Tuesday, September 17, 2002

ROOT CAUSES: (according to Mark Steyn)
The story of the last 30 years is the emergence of "a new world middle class," as Professor Xavier Sala-i-Martin calls them in his study The World Distribution Of Income. This class is made up of some 2.5 billion people in the developing world, whose standards of living now approach those of the West. That's to say, roughly half the people in the developing world are doing pretty well economically. As Virginia Postrel wrote in The New York Times recently, taking the world's population as a whole, in 1998 "the largest number of people earned about $8,000 -- a standard of living equivalent to Portugal's."

Why hasn't the Middle East shared in this economic growth? Because they're failed states run by kleptocrats who govern by clan and corruption and whose starting point is to exclude half the population -- the women -- from the economic life of the country.

This page hasn't made a point of linking to every Mark Steyn commentary because he is already so well-connected elsewhere in the Blogosphere. But, apparently, I have some readers who aren't familiar with this brilliant essayist whose work is a pleasure to read, not only for its acerbic wit, but moreso for the uncomfortable truths about institutionalized ignorance and racism he routinely lays bare.

Consider the oversight remedied. Oh, and here's a couple more uncomfortably factual tidbits he tosses off, almost as an afterthought, en route to some larger and cleverer point:
In the words of Hussein Mussawi, former leader of Hezbollah: "We are not fighting so that you will offer us something. We are fighting to eliminate you."

OK, that's just his opening position. ... Mr. Mussawi is obviously a hardliner, but we should certainly be able to "work with" more "mainstream" figures in the movement such as Sheikh Muhammad al-Gamei'a, an Egyptian bigshot who was the imam at the Islamic Cultural Center and Mosque in New York at the time of last September's unfortunate example of the price of American arrogance. Back in October, the big-time Westernized imam thought it was all to do with America's Jewish influence: "You see these people all the time, everywhere, disseminating corruption, heresy, homosexuality, alcoholism, and drugs. Because of the Jews there are strip clubs, homosexuals, and lesbians everywhere. They do this to impose their hegemony and colonialism on the world ..." [emphasis mine. -jlz]

Read the whole thing.


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