Sickly Sick, Widowed

If feminists are right and women are really oppressed, exploited and discriminated against in countless ways, why do women live longer than men? And why, for every widower in the U.S, there are four widows? Ask any doctor, and chances are that he or she will mumble something about estrogen providing protection for the female body.

The doctors are wrong. True, lack of statistical information makes it hard to calculate the relative life-expectancy of men and women before about 1800. However, other kinds of evidence, such as archaeological remains, church records, and the like do enable us to evaluate the situation in certain communities at certain times. Almost unanimously, studies of the subject point to a single conclusion: from Neolithic times through Greek and Roman ones right down to the end of the eighteenth century, in all known societies men seem to have outlived women.

Since then, what a change! The first two countries in which women started outliving men were France and Sweden just before 1800. As the nineteenth century went on, other Western European ones as well as the United States followed suit. By 1900, the only West European/North American country in which that was not the case was poor, backward Ireland. South and East Europe, both of which were equally poor, followed during the first decades of the twentieth century.

Gender-DetailsAfter 1945 it was the turn of Asia and Africa. By 1990 men still outlived women in only ten countries. The largest one, Bangla Desh, accounted for two hundred million out of the three hundred million people involved. All ten had a per capita GDP of less than one thousand dollars a year. In 2011, according to United Nations figures, the one country where men still outlived women was Swaziland, home to fewer than 1,400,000 people out of about seven billion on this earth. Even there the gap between the sexes was small—about six months—and shrinking.

Has the hormonal makeup of men and women changed? Or are the doctors wrong, and do hormones have nothing to do with the issue? Keep in mind that the change got under way a hundred and fifty years before women started taking estrogen. Also that most doctors know nothing about history; making them think that what they see in the present has always been there in the past too. Hence the second answer seems much more likely than the first.

In fact, two factors account for the process. One is the very great decline in the death rate of women during, or soon after, giving birth. Here it must be pointed out that, until the middle of the sixteenth century, whenever a baby was about to come into the world men were thrown out of the room, if not the house. Child-delivery was the near-exclusive domain of women, midwives in particular. The latter’s ignorance was proverbial.

The first vernacular manual on childbirth was published in 1513. Originally written in German by a male doctor, Eucharius Roeslin, it was translated into many languages and became a European best-seller. The introduction contains the following limerick:

I’m talking about the midwives all

Whose heads are empty as a hall.

And through their dreadful negligence

Cause babies’ deaths devoid of sense.

So thus we see far and about

Official murder, there’s no doubt.

That was the state of the art before male doctors started taking over. To be sure, at that time and for centuries thereafter medical education left something to be desired. However, in comparison with the midwives, many of whom had received no formal training at all, the doctors were geniuses indeed. At least they could read! First in Zurich and then in other European cities, gradually they assumed responsibility for training, examining, and licensing midwives.

Since the universities did not take female students, all doctors were male. Later in the century they themselves started delivering children or at least supervising midwives while they did so. In 1569 a male French Huguenot doctor living in England, William Chamberlen, invented the principal instrument used for the purpose, the forceps. For a century and a half it was kept a family secret.

Even in Europe, let alone other continents, male doctors did not take over everywhere at once. Since doctors cost money, the first to hire them were high-class women. Queen Anne of England (1665-1714) may have been the first royal person to employ a male doctor to help her give birth. Her subsequent decision to knight him led to numerous scurrilous jokes. Progress, though slow, was steady. By 1800 the incidence of so-called peri-natal deaths among mothers had declined to about half of what it had been three hundred years earlier.

Not all women followed the queen’s example. In 1797 the founding mother of modern feminism, Mary Wollstonecraft, then thirty-seven years old, refused her friends’ suggestion that she call a doctor to help her deliver. Trusting to a midwife instead, she died while giving birth to her second child, Mary—who later became famous as the author of Frankenstein.

The second factor that caused the balance in life expectancy between men and women to shift was the industrial revolution. As long as most people made their living in agriculture, both men and women worked in the muck out of doors (though women always did so less than men). The onset of industrial revolution around 1800 changed the situation. Moving to the cities, many men engaged in such trades as construction and transportation, which meant that they continued to work out of doors in all sorts of weather and under all sorts of conditions. Others moved from the healthy countryside into the filthy, noisy factories; others still faced the hardest lot of all by descending into the mines that provided coal for them.

As nineteenth-century English statisticians working for insurance companies realized full well, the more industrialized any district the more women tended to outlive men. Here and there, “progress” actually caused men’s life expectancy to decline. By contrast, contemporary norms dictated that all but the poorest women should not work at all. Even the few city-women who did work outside the home almost always did so indoors as servants, governesses, seamstresses, etc. Unlike men, they were spared both the rigors of the climate and the worst effects of the factories.

Both factors continue to operate today. All over the world efforts to reduce women’s peri-natal death have caused it to decline to a minute fraction of what it used to be even a few decades ago. For men the situation is entirely different. The tradition under which they do practically all the hardest, dirtiest, most dangerous work remains in force; in the U.S, for example, the one job in which there are no women at all is garbage-collection. Female miners, divers, fishermen, miners, and lumberjacks are not exactly common either. That is why, though about as many women as men work outside the home, men are thirteen times more likely to die following an industrial accident than women.

You might think that, since men work in more hazardous occupations than women and have a lower life expectancy, they would and should get more medical attention. If so, think again. In every modern country women receive far more medical attention than men. There is nothing new about this. Ancient Egyptian doctors wrote books on female diseases; but when it comes to male ones all we have is blank papyrus. The situation in antiquity and the middle ages was similar. The term gynecology, women’s medicine, was invented over a century and a half ago. However, to this day my word processor, courtesy of Bill Gates, has never heard of andrology.

Go to any hospital, and you are almost certain to find a women’s ward responsible for treating such diseases as breast cancer, cancer of the cervix, and so on. But the same hospital is almost equally certain not to have a department specializing in men’s diseases. Perhaps because society expects men “to take it,” as the saying goes, men also visit psychologists and psychiatrists far less often than women do. From the time of Charcot and Freud on, but for female patients most practitioners in these fields would have had to close shop. And who pays for it all? Men, of course, by means of their taxes and social security contributions.

Thus a virtuous cycle (for women) and a vicious one (for men) is created. The more money is spent to treat women, the more they outlive men. The more they outlive men, the more treatment they need. For example, as of 2000 in the US out of every three dollars spent on health two were spent to treat women. In the same country three out of every four dollars spent on medical research were accounted for by women’s diseases. Four times as much is spent on finding a cure for breast cancer as on doing the same for prostate cancer. Yet whereas one in eight women will get breast cancer during her life, a man’s chances of contracting prostate cancer are actually somewhat higher (one in six). If that is not discrimination, I’d dearly like to know what is.

In respect to the field of medicine as to so many others, those who invented the myth of women’s “oppression,” “exploitation,” and “discrimination” deserve the Joseph Goebbels Award for deceptive propaganda. As has been said, one can mislead some of the people some of the time. But one cannot mislead all the people all of the time.

The feminist narrative has now misled far too many people for far too long. It is high time that it be exposed for what it really is, the lie of the century.

Guest Article: The SECDEF Lied

by Bill Lind*

Carter,AshtonIn announcing that all positions in the U.S. armed forces would be opened to women, Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter lied. According to the December 4 New York Times, he said,

They’ll [women] be able to serve as Army Rangers and Green Berets, Navy SEALS, Marine Corps infantry, Air Force parajumpers, and everything else that was previously open only to men.

That statement is false. Women will not be able to do those things. Their bodies are not designed to do many of the tasks those positions entail. So long as realistic standards are maintained for those specialties, women will not be able even to qualify for them much less perform adequately in them. Men and women are different, physically and mentally, and their traditional social roles reflect their inherent differences.

Had the Truth Fairy landed on the SECDEF’s tongue as he was about to make his announcement, he would have said,

We are opening all positions in the armed forces to women. Women will not be able to do many of the duties entailed especially in the combat arms. We–the Obama administration–don’t care about that. Our ideology of cultural Marxism demands we pretend men and women are interchangeable. We will do whatever is necessary to maintain that illusion. In this case, if women cannot meet the standards, we will change the standards. If not enough women make it into the combat arms, we will establish quotas.

If, in combat, women cannot perform the mission, that’s not our problem. If it means lost engagements and unnecessary American casualties, what is that to us? Our ideology comes first. Get with the party’s program–or else.

Here again we see the slide of state armed forces into history’s wastebasket. Playthings of a political establishment that knows nothing of war, they exist for every purpose except fighting. Many of those inside them have figured this out. An Army study done at least ten years ago found that two-thirds of the Army’s women and one-third of its men disagreed with the statement, “The Army’s main purpose is to fight.” Most state armed forces produce so few fighters from their total manpower that they could not fight if they wanted to, not against any serious opponent.

So why do we keep them around, at immense cost? Mostly from habit. Few politicians know enough to see their obsolescence, and fewer still would take the political risks involved in pruning them back to budgets that reflect their military utility. The public, wallowing in the usual “Support the troops” rhetoric, cannot see their uselessness, and the air shows are fun to watch.

For the establishment, state militaries remain highly useful. They provide jobs and money that can be steered to political allies. Defense companies are big political donors. If you vote right, when you leave office many will offer you paid seats on their boards, plus lobbying contracts.

Senior officers feed from the same troughs, not to mention pensions that most people can only dream about (paid for by those dreamers). Once you make it to lieutenant colonel, the pay is great and the duties are easy, so long as you don’t object to working on vast staffs that produce nothing but contentless briefings which you must pretend to take seriously. If you hope to keep moving on up the career ladder, don’t forget the knee pads and the vaseline.

So to this dysfunctional and militarily impotent stew let’s now add women. Why not? Can anything make it worse than it already is? Actually, in this case yes, because putting women in combat units undermines the basic reason why they fight, unit cohesion. Instead of forming a band of brothers, the men fight each other over the women. When I asked the captain of an amphib with a male/female crew the fraternization rate, he replied, “100% of course. I have male sailors in knife fights over women officers.”

But in the end, it doesn’t matter much. These institutions are finished. Every time they take on non-state, Fourth Generation opponents they get their butts kicked.

4GW forces are about fighting. They don’t have much gear and their technical skills often aren’t great. But they and the men in them want to fight. Most of their personnel are fighters. Senior officers regularly get killed. Some of them seriously study war, a practice virtually unknown among our officers.

So the wheel of fortune turns. The fat, dumb, and happy careerists in their pressed camis are on the way down, and the lean and hungry believers with their AKs and IEDs are on the way up. Unserious, womanized state armed forces will vanish with the states they cannot protect and their ideologies not worth defending.

* Bill Lind is the author of the Maneuver War Handbook (1985) and the 4th Generation Warfare Handbook (2011) as well as several other volumes that deal with war. This article was originally published on traditionalRIGHT on 11.12.2015.

How My Family Survived the Holocaust

How did your family survive the Holocaust? Is a question I have heard many, many times. So this week, instead of addressing the usual topics, let me say a few words about that.

xum26zet_mediumMy maternal grandfather, Louis Wijler (1890-1977), was a self-made man He was also a very rich one, having worked his way up from practically zero to become the largest grain-dealer in the Netherlands. When the Germans came in 1940 they took his business, Granaria NV, away from him, appointing a Verwalter, administrator, in his place. However, the Verwalter only showed himself occasionally. My grandfather had always been a generous employer and the other directors, most of whom were gentiles, remained loyal to him.

30730-300-198-scaleTowards the end of 1942, when the deportations were already forging ahead, he succeeded in having himself and most of his family put on a list of a thousand “prominent” Jews. Including businessmen, artists, former politicians and officials, etc. In January 1943—it was a cold winter—these people were interned in De Schaffelaar, a large country house in the Eastern Netherlands, on the understanding that they would be allowed to remain there until after the war. But this promise the Germans broke. In November they and their Dutch collaborators came to evacuate the camp and transfer its inhabitants to Westerbork. Westerbork had been erected by the Dutch government before 1939 as a camp for Jewish refugees from Germany. During the war it was where trains went to “the east.” Meaning, Auschwitz. But that was a name no one at De Schaffelaar seems to have heard

Most of the interned Jews went docilely enough. No one like the Dutch in bowing to “de overheid” (the authorities) and following orders! Not so my family. My grandfather, fully expecting that the Germans would break their promise, prepared accordingly. When the day came, he, his wife, their children four daughters, one in-law, two future in-laws, and two nephews) all managed to escape. My father, who had golden hands, used to work as a handyman in camp, simply put on his overalls, picked up his tools—my son Eldad still has his electric tester, which still works—and walked out. What nerve! But to this day he feels a little guilty about having left his fiancé, my mother to be, behind.

In the event, my mother and a cousin of hers hid under the floor of a wooden barrack used by the internees to wash and perform their ablutions. Listening to the Germans and the Dutch police looting, drinking and partying, they waited until nightfall. Then they crept out and left. Later this same man, along with his brother, succeeded in reaching the Swiss border, only to be turned away by the Swiss police. Both of them died at Auschwitz.

Others, including an aunt of mine who had just given birth, made their way out by similar methods. But that was only the first step. Next, two things were needed. First, a place to stay; second, money. Both were provided by my grandfather by way of the business. As an importer of cattle feed, he had many clients in the eastern, less developed, agricultural part of the country. Some he had known for decades. He was thus able to compile a list of “addresses,” as the saying went; meaning, people of whom he knew that they were reliable and would be willing to take him and members of his family in. Money, too, came from Granaria NV. In his memoirs, which he wrote in 1974, he laconically said that they used “all kinds of methods” to get the money out of the business without drawing the Verwalter’s attention.

Not having IDs—their own, stamped with a large “J” for “Jood,” they had hidden or thrown away—they could not show themselves on the streets. Not before they got false papers. First, fake ones, some of them produced by another relative who was a chemist and knew how to do these things; later, “real” ones. Real in the sense that the personal details and photograph were entered on official blanks the Underground had stolen from the Dutch ministry of the interior.

Even so it was a risky business. For example, at one point my grandparents were betrayed by a company employee who had a gun put to this head. They were having their afternoon tea when the house in which they were staying was surrounded; they were barely able to hide in a pre-prepared hole between the first and second floors when the door was broken in. “Wo sind die Wijlers,” “waar zijn de Wijlers” (where are the Wijlers, in German and Dutch.) “Just left”, came the answer. Whereupon the man of the house was beaten up and taken to a concentration camp. Fortunately he survived.

My aunt, who had just given birth, and her husband stayed with friends from his university days. As he later wrote, the hardest part was not being able to return a favor to your hosts, who had hidden you at great risk to themselves. At one point, they too learnt that they had been betrayed and that the Germans were looking for a young couple with a baby. Whereupon they hid the girl—she was about a year old, and fast asleep—in a box, shoved her under a bed, and walked out, hand in hand. Fortunately she did not wake up and survived. But that was not the end of the story. At one point, to hide her, they gave her to a non-Jewish couple for safekeeping. When the war ended the couple, having become strongly attached to the girl, refused to give her back. In the end, give her back they did—but what a tragedy for both sides.

And so it went. Each family member had his or her own narrow escapes. Here is one story my father told me. He was living in the underground when a German soldier knocked on the door. He had been sent, he explained, by the Ortskommandant (local commander) who wanted to see my father. The German was elderly, perhaps fifty years old (my father was 26), carried an old carbine, and did not look terribly dangerous. This gave my father courage. Courage, or was it chuztpah, impudence, was what you needed most. He answered that he would not allow himself to be coerced. Whereupon the German burst out and said that he too had been coerced. His wife was German, and that was how the Wehrmacht had got him in his native Czechoslovakia! My father gave his word that he would visit the Kommandant next day. He knew better than to keep his promise and disappeared.

He had several similar escapes. On two occasions he was stopped by Dutch SS men. On the first one they wanted to requisition his bicycle (with tires made out of old automobile tires). On the second they were looking for young males to send to Germany as forced labor. Both times he was able to outwit the men by claiming that he was not just an accountant, which he was, but an accountant working for het Rijk (the Reich, i.e. the government, in Dutch).

The others used similar methods. Always keeping an eye open. Always changing “addresses,” bluffing their way through when they were stopped and questioned, almost all of them were able to hold out until the end of the war. Almost of them are dead now. Not so my father, who is 97 years old and a widower. I visit him once a week and push him around in his wheelchair.

The moral he drew from his experience? That he could have made a good actor.

Women Outperforming Men

23-reasons-lilly-superwoman-singh-is-the-bff-you--2-1334-1417438737-2_dblbigAs per grades, first at school and now at the universities as well, women are increasingly outperforming men. To some that fact, allegedly coming after millennia of subjugation and oppression, is a blessing. Others see it as a danger-sign that points to the feminization of society which, on pain of losing the competition with other, more virile, nations must be avoided at all cost. But is the claim true? Fifty-two years after Betty Friedan first raised the standard of revolt, only about 5 percent of heads of state are female; out of Forbes’ ten best-paid American business executives, not a single one is. Further down the list, the situation is hardly any different. The gap in earnings remains almost as large as it was in ancient Rome where, everything else being equal, female slaves were valued at about two thirds of male ones. Similar facts could be cited almost indefinitely. They show that, now as ever, the higher on the greasy pole one climbs the fewer women one encounters. By one calculation, should present trends continue, it will take another 150 years for the gap in earnings to close. If, which I personally doubt very much, it ever does.

How to explain these facts? The standard interpretation, put forward by countless feminists the world over, is discrimination. This idea has the advantage that it enables women to occupy the high moral ground. Often it also enables them to harass and even bully men in- and out of court; few things are harder to refute, and more likely to damage a man’s career, than being accused of discriminating against a female employee.

The difficulty with this argument is that, in every developed country, women now form a majority of the population. Their share in the workforce is also very close to that of men. How, in a democracy, a majority can discriminate against a minority is easy to see; parts of the US Constitution were expressly designed to prevent just that. But the opposite is not true. This fact makes the explanation appear unlikely. Unless—and as we shall see in a moment, there are some reasons to think so—a number of those who do the discriminating are themselves women.

Follow some other possible explanations:

  1. Grades do not mean nearly as much as most people believe. Or why else have girls been outperforming boys at school for over a century? One could even argue that the qualities needed to succeed at school, primarily the ability to sit still and repeat what the teacher has said, are very different from those needed to do the same in life. Consider the careers of such super-performers as Bill Gates and Steven Jobs, both of who dropped out of college before going on to change the world. Or of George Bush, Jr., a very mediocre student who, it is said, only made it through Harvard by daddy’s money; and any number of similar cases both ancient and modern.
  2. At school, and later at the universities, women tend to go for fields that are associated with low incomes. Such as the humanities, teaching, social work, and the like. Fields that are, or at any rate are perceived as being, easy and “soft.” One result, in the words of one scholar, is that “the available evidence indicates that women are less knowledgeable than men in areas of personal finance, and these findings appear to hold true for a variety of populations.” Attempts to change the situation by making more women take up science and technology go back at least as far as the 1930s, when Stalin tried to use his iron first for the purpose. To little avail, as far as anyone can see.
  3. Women on the average are less competitive and less motivated to “succeed” than men are. One possible reason for this is that they have less testosterone in their bodies; another, that they can always opt out of the rat race by finding a man who will pay the rent. The opposite is not true. Statistics clearly show that marriages in which the woman make more than her husband are much more likely to fall apart than those in which that is not the case. In the words of an American acquaintance of mine, “twice I married women who earned more than me—and twice they divorced me.”
  4. Following up on this argument, Douglas Kinnaird, managing director of UK recruitment consultancy MacDonald Kinnaird, argues that women are discriminating against themselves. “Fifty-three per cent of lawyers graduating are female and 52 per cent of chartered accountants graduating are female,” says Kinnaird. “The response we’ve seen to advertised jobs on average from women over 25 years is 3.7 per cent, so for every 100 applications, only three are female. That tells me that it’s women who discriminate against themselves.”
  5. Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook and one of the very few self-made female billionaires around, explains there are three reasons behind the small number of women in senior management positions. At first it was good old male chauvinism. Men didn’t want to recruit females; but, fascinatingly, females did not want to work for females in some cases. They must have known why. The second reason was that, when a job came up internally, women just didn’t apply; this links up well with the previous paragraph. The third was that most people who get ahead in large companies do so thanks to a mentor who smooths the way and encourages them. However, senior men are no longer prepared to do that with young women because of the potential for gossip and worse. As a result, women can’t get a mentor.
    See on this, incidentally, my post, “Here They Go Again,” of 28.5.2015.
  6. There still remain, in contemporary society, many jobs that require physical force, coping with dirt, and/or facing danger. The number of women who take up these jobs is almost zero; often enabling men with less formal schooling to make as much, or more, as better-educated women do.
  7. The drive, on pain of becoming one of nature’s duds, to get pregnant, deliver and raise children. It is true that the age at which women have their first child is going up. Nevertheless, about four out of five women will have one or more of them at some point in their lives. And invest much time and energy in raising them, of course. That explains why women, who during their early years at work often earn as much as their male colleagues, tend to fall behind later on. Also why, the more “successful” a woman, the fewer children she is likely to have.
  8. More and more men seem to be going GALT. They do not go to college, do not look for a career, and refuse to marry. As used to be the case in much of pre-modern Africa, and often remains the case today, they form temporary liaisons with women—this is called “hooking up”—before leaving them to raise whatever children they may have on their own. Whereas they themselves flutter from one woman to the next. The outcome, in the words of author Ruth Sidel, is “women and children last.” Left without male protection, such women are the poorest, least successful, part of the entire population.

In sum, women may be outperforming men at school. But definitely not where it matters, i.e. life. So it is, and so it is likely to remain for all time to come.

The Idiots

islamic-terrorist-e1424196060104For the purpose at hand, it all started in Israel. Back in the early 1980s General (ret.) Ariel Sharon was minister of defense under Prime Minister Menahem Begin. Assisted by a Hebrew University Professor whose field was Islamic studies, he came up with the bright idea of forming a religious-conservative opposition to Yasser Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The center of the movement was to be in Hebron, the principal city of the southern, and socio-economically less developed, part of the West Bank. In return for the right to rule over their people’s day-to-day affairs, the so-called “Rural Societies” were to oppose the PLO and tacitly accept Israeli rule. The outcome? Hamas, meaning Islamic Resistance Movement. In 2006 it took over control of the Gaza Strip. Having done so, for years on end it waged a terrorist campaign against Israel. Though apparently cowed by Operation Protective Edge in 2014, it is even now threatening to renew the rocket attacks at any time it feels like doing so.

Others, the Americans in particular, have committed similar errors. First, during the early 1980s, came their attempts to resist the Soviets in Afghanistan. This meant supporting the Mujahedeen, a movement that combined nationalism and religion in fighting the Red Army which had invaded the country. And, yes, it worked. After almost ten years of warfare the Soviets were forced to retreat. And what happened? Some Afghan “freedom fighters” spread all over the world, promoting terrorism wherever they went. Others joined the Taliban and, later, Al Qaeda. Enough said.

Next, in 2003, came the invasion of Iraq. In the name of democracy, women’s rights, and, some dared suggest, oil. To be sure, Saddam Hussein was not exactly a nice man. In 1990 he invaded and occupied Kuwait; defeated, he continued to tyrannize his own people. Earlier he had even used gas to asphyxiate his enemies. Yet he was neither a religious fanatic nor, it seems, more involved in terrorism than many other states are. Sitting in his “box,” constantly attacked from the air, and laboring under sanctions that severely hurt his economy he had long ceased to present a danger to any of his neighbors. The invasion of Iraq, followed by his own execution, destabilized the country. It also stoked the religious antagonisms that had been waiting just under the surface of his secular rule. The outcome: massive terrorism committed by Shi’ites against Sunnis and by Sunnis against Shi’ites. Not to mention the birth of Daesh which started in Iraq and has since spread to Syria as well.

One might think that the West, with the US at its head, should have learnt something from its disastrous attempts to support religious Islamic movements. But no, no way. The next war in which the West intervened was the one in Libya. Again it was done in the name of democracy, humanity, and women’s rights—the dictator and his collaborators, it was later claimed, had been raping their own female soldiers left and right. Again the opponent was a secular dictator. Muamar Gadhafi was as cruel as many and more quirky than most. But at any rate he was able to maintain order in his own country. During his last decade or so in power he even opposed terrorism. Following a civil war that lasted some six months, he was defeated and killed. With the result that his country fell apart and is now one of the happiest stamping grounds where Daesh is having a field day recruiting supporters and threatening Europe with terrorism.

Next, Syria. Like Iraq, Syria was ruled by a military dictator, Bashir Assad. As a ruler he was neither better nor worse than Hussein and Gadhafi had been. He supported Hezbollah against Israel and allied himself with Iran, in many ways acting as the latter’s long arm on the shore of the Mediterranean. However, like the other two, he ruled his country with an iron fist and does not seem to have engaged in international terrorism. Not perfect, one would have thought, but as good a regime as a country like Syria can have. In May 2011 civil war broke out. In this war the West, and less actively Israel, found themselves siding with Assad’s opponents. They even invented a “liberal” opposition which, as it turned out, hardly existed. Three years passed before Washington suddenly woke up to the existence of Daesh, a Sunni-led terrorist organization that had spread from Iraq. Again, enough said.

Yet another country, one in which a similar error was narrowly avoided, is Egypt. Coming to power, President Obama promised to reach out to the peoples of Islamic countries even if—partly because—it meant going over the heads of their loathsome despots. Feeble as it was, the attempt does seem to have played some role in the so-called Arab Spring. One country in which it did so was Egypt whose population rose against President Mubarak and toppled his regime. And what happened? In the only more or less free elections ever held in Egypt’s 5,000 years’ history, the Moslem Brotherhood won. The outcome for Israel, and therefore for the Middle East, in particular could have been catastrophic. Mounting a coup, General Assisi prevented the worst. But no thanks either to Obama or to the West as a whole.

Let’s finally cease kidding ourselves. Arab countries, all of them without exception, are backward. Most are still tribal. That means that they are organized on lines other, more developed countries, have left behind centuries ago. Very few have what one would call a civil society consisting of a solid middle class. None has ever known the meaning either of democracy, or of the rule of law, or of human rights, or of freedom as Westerners understand it. During the middle ages they set up a brilliant civilization, or so historians say. Next, however, they missed the Renaissance. And the Reformation; and the Scientific Revolution; and the Enlightenment; and democracy in the form of the American and French Revolutions; and finally the Industrial Revolution as well. Not to mention the great and glorious Feminist Revolution, of course. Apart from that, they are the most progressive people in the world. Especially when yelling Allahu Akbar before sticking a knife into someone, or shooting him, or blowing themselves up.

Such is the situation. That is why, when it comes to an Arab country, the choice is always between a dictator—either hereditary or other, either with a moustache or not—and anarchy. A dictator may mean war. But that is something which, as the Israeli-Arab wars and the two successful campaigns (1991 and the first few weeks of 2003) against Saddam Hussein have shown, can be handled if necessary. What the West, and indeed the world as a whole, cannot handle is anarchy and the terrorism it spouts indiscriminately in all directions.

Will the idiots, and I don’t mean the Arabs of whom nothing can be expected, ever, ever learn?