Why Don’t We Hang Economists Anymore?

I’m glad to see that even in this New World filled with Hope and Change, The Wall Street Journal editorial pages continue to fly their traditional asinine, über-right-wing flag.

Here we witness Bret Stephens in an article entitled Why Don’t We Hang Pirates Anymore? calling a bunch of Third World fishermen-turned-thieves, i.e the Somali pirates, “enemies of humanity” and then sternly reminding us that “A society that erases the memory of how it overcame barbarism in the past inevitably loses sight of the meaning of civilization, and the means of sustaining it.”

Leaving aside for a moment the fact that in his article Stephens uses “civilization” and the “West” interchangeably, as if China, Latin America, Africa, and India had never developed cities, trade routes, universities and literature, much less dealt with piracy, he seems utterly unaware of how Somalia wound up in the condition it is currently in. After all, the pirates of Eyl are a relatively recent phenomenon. So the question remains: who was it that divided up Africa, fought The Cold War in it, overfished the Somali seas and then dumped garbage in them, and backed an invasion of the country by Ethiopia? Was that the barbarians or the civilized folks, Bret?

I suppose that the former fishermen could have chosen Stephens’ more dignified career path of writing for The Wall Street Journal instead of turning to Robbery on the High Seas, but the last I checked the Mogadishu Journalism School was looking a bit….er….understaffed.

As usual when I read the kind of arrogant and ahistorical opinion pieces that Stephens writes, I am struck with a desire to have the author abducted and dropped into war-torn Africa to see how long they would last, or at least to get some first-hand knowledge of what the rest of the world is like.

Finally, for those interested in pursuing the debate between the forces of “Civilization” and “Barbarism”, I would point the reader here.


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