Wednesday, May 05, 2004

John Derbyshire in NRO writes today on why Arab cultures cannot seem to produce democracy. His analysis is terrific, including his insights into the mind of George W. Bush on the matter. But ultimately, he stops short of recognizing the obvious elephant in the living room.

His analysis of Bush springs from these comments the president made the other day
There's a lot of people in the world who don't believe that people whose skin color may not be the same as ours can be free and self-govern. I reject that. I reject that strongly. I believe that people who practice the Muslim faith can self-govern. I believe that people whose skins aren't necessarily — are a different color than white can self-govern.
Derbyshire sees the obvious non-sequiter involved here:
What is the president actually saying? What, for instance, is all that stuff about skin color? What does skin color have to do with the matter of democracy in Iraq? I have blood relatives in England who are darker-skinned than Saddam Hussein. Practically the entire editorial staff of National Review is darker-skinned than Muqtada al-Sadr. And how did we suddenly segue from "people whose skin color may not be the same as ours" (Whose? Yours? Condi's?) to "people who practice the Muslim faith," then back again in the very next sentence to "people whose skins...are a different color than white"?

The reason for all the confusion is that the president is talking — or rather, like a good multiculturalist, tying himself in knots by trying desperately not to talk — about race.
Derbyshire doesn't shy away from the question. Instead, he analyzes the racial component of different groups ("population genetics") in that part of the world to find out if there is a genetic reason for their inability to support democracy. But Turkey (and to some degree Jordan) seem to militate against the notion that Arabs are racially incapable of self-government.

And yet democracy continually fails in that part of the world. Observes Derbyshire:
The uncomfortable fact remains that of the 18 nations whose first language is Arabic, not one is a modern constitutional democracy. The further fact remains that while President Bush may, and probably does, believe that constitutional democracy is priority No. 1 for the Arabs, a great deal of circumstantial evidence suggest that for many in that part of the world, priority No. 1 is the humiliation and murder of their enemies, most especially the hated Jews, with constitutional democracy round about priority No. 853.
So what is the problem? It is here where Derbyshire inexplicable shrugs his shoulders and gives up, not seeing what his own research and reasoning (along with obvious observation) lead us to: the problem is Islam. Islam is incompatible with democracy, and the Arab community is fatally infected with Islam.

Until we realize that, we'll never be able to confront the real problem that faces us in that part of the world.

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