Islamists Are Motivated by Their Beliefs
By Rob Tarr (sent to the Wall Street Journal, July 7, 2007)
It shouldn't require statistical studies to dismiss the myth that "poverty causes terrorism" ("Princeton Economist Says Lack of Civil Liberties, Not Poverty, Breeds Terrorism", July 5, 2007). Equally fallacious is the view, suggested in the article, that political oppression breeds terrorism. Over the past three centuries, poverty and oppression have led millions to seek to immigrate to America--not to blow up its buildings.
The notion that a person's beliefs and actions are determined by his material conditions is stale left-over Marxism. In reality, the fundamental ideas a person accepts determine how he will evaluate the world, and accordingly, how he will act.
Eager immigrants to America desired a better life here on earth, and valued America and its freedom for the chance to achieve that better life. In contrast, Islamists openly tell us that they love death and care nothing for this world. Far from seeing poverty as a negative, Islamists view America's glittering material wealth as a sinful temptation, proof of America's moral corruption.
Far from bristling at political oppression, Islamists proclaim their goal to impose totalitarian Islam on every corner of the earth. The Islamists openly tell us what motivates them to attack us: their religious/philosophical beliefs. Why do we have such a hard time taking them at their word?