It seemed like a terrible thing to give them credit for. I felt like the Chinese radio reporter at the Morsi trial, who had remarked that in China a political case would be controlled and kept secret, as if this reflected a kind of decency. But even without moral decency, there was some value in coherence and predictability. In China, there was an actual system of governance, as well as a system of repression; it was venal, but at least people generally knew where lines were drawn. This was one grim lesson I had learned in Egypt: unstructured authoritarianism is even worse than structured authoritarianism.