Depraved But Not Deprived

On his television show today, Fareed Zakaria referred to a new report on what causes people to become terrorists. Zakaria noted all the money we give to Pakistan that goes toward development to eliminate poverty which liberals like to claim is the “root cause” of all kinds of bad behavior.

But here is an excerpt from the conclusion of the report I think Zakaria referred to:

…terrorism resembles a violent form of political engagement. More educated people from privileged backgrounds are more likely to participate in politics, probably in part because political involvement requires some minimum level of interest, expertize, commitment to issues and effort, all of which are more likely if people have enough education and income to concern themselves with more than minimum subsistence…

I would go further than that: Modern education teaches disaffection as a normal reaction to allegedly racist, unjust and imperialistic societies. So an intellectual is by definition a political activist and often sees himself as a revolutionary compelled to bring down the present order “by any means necessary.”

The root causes theory (poverty) is the intellectuals’ conventional excuse for urban crime perpetrated by mostly poor minorities. But when asked why they engage in violent crime, the urban criminals often spout the same liberal platitudes as their intellectual apologists: Violent crime is a rational reaction to racism and poverty. Or as Stephen Sondheim wrote in the song “Officer Krupke” from West Side Story: “We’re depraved on account of we’re deprived!”

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