Rethinking Foreign Aid…

The following article is available at Examiner.com for those who are interested.

With one exception, Egypt receives more American aid than any other country in the world.  America should either modify drastically the circumstances under which it agrees to give or it should cease giving entirely.  This is a drastic but necessary idea to contemplate.

Let us focus on just one reason why this is.  In Egypt’s public schools, both Coptic Orthodox Christian and Muslim students alike are forced to memorize whole sections of the Koran and learn about Mohammad the Prophet.

This is irrational and further perpetuates the widespread poverty that we say we lament in the Arab world.

There are millions of Muslim students, students of the Age of Technology who pushed bravely under threat of imprisonment and/or death to bring about what we now call the “Arab Spring,” who feel public schools should focus more on arithmetic, reading, technology and writing than on religion (which they can spend their leisure time on if they so choose).  As for Copts, in addition to the aforementioned reason, why should they ever be forced to learn about a faith that has nothing to do with their own?  Religion is a personal matter; it’s not a subject to be forced down students’ throats inside of a public classroom.  The innumerable hours lost on studying the Koran should instead be spent teaching students how to thrive in an increasingly competitive, interconnected economy.  Public schools, which claim on paper they wish to educate the future employees of the country, should spend every last hour they have equipping their students with skills they can then barter for fair wages.

Globalization and modernity require the shift (again, in the public school system, not in one’s personal life) from faith to practicality.  If the new Egyptian government does not recognize this, its American counterpart should take it as a signal that Egypt is unserious about engaging the future and therefore cease offering its help.  Given our dire fiscal circumstances at home, the money we would save from ceasing Egyptian aid would be far better spent repairing our own roads, reforming our own criminal justice system and fortifying our own hospitals.

The Egyptian government is not entitled to American aid.  No country’s government is.  American taxpayers owe no one outside of their creditors; frankly, that’s more than enough.  If Egypt (and other countries for that matter) wishes to take what little money we have, it should be forced to adhere to our evolving and increasingly logical requirements.

America cannot offer aid simply to make itself feel or look charitable.  It must give rationally, and with the long term in mind.

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