July 23 is the anniversary of the coup that overthrew the Egyptian monarchy and brought the modernizing strongman Gamal Abdel Nasser to power.
Today Nasser’s brand of anti-western secular socialist dictator seems almost as antiquated as the title King of Egypt, largely because of the squalid failure of such regimes from Ghana to Egypt to Iran (though they were more successful, and less socialist, in parts of East Asia including Singapore and Taiwan).
And the wave of upheaval against the West typically wears a religious face especially in the Middle East.
But it is important to understand that both the 1950s-style nationalist who saw traditional religion as an impediment to modernization and the early 21st-century jihadist who sees traditional religion as the only hope were both reacting, frantically and ineffectively, to the terrifying military, economic and above all cultural dynamism of Western individualism.
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