NY Times columnist Thomas Friedman travelled to Yemen, Syria and Turkey to film a documentary. Here's his big takeaway from the trip (his emphasis):
It is why you can’t come away from a journey like this without wondering not just who will rule in these countries but how will anyone rule in these countries?Keep in mind those questions.
Friedman then goes on (wearing his usual kaleidoscope-like glasses) to lament the conditions that he found:
In Egypt, Yemen or Syria, it is common to see primary-school classes of 60 to 70 kids with one undertrained teacher, no computers and no science instruction. How are the 36 kids whose three fathers I met going to have a chance in a world where not only are robots replacing manual blue-collar workers but software is increasingly replacing routine white-collar jobs — and where some of them can’t go back to the family farm because the water and topsoil have been depleted?He obviously sees problems (again, interpreted his own way) and comes up with a solution:
The only way for these countries to catch up is by people uniting to mobilize all their strength. It is for Sunnis, Christians and Alawites in Syria to work together; for the tribes in Yemen and Libya to work together; for the Muslim Brotherhood, Salafists and liberals in Egypt to do so as well...But alas, Friedman spoils it with his prescription (my emphasis):
But to pull together requires trust — that intangible thing that says you can rule over me even though you come from a different tribe, sect or political party — and that is what is missing here.Ron Paul has said many times (and his campaigns were living examples) that freedom "unites" people.
Unfortunately, Friedman's line of thinking has been the dominant idea throughout man's history, and it has done nothing but make man look like a dog constantly chasing its tail.
In America, despite our massive problems, we have had a head start on tossing those ideas aside.
For example, I can walk outside of my house right now into a shopping center and peacefully deal with other people. I don't know their religious beliefs, their ethnic backgrounds, and I really don't care. Nor do they care about mine. The critical elements involved are respect for private property, and free and voluntary exchange.
On the religious front, thanks to the separation of Church & State (in general), America has every religious group imaginable co-existing without fighting one another violently. Each religious group must use persuasion, rather than the guns of The State, to gain and keep its members.
What the Middle East needs is not to find the right ruler, but to let people associate with one another freely. Friedman's prescription is one that will keep the area mired in wars without end. If the idea is either "they" control the State and force me to live like they do, or vice-versa, then of course you'll have nothing but violent battle.
Friedman, because he worships the idea of The State cannot possibly comprehend the cause and effect involved. In his eyes, some must rule, and others have to be OK with it.
While ahead of the game globally, America must also keep moving in the direction that was started over 200 years ago. Thomas Friedman, and the droves of opinion-molders like him, must have their ideas pushed back.
Americans also carry very heavy crosses. While they are different then those carried by the people in the Middle East, the one common theme is The State.
In America, the separation of Medicine & State, Education & State, and most importantly Money & State all need to be in its future.
And perhaps someday (even further out) Americans can evolve to the point of understanding that The State itself is not necessary at all.
If, or when that occurs, the embarrassing history of man, and the disastrous idea of "you can rule over me" can finally head into the dustbin of history.