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July 05, 2009


Andrew Reeves

You know, I hesitate to get into a conversation about Israel, but ISTR that the conventional wisdom was that a lot of the folks in the Palestinian Authority who voted for Hamas were voting for an anti-corruption agenda rather than the Jew killing.


Yes, i've seen that argument made plenty of times, but I consider it as specious as absolving German voters of responsibility for World War 2 and the Holocaust because they were supposedly only voting for "law and order" or "a German revival".

Just as with the National Socialists and their obsessions with "lebensraum" and a "Jew-free Europe", one cannot simply consider one aspect of Hamas' programme without looking at the other, frankly much more central portions of it; what makes it worse with the Gazans is that at least the Nazis spent some effort engaging in puff-talk about "peace" in their breakthrough electoral years (and even well into the late 1930s), while Hamas has *never* claimed to be seeking anything more than a temporary truce on the way to the final goal of Israel's destruction, so in that respect the Palestinians have even less of an excuse than the Germans of the 1930s.

PS: It should also be noted that it's not as if there were an upswelling of opposition to Hamas amongst the Gaza populace subsequent to the elections, once it became clear that Hamas was intent on pursuing the programme of aggression it had always declared was its goal. The great majority of Gazans at minimum tacitly supported Hamas' rocket firings into Israel - at least until it finally called down massive Israeli retribution ...

Andrew Reeves

Okay, I mostly agree with your follow up post, but have one nitpick. The main difference between, say, Germany in the early 30's and a lot of the Islamic world where people can actually vote is that there's no real secular good-government agenda. A 1933 German still had lots of options to choose from. In places like Pakistan or the Palestinian Authority, the two flavors that the voter has to choose from seem to be "corrupt" and "brutal, but consistently so."


Which brings us to the question of why this is so consistently the case throughout the Islamic world. What internal factors prevent so many Muslim countries from having political alternatives other than a choice between militant theocracy and corrupt autocracy? Why does secular liberalism seem to be a non-starter in that part of the world?

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