July 12, 2005

Microwaved Marxism

After every act of terrorism in a Western country essays by “intellectuals” who are dumb as a sack of hammers predictably appear in the press. Here’s one by the now-infamous Sarah Boxer in the New York Times, about werenotafraid.com, where she pulls decades-old Marxist leftovers out of the refrigerator and zaps them in the microwave.

The site displays a range of defiant postures. Some people hold up their middle fingers, presumably for the terrorists to see. Some people posted pictures of American soldiers, presumably for Londoners and Americans to see.

But more and more, there's a brutish flaunting of wealth and leisure. Yesterday there were lots of pictures posted of smiling families at the beach and of people showing off their cars and vans. A picture from Italy shows a white sports car and comes with the caption: “Afraid? Why should we be afraid?”

A few days ago, We're Not Afraid might have been a comfort. Today, there's a hint of “What, me worry?” from Mad magazine days, but without the humor or the sarcasm. We're Not Afraid, set up to show solidarity with London, seems to be turning into a place where the haves of the world can show that they're not afraid of the have-nots.
Osama bin Laden is a friggin' billionaire. Islamist terrorism isn't a class war.

Saudi Arabia is one of the richest countries in the entire world. And it’s the mothership of Islamist terrorism and fanaticism. Meanwhile, Muslim-majority Mali is among the five poorest nations in the entire world. The number of terrorists exported by Mali: zero. (Mali is also, by the way, a stable multi-ethnic democracy. Even poor Muslims in non-homogenous countries are capable of liberalization, moderation, and democracy. Mali proves that definitively. But facts of this sort seem to have no effect whatever on ideological leftists or rightists.)

Sarah Boxer’s very existence ought to encourage would-be journalists everywhere. You can be dumb as a sack of hammers and still make it all the way to the New York Times.

UPDATE: Andrew Apostolou emails an article published last year by the BBC. Dr Andrew Silke interviewed 180 Al Qaeda detainees and learned, among other things, that every single one of them came from upper or middle-class backgrounds. Two thirds were college educated. One in ten held a post-graduate degree. Islamists terrorists are far wealthier and better educated than Westerners on average. We're not under assault by the have-nots, we're under assault by the haves.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at July 12, 2005 2:07 PM
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Essays

Terror and Liberalism
Paul Berman, The American Prospect

The Men Who Would Be Orwell
Ron Rosenbaum, The New York Observer

Looking the World in the Eye
Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly

In the Eigth Circle of Thieves
E.L. Doctorow, The Nation

Against Rationalization
Christopher Hitchens, The Nation

The Wall
Yossi Klein Halevi, The New Republic

Jihad Versus McWorld
Benjamin Barber, The Atlantic Monthly

The Sunshine Warrior
Bill Keller, The New York Times Magazine

Power and Weakness
Robert Kagan, Policy Review

The Coming Anarchy
Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly

England Your England
George Orwell, The Lion and the Unicorn