I was listening to the news this morning and heard the criticism of Governor Romney’s speech in Israel. I wondered what he had said that had caused the problem. The press reported that the Palestinians were upset because the Governor commented that the culture of Israel provides a fertile ground for economic prosperity. That statement really doesn’t seem all that offensive. I knew that the Governor had stated that Jerusalem was the capital of Israel, and wondered if that were the real source of the problem. Anyway, I went to Governor Romney’s campaign website to read the speech. The attacks on the speech are another example of the mainstream press’s “Look–a shiny object over here! Don’t look there!” campaign for President Obama.
Governor Romney’s speech outlined some of the political and cultural ideas that have allowed both America and Israel to prosper. Those ideas included democracy, the rule of law, God-given rights, and free enterprise. I can understand how the Palestinians would be upset at these concepts–generally speaking, these are foreign ideas to all of the Arab countries in the region.
One of the things that under-girds national prosperity is the rule of law as it applies to property rights. A man is less likely to improve his property if he does not own it. Also, property rights give the average citizen a means to acquire an asset that will increase in value (generally real estate increases in value) and gain some measure of wealth that he can pass on to his family.
Another thing not mentioned in the Governor’s speech that plays a very important role in a nation’s prosperity is the use of all human resources. When a country excludes women from participating in the work force and excludes the voices of women from government, it decreases by half the flow of ideas and innovation into the economy and into the government. I am not saying that every woman should work or be involved in government, but I am saying that every woman who has something to contribute should be allowed to contribute it.
The corrupt governments of the nations that surround Israel do not encourage prosperity for the average man. The well-connected steal the wealth of the country and the average citizen lives in poverty. The culture of respecting your fellow man and helping him become prosperous is not part of that society. That may be the biggest reason that the culture of Israel creates prosperity and the culture of the Arab nations surrounding Israel does not.