Sunday, July 23, 2006

More Fjordman…

…at today’s Brussels Journal: “The Twin Myths of Eurabia“.

A quote:

When the Arab Muslims, a collection of backward, nomadic warrior tribes who did not even have a fully developed script, conquered Egypt, Syria and Iran, they took control over some of the world’s largest centres of accumulated knowledge. To say that “Muslims” or “Islamic culture” created the civilizations of the Middle East can be compared to an illiterate person storming into the planet’s largest library, killing all the librarians and then claiming to have written all the books there. The cultural superiority of the Middle East in relation to Europe did not begin with Islam’s entry into the area. In fact, it ended with it… Islam’s much-vaunted “Golden Age” was in reality just the twilight of the conquered pre-Islamic cultures, an echo of times passed.

And another:

The EU elites see themselves as Julius Caesar or Octavian, but end up being Brutus, stabbing their own peoples in the back. They want to recreate the Roman Empire on both sides of the Mediterranean, bound together by some vague references to a “shared Greek heritage.” Instead, they are creating a civilizational breakdown across much of Western Europe as the barbarians are overrunning the continent. The EU wants to recreate the Roman Empire and ends up creating the second fall of Rome.

Read the whole thing.


mts said...

Islam’s much-vaunted “Golden Age” was in reality just the twilight of the conquered pre-Islamic cultures, an echo of times passed.

The more I learn of history, the more common assumptions I'm able to let go of. Like the "tolerance" of al-Andalus. And the history of the muslim conquests tells more about the system than any words or comments can. They conquered the following vibrant civilizations: Persian, Egyptian, Indian, most of Byzantine (Greek), and much of the Roman. So they had a chance to combine and synthesize most of earth's civilation up to that point, excluding of course Chinese and Native American.

Man, they should've come up with steam power by 950, the Industrial Revolution by 1000, and had a man on the moon by 1100. But seriously, the most fertile (agricultural and cultural) areas have become desert, ignorance, and poverty.

As far as muslim "gains" in the beginning, how many can be attributed to non-muslim dhimmis working for the local pasha, the last flickering of the dying civilzation's light? Wasn't Egypt still mainly Christian until the 1400's, and Constantinople a majority Christian city until after World War I? It took a long time for the slow acting poison to work, so the 600-1000's seen as the islamic golden age is nothing but them stealing what was still in motion from thousands of years of previous civilation. Like a guest late coming at the end of the reception and claiming that he rented the hall and catered the shindig.

The part that makes my head spin is that this is not a foregone conclusion among the vast majority of sociologists and historians, not just now with p.c. ideas, but even in the "evil Eurocentric" past.

Voyager said...

Europe is wonderful at myth-making and propaganda. Having created most of the crackpot ideologies such as Marxism, Leninism, Stalinism, Nazism, Fascism, and trained such mass-murderers as Pol-Pot at the Sorbonne; the capacity for Self-Delusion is immense.

That Europe has survived these flirtations with The Abyss is truly remarkable, and that Britons have had to fight for over 500 years in Flanders to protect the Channel Ports from a dominant power is matched only by the need of Americans to have to come and bolster the resistance twice in 25 years.

What our ancestors knew - a 20 year war against the French Revolution - was that to preserve your way of life and culture you had to fight was not helped by those who wished the rot to start within as with France in the 1930s with proclamations of "Better Hitler than Blum" and which with groups like "Croix de Feu" made the way clear for collapse in May 1940.

Trying to find common ground with the Fanatic is the basis of Max Frisch little play "Biedermann & Die Brandstifter" and is the failure of the Western bourgeois to recognise Evil for what it is preferring to engage in dialogue in the hope of consensual engagement with Evil.

Absolutes have sharp edges which must be rounded by Reason so no one gets is the very nature of Salami Tactics proposed by Lenin, as retreat turns to rout.

USMale said...

Fjordman's distillation of Bat Ye'or on dhimmitude makes a case that Muslim willingness to have large non-Muslim populations in their newly-conquered states was based not on some high-minded or principled tolerance, but on an Arabic cultural preference for having a non-Arab source of loot and booty. In fact, it is of some large benefit to a Muslim state to have dhimmis. Financially, you have a fiscal source for taxation which is in principle without representation. And culturally, it is always of benefit to a dominant group to have a subjugated group to lord it over, giving you clearer group identity as a balance against your own internal divisions.

Impchucker said...

It is perhaps instructive that none of the greatest philosophers of the Islamic golden age were Arabs. Al-Farabi and Ibn Sina (Avicenna) were from central Asia (what would now be Uzbekistan), and Ibn Rushd (Averroes) was from Spain. Al-Farabi was ethnically a Turk; Avicenna, Persian (as was al-Ghazali). That argues in favor of the "survival of earlier intellectual cultures" idea.

On the other hand, many significant Islamic mathematicians were from Iraq, though some of the most important were non-Arabs. Al-Khwarizmi's name, which gives us the word 'algorithm,' indicates that he was from a town on the silk road in Uzbekistan. (His book Kitab al jabr w'al-muqabala gave us the term 'algebra.') Moreover, it is not clear how much of Islamic science and mathematics during this period was original and how much was derived from Indian sources.

It's worth noting that al-Khwarizmi died around 850, and the last great Islamic philosopher, Ibn Rushd, died in 1198. 800 years without significant intellectual achievements, and without significant external assaults or natural disasters, is remarkable and surely needs explaining.

Tom said...

In his book "Aristotle's Children," Ricahrd E. Rubenstein plots the exodus of Western thinkers from the fall of Rome.

Basically, they went East, hoping to find safety and comfort in Constantinople. After a number of years, there was a falling-out between a large number of intellectuals and some important people in the emperor's court, which led to their expulsion around 529.

They then headed out further east to the Persian city of Nisibis. "As a result, the works of Greek philosophy, science, and theology ignored, condemned, or simply preserved in Byzantium were actively interpreted and applied to current issues in Persia." Years later the Muslims wold conquer these lands and pick up the fruits of their early work.

Of course, this all came to an end with the rise of al-Ghazali, who said "for example, the very idea of cause and effect is a man-made illusion, since God, not nature, produces every effect, and since he is free to produce any effect he chooses." Given the link between philosophy and science in these early days, it's not too difficult o see how this kind of thinking could stiffle further development.