||"dawnbreak in the west"|
Sunday, December 07, 2014
The alliance of blank-slate liberalism with Islam
The book itself is a standard propagandum in the field, like Jared Diamond's work; this text is here to deliver a comprehensive comparative history between East and West, and to explain how East and West aren't all that different, therefore racism yah-boo-sucks. Hayat notes that such east/west blather hasn't taken the south into account; defined as the Australia, New Guinea and Subsahara "global south". But this post will leave that aside.
I don't have all that much a dog in the great IQ debate. I do hold some interest in race, given that I belong to a few of them, but again not all that much interest. What I care about most is Late Antiquity. As it happens Hayat has dug up a couple pericopes on that score. First page 351:
Unlike Buddhism, Confucianism, or Christianity, Islam was born on the edge of collapsing empires and came of age amid constant warfare. Islam was not a religion of violence (the Koran is a good deal less bloody than the Hebrew Bible), but Muslims could not stand aloof from fighting. “Fight for the sake of God those that fight against you,” Muhammad had said, “but do not attack them first. God does not love the aggressors”… Compulsion had no place in spreading religion, but Muslims (“surrenderers” to God) were obliged to defend their faith whenever it was threatened – which, since they were pushing and plundering their way into collapsing empires at the same time as spreading the word, was likely to be quite often.
Then page 353:
They came not to bury the West but to perfect it; not to thwart Justinian’s and Khusrau’s ambitions, but to fulfill them.
I still haven't written that "prequel" to Those Two Books (plug, plug, sidebar, "Islam"), but in 2012 I did write up and post "The Keys to the Garden are Swords" as an appendix to House of War. For my take on the intrinsic pacifism of the Arab Prophet, I'll refer my gentle readers to "Keys". As for this prophet fulfilling those non-Arab empires' ambitions - I wasn't even sure where to start, but I left an initial reaction at the JAY post. All the Prophet's talk about "keys to Paradise" simply don't make sense outside Matthew's Gospel. As in - said Prophet was subverting and refuting the Gospel.
Going further, the Arab du'a grounded itself upon Ishmael's inheritance. From the Greeks' and Jews' culture, Islam took up only the Bible and the traditions surrounding it; whatever came from their ancestral pagan or secular heritage was second-hand at most (Jesus's Letonian palmtree?). The Arabs were consciously living in a post-biblical world. The notion that Muhammad was out to perfect Zoroastrianism, meanwhile, is simply laughable; the Prophet was a Semite, not an Aryan. And either way - as I'd posted on Hayat's blog - the Prophet was certainly no Westerner.
What isn't striking in Morris's book is(n't) its failure to understand Islam. Its author has to know the gist of all this already - like Esposito knows it, and Armstrong knows it. Morris is simply lying here. But lies aren't very interesting - they're barely worth a blog-post. What is striking is how liberals like Morris, when they make their arguments for liberalism, cannot rely upon liberalism alone.
Any liberal who studies history has to run across the case of Islam: that great bridge between Judaism, Christianity, and the mysterious Orient (shouts out to Eddy Said!). Then the liberal has to decide what to do about it. There's talk that Islam is rather... less liberal than are Judaism, Christianity, and any of those indigenous faiths from that Orient I'd mentioned. There even exist arguments that Islam is less liberal than some of our uglier Western nationalisms; one of those arguing that point was the Mufti. To their credit a few liberals, like Bill Maher, don't shy away from Islam's implications.
Morris ignores all that. Like the cowards in that classic movie Wishmaster he rubs his jewels and wishes it all away.
If Christ isn't to bail him out, perhaps sura 72's djinn will do it instead. Robert Ferrigno's Prayers For The Assassin had argued that lazy liberals would fall into Islam by default. Eight years later and here we are.
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