Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Fjordman Refutes “God’s Crucible”

Fjordman’s latest post at Dhimmi Watch is a review of a book that touts the positive civilizational effects that the Islamic conquests had on Europe.

Here are some excerpts:

This text is written in response to God’s Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570-1215 by David Levering Lewis, an American historian and two-time winner of the prestigious Pulitzer Prize. In my opinion the book is largely a waste of money. This essay is not made to review the book as much as it is to refute it. It overlaps to some extent with the text The Truth About Islam in Europe, which I have published at the Brussels Journal before.

Briefly summed up, God’s Crucible laments the fact that Charles Martel, “the Hammer,” halted the advancing Islamic Jihad at the Battle of Tours or, Battle of Poitiers, in 732:

“Had ‘Abd al-Rahman’s men prevailed that October day, the post-Roman Occident would probably have been incorporated into a cosmopolitan, Muslim regnum unobstructed by borders, as they hypothesize — one devoid of a priestly caste, animated by the dogma of equality of the faithful, and respectful of all religious faiths. Curiously, such speculation has a French pedigree. Forty years ago, two historians, Jean-Henri Roy and Jean Deviosse enumerated the benefits of a Muslim triumph at Poitiers: astronomy; trigonometry; Arabic numerals; the corpus of Greek philosophy. ‘We [Europe] would have gained 267 years,’ according to their calculations. ‘We might have been spared the wars of religion.’ To press the logic of this disconcerting analysis, the victory of Charles the Hammer must be seen as greatly contributing to the creation of an economically retarded, balkanized, fratricidal Europe that, in defining itself in opposition to Islam, made virtues out of religious persecution, cultural particularism, and hereditary aristocracy.”

Mr. Lewis is clearly sympathetic towards this view, and writes that the Carolingian order, established Charles Martel (Carolus in Latin) and his grandson Charlemagne, was “religiously intolerant, intellectually impoverished, socially calcified, and economically primitive.” Curiously, he mentions in passing that there was continuous “out-migration to the Christian kingdoms” from al-Andalus. Why did they move to the Christian lands, whose economy was “little better than late Neolithic,” if life was so sweet in al-Andalus? Lewis states that: “At the end of the eighth century, Europe was militarily strong enough to defend itself from Islam, thanks in part to Charlemagne and his predecessors. The question was whether it was politically, economically, and culturally better off for being able to do so.”
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[…]

The Age of Exploration during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries was undertaken in order to get away from Muslims and re-establish contact with the civilizations of Asia without hostile middlemen. Norman Davies puts it this way in his monumental Europe: A History: “Islam’s conquests turned Europe into Christianity’s main base. At the same time the great swathe of Muslim territory cut the Christians off from virtually all direct contact with other religions and civilizations. The barrier of militant Islam turned the [European] Peninsula in on itself, severing or transforming many of the earlier lines of commercial, intellectual and political intercourse.”

When it comes to learning, there were no universities in the Islamic world. I have encountered few if any institutions outside of Europe that I would call “universities” in the Western sense before modern times. Among the best candidates is the Great Monastery of Nalanda in India, which was a Buddhist institution. It was not built by Muslims, it was destroyed by Muslims.

Read the rest at Dhimmi Watch.

11 comments:

Diamed said...

Had ‘Abd al-Rahman’s men prevailed that October day, the post-Roman Occident would probably have been incorporated into a cosmopolitan, Muslim regnum unobstructed by borders, as they hypothesize — one devoid of a priestly caste, animated by the dogma of equality of the faithful, and respectful of all religious faiths.

This of course is the holy grail of all socialists. A cosmopolitan, borderless, respectful, and equal society. If it means forcing everyone through Islam into mindless slavery to a false god, ignorance, stagnation, poverty, violence, and mysogyny, then that's just the price we must pay for the oh so wonderful equality, the borderless society, the enrichment of diversity.

whiskey_199 said...

Diamed -- there is no reason to believe that Islamic regions in Europe would have been any different than in Spain.

Which was characterized by a great Chief, the classic Big Man, and everyone else slaves/serfs. No leveling of classes, in fact intensifying into slave and chief. Which is of course the goal of socialists and communists everywhere -- to be King. And all else slaves.

What the combination of Western Germanic/Celtic tribal freeholding, plus Christian Monogamy did, was create a resource enabling of Western Europe that far outstripped others. Ordinary men could form their own families (no genetic bottleneck with just the big man reproducing), own their own property, and continually improve that for their own and families advantage (the latter critical in continuous improvement in technology).

Thus when Don Juan commanded the Holy League fleet facing the Turks at Lepanto, he was able to persuade the other captains to saw off the rams and mount cannons instead at the bows of the galleys. They caused a terrible carnage.

whiskey_199 said...

Let me add, to understand the differences between the West and all other societies, you must look at the foundations, i.e. how families are formed.

Homophobic Horse said...

"Had ‘Abd al-Rahman’s men prevailed that October day, the post-Roman Occident would probably have been incorporated into a cosmopolitan, Muslim regnum unobstructed by borders, as they hypothesize — one devoid of a priestly caste, animated by the dogma of equality of the faithful, and respectful of all religious faiths."

This retarded little continent made up of dirty cavemen militarily defied the splendid Muslims and surpassed everyone else technologically, culturally etc.

Well no wonder he hates "Balkanised" and "hierarchical" Europa. Socialists hate success. That's why they want people to concentrate on "personal relationships" because it's a game that has no end and wastes energy. In Victorian prisons there used to be a punishment that stipulated turning a crank 2000 times a day..

Zenster said...

“Had ‘Abd al-Rahman’s men prevailed that October day, the post-Roman Occident would probably have been incorporated into a cosmopolitan, Muslim regnum unobstructed by borders, as they hypothesize — one devoid of a priestly caste, animated by the dogma of equality of the faithful, and respectful of all religious faiths.

The preposterous notion that Muslims could have established anything remotely like a Pax Islama is farcical in the extreme. Islam’s history is one of uninterrupted conflict, bloodshed and tyranny. Nowhere has it ever displayed the sort of productive unity that evolved in Europe.

‘We [Europe] would have gained 267 years,’

Only to have Europe—right along with Islam—grind to a screeching halt for an entire millennium thereafter. The toadying of this credulous moron is pathetic in the extreme.

… “religiously intolerant, intellectually impoverished, socially calcified, and economically primitive.”

Which seems to be a splendid description of Islam then OR now and not early Christian Europe. While there is a modicum of shared aspects within that particular era, one need only look at the two cultures’ respective progress since then to see which one had any real promise. Its Pax Islama has brought the MME (Muslim Middle East) abject cultural and economic stagnation in what amounts to nothing more or less than a spiritual gulag.

In fact, I would even speculate that it is precisely because of the pan-European Pax Romana—with its Greco-Roman legacy of democracy and scientific thought—that Europe was both able to repel Islam and make so much consequent progress. The system of Roman roads alone probably allowed for more swift movement of the soldiers and materiel needed to thwart Abd al-Rahman and his horde of Islamic thugs.

Furthermore, if one reads Norvell B. De Atkine’s superb treatise, "Why Arabs Lose Wars", it becomes quite clear why Islam ceased to expand and hunkered down into several centuries of protracted hudna. The more powerful Islam was, the more self-defeating that its systemic nepotism and preferential treatment became. Especially so in military terms but also with respect to invention, scientific investigation, productivity and a host of other mindsets that robust vibrant cultures are reliant upon.

David Levering Lewis’ work is just one more dhimmified whitewash of this world’s most cretinous bunch of gangsters. A Barbara Cartland romance would be more edifying to read.

whiskey_199: Thus when Don Juan commanded the Holy League fleet facing the Turks at Lepanto, he was able to persuade the other captains to saw off the rams and mount cannons instead at the bows of the galleys. They caused a terrible carnage.

A perfect example of the innovation and responsiveness that Arab militaries are relatively incapable of manifesting. This is made crystal clear in how Atkines' notes:

Along these lines, Kenneth Pollock concludes his exhaustive study of Arab military effectiveness by noting that “certain patterns of behavior fostered by the dominant Arab culture were the most important factors contributing to the limited military effectiveness of Arab armies and air forces from 1945 to 1991.” These attributes included over-centralization, discouraging initiative, lack of flexibility, manipulation of information, and the discouragement of leadership at the junior officer level.

HH: In Victorian prisons there used to be a punishment that stipulated turning a crank 2000 times a day.

Which goes a long way towards explaining why today's Britain is so full of cranks.

Paul Green said...

This more sympathetic review in the New Yorker is informative, if somewhat exasperating.

ENGLISHMAN said...

"What ifs" are clearly meaningless,why fantasise history is as it is,far better to devote the time to decicing how we defeat these vermin this time.

Profitsbeard said...

All comments are acerbic, on target and encouragingly apt.

Kudos to each and every!

All I might add is that: the historical fantasists who fail to see the underlying horrors of their "Islamic Candyland Ideal" (constructed on the bloody bricks of misogyny, terror, slavery, fealty to a pedophile warlord icon, and enshrining contempt for reason, forbidding critical thinking, expurgating experiment, ad nauseam) make their puny paens to the Mohammedan Model risible, if not down right retch-worthy.

Lickspittles of the Apocalypse is what I call these betrayers.

("The Treason of the Clerks" in a former critical incarnation.)

Selling out the one hope for intellectual and actual human liberty on Earth for the cozy delusion of a "benevolent" theocratic tyranny.

Ass-backward, self-loathing, mendacious, suicidal schmucks.

Frogbox said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
zazie said...

As to the idea that Islam would be THE root of European culture, read "Aristote au Mont Saint-Michel" by Sylvain Gouguenheim, if you can read French of course ; I just do not know whether there is a translation ; there should be one really!

Henrik R Clausen said...

the idea that Islam would be THE root of European culture

Wut?

I always thought Communism was :)