Old-fashioned Liberalism Is Not The Answer To Arabic Racism

In his article, Egypt’s Prison of Hate (Wall Street Journal, January 4, 2011), Bret Stephens writes in response to the New  Year’s Eve massacre of a score of Coptic Christian worshipers in Alexandria, Egypt.  The political reaction of many Muslim leaders in that country blamed the attack on a Zionist plot backed by Israel.  Mr.Stephens recommends that Egyptians need old-fashioned liberalism, and in particular, disseminating an Arabic translation of the complete works of the liberal English philosopher, John Locke, starting with his “Letters Concerning Toleration.”

Unfortunately, old-fashioned liberalism has come and gone.  This solution ignores the crucial role played by people’s socio-political character structure in determining current social behavior.  Egyptians who are racist, and those leaders who defend atrocities such as this massacre, belong on the extreme right of the socio-political spectrum.  These Egyptians should not be lumped with the majority of people in that country who belong more to the political center and are therefore, non-violent.

Moreover, promoting liberal thinking does not get to the source of the enormous quantities of hatred locked deep in the character structure of all Muslim extremists.  This hatred is constantly seeking release in one form or another.  The source of this hatred is the desire for revenge that is displaced from their personal lives onto  jihad.  Liberal philosophy which originated from the most superficial layer of human structure, cannot contain the reservoir of hatred of these extremists.  Unless they are recognized and isolated from the rest of society, this scourge of destructive human behavior will continue to be out of control.

1 Comment

  1. Just recently, the NY Times ran two stories about liberalism’s failures: The first about Bill Gate’s surprise and disillusionment that his vast monetary donations to social causes did not yield anything positive in real terms (i.e., cure for diseases). The other article was about the failure of micro-loans (smaller loans to family-type businesses), which was touted as an answer to poor second/third world countries; in fact one of its originators won the Noble Prize. To wit, these superficial programs-just as Stephens’ idea to teach tolerance to racists-do not take into account people’s rigid character structures which hamper and ultimately cause failures in these “progressive” ideas. Especially the wish to “educate” will not work, since trying to implement freedom in a fascist nation will first cause anxiety and then a reaction of destructiveness. We have the example of Iraq to bear this out.

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