Noah denkt™  -
    Project for Philosophical Evaluations of the Economy
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Mubarak and/or True Grit
A dialog with the Alter Ego on the moral value of stubbornness, first drafted on Feb. 14,
published on Feb. 15, 2011
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Statement by Noah denkt™ (Nd): These last couple of days, we have watched several US movies which have yet
again focused on what US movies ever so often like to focus on, i.e. the praiseworthy disposition of human beings
to never give up even if their
stubborn pursuit might require them to accept serious personal and physical
sacrifice.
Answer by Alter Ego of Noah denkt™ (AE): What are the movies, you are referring to here?

Nd: They are “True Grit” (the latest movie by the
Coen Brothers which tells the story of a tough US marshal who
helps a head-strong young woman to track down her father’s murderer), “The Fighter” (a David O. Russell movie
which features the travails of boxing champion Mickey Ward) and “Men of Honor” (a year 2000 drama on the life
of the first black Navy diver Carl Brashear).
AE: Good! Why do you want to talk about that?

Nd: Because this very same week, when we saw all these wonderful stories about heroic human beings that were
willing to defy the overwhelming odds against them another tough guy who was equally willing to challenge
conventional wisdom has been so dramatically vilified by the public that we need to ask ourselves what kind of
stubbornness it is that the public really wants.
AE: You are referring to Hosni Mubarak here?

Nd: Correct.
AE: Well, to be honest, it’s hard to see, why you have a hard time to separate the heroic dedication of a Carl
Brashear from the quite self-serving antics of a despotic ruler like Hosni Mubarak.

Nd: Come on, is there really such a huge gap between the two? Do we not want our leaders to be gutsy and
tenacious enough to stand up against a majority opinion if they deem that this majority opinion is unjustified and
wrong?  Isn’t it true, that it is precisely
the lack of backbone particularly among business leaders which is ever so
often causing us considerable harm (witness the last financial crisis)? Should we therefore not be more grateful to
people who have in fact had the guts to defy a public hysteria?    
AE: You are right: We do need more heroes in public life. The fact of the matter, however, is that Hosni Mubarak
wasn’t standing up against a public hysteria but much rather was he ordering others to stand in the way of the
rightful and justified human rights’ claims of his people.

Nd: True. But what if he truly thinks that
Egypt isn’t ready for democracy yet? Isn’t it then quite honorable of him to
do what he thinks needs to be done in order to do the right thing?
AE: Well, in his last announcements he was promising to make some democratic changes, wasn’t he? So his anti-
democratic convictions cannot possibly have been half as steadfast as you make them out to be.

Nd: Sure. But then again, you might just as well argue that these were only crowd control concessions that were
merely meant to pacify the general climate of unrest. In other words a more benevolent interpretation might also
conclude that these latter announcements do not question the consistency of his core beliefs.
AE: Let’s for the sake of the argument assume that you have a point here, which we, in fact, do not believe: Is it,
in this case then not quite compromising for him that all this apparent devotion to his homeland has also permitted
him to amass what must otherwise be seen as an obscene amount of money in his bank account?   

Nd: A question in return: Don’t you think that exceptional tenacity should be adequately paid for? After all, that’s
what the core value of a leader is all about, isn’t it?
AE: No, the core value of a leader is his superior capability to interpret things right and to stick with his
conclusions even in the face of seemingly overwhelming opposition. And it is in the analytical part where Hosni
Mubarak has obviously gotten it wrong.

Nd: Can we be so sure that his core interpretation according to which Egypt isn’t ready for
a fully fledged
democracy is, in fact, inadequate?
AE: Well, we think that the orderliness and the peacefulness of the public uprising in Egypt demonstrate that this
country is ready for democracy.

Nd: You are certainly right on this.
AE: So, does this then rectify the confusion that you have obviously suffered from going into this dialog?

Nd: Yes, it does. And what’s more it also helps us to understand what a fine line it is that separates a reasonable
stubbornness from a misguided one.
AE: Yeap!
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Keywords:

value of stubbornness, value of tenacity, backbone and leadership, defying conventional wisdom, good vs bad
stubbornness, Carl Brashear, True Grit, Mickey Ward, Hosni Mubarak, do not give up, persistence, resisting mass
hysteria, challenging conventional wisdom