Chicago Boyz

                 
 
 
What Are Chicago Boyz Readers Reading?
 

 
  •   Enter your email to be notified of new posts:
    Loading
  •   Problem? Question?
  •   Contact Authors:

  • Blog Posts (RSS 2.0)
  • Blog Posts (Atom 0.3)
  • Incoming Links
  • Recent Comments

    • Loading...
  • Authors

  • Notable Discussions

  • Recent Posts

  • Blogroll

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • On the Revolutions in Egypt

    Posted by Margaret on 3rd July 2013 (All posts by )

    It’s easy to see the last week’s events as an indictment of Islamist rule, but I don’t think that’s what is going on here. (Caveat: all I know is what I read in the papers and online. I’m not writing with the benefit of firsthand knowledge.)

    Egypt has serious problems that have nothing to do with Islamism. The country that was the Roman Empire’s granary has become dependent on imported food – and they’re running out of money to buy it. The economy is so bad, it would make Obama proud: high unemployment, rising prices, fuel shortages. Oh, and an “education” system that manages to combine massive illiteracy with a university system that churns out ever more graduates with degrees that aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. [Here I’m going to exercise great self-control and not go on about the specific linguistic and cultural features that make literacy in Arabic much more difficult than literacy in Western languages, because people do tend to back away slowly when I get going on linguistic matters. I hope you’re all properly appreciative.]

    Last week Leslie Chang pointed out, in a New Yorker article, that she had “yet to meet a politician with a substantive plan to overhaul a system of food and fuel subsidies that eats up almost one third of the budget, or to reform the education sector, or to stimulate foreign investment.”

    What I’ve seen and read about the protestors doesn’t inspire me with any confidence. Just as the last ones had pictures of Mubarak inside a Star of David, these have posters of Morsi inside a Star of David. They’re beating the previous protestors’ record for sexual assaults in Tahrir Square. I think what they’re unhappy about is that they’re unemployed and hungry and Morsi’s government hasn’t done anything to improve their lot. A government that rescued Egypt from its economic death spiral would probably make all the protestors happy. And if the government is anti-Semitic, anti-women and Islamist? Those would likely be features, not bugs.

    So let’s not be too optimistic here. The fact that the protestors dislike Obama doesn’t guarantee that they are nice guys or that they will do any better than the previous regimes.

    Posted in Middle East | 23 Comments »

    The Flight of the Intellectuals

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on 18th May 2010 (All posts by )

    Michael Totten, whose blog I read and support has a marvelous interview with Paul Berman, author of Flight of the Intellectuals. The interview is lengthy and wide ranging but worth the time to read it. Unfortunately, for some reason, Michael doesn’t have a permalink on the article so you have to scroll down to May 11. [Jonathan adds: Link to Totten’s post] One sample. They are talking about Bush Derangement Syndrome:

    Paul Berman: I had an experience like that in relation to Ronald Reagan. I had a huge learning experience in Nicaragua in the 1980s when I was reporting for the Village Voice on the Sandinista revolution — a Marxist semi-communist revolution in those days.

    Reagan was against the Sandinistas, and he did all kinds of things that, at the time, I thought were terrible. And I still think he did terrible things. Still, I was always astounded when I was among very poor people in Nicaragua to learn how many people liked Ronald Reagan. I would question them, and I could comprehend their answers, pretty much.

    MJT: What did they say?

    Paul Berman: Extremely poor market women, for instance, in an extremely poor town, would tell me, “the workers and peasants are suffering.”

    I would ask, “Who is defending the workers and the peasants?”

    And they would say, “Ronald Reagan.”

    I said, “Ronald Reagan is defending the workers and peasants?”

    [Laughs.]

    MJT: [Laughs.]

    Paul Berman: And they would say, “Yes!”

    All they knew—and they got this from the Sandinista news radio—was that if the Sandinista regime had a bitter enemy anywhere in the world, it was Ronald Reagan. And therefore they felt he was defending the workers and peasants. Their way of speaking about the workers and peasants reflected the Marxist rhetoric, but they hated the Marxists.

    MJT: [Laughs.]

    It is terrific, as are most of his posts.

    Posted in Book Notes, International Affairs | 6 Comments »