Since September 11, the economy hasn’t suffered a single down quarter. In fact, it has notched 23 straight quarters of economic growth … Overall, the American economy is, adjusting for inflation, $1.65 trillion bigger than it was six years ago. To put that gigantic number in some perspective, the U.S. economy has added the equivalent of five Saudi Arabias, eight Irans, 13 Pakistans, or 15 Egypts, depending on your preference. And while 9/11 did cause the stock market to plunge, the Dow is 37 percent higher than it was on Sept. 10, 2001, creating trillions of dollars of new wealth for Americans. What’s more, the unemployment rate is 4.6 percent today vs. 5.7 percent back then. Not bad at all.
Humans are clearly well-suited to some economic, political, and religious systems and not to others. Some systems--such as Islamic jihadism with its recycled socialist and communist politics -- are nothing more than a Procrustean bed of torture, as they try to adjust human nature to fit their "perfect" religion and the will of their bloodthirsty god.
In every case where totalitarian ideologies are put in place, whether they are religious or not, the result has been either catastrophic human misery and death (when the ideology is applied ruthlessly and viciously) or stagnation and decay (when applied nonchalantly and accepted passively).
Bin Laden saves some of his most vicious rhetoric for capitalism and corporations, and in this he is following the traditional Marxist mode. All you have to do is consider the Middle East, and you can see just how "effective" the anti-capitalistic mentality of the Islamists has been. No where on earth is there more poverty and mind-numbing ignorance. If that part of the planet had not been serendipitously blessed with oil (praise Allah!), then there would be no interest whatsoever in the goings-on of major thugs like Bin Laden and his sidekicks, or even minor ones like the Saudi royal family. That the former live in caves and the latter in palaces is a matter of personal choice. In either case, however, the cave is the more appropriate symbol of their Marxist-inspired rule.
Compare the stagnant economies of the Middle East with Israel. Remember the oppression, death and misery facilitated by the Taliban in their heyday in Afghanistan. How completely laughable that the intellectual and morally bankrupt religious fanatacism believes its values are somehow superior to the evil, capitalist West.
They are only "superior" in their worship of death and destruction.
Many, like Bin Laden, will claim that it is capitalism that destroys humans, spiritually and physically, but they are incorrect; and all the evidence leans to the exact opposite conclusion. In fact, among social, political and economic systems, democratic capitalism is probably the one and only system that is most consistent with human nature in that it allows all aspects of human nature to express itself in socially acceptable ways that can benefit the individual and the society-at-large.
Capitalism does not pretend that those messy and omnipresent negative human emotions can be "stamped out" by adherence to an ideology. It accepts human nature as a given and provides a system through which humans are able to sublimate and redirect those negative emotions to better both themselves and incidentally the larger society.
As economic and political systems go, capitalism is actually a miraculous psychological breakthrough; and it is why capitalism dovetails so nicely with political systems that promote individual freedom and democracy.
And, far from encouraging the "survival of the fittest", capitalism encourages cooperation for mutually beneficial trade as well as for competition. Instead of encouraging war and dominance; capitalism thrives on trust and human cooperation; as well as alliances to maximize productivity and wealth creation.
Far from concentrating wealth in the hands of a few, capitalism makes it possible for anyone to accumulate wealth (contrast for example the number of people who earn over $100,000 a year in the U.S., with those do in Cuba or anywhere in the backward Middle East. The only really wealthy people in those places are the ones in power.
Envy and greed are both real human emotions that will always be part of the human condition, but only in a capitalist system can one transform both envy and greed into socially acceptable actions that improve one's own lot without attacking or destroying others. In totalitarian systems--particularly in the Middle East--emotions like envy and greed are allowed to run amok because they are pushed into the unconscious and given no healthy outlet. Because of that, their destructiveness in those societies is unchallenged and unparalleled. No responsibility is ever taken for failures; instead the blame for any failure is externalized.
Human nature is what it is. This is not at all tragic; it is a simple truth. The biological fantasies of the leftist utopians; and the delusional fantasies of communists and socialists and all their 21st century heirs, have lead to incalculable levels of human suffering all over the world, as the proponents of these theories have tried to force humans to evolve into some sort of "ideal" state.
All such systems have failed the real-world tests in the last century; and all current versions of these ideologies will also eventually fail and fade away. To the extent that they attempt to incorporate some aspects of "human nature" into their failing system, they may last a bit longer as they slowly chip away at the human spirit and work to extinguish it; but it is actually much more likely that human nature will transform the perverse ideology than that the reverse will happen.
What we see in the Middle East today is the fragile re-assertion of human nature after years of being crushed under the oppression of yet another social system that has attempted to rebuild humans along the lines of a religious "ideal", spiked with totalitarian fantasizing. For all the opposition to giving democracy and freedom a chance in Iraq in Afghanistan, the seeds have been planted and there is little doubt that those seeds will grow as healthy human nature reasserts itself after decades of oppression.
Historically, the healthy aspects of human nature have always been vulnerable to being crushed by some ideology or religion that caters to the darker side. As Yoda once commented, this dark side of human nature is not stronger; but it is easier and more seductive to the mind bent on acquiring power.
How much human misery and oppressive injustice will it take before the social engineers of shar'ia --or today's neo-fascist left for that matter, abandon their attempts to force human beings to adapt to their fantasies? When will their "moral awakening" occur? As SC&A noted once, " Utopias cannot be created without imposing tyranny.
In a post titled "Utopian Dreams and Nightmares" I wrote about the differences between today's left who advocate the New!Improved! versions of totalitarian ideologies; and the selfish capitalists they so despise:
The do-gooder leftist in all the various ideological incarnations--the antiwar crowd, the environmental crowd, the communists, socialists, and assorted collectivists--offers the rationale that he does what he does for the "common good" and for "social justice", "peace" and "brotherhood". His high-minded, self-righteous rhetoric justifies (to him anyway) imposing his will and beliefs on others for their own good; and he will not hesitate to use whatever coercive capablity he has at hand to get others to do what he wants and what he says.
The capitalist, on the other hand, is overtly out to pursue his own selfish profit, and understands he must use persuasion. That is, he must convince people that his ideas and the products of his mind are better than all the rest so that they will be willing to part with their hard-earned money to possess them. His desire for power over others is manifested in an indirect manner because people must wnat what he has to offer and believe that they will benefit from an interaction with him.
Bin Laden may be clever, but he does not understand a fundamental truth: imperfect freedom and selfish capitalism will always outperform (in terms of health, wealth, happiness and progress) any culture, religion, or society that is based on enslaving the human mind to some ideal or god.
So take that, Bin Laden! And may you stay dead and buried in your lovely cave; just another in a long line of butchers and tyrants who catered to the dark side of human nature to achieve his tyranny.
UPDATE: An interesting op-ed piece in the CSM regarding Bin Laden's "new" image:
Projecting a younger look, Mr. bin Laden gives his most ideological address since the early 1990s with an assault on capitalism and liberal democracy loaded with Marxist and socialist terms. Indeed, this new bin Laden sounds more like Che Guevara, the Marxist revolutionary, than some of his rifle-toting Al Qaeda cohorts....
In the video, bin Laden addresses Americans and rails against the ills of economic exploitation, multinational corporations, and globalization. He tells them to liberate themselves from "the deception, shackles, and attrition of the capitalist system." Similar to his incitement of Muslims against their oppressive, "apostate" rulers and the meddlesome West, bin Laden now seems to be trying to galvanize Americans against their own harsh socioeconomic and political system.
"Poor and exploited Americans, unite against your capitalist laws that make the rich richer and the poor poorer," the former multimillionaire businessman tells the camera. Never before has bin Laden utilized the grandiose language of Marxism in his statements to the American people. And yet, he says, Muslims and Americans are alike; they are both victims of the capitalist system, which "seeks to turn the entire world into a fiefdom of the major corporations under the label of 'globalization' in order to protect democracy."
While in the past bin Laden emphasized the clash of cultures and religions as the basis for confrontation, he now talks about commonalities of victimhood and suffering. He blames the global system of capital and class for the tragedies in Iraq and Afghanistan, the poverty of Africa, and "the reeling of many [Americans] under the burden of interest-related debts, insane taxes, and real estate mortgages." According to the new bin Laden, big capital, class interests, and multinationals – not religion or culture – are responsible for perpetuating war and killing.
Osama Bin Laden--just another Marxist tool.