January 30, 2011
There is no perfection this side of heaven
Egypt is in turmoil. There have now been six days of street protests. The Egyptian army has rolled out into the streets and the people have welcomed them, preferring them to the national police. In the background, all over the United States, liberal progressives are calling for the same riots in American cities. Anyone like me who supports our government and believes the United States is still the greatest nation on earth is ridiculed. There are far too many Americans like Joe Rogan who honestly believe that corporate America is in complete control of the country. Their solution is civil war.
As I have pointed out before, I am not a fan of George Bush, either senior or junior. That does not change the simple fact that so far, Barack Obama is even worse. And now he is using the world's fixation with Egypt's street protests to push his internet kill switch.
Our world is now home to almost 7 billion people. Seven billion individuals each with their own priorities, their own dreams, their own strengths, and their own weaknesses. There are more people on earth right this minute then the total for the entire history of humanity prior to World War Two, almost twice as many in fact. I am amazed and horrified that in this brief flash of the present so many of those billions are eager to ignore the history of the past century and demand the imposition of a global Marxist dictatorship. I don't understand how anyone can believe that the incredible success of capitalism and free markets is somehow evidence for the failure of free markets and free people. There are more people living in comfort right this minute, and more people living in poverty, then in the entire pre-WWII history of humanity. Seven billion people! That would be impossible under a Marxist world government.
Are there problems? Of course there are! Halliburton, Blackwater, and countless other companies made a fortune off the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They cleared billions in profit. Money that paid wages on four continents and fed countless families in third world countries through charitable donations made voluntarily by the employees of those companies. It is impossible to calculate how much good has been accomplished around the world from profits generated by those wars.
Now, don't get me wrong. The good that has come from those corporate profits does not justify those wars. Not in the least. It simply demonstrates that anyone who attacks corporate war profits is missing the much larger picture of where those profits ultimately wind up. True, a few executives made a few million each and that does seem excessive. Still, how many janitors working for those very same companies sent a portion of their minimum wage paycheck to hospitals, orphanages, and schools in impoverished communities in Africa, Asia, and South America? Hundreds? Thousands? Tens of thousands? Nobody knows.
I have great respect and admiration for those Egyptians who are taking up whatever weapons they have to patrol their neighborhoods and fight off looters. I have great respect for individual Egyptians who gathered without leadership to demand Pres. Mubarak's resignation. Individuals acting on principle will always earn my respect and admiration. That is, after all, the one thing that separates us from the animals. Our ability to act on principle rather than instinct is what makes us human. So when someone like Joe Rogan produces slick videos calling me an idiot because I believe in the United States of America and everything she stands for it makes my stomach boil and I am angered to the point of violence. Fortunately, I am human and I have the example of Egyptian neighbors banding together for self-defense to remind me just what that means. It means I let Joe and his allies off with some vitriol and profanity rather than the bullet in the brain they so richly deserve.
Liberal progressives everywhere should thank those brave Egyptians banding together to defend their homes and families. Seeing them reminds me that no matter how delusional the Joe Rogans of the world are, they are entitled to their opinions. However, I will never, ever agree with those opinions. If they dare take to the streets in America I will be among the first to grab my guns and fall out in defense of the police.
Oh, and as a footnote, Ben Wedeman is hands down the best western journalist in the Middle East. Whatever CNN is paying him it is not nearly enough.