What will Mr. Anderson write when the jails in Egypt, Tunisia, and elsewhere in the Arab world where Islamists are set to dominate start filling up with those “secular liberals” or those who oppose the Islamists’ radical agenda? Perhaps he could also list the secular liberals that Republicans have arrested and thrown in jail.
To compare evangelical Christians to radical, violent, genocidal fundamentalist Muslims is not only dishonest, but a base smear — a knowing, deliberate falsification, carefully thought out and written to equate barbarism with civilization, fanaticism with piety, and genocide with political disagreement in a democratic context.
That one paragraph represents everything that is wrong with the writer, with Time, and with the whole cockamamie notion that the “Arab Spring” has been anything but an unmitigated disaster — a slide toward an oppression darker, meaner, and more deadly to human liberty than anything dreamed by Mubarak, Gadaffi, Saleh, or their henchmen. For in the Islamists’ wildest dreams, they never imagined that those seeking democratic freedoms would become their unwitting allies and hand them the keys to the castle. To believe that their bloodthirsty rhetoric these past decades — not only against the Jews but also those “secular liberals” who are far too western for their tastes — is “just talk” is to practice a profound and catastrophic self-delusion.
We have heard this “moderate” Islamist tune before in Iran when the Ayatollah Khomeini seized power in 1979. Then it was the Carter administration who assured us that once the revolution settled down, Iran would be a model democratic state.
How’s that working out?
But the author, who bragged in the article that he put up in his house one of the demonstrators for a couple of weeks, saves his most hagiographic musings for the Occupy Wall Street movement.
In the U.S., three acute and overlapping money crises – tanked economy, systemic financial recklessness, gigantic public debt – along with ongoing revelations of double dealing by banks, new state laws making certain public-employee-union demands illegal and the refusal of Congress to consider even slightly higher taxes on the very highest incomes mobilized Occupy Wall Street and its millions of supporters.
“Millions of supporters?” One would think that a “mass movement” would have, well, mass. This week saw the most ambitious planned Occupy protest to date; an attempt to shut down every port on the West Coast between San Diego and Alaska.
How did they do? Actually, they came up fantastically short. Protestors managed to once again, shut down the Port of Oakland — again by threatening violence that scared workers away. But the Guardian reports:
Attempts to shut down other west coast ports, however, were less successful. The Port of Seattle said there had been “minimum impact to cargo movement”, although seattlepi.com said around 100 protesters had prevented traffic from entering during the afternoon.
Similarly, in Vancouver about 100 protesters delayed between 40 and 50 trucks, but the port did not close.
The Wall Street Journal reported that in Long Beach, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Portland, a hundred to three hundred protestors slowed activity at some of the terminals but the ports were largely unaffected.
So where are the “millions of supporters”? This kind of exaggeration by the press has been par for the course throughout the lifespan of the Occupy movement. No one is arguing that the OWS criticisms aren’t resonating with millions of Americans on some level. But millions of Americans also reject the attempts by the Occupy movement to ignite envy and hatred of those who are successful and drive the economy with their innovation and entrepreneurship. Historically, Americans have rejected class warfare as a means to gain political power or affect change. Why should anyone believe we will start now?
But beyond the Marxist rhetoric, and like the real drivers of the revolutions in the Arab world, there are other forces at work in the Occupy movement that seek an overthrow of the existing order beyond punishing a few bankers and soaking the rich for more tax money. The revolutionaries who see nothing wrong with costing working people paychecks or destroying jobs are hell bent on using the misdirected idealism and anger of the Occupy protestors to achieve other, more radical ends. And like the “Arab Spring,” the Occupy idealists will realize too late that their movement has been co-opted by those who do not share their vision of the future.
“The Protestor” as Time’s Person of the Year may be the feel-good choice for the mainstream press. But the reality of what these protestors have accomplished may end up causing most of us to rue the day the press fell in love with the idea that meaningful change can be accomplished with a cell phone and a Facebook account when coming face to face with evil men with evil designs.
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