Rich Tucker

Conservatives: Looking for the perfect Christmas gift this year? You might want to consider a gift subscription to the “new” Newsweek magazine. It’s the gift that will keep on giving, providing laughter throughout 2010 -- assuming it survives that long.

Arguing with Idiots By Glenn Beck

The magazine has become a weekly version of The New York Times. It’s reliably liberal, with only a bi-monthly column by George Will to provide sanity. Yet, like the Times, its liberal readers can tell themselves they’re reading unbiased news (Dan Rather once told Bernard Goldberg the Times was “middle of the road”).

Consider “How to fight extremism in Muslim states,” the title of a recent Newsweek item. “Eight years after 9/11, many in the West still think of Islam as a threat,” writes Vali Nasr. Well, yes, we do.

Nasr, though, insists the problem isn’t Islam; it’s the economy. Well.

For one thing, 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were Saudi Arabians. And while that nation is no bastion of free-wheeling capitalism, it’s one of the least-bad Islamic nations when it comes to its economy.

Nasr tries to wave that fact aside: “While it’s true that the 9/11 attackers were middle class (as have been many other terrorists), what matters is whether or not the middle class as a whole supports extremism.” But the fact remains: Terrorists are coming from the middle class of wealthy nations, not from the lower class of poor nations.

Another fact is that violence today is centered in the Muslim world. You don’t hear Italian Catholics, Israeli Jews or Indian Sikhs chanting “Death to America” every week, as Iranian Muslims do. As the late Harvard professor Samuel Huntington once wrote, “Islam has bloody borders.”

And you seldom hear about Protestants, atheists, Taoists or Buddhists blowing themselves up in restaurants or hijacking airliners and crashing them into buildings. Suicide attacks seem linked to Islam. That’s a problem within that religion, not a problem caused by a lack of economic freedom.

Still, Nasr is certainly correct that capitalism would be helpful, in the Islamic world and here at home. That only makes one wonder why liberals in Congress seem so insistent on nationalizing our health care system.

Nasr correctly decries “sclerotic, overregulated economies that stifle entrepreneurship; isolate people from the global economy; and deprive them of jobs, services, and hope for a brighter future.” But that’s exactly what the U.S. would become if the government becomes the sole provider of health care, which already accounts for one-sixth of our economy.


Rich Tucker

Rich Tucker is a communications professional and a columnist for Townhall.com.