A John F. Kennedy School of Government researcher has cast doubt on the widely held belief that terrorism stems from poverty, finding instead that terrorist violence is related to a nation’s level of political freedom.
Before analyzing the data, Abadie believed it was a reasonable assumption that terrorism has its roots in poverty, especially since studies have linked civil war to economic factors. However, once the data was corrected for the influence of other factors studied, Abadie said he found no significant relationship between a nation’s wealth and the level of terrorism it experiences.
“In the past, we heard people refer to the strong link between terrorism and poverty, but in fact when you look at the data, it’s not there. This is true not only for events of international terrorism, as previous studies have shown, but perhaps more surprisingly also for the overall level of terrorism, both of domestic and of foreign origin,” Abadie said.
Well, well. In light of current events in Iraq and the Liberals continual harping on “We must address the root causes of terrorism!” this seems most timely.
Now let’s see if I recall this correctly. John Kerry (D-Loserville–I can’t resist) is one of those who think that we’re causing the terrorism in the world by being bigger, being more successful, being American, meddling in other countries affairs, etc.
George Bush gets bashed constantly on “We were lied to!”, “No blood for oil!” and the like. Oh, and let’s not forget that he’s nation building, when he earlier said he didn’t support that kind of activity. (And of course, he’s George W. Bush, which seems to be enough reason for most….)
Along comes our intrepid researcher (a Basque, interesting enough) who not only finds that poverty isn’t a root cause of terrorism, but a lack of freedom is.
Instead, Abadie detected a peculiar relationship between the levels of political freedom a nation affords and the severity of terrorism. Though terrorism declined among nations with high levels of political freedom, it was the intermediate nations that seemed most vulnerable.
Like those with much political freedom, nations at the other extreme – with tightly controlled autocratic governments – also experienced low levels of terrorism.
I can hear the sound of exploding Liberal heads from here.