Down with the Great Satan
About 20 years ago I worked with an Egyptian man who had
come to the U.S. on a foreign worker exchange program. In
the seven or eight months that I worked with him three things
became clear about him.
First, he was obsessed with Middle Eastern politics and liked
to talk about it all the time. He was a fierce opponent of
the late Anwar Sadat and felt that Sadat, whom he referred
to as the "black donkey" was selling out the Arab
cause by negotiating with Israel.
Secondly he had nothing but contempt for America, calling
us a people without any history (his country of course had
5000 years of it) and angrily denouncing U.S. support of Israel.
Thirdly, he was spending every spare moment looking for an
American born wife so he wouldn't have to ever go back to
the glorious land of the pyramids.
Why Middle Eastern politics Well I have a feeling it's because
there is little else to do there. There's no Super Bowl, no
NCAA 64 team bracket pool. You can't paint your face and go
to the game so you invest your rooting interest in driving
the infidel from land you think is yours even if it means
chopping him into little pieces.
And while this former associate of mine never discussed with
me why he came to feel that his 5000 years of Egyptian history
could be better experienced from an American museum as opposed
to up close I think I know the reason and therein lies the
key to combating radical Islam.
Consumer goods. Cars, blue jeans, high definition TV, houses
that don't fall over when the wind hits them, Big Macs (okay
I know they're terrible but imagine yourself on a diet where
all you can eat is chickpeas and even two cardboardy all beef
patties are gonna sound pretty good). The American consumer
society, the freedom to choose and make your own rules is
the dire enemy of orthodox religion.
To the radical mullahs American television is the most subversive
element that could ever emerge in the Islamic world. They
don't want their people to see a society where religion is
a marginal factor in peoples lives. They don't want them to
see women with education and jobs and without 20 layers of
covering. And most importantly they don't want them to see
the Playboy channel.
I mean how are you ever going to get somebody to blow themselves
up in a pizza shop in exchange for a vague promise of a few
dozen virgins when they can live in a society where you can
pretty much get all the sex you want (although virgins, if
that's what you're into, are admittedly in short supply).
The average Islamic country has sexual mores that make the
America of the 1950's look like a weekend at Hugh Hefners
mansion. The mullahs know full well that if the sex genie
gets out of the bottle it will never go back in.
Rationalization. It's one of life's most powerful and least
talked about forces. The mullahs know that if the choice boils
down to praying in the direction of Mecca and meeting your
girlfriend for a nooner the nooner is going to win almost
all the time and eventually rationalization will lead even
loyal Muslims to ask whether mullahs really know all that
much after all. We did much the same thing here in America
when the pill and increased prosperity made the sexual revolution
possible. Religious austerity only sells when there's no good
Well, there apparently is no justice because in fact the
Egyptian man who couldn't stand America did manage to find
a U.S. bride just as the INS was ready to hand him his walking
papers and to the best of my knowledge he's still here. He'd
visited the worlds biggest candy store and decided that if
you've seen one pyramid you've seen 'em all. And that's why
the Hefners and Gucciones and Flynts represent a more powerful
force in the world than all the mullahs and the ayatollahs
and the evangelical Bible thumpers that the world has ever
They may scream at us and burn our flag and yell "death
to America" but if given the chance every last one of
them would get down with the Great Satan.