Update: Peripatetic sage of the Times, Thomas L. Friedman, has been on the move again. This time he's been visiting a post-Tahrir Square Arab world, and is far more sober than he was when he sent back those giddy, gushing dispatches early on in that silly season. Naturally, he doesn't cite "sin" as the problem for the crappy leadership in the region. He sees something else as being at the bottom of it:
Who will tell the people that, for the last 50 years, most of the Arab regimes squandered their dictatorship moments. Dictatorship is not desirable, but at least East Asian dictatorships, such as South Korea and Taiwan, used their top-down authority to build dynamic export-led economies and to educate all their people — men and women. In the process, they created huge middle classes whose new leaders midwifed their transitions from authoritarian rule to democracy. Arab dictatorships did no such thing. They used their authority to enrich a small class and to distract the masses with “shiny objects” — called Israel, Iran and Nasserism to name but a few.
Now that the dictators are being swept away, Islamist parties are trying to fill the void.Who will tell the people? Why, you, Thomas L. Friedman, savant of all he surveys will tell them, of course.
To sum it up: had the dictators been better, more dynamic autocrats--you know, like those dudes in China Tom is always touting--the Arabs wouldn't be in their current pickle.
Funny, I would have said that the real problem is neither "sin" nor feckless dictatorships. I would have said that the root cause of the problems is the Islamic supremacy/triumphalism embedded in Islam's core religious texts. That makes it awfully difficult for them to embrace democracy seeing as it's a kafir construct and inimical to Allah's immutable law.
But, hey, what do I know?