You know Bernard Lewis, the historian who is the dean of Middle East scholars, and a friend of National Review, and an NR cruiser. But did you know that he was leading a plot to divide Egypt into four separate states? Oh, yes. MEMRI -- the invaluable Middle East Media Research Institute -- has the story, here.
It is not only the Muslim Brothers who are peddling this lunacy: It’s the official Egyptian press. Lewis is the “Jewish-Zionist Orientalist,” alternatively “the Zionist conspirator historian” -- etc.
I have said it for decades, ever since being exposed to the Arab world while in high school: The region will never, ever progress until the fever breaks -- until the culture of the lie, the culture of nutty paranoia, dies or weakens. More than poverty or anything else, it’s lunacy and lies that hold the Arab world back.
Many Arabs will tell you this, when they think it’s safe to do so.
Quick story -- a repeat: On 9/11 or 9/12, I received an e-mail from an Egyptian acquaintance, who lectured at the university in Alexandria. Very well-educated, Westernized woman. She said (in essence), “I hope you’re okay. And please know it couldn’t have been Arabs who did this -- it must have been the Jews.”
If she could do no better than that -- what hope was there for the man who emptied her trash at the university?
The same writer, Jay Nordlinger, had an interview with the New Mexico Governor, Susana Martinez. She's doing great things down there, but in reference to some reforms she's trying to bring about in education in her state, he quotes George W. Bush, when talking about advancing kids in school for social promotion, he called that the "soft bigotry of low expectations." I actually had an experience not unrelated to that with my work in the internship office. I can't believe some students have made it almost all the way through college.
Today is George Washington's actual birthday. Incredible man. I don't know a whole lot about him, but I have heard, I'm always amazed by. Anyway, here's a pretty famous letter he wrote to a group of Jews who had warmly greeted him. In it is a very famous affirmation of religious freedom.
While I receive, with much satisfaction, your Address replete with expressions of affection and esteem; I rejoice in the opportunity of assuring you, that I shall always retain a grateful remembrance of the cordial welcome I experienced in my visit to Newport,  from all classes of Citizens.
The reflection on the days of difficulty and danger which are past is rendered the more sweet, from a consciousness that they are succeeded by days of uncommon prosperity and security. If we have wisdom to make the best use of the advantages with which we are now favored, we cannot fail, under the just administration of a good Government, to become a great and a happy people.
The Citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy: a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.
It would be inconsistent with the frankness of my character not to avow that I am pleased with your favorable opinion of my Administration, and fervent wishes for my felicity. May the Children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and figtree, and there shall be none to make him afraid. May the father of all mercies scatter light and not darkness in our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in his own due time and way everlastingly happy.
And then one last thing from John Stuart Mill. You might hear a lot about people, maybe just politicians, that what we need to bolster the economy is more consumption. Mill touched on this topic long ago, and he's pretty compelling:
Among the mistakes which were most pernicious in their direct consequences, and tended in the greatest degree to prevent a just conception of the objects of the science, or of the test to be applied to the solution of the questions which it presents, was the immense importance attached to consumption. The great end of legislation in matters of national wealth, according to the prevalent opinion, was to create consumers. A great and rapid consumption was what the producers, of all classes and denominations, wanted, to enrich themselves and the country. This object, under the varying names of an extensive demand, a brisk circulation, a great expenditure of money, and sometimes totidem verbis a large consumption, was conceived to be the great condition of prosperity.Anyway, just thought all of that was pretty interesting.
It is not necessary, in the present state of the science, to contest this doctrine in the most flagrantly absurd of its forms or of its applications. The utility of a large government expenditure, for the purpose of encouraging industry, is no longer maintained. Taxes are not now esteemed to be “like the dews of heaven, which return again in prolific showers.” It is no longer supposed that you benefit the producer by taking his money, provided you give it to him again in exchange for his goods. There is nothing which impresses a person of reflection with a stronger sense of the shallowness of the political reasonings of the last two centuries, than the general reception so long given to a doctrine which, if it proves anything, proves that the more you take from the pockets of the people to spend on your own pleasures, the richer they grow; that the man who steals money out of a shop, provided he expends it all again at the same shop, is a benefactor to the tradesman whom he robs, and that the same operation, repeated sufficiently often, would make the tradesman’s fortune.
In opposition to these palpable absurdities, it was triumphantly established by political economists, that consumption never needs encouragement. All which is produced is already consumed, either for the purpose of reproduction or of enjoyment. The person who saves his income is no less a consumer than he who spends it: he consumes it in a different way; it supplies food and clothing to be consumed, tools and materials to be used, by productive labourers. Consumption, therefore, already takes place to the greatest extent which the amount of production admits of; but, of the two kinds of consumption, reproductive and unproductive, the former alone adds to the national wealth, the latter impairs it. What is consumed for mere enjoyment, is gone; what is consumed for reproduction, leaves commodities of equal value, commonly with the addition of a profit. The usual effect of the attempts of government to encourage consumption, is merely to prevent saving; that is, to promote unproductive consumption at the expense of reproductive, and diminish the national wealth by the very means which were intended to increase it.
What a country wants to make it richer, is never consumption, but production.