Readers probably already heard about this story from a few days ago that received national coverage. As reported in the Seattle Times:

At an appearance before a high school honors class, [Senator Patty] Murray, D-Wash., offered what her spokesman called an intentionally provocative challenge for students to ponder.

“We’ve got to ask, why is this man (bin Laden) so popular around the world?” Murray asked during an appearance Wednesday at Columbia River High School. “Why are people so supportive of him in many countries that are riddled with poverty?”

The answers may be uncomfortable, but are important for Americans to ponder – particularly students, Murray said.

“He’s been out in these countries for decades, building schools, building roads, building infrastructure, building day-care facilities, building health-care facilities, and the people are extremely grateful. We haven’t done that,” Murray said.

“How would they look at us today if we had been there helping them with some of that rather than just being the people who are going to bomb in Iraq and go to Afghanistan?”

Murray is implying that Americans deserved to be punished for not sacrificing our wealth to placate backward populations. This is morally reprehensible: Americans are not slave labor to feed and house the rest of the world. We have no moral obligation to help other countries.

Rather what Americans should do is to understand what makes some countries wealthy and others poor.

Countries are impoverished to the degree that they lack political and economic freedom. (Some countries, like Saudi Arabia and Iraq, are wealthy despite their horrible governments because they expropriated oil industries that Western countries developed. Before American, British, and Dutch companies discovered the oil and created a market for it, the indigenous people were impoverished and backward.) Bin Laden’s “gifts” to Islamic countries are his means to promote a radical, death-worshipping sect of Islam.

In the same newspaper article an expert on Bin Laden said that “Mostly he did underwrite – and so did many Arab charities – several fundamentalist Muslim schools throughout Afghanistan and Pakistan that teach a very, very, fundamentalist, right-wing version of Islam that preaches hatred for the West.”

The fact is that Bin Laden offers impoverished people a philosophy of suffering on this earth, of hatred, and of death. Whereas America offers the world a model for escaping their earthly misery in this lifetime.

America was founded on the principle of individual rights and its corollary politico-economic system of capitalism, where the government’s powers are limited to protect people’s rights to economic, political, and religious freedom. That is the key to happiness on earth, and the means by which impoverished peoples could rise up from their filthy and miserable existence. Millions of such Muslims have already escaped their oppressed and poor countries and immigrated to America to enjoy a life they would otherwise be deprived, because of the evil ideas of men like Bin Laden.

Senator Murray performed a grave injustice against America, and it is appalling that a woman such as she can hold public office. A Senator, of all people, should know that it is Americans who give the impoverished and backward countries hope; it is America that should be loved. It is not Bin Laden, and if people are swayed by his hatred and death-worship instead of the American dream, they deserve their misery.

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