Hey Jihadis, Get with the Real Program!

This year we are celebrating Martin Luther King's Birthday with an orgy of offense-taking and race-baiting, in the flap over the movie Selma, and who was on first with civil rights in the 1960s, and who gets to clean up with the Oscars. Even Maureen Dowd is getting in on the action, so it's serious.

To you young jihadists, eagerly learning the left's techniques of offense-taking and applying it in a more manly and vigorous way to satirical magazines the world over, I have a word of advice.

Don't go down that rabbit hole.

I just had a word with Mr. Zbig, head of the secret global white male conspiracy. It's all part of the plan, he said. Down the lefty rabbit hole with the lot of them: working class, women, blacks, Muslims. Then we will truly Rule the World!

So here's a tip from one who knows. The way to own the future is to steal it, fair and square, for every great fortune begins with a great crime. And Muslims ought to know; you chaps learned the hard way.

Let's start with sugar.

Sugar, of course, was developed in Southeast Asia 2,000 years ago and sugar cultivation spread westwards to India and Arabia, so Europeans learned about sugar as a pricey Muslim luxury good during the Crusades. They liked it so much that they stole the sugar idea. Pretty soon, Venetian capitalists set up sugar plantations on Cyprus using the local serfs and some Muslim slaves, and made a fortune turning sugar into a bulk commodity to sell all over Europe.

Coffee was another Arab thing. It was discovered in Ethiopia and first cultivated around the port of Mocha, in today's Yemen, starting not later than the 15th century, and was incredibly expensive by the time it had traveled on the backs of camels along the trading routes through Mecca and up to the Levant. Pretty soon the Dutch stole coffee plants from the Mocha region and started cultivating them in Indonesia and made coffee into a global bulk commodity. Today Mocha is an inconsequential fishing village.

Slaving goes way back. In the eastern Mediterranean the ancient Greeks did a nice little business transporting slaves south from ports in the northern Black Sea. By the Middle Ages the overseer's whip had passed to Venice and Genoa. They supplied male slaves for the slave armies of the Middle-Eastern rulers, and female slaves, white and fair from Circassia, as concubines for Arab harems. Meanwhile Muslims were stuck with trekking slaves from Central Africa across the Sahara desert.

It took Westerners to combine sugar and slaves into really big money. 

After the Cyprus success, slave sugar plantations worked their way west to Madeira and the Canary Islands in the east Atlantic, and then hopped the ocean to the West Indies where the British got involved. But there was a problem. Sugar cane cultivation was brutal on the field hands, so the western slavers decided to poach on the slave supply in West Africa that Muslims had carefully nurtured for centuries.

If you want to understand the industrial revolution, it helps to understand the sugar game. To maximize productivity and profits the sugar barons invented the gang system, grouping slaves under an overseer to do relatively simple, repetitive tasks. When the industrial system started with textiles in the late 18th century it was common sense to adapt the gang system already proven in the sugar slave plantations. But it was hard to get post-pubescent males to submit to factory discipline, so western governments implemented systems of child custodial facilities to tame humans for work in the factory.

Of course cotton was another commodity that the west stole from Muslims. Cotton manufacture was introduced into Iberia during the Muslim conquests. Then the Brits stole cotton technology from India and created an empire out of mass-produced cottons, devastating the hand-loom industry world-wide.

Still, cotton really didn't go big time until the interfering Yankee, Eli Whitney, went down to Georgia to invent his cotton gin. Only then did cotton slave plantations became a classic American success story, with slave plantations the biggest businesses in the U.S. until the 1850s.

I know. We've said nothing of Pizarro with 168 soldiers stealing South America from the noble Incas, nor those evil Puritans infecting the North American continent with their European diseases. But that is another story.

The way I see it, you jihadi chaps are going backwards. While you were standing around making snuff beheading videos for the last decade our horizontal drilling chappies stole the brilliant idea of horizontal tunnels developed by Hamas's world-class tunneling technologists in Gaza. And now the frackers are pounding the Prophet's oil revenues into the sand.

Let's get serious, fellahs. How about those Seahawks?

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, usgovernmentspending.com. Also see his American Manifesto and get his Road to the Middle Class.