Ed Driscoll

Question Asked and Answered

“The Saudis spread their ideas around the world — why don’t we?”, asks Ed West in the UK Spectator:

Much of the intolerance in Pakistan stems from the influence of the Saudis, who are trying to reshape Islam in their image, and are helped by Westerners because of their vast reserves of money. Shamefully the British Museum put on an exhibition on Mecca funded by the Saudis, even while those iconoclasts were vandalising the city; I can’t think of anything so contrary to the spirit of that fine institution.

But they’re not the only ones – universities and organisations all over the West take Saudi money, and they should be publicly shamed, just as tax dodgers are. Likewise countries that do not allow freedom of religion should be made pariahs; in Qatar apostasy is still technically a capital crime, although it has never been enacted and one gets the impression the rulers only keep it there to appease the head-bangers. But why isn’t the world boycotting the 2022 World Cup until this law is changed? Why isn’t David Cameron going for a drink to discuss that?

At the heart of the problem is that we’re too scared of even admitting that the problem is within Islam, perfectly illustrated by the BBC’s coverage of events.

This is perverse, because our belief in equal rights before the law stems from the liberal tradition, yet while the Saudis spend millions promoting their beliefs abroad, we don’t. According to human-rights lawyer and advocate for Christian religious freedom Nina Shea, many of the classical liberal western works, such as John Locke, have no modern Arabic translations. Why isn’t one of the west’s many liberal billionaires paying for translations, to be made available free on Kindle?

Why isn’t the west spreading its ideas around the world? I suspect the author knows exactly the reason why: because the left, in England, America, and Europe, hates the both the freedom inherent in classical laissez-faire liberalism, and the religious nature of its founding.


Hollywood producer and Obama donor Harvey Weinstein said the United States is “embarrassing” because of its adherence to the Second Amendment and lack of universal healthcare.

Appearing on Piers Morgan Tonight Friday, Weinstein said “this is the only the country in the world where we don’t have health care. Countries embarrass us around the world.”

“And this is the only country in the world where we don’t have a gun law. I watched you, you know, talking about that,” he said. “You know, quite frankly it’s embarrassing. Obama’s not embarrassing. The country is embarrassing.”

When a man who has made an reported $150 million net worth is “embarrassed” by the ideas held sacred by the very people who buy the tickets that have made him wealthy, it’s reflected in the product he produces — which much of the Arab world assumes is an accurate reflection of the United States.

As Glenn Reynolds has noted, “In the 1950s Western culture was confident, and thus widely imitated. Our cultural leaders soon fixed that.”

It took a while for a rot to set in; recall Phyllis Chesler’s brilliant 2010 post documenting “The Steady Erosion of Women’s Rights in Egypt,” via the growing number of covered heads in photographs of the graduating classes of the University of Cairo from 1959 through 2004.” Even in Afghanistan, as late as 1972, one could find images such as this:

Of course, it wasn’t just in the Middle East that the collapse of “Progressive” confidence and the rise of the punitive left led to the destruction of civilization. As late as 1965, Detroit looked like this:

And the left have certainly worked over England rather dramatically in the last 50 years. In 1953, Bertolt Brecht famously quipped, “wouldn’t it be simpler if the Government simply dissolved the people and elected another?” No need to do even that, when you can simply rewire the people to share your worldview. There is a problem with that formula however. As I’ve said before, Monty Python was wrong: It isn’t the tenants that need to believe, lest the building falls down, it’s the management. If they don’t believe, neither will those who send them their rent checks, with disastrous results:

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