Watching the commentary on recent events in Egypt, and hearing the discussion about the moves to unseat Egypt's elected President, it reminds me of a recurring argument that inevitably follows when someone says that they are in favour of the promotion of liberal democracy.
I've often been asked about what happens when a new electoral process results in an illiberal government. I've been told that "if you promote liberal democracy, for example, in many countries in the Middle East, you create a situation whereby a totalitarian-ish Islamist party can take power".
Surely this presents us with a paradox?
Well... no it doesn't. If you hold an election, and the resulting constitutional settlement allows the winner to abolish, or rig, subsequent elections, then the election was not part of a process that could be described as 'liberal democratic' in the first place.
The reality of having to seek a renewed mandate on broadly the terms that you won the old one - that's a vital part of the covenant of a liberal democracy. It's not an optional extra.
When you create a situation in which everyone can vote to decide who the next government is, you have not created a democracy. You've had an election. It's not the same thing. (John Dewey is well worth reading on this).
I know little about Egypt, and almost nothing about Mohamed Morsi. But unless the Egyptian constitution would not permit him to rig the next election, it's not particularly anti-democratic for him to be overthrown so soon after an election - especially if he's been using his time in office to abolish important liberties.