Sunday, January 04, 2015
Muslim Brutality versus the Western tradition
I think most of us recoil in horror when we read of the savage practices in Syria and Iraq by the "Islamic State". You don't have to know much history, however, to realize that they are "good" Muslims. Their deeds are well in line with what Muslims have done for centuries.
Take just one example: The Ottoman succession. The Muslim Ottoman Empire covered most of the territory that was "owned" for nearly a millennium by the old Byzantine Greek Christian empire -- centered on modern Turkey. And given Muslim rules about multiple wives, Ottoman emperors usually had multiple sons. So when an emperor died, which son became the next emperor? That was always a very competitive race indeed, with various factions of the court supporting rival sons. So when a new emperor was finally declared, what was the first thing he did? He killed off all his brothers! Muslims have always been savages.
So how do we explain that? There have been plenty of times when there have been rival claims to Western thrones but nothing like the Ottoman practice has been customary.
No doubt, Leftists would be able to come up with some cultural explanation for it but I keep some track of the scientific literature on genetics (e.g. here) and you cannot be aware of that literature without being struck at times by something I once heard Hans Eysenck say: "It's all genetic". Before I go further down that path, however, let me contrast the "Western" practice, beginning with the founders of Western civilization, the ancient Greeks.
And who was the most powerful ancient Greek? Alexander of Macedon, Alexander the Great. He conquered much of the ancient world, most notably the great Persian empire. And Greeks had no love of the Persians. Anyone who knows of the exploits of Pheidippides and of Leonidas and his Spartans at Thermopylae will have some inkling of that.
So what did Alexander do when he defeated the Persians at Issus? All the Persian royal family were captured. The Muslim response would of course have been automatic: Kill them all. But Alexander did no such thing. He treated the Royal family with all the courtesy that he felt was due to Royal personages. Enough said, I think.
So let us skip forward to 1870 and the battle of Sedan, a battle that had nothing to do with motor cars. Sedan is a place in France which is roughly pronounced as "say dong". Prussian chancellor Bismarck had deliberately insulted the French emperor, Napoleon III and French ideas of honor made Napoleon immediately declare war on the Germans. Not wise.
As with Alexander, Bismarck had a victory that was so sweeping that he captured Napoleon himself. So was it "Off with his head"!? Not at all. There are to this day photographs of Napoleon seated comfortably and engaged in friendly conversations both with Bismarck and the Kaiser. And Napoleon III was eventually released on the condition that he move to England and stay there, which he did.
So our forebears have always had an instinct of respect for others, which Muslims clearly have not had and still do not have.
But what about Saladin? someone will say. Saladin defended the Holy Land against the crusaders and was notable for his mercy. So here I come to what I think is the crux of the matter. Saladin was a remarkable man. He was a Kurd, a people previously conquered by the Arabs. And yet through sheer talent, he came to be the leader of the Arab armies. And his military skills were such that he had great authority. It was very hard for anyone in his retinue to question his judgment. So he could be merciful without getting substantial blowback from the Arabs he led.
So my contention is that race matters, infernally incorrect though that might be. The Kurds are the descendants of the Medes, a quite different race from the Arabs but with a long history of high civilization. And I think that Muslim brutality is basically Arab. And it is an inter-Arab contest at the moment in Syria.
I am not going to make much of the racial identity of the Kurds, though I do note that they speak an Indo-European language so are probably our cousins. Certainly, Kurdistan is the only really orderly part of the failed state that is Iraq today. Kurds are still more civilized than the Arabs.
The distinction I want to make, however, is between Arabs and non-Arabs. Arabs are good at only one thing: Self-sacrifice in war. But that one thing did enable them eventually to conquer most of the Middle East: Persians, Assyrians, Kurds etc. Though the Christian Greeks of Byzantium resisted them for 500 years. In the end it was the Venetians under the remarkable Doge Dandolo who destroyed the Byzantine regime.
And the Middle East is the cradle of civilization. The people conquered by the Arabs were often highly civilized. And it was their continued limited functioning under the Arabs which gave the Arab world a veneer of civilization. You can read here all about that. The claim that the Arab world conserved the wisdom and culture of the Greeks and Romans during the Dark Ages of the West is utter tosh. There was no Dark Age in Byzantium and it was the Byzantine Greeks who brought their treasured books and learning to Italy and thus sparked the Renaissance.
So I would argue something fairly uncontroversial among geneticists: That Arabs are genetically different. And looking at the history of their behaviour, I would extend the claim to it being their genetic makeup that accounts for Muslim savagery and brutality. And from Alexander through Saladin to Bismarck we stand outside that.
But (pace Eysenck) it's not all genetic. Culture does play a part. And Islam is Arab culture embodied. And after more than 1,000 years of Arab/Muslim domination, Arab attitudes have filtered to varying degrees into the minds of Muslims everywhere. So in racially very different people from the Arabs, Pakistanis in particular, we find today Arab attitudes and behaviour.
And there is nothing more pernicious culturally than a relatively recent invention called socialism. It was socialism that gave us Hitler and Stalin. But those excursions did come to an end and normal Western civilization has returned to both Germany and Russia, though both, of course, have their own characteristics -- JR
Alan Caruba reminds Americans
Another hysterical Leftist accusation becomes unglued
As you undoubtedly know, liberal politicians and pundits have been hailing the claim that House Republican Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana attended a meeting of a white supremacist group in 2002 as the biggest story since Bridgegate. Scalise himself said that he had no recollection of addressing such a meeting, but if he did it was an error in judgment for which he apologizes.
Now it turns out that the alleged incident may never have happened at all. To back up: the claim is that Scalise addressed a meeting of the European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO) at the Landmark Best Western Hotel in Metairie, Louisiana in 2002. EURO was a tiny group associated with David Duke, who by 2002 was political poison. (He pled guilty to tax evasion and mail fraud in December 2002 and served time in prison.) At the time, Scalise was a state legislator and was going around speaking to various local civic groups about a tax proposal in Louisiana’s legislature.
The man who arranged Scalise’s appearance at the Metairie Hotel now says that the report is simply wrong. Scalise didn’t address the EURO conference, but rather an equally small meeting of the Jefferson Heights Civic Association that was held in the same hotel conference room, earlier in the day:
[Kenny] Knight said he rented and paid for the hotel conference room for the European-American Unity and Rights Organization, a group founded by Duke. Since he had already paid for the space, Knight said, he decided to also hold his local civic association meeting at the Metairie hotel. He stressed that the two gatherings were not connected.
“Steve Scalise did not address a EURO conference. … The conference was two-and-a-half hours later,” Knight said. …
Knight said Scalise, then a state representative, spoke to the civic association and was probably unaware the EURO conference was being held in the same room later that day. Knight and Scalise primarily knew each other as neighbors and not through politics necessarily, Knight said.
“The conference wasn’t going to start until 1 p.m., so I decided to have the members of the civic association there Saturday morning,” he said, “My relationship with Steve Scalise was as a neighbor. I don’t know that Steve Scalise and I ever talked about politics.”
Knight said about 18 members of the civic association showed up for the meeting, where Scalise spoke on a piece of tax legislation working its way through the Louisiana Legislature. A few people who arrived early for the EURO conference were also in the room and may have made the forum post that White discovered, Knight said. A member of the local Red Cross also spoke at the local civic association meeting that day, Knight said.
“There were not (EURO) signs. There were not banners” at the civic association meeting, Knight said.
Knight said he was not a member of EURO and did not arrange for any speakers at the 2002 conference, he said. He only booked and paid for the room as a favor to Duke, a personal friend whose campaigns he had worked on in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Knight’s then-girlfriend Barbara Noble, who was present at the event, agrees that Scalise spoke to the Jefferson Heights Civic Association, not EURO....
UPDATE: EURO put out a press release the day before the “workshop” that listed scheduled speakers. Scalise was not one of them. It appears that the Scalise “scandal” is going the way of the University of Virginia rape story.
Have We Finally Turned the Corner?
As 2014 came to a close, it was all about good economic news. Leading off the parade: In December, the Dow Jones Industrial Average capped off a torrid year of 7.5% growth when it reached 18,000 for the first time. Meanwhile, GDP grew at a 4.6% annual rate in the second quarter and an even faster 5% in the third – a pace not seen since 2003. And on top of that, Americans saved $14 billion at the gas pump in 2014, and could save even more this year. Things are looking a bit brighter for 2015.
With all that good economic news, experts feel the job market will further strengthen in 2015 so the headline unemployment rate will slide ever closer to 5%. The labor market may remain a little bit soft as the long-term unemployed will be the last to find work, but as a whole it’s no wonder the Left is boasting of the “Obama boom.” Even those on the Right are admitting this may end the “Age of Suck.”
This general feeling of economic optimism is reflected in increasing consumer confidence. While some worried about sluggish Black Friday sales as well as slower than expected last-minute shopping at retailers as the Christmas season wound down, online purchasing was strong enough to keep sales right around their predicted growth rate for the 2014 season.
While some try to credit Barack Obama for the rebound, the good news is rooted in two areas the president has tried his best to obstruct.
One is an overall slowdown in government spending growth, which is declining as a percentage of GDP. Congress hasn’t done nearly enough to cut spending given its tendency to govern by continuing resolution rather than a set budget – meaning the Obama spending bonanza of 2009 and 2010 is the new minimum.
But as columnist David Harsanyi puts it, “After , Congress, year by year, became one of the least productive in history. And the more unproductive Washington became, the more the economy began to improve.”
The key date is 2010, when Republicans took over the House. Harsanyi argues gridlock has created part of this improvement, and there’s a compelling argument for that point. Imagine what we may have been saddled with had Republicans not taken over the House in 2010: endless government “stimulus” programs, cap and trade, and a faster implementation of ObamaCare for starters – all leading to a national debt far larger than the already-astronomical one we’re facing now.
Another part of the economic rebound stems from lower oil prices, which have plummeted by nearly half in the last six months. That steep drop is now reflected in gas-pump prices, resulting in what Citigroup estimates as an average $1,150 annual boost to consumers. This boom could have been amplified still further if not for Obama’s stalling of the Keystone XL pipeline or his refusal to open up federally controlled land to oil exploration. An activist EPA also waits in the wings with the potential for crippling regulations similar to those imposed on the coal industry.
Obama can try his best, but no president has figured out a way to kill the American free enterprise system. Its resilience has brought us out of numerous depressions, panics, recessions and economic slumps over the years as enough people found a way to work through or around the situation.
We will begin to see the effects of a truly divided government, with Republicans now totally in charge of Congress and Obama threatening to veto more legislation. “I haven’t used the veto pen very often since I’ve been in office,” Obama not-so-subtly threatened last month. “Now, I suspect, there are going to be some times where I’ve got to pull that pen out.”
While the economy is improving – at least according to the numbers our government releases, if not necessarily everyone’s personal situation – it will be up to those respective sides to make the case why things could be even better if their vision prevails. It’s a battle that will be joined as contenders for the 2016 presidential election come onto the scene and spell out their plans to continue the momentum.
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Posted by JR at 1:38 AM