F. Scott Fitzgerald had noted that “the rich are different from you and me.” Ernest Hemmingway agreed and said, “Yes, they have more money.” Having more money is a significant difference because the most important of its derivate effects is that they have more power. The concerns of the rich are more important; their pain is more acute; their viewpoint is more worthy of consideration; their comprehension of the world more accurate. As Tevya, the poor farmer in The Fiddler on the Roof notes while dreaming of being a rich man, “When you’re rich, they think you really know.”
The rich nations are different from the others. When terrorism strikes a poor country like India, it is a matter of little concern. A series of bomb blasts by Islamic terrorists in Mumbai is not worth getting all upset about. Life goes on. Islamic terrorism in Kashmir driving out the Kashimiri Hindus — ho hum boring. But when London gets hit by Pakistani Islamic terrorism carried out by home grown terrorists, the din of breast beating resounds around the world.
I make this observation not from a moralistic standpoint but only as an interested observer. In their place, I would probably have reacted exactly the same way as they do. Caring more for one’s self is neither a crime nor immoral, in my estimation. What is unacceptable is the hypocrisy that consists in declaring that one is against terrorism anywhere in the world, while in practise only caring about one’s own skin and not giving a damn about how one’s actions actually increase the incidence of Islamic terrorism elsewhere.
The rich are definitely different. Their demons are the most important demons that plague humanity. For example, ask anyone — even those who have little to do with the rich — who was the worst mass murderer in history, and the most likely answer will be “Hitler.” Was he really? Here is a different perspective on Hitler. No, it does not claim that he was not a bad guy, but rather that he was not all that remarkable.
I view the Islamic terrorist bombings of London with the same abhorrence and disgust as I do the peddling of weapons of mass destruction by the advanced industrialized countries. (See also the followup article.) Islamic terrorism has to be eradicated of course. But to really make the world safe, we must also eradicate the military industrial complex of the advanced industrialized countries.