What follows is not real data; it is only my hunch. What would the result be if Americans could vote, using a secret ballot, on the following option: Would they rather have widespread democracy in the Middle East or cheap oil at home? Would they rather support continued US coddling of corrupt Middle East leaders who keep order with violent crackdowns or would they prefer that the people of these countries have freedom of speech and free elections?
Let’s assume the price of a gallon of gas would go up an additional 50 cents if the people of Middle Eastern countries (e.g., Libya, Saudi Arabia, Iraq) kicked out all the remaining brutal dictators and changed over to meaningful self-rule–some meaningful form of democracy. Would Americans vote for their pocketbook or for high ideals? I suspect that the result would be something like this: