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Friday, January 24, 2014
How evil is "House of War"?
For grins I figured I'd see how House of War lines up against Dark-Enlightenment thought. The core of That Book - the chapters dealing with suras 14 and 22 - was started, best I can tell, in December 2004. I was a Bush voter then. Now... I'm not.
There are a number of ideas floating around the ReactoSphere, as this link-chart helpfully points out. I'll start from the top and work turnwise.
Techno-Commercialists / Futurists. Over the Near East in 675-95, there weren't any technological advances - with the glaring exception of Greek Fire just prior. I consider this, however, an engineering discovery and not an advancement in human knowledge. We are really looking for technological-singularity advancements: like paper, or the printing-press; or like actual discoveries in chemistry. My book is covering a dark-age and we can't ask too much of this era (so my book didn't). The only "social progress" angle I can think of would probably be the Arabs' unification of Iraq to Lower Egypt, which allowed (especially) medical information to flow from Alexandria into Iraq. That means it feeds into the Marxist angle (below). As for existent technologies, these are handled under
Economists. The good news (for this group) is that I do consider economics. We got: a cursory study of the leather trade; a more in-depth view of the slave trade; the Near-Eastern communication links over land and sea; the sudden conversion of Arab raiders to owners of landed estates; the ban on trade for Arabs; the need for Muawiya to mint a coinage: I spent a lot of time and effort in understanding the Arab economy. The bad news? The book is Marxist. In its defence, it's Marxist like Bernard Lewis was Marxist: it's an historian's Marxism, that looks less into whether there should be a class-struggle, and more into whether the people involved think they're in a class-struggle. See "Ethno-Nationalists" below for that.
Masculinity. About all I got here, is the notion that Arab patriarchy was an import from the Jews.
Femininity. See "Masculinity". I did mention Fâkhita, queen and bane of Marwân - at least in the second edition. But besides her (important!) contribution, women were sidelined in this fracas.
HBD. This abbreviation stands for "racism". I got none of that here. -because I got that under the next heading, which is
Ethno-Nationalists. This is more important than economics, and this is where I invoke Marx. Class and race are the same in my book. I argue that the Quraysh believed that they are Heaven-sent to bring the world under God's rule. This is exactly the implementation of Jewish tikkun-olam, as Jews themselves understood it at the time. The Quraysh, as the new Chosen, set out an apartheid: against the reds (that's us) and the blacks - and they'd have done it against the yellows and browns too if they'd got that far East. The reaction to the Arab form of racism sets in, where I deal with al-Kufa and the Mukhtâr. But the book is not pro nationalism; it does not take any race's, or any class's, side.
Christian Traditionalists. I've not even considered the role of the Divine in all of this. And just because I don't agree with Islam does not imply that my book took Christianity's side. In essence I've used the tools which had been leveled against Christian texts, against Islamic texts. Christian Traditionalists should view my book as a double-edged sword. It's just being directed against Islam in this case.
Secular Traditionalists. I didn't take sides on secularism either. I assumed it. But this gets us to
Political Philosophy. I established the premise here:
A state is a land-holding corporation, and its first goal is to survive. Every state requires a noble class and an established faith. Its nobles must believe in the state itself, against temptation to plunder it for their own short-term gain. Its subjects must believe that the state is best left alone.
I went on to structure the fictional chapter-headings as a "Requiem For A Dream" - the dream of Abdullah for a faith without dogma. Fred Donner had argued that the Arabs of the 600s Near East had envisioned this dream. It was my book's contention that - taking Donner at his word - this dream was not achieved. It further strongly hints that only the most naive ever believed in this dream, that cynical Arab amirs exploited this dream, that the Qur'an is a record of the amirs' propaganda, and that Islam today should be understood as the bastard-child of a fraud.
But the book understands that humanity needs something to believe in. It leaves open what this should be. The book isn't here to support an alternate creed; it doesn't even, really, suggest that the Byzantines were offering anything better (certainly the Sasanians weren't).
To sum up, the book has an Ethno-Nationalist tinge but here just to illustrate what I see as unavoidable facts (and, I repeat, with no reference to HBD). It uses Economists to understand why the ethnics of the 600s lined up on the sides they did. The book is mainly in service of Political Philosophy - Moldbug's philosophy: of pure cynicism, of the end of faith. Leavened heavily by Marx.
I don't think I could let a Christian read it. Not sure about Jews. There's lots of Marx for soi-disant "reform" "Jews", but I shouldn't count them. Orthodox Jews - the real Jews - won't have a problem with patriarchy; but the Ashkenaz amongst them might kvetch over my reading of tikkun-olam. I do have documentation (Mitchell First).
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