Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser was the first of this crew. He and his fellow colonels overthrew the enormous, decadent King Farouk in 1954 and seized power in Egypt in a military coup. Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi followed in Nasser’s wake by overthrowing Libya’s King Idris in 1969. He issued his own little Green Book, an obvious knock-off of China’s Communist Chairman Mao and his “Little Red Book.” Green being the recognized color of Islam, Gaddafi commenced more than forty years of dictatorial rule. Iraq’s Saddam Hussein came to power as a member of the Ba’ath Party, a local mix of Islamic and socialist concepts. Ditto Syria’s Hafez al-Assad, the late father of the current dictator, Bashar al-Assad.
It is true that socialism is inconsistent with any religion—or any economy, for that matter. Almost every Arab state that embraced the weird concoction of Islam and socialism found economic dislocations of a severe kind. If it had not been for the region’s vast oil reserves, starvation would surely have been their lot.
President Reagan used to joke about socialism and religion, too. He was actually the first president who not only pointed to the “machinations of an evil empire,” but who also made the effort to mock it. He joked that if socialism was really applied in the Arab world, they would soon run out of sand.
His best joke on socialism and religion was this one: Reagan said socialism would surely work in heaven, but they don’t need it. And it also works in hell, but they already have it.
President Reagan knew enough not to tell that joke at a White House Correspondents Dinner. He knew they wouldn’t get it.
Maybe the best joke for them about heaven and hell for the journalists would be this one:
You’re a reporter going before Mr. Obama’s Independent Payment Advisory Board. You want them to pony up for your heart bypass operation.
You: I guess you’ll need my Social Security number.
IPAB: That’s OK, Mr. Pressman, we already have it.
You: Well, then, let me give you my address.
IPAB: We have that, too, Mr. Pressman, we got it from your telephone records.
You: Well, can I give you my EKG print-out, so you can see that my heart really needs this bypass operation?
IPAB: Don’t stress yourself, Mr. Pressman. We will get that one, too—as soon as Eric Holder is finished looking at it.
What? You say that’s not really funny? Maybe not, but it is how socialism works—in Hades!