Another reason Muslim “democracy” will fail: the small middle class in Muslim countries

N. writes:

One of the adults at NRO, Stanley Kurtz, writes not only of the “Arab Spring” but of democracy-spreading in general. He cites a work entitled “The Great Democracy Meltdown” by Joshua Kurlantzick.

Key excerpt:

Second, although Kurlantzick does not make the connection himself, the forces he points to as driving the world-wide trend away from democracy can already be seen at work in the Middle East. Classically, for example, democratization is supposed to be driven by economic development and the emerging middle classes it creates. Yet Kurlantzick points out that in many developing countries, the new middle class is vastly outweighed by the very poor. Once these poor get the vote, they elect populist leaders who undermine liberty and raid the wealth of the middle class. That turns the middle class away from democracy and prompts them to support military coups, in hopes of keeping the poor at bay.

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Paul K. writes:

N.’s point reminds me of one of the many “wishful thinking” pronouncements by our president on the prospects for reform in the Middle East, when he cited India and China as examples that the region might follow.

He said:

There’s no reason why countries in the Middle East shouldn’t have the same kind of growth rates that you’re seeing in China and India. There’s nothing inherent about the people in those countries that would prevent that.

What’s preventing it is the fact that for many decades you’ve seen a lack of opening up that allows you to take advantage of the global economy.

Of course, if you want to overlook the differences between races and cultures, you might as well say that there’s no reason Haiti shouldn’t be as prosperous as Japan. However, contrary to the president’s confident assertion, there IS something inherent in the people in those countries that would prevent that. You just have to be willing to face the obvious.

LA replies:

Let’s say the average IQ in Muslim countries is about 90. There are lots of countries with an average IQ of about 90, yet they are not totally unproductive the way the Muslim countries are. So there is an additional factor besides inherent biological characteristics that makes Muslim countries so backward—which is, of course, is Islam.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 01, 2011 10:50 AM | Send

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