What the US Can Learn from Egyptian President Morsi

There’s not much about Egypt’s president Mohammed Morsi that I agree with, but something he said the other day caught my attention. His comments might prove helpful in getting Americans to understand how our system of government should work:

“Morsi criticized U.S. dealings with the Arab world, saying it is not possible to judge Egyptian behavior and decision-making by American cultural standards. He said Washington earned ill will in the region in the past by backing dictators and taking ‘a very clear’ biased approach against the Palestinians and for Israel.”

“‘Successive American administrations essentially purchased with American taxpayer money the dislike, if not the hatred, of the peoples of the region,’ he told the paper in the interview published late Saturday, drawing a clear distinction between the American government and the American people. Those administrations ‘have taken a very clear biased approach against something that [has] very strong emotional ties to the people of the region that is the issue of Palestine.’”

There is a reason we have 50 states with 50 different constitutions and 50 governing bodies in those states. It’s not the “United States is” but the United States are.” This is the way it used to be until our national government became a Leviathan, ruling and overruling the states.

The powers of the President, Congress, and the Courts are limited according to a provision written into the Constitution. It’s called the Tenth Amendment:

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Our Constitution is a document of enumerated powers. Those powers not listed in or enumerated by the Constitution, the national government does not possess and cannot legitimately enforce.

The Bill of Rights is not an enumeration of all our rights. This is where the Ninth Amendment comes in:

“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

Egypt wants to rule itself. The states of the United States should want to rule themselves. Our national government is making it difficult for states to do this. Unfortunately, too many states like the transfer of wealth that comes to them by way of the federal government.

While the governmental sentiment of Morsi is correct, the underlying ability to govern an ungovernable people may very well sabotage what he hopes to accomplish.

“Morsi stressed that unlike his predecessor, Mubarak, he will behave ‘according to the Egyptian people’s choice and will, nothing else.’”

The defense of the German Nazi collaborators took a legal position similar to that of Morsi. At the Nuremberg Trials, “the most telling defense offered by the accused was that they had simply followed orders or made decisions within the framework of their own legal system, in complete consistency with it, and that they therefore could not rightly be condemned because they deviated from the alien value system of their conquerors.”1

Morsi sounds a lot like a Nazi when he tells the world that he will govern “according to the Egyptian people’s choice and will, nothing else.”

if Morsi and the Egyptian people want to ruin their own country, then so be it. A problem arises when he and his Muslim compatriots want to export their worldview by force.

  1. John Warwick Montgomery, The Law Above the Law (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany Fellowship, 1975), 24. []