be as much as $70bn (£43.5bn) according to analysis by Middle East experts, with much of his wealth in British and Swiss banks or tied up in real estate in London, New York, Los Angeles and along expensive tracts of the Red Sea coast.

Story continues…

But then we learned those estimates were too high. Nevertheless, Mubarak was still quite wealthy.

Hosni Mubarak’s Wealth: He’s a Thief, But Not That Big a Thief

Egypt’s Former President Worth ‘Only’ $5 Billion, Says U.S. Intelligence; Family Wealth Estimates Range Up to $70 Billion

Newly deposed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his family have a fortune of $1 billion to $5 billion stashed in foreign banks, according to U.S. intelligence estimates — a significantly lower figure than most recent estimates of the wealth accumulated by Mubarak during his 30 years in power.

Some experts have estimated that the Mubarak family has a net worth as high as $70 billion, while others have reported $40 billion, but U.S. intelligence sources told ABC News that the real number is probably much lower.

Story continues…

Surprised? I assume you are not and you shouldn’t be. Aristotle warned us that tyrants are like this:

As of oligarchy so of tyranny, the end is wealth; (for by wealth only can the tyrant maintain either his guard or his luxury). [Aristotle, Politics Book 5 Part 10.]

Another practice of tyrants is to multiply taxes, after the manner of Dionysius at Syracuse, who contrived that within five years his subjects should bring into the treasury their whole property. [Aristotle, Politics Book 5 Part 11.]

Just in case some didn’t believe Aristotle, a quick look at relatively recent history demonstrates the same. (Quotes from my book.)

Regarding the Soviet Union:

Stalin and his cronies, though, did not share in the people’s suffering. In fact, Stalin and other leading Communists lived in houses that had belonged to Russia’s wealthiest families before the revolution.

And in Nazi Germany:

As in all tyrannies, many of the Nazi leaders used their power to amass vast wealth. Hermann Goering used his power as commander of the Luftwaffe, administrator of the Four Year Plan, and Hitler’s designated successor to acquire mansions and create an enormous industrial enterprise called Hermann Goering Works. As Reichsminister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels received gifts from the media, including a house given to him by the film industry. He also used his power to seduce several female film stars.

An obvious defense of Scott Walker against the smears

Protestors in Wisconsin have compared Governor Scott Walker to Hosni Mubarak. But it’s not just the protesters. Even former Rep. David Obey (D-WI), a 41-year veteran of the House, said:

“All I know is that last week, when people were asking where Mubarak was — whether he had gone to Sharm el-Sheikh or Paris — I was saying he was ensconced in the governor’s mansion in Madison.”

Let’s compare the two.

  • Hosni Mubarak was an autocrat who ruled over Egypt for 30 years without fair elections and no checks and balances on his power.
  • Scott Walker is the duly elected governor of Wisconsin. He has been in power for a month and a half. He cannot enact any laws without bills first being passed by the state legislature.

The comparison is laughable. But then again, these very same people have compared Scott Walker to Mussolini and Adolf Hitler. Some even say he is Mubarak and Hitler combined.

As one who has been called a Nazi for supporting the tea party (I am an active member of the North Phoenix Tea Party), I know what it feels like. And for those who don’t know, I’m an orthodox Jew. If you are going to insult somebody, at least be tactful. These attacks against Governor Walker are tasteless, historically inaccurate, and make the protesters look bad. But then again, maybe the protesters are bad…

We don’t want democracy in Egypt! We want republicanism.

Now that Hosni Mubarak has stepped down, the media, analysts, politicians, and just about everybody else is calling for democracy in Egypt. For example:

I believe these calls for democracy are made out of ignorance of the word’s real meaning. While we want a democratic system over there, we don’t want true democracy. Alexander Hamilton said at the Constitutional Convention:

“We are now forming a republican government. Real liberty is neither found in despotism, nor in the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments.”

Here are some more quotes about the evils of democracy:

“Now the first of these to come into being is monarchy, its growth being natural and unaided; and next arises kingship derived from monarchy by the aid of art and by the correction of defects. Monarchy first changes into its vicious allied form, tyranny; and next, the abolishment of both gives birth to aristocracy. Aristocracy by its very nature degenerates into oligarchy; and when the commons inflamed by anger take vengeance on this government for its unjust rule, democracy comes into being; and in due course the licence and lawlessness of this form of government produces mob-rule to complete the series.” [Polybius, The Histories 6.4.7-13.]

“And hence when by their foolish thirst for reputation they have created among the masses an appetite for gifts and the habit of receiving them, democracy in its turn is abolished and changes into a rule of force and violence. For the people, having grown accustomed to feed at the expense of others and to depend for their livelihood on the property of others, as soon as they find a leader who is enterprising but is excluded from the houses of office by his penury, institute the rule of violence; and now uniting their forces massacre, banish, and plunder, until they degenerate again into perfect savages and find once more a master and monarch.”[Polybius, The Histories 6.9.7-9.]

“And a democracy, I suppose, comes into being when the poor, winning the victory, put to death some of the other party, drive out others, and grant the rest of the citizens an equal share in both citizenship and offices.”[Plato, Republic 557a.]

“Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.” [James Madison, Federalist No. 10.]

“I do not say that democracy has been more pernicious on the whole, and in the long run, than monarchy or aristocracy. Democracy has never been and never can be so durable as aristocracy or monarchy; but while it lasts, it is more bloody than either. … Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide. It is in vain to say that democracy is less vain, less proud, less selfish, less ambitious, or less avaricious than aristocracy or monarchy. It is not true, in fact, and nowhere appears in history. Those passions are the same in all men, under all forms of simple government, and when unchecked, produce the same effects of fraud, violence, and cruelty. When clear prospects are opened before vanity, pride, avarice, or ambition, for their easy gratification, it is hard for the most considerate philosophers and the most conscientious moralists to resist the temptation. Individuals have conquered themselves. Nations and large bodies of men, never.” [John Adams letter to John Taylor, 1814]

“The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the majority, or rather of that party, not always the majority, that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections.” [Lord Acton]

I for one shall hope that Egypt forms a republican and moderate government, just as Alexander Hamilton recommended for our own country more than 220 years ago.

Arabs waking up? We shall see.

One political analyst told AP:

Arab peoples used to fear their authoritarian regimes. Things have changed and now Arab leaders fear their peoples.

Reminds me of a famous, often misattributed, quote by John Basil Barnhill:

Where the people fear the government you have tyranny. Where the government fears the people you have liberty.

Let us hope and pray these authoritarian regimes are replaced by something better. As I write in The Path to Tyranny:

Furthermore, once tyranny is established, it is difficult to abandon. Most often, upon the death or overthrow of one tyrant, another tyrant takes his place. Aristotle points out that “a tyranny often changes into a tyranny, as that at Sicyon changed from the tyranny of Myron into that of Cleisthenes.” Sian Lewis gives an even more impressive example: “When one looks before a tyrant such as Pittacus or Cypselus to see what kind of government they replaced, one tends to find not aristocracies or monarchies, but an infinite regress of tyrants, each apparently overthrown by a successor in the name of liberty: at Mytilene, for instance, Pittacus overthrew the tyrant Myrsilus, who had in turn overthrown Melanchrus, and before Melanchrus we hear of Megacles, who put down the rule of the club-wielding Penthelidai.”

This succession of one tyrant followed by another makes it all the more important to avoid the first tyrant. Plutarch reports that Solon “uttered the famous saying, that earlier it had been easier for them to hinder the tyranny, while it was in preparation; but now it was a greater and more glorious task to uproot and destroy it when it had been already planted and was grown.”

Overthrowing authoritarianism and replacing it with republicanism will not be an easy task. But for the first time in recent history, it appears that the Arabs desire and are willing to fight for true freedom.

What Would the Founders Do About Egypt and Hosni Mubarak?

Read my piece over at What Would the Founders Think.