Grand High Douchebag Morsi of Egypt has declared himself Grand High Pharoah Douchebag of Egypt. Apparently, negotiating a truce with Israel gains you the right to be God-King. Because, nobody has ever done that before. Except several ex-presidents. And Anwar Sadat, who they killed for it. Now Egyptians are rioting in the streets. Again. While watching this, it occurred to me that too many revolutions go sideways like this.
Americans are fortunate that our revolution didn't go bad. But ours was a little different from many others. Our revolution was a colony demanding independence from an empire that treated us like second class citizens. We were already independent in many ways, having our own governments at the city and colonial levels. It was not difficult to translate that into a cohesive government once the British had been sent on their way.
Most other revolutions that happened in that time, like the French revolution, were popular revolutions where peasants who'd been forced to live in wretched poverty overthrew their elites. They tore apart the fabric of their society in the process of revolting, resulting in chaos. The French revolution went like this: Kill the king. Then go crazy with the guillotine. Then go crazy with the Napolean. Then, after a making a mess of everything, bring back the royal family. Which is right where they were when it started.
Marxist revolutions frequently followed a similar pattern: Bloodbaths and dictators. Stalin killed something like 20 million. Mao killed anywhere from 30-90 million. Pol Pot killed almost 2 million. The list goes on. The pattern is clear, though: Overthrow the government. Have some nut job take over. Kill everyone associated with the old government. Then kill everyone opposed to the new government. Then kill everyone who might be opposed to the new government.
This has me wondering if it's inevitable that these sorts of developments happen after popular revolutions. They start out with good intentions, but end up getting hijacked by crazy people. The Muslim Brotherhood hijacked the Egyptian revolution in the same way Maximilien Robespierre hijacked the French revolution. And maybe they haven't started a full fledged Reign of Terror (yet), but there have been increasing attacks on Coptic Christians, amongst other atrocities.
Now Ramses the Umpteenth is declaring himself dictator of Egypt. Seems like it happens every time. I'm somewhat heartened to see that the reaction of the people was immediate. Maybe the young kids who started this revolution will correct it's course and have real, modern democracy, not the quasi-theocracies the Middle East is known for. But maybe we'll have another nutjob dictator birthed from a popular revolution that makes a mess of everything.