Saturday, January 03, 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

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