Dropping out

The New York Times describes the rise of sharia law in the West, especially in Britain, where it is branching out into areas outside of family relationships.

The conflict over British Shariah courts comes at a time when Islamic principles are being extended to other areas of daily life in Britain.

There are now five wholly Islamic banks in the country and a score more that comply with Shariah.

An insurance company last summer began British advertising for “car insurance that’s right for your faith” because it does not violate certain Islamic prohibitions, like the one against gambling.

Britain’s first Shariah-compliant prepaid MasterCard was begun in August.

Sharia law is at heart a desire to live outside the system and while its spread is probably a bad thing for the West, one wonders how much the paralyzing and expensive effect of excessive litigation and over regulation in Western society has driven the rise of parallel private institutions. Home schooling, private education, the cash economy -- all are in their own way miniature expressions of revolt or dissatisifaction with the public system. Maybe one of ultimate ironies of a all-encompassing state is that, as was the case in the old Soviet Union -- is that everyone will opt out of it at the very moment when it becomes omnipotent on paper.