Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Islam: The Other White Meat...
The more I delve into the tortured history and ideology of Islam, the more I'm convinced that there is a serious mental disconnect embedded in it's very foundations. The Prophet Muhammad, at various times and sometimes all at once, seems to be:

a) Political revolutionary
b) menatlly-deranged, self-professed messiah
c) A communist before his time
d) One of those bar-room loudmouths that finally got off his ass and did something
e) Used car salesman

Islam, for those of you who aren't up on it, litterally means "submission". In this case, submission to the Word of God, as revealed by Muhammad. All religions to a certain extent act this way, but many do not impose a rigorous social system that is intended to both prop up the religion and to prevent any challenge to it's authority. Those that have in the past (Christianity comes to mind) have found themselves confronted by that most pernicious virus of human nature. Hence, Christianity and Judaism have had things like Reformations, Enlightenments, and reality intrude and have had to adapt or wither. Islam firstly denies human nature (much like Communism), and has had nothing approaching the moderating effects of a schism between political and religious power such as that brought about by Martin Luther or the Diaspora.

Islam remains firmly rooted in it's past and has resisted change since it's inception. Change is anethema to Islam in the same way as it is to democrats, in that both will continue to advance ridiculous, utopian agendas in the face of reality.

So, just what is it about Islam that makes it such a nasty little bug? I have several theories:

1. The Me-too religion: Islam claims descent from Abraham, the very first Jew, and respects the tenets laid out by Jesus in his ministry, although it denies Christ's divinity and refers to him as only a prophet. I will not debate these issues, since I'm not a theologian. However, in it's very formation there is a hint that Islam was more than willing to absorb or co-opt that which it admired, that which it needed from these other religions, and then discard the rest. Jews are a people apart, the distinction of being the chosen people of God naturally leading to a feeling of superiority and seperateness from others. Islam grafted itself onto the Jewish tradition by claiming descent from a bastard son of Abraham (Ishmael). Muslims now too, could be the chosen people without having to actually be born Jewish (denoted through female lineage). That sense of superiority enjoyed by the hated, but tolerated Jews, could now belong to any desert-dwelling piece of shit that was willing to mouth the proper prayers, without having to keep some of the more esoteric Jewish laws.

Jewish law was also quite attractive to Islam both because it delineated not only just who was a believer but also provided a common set of rules by all to abide by without creating undue friction between two sets of peoples living side-by-side. It also made Islam an attractive choice for disaffected Jews to rally to the cause of Muhammed; they could have their cake and eat it too.

2. The Glory of the Caliphate: Islam repeatedly turns it's eyes back to it's heyday in the 7th-10th century when it was busy overrunning Europe, Anatolia, Persia, Africa, India and parts of China, as the the epitome of it's "civilization". Certainly, if you consider the vast size of the territory conquered and subjected, the riches that were extracted from them and the sheer number of people living within Islamic borders of the time, then yes, it was a heyday.

However, many would have you believe that Islam brought with it some sort of civilizing influence that ordinarily wqould not have been present in those places prior to it's arrival. We've heard time and time again about how Muslims were performing C-sections, drinking coffee, etc, etc hundreds of years before the now-more-civilized West, and somehow we're supposed to believe that Islam created this dynamic culture spread across the globe. Nothing could be further from the truth. Islam merely overran or converted regions in which thriving civilizations already existed: Persia, the Hellenistic Greek world in the Levant and Anatolia, Constantinople, Aryan India. It inherited administrations and social orders that had been spiced and strengthed by Greco-Roman traditions, the Indian Caste system and the Confucian thought of China. It co-opted those institutions and customs that it could not eradicate and then we pretend as if Islam invented it all. As with it';s grafting itself to the Jewish tradition, Islam grafted itself into the existing cultures of whatever was there before. No mean feat, and certainly no argument for some kind of "Islamic Cultural Renaissance".

The fact that within a few hundred years of it's apex, Islam was sliding backwards into anarchy and disorganization is conveniently forgotten, unlike the examples usually given for failing Western systems, like Rome.
The difference is that the Western Greco-Roman/Judeo-Christian systems survived because of their dynamism and cohesion, the Chinese and Indian systems survived due to their vast size and numbers of people involved. Islam petered out because it refused to face reality: there was only a limited number of Arabian elite to go around and when they had exhausted their numbers trying to administrate something so vast and unwieldy they left themselves open to other, more numerous, peoples to take over, hence the Ottomans and the Moghuls, the Mamelukes and the Berbers. Yet, the Arabian nature of Islam still remains as much as the Roman law still remains today. The difference is that Islam continues to fight that which it cannot control instead of bending with the wind --- a by-product of submission to the will of God. Roman law has stayed with us because it was practical, egalitarian and easily understood by everyone who could read. Islamic law stays because it is the last redoubt of power left to those who would force the submission of others.

Islam boils down to this:

1. We hate the Jews, but we're perfectly happy to insist that we have Jewish roots.
2. We hate Christians, but only because they believe their prophet is better than ours.
3. Western civilization is evil, unless it's existing structures and abilities to produce all sorts of really neat things can be co-opted. Anything that resists co-option must be destroyed.
4. Western civilization is neat when it comes to doing things like producing abundant food, providing adequate health care and education, producing and distributing wealth, but it is just too indiviualistic for Islam, so, they'll take the good and chuck what they consider the bad, without realizzing it's the bad that makes the rest of it good.
5. Any return to the "good old days" of Islamic Spain and India is a good idea, and all Muslims are honor bound to enure it happens. If there happens to be people already enjoying their lives under a rival system, no problem, they can either be converted or killed. Preferably killed.
6. We can continue to pass a second-hand ideology and religious system off as something unique for as long as stupid people continue to procreate. Anyone who isn't stupid, must be elimninated.
Kerry's Medals...
The latest campaign sturm und drang revolves around John F'ing Kerry's military medals. Did he earn them? Did he actually throw them away in 1971 or were those someone else's? Was the whole Medal-throwing incident political theatre? Did he mean it? Does he regret it?

To hear Kerry tell it, he merely threw away his ribbons, not the actual medals. For those of you unaware of how the military distributes such things, an award typically consists of two parts: the actual medal itself, and a ribbon which is worn on the "fruit salad" --- a collection of mini-medals worn over the left breast pocket of certain classes of uniform. The ribbons serve two purposes: a) you don't have to wear your actual medals all the time, b) they are a visual signal to others --- I was there, I did this, I'm a bad mother-fucker, I managed to avoid the clap for six whole months, etc, etc.

First Kerry says he threw away the medals. Then he says he only threw away the ribbons. What fucking difference does it make? He still disrespected his fellow sailors and soldiers and his country by throwing away his awards. In a sort of perverted way, he disrespected himself, tossing away awards that were (apparently) earned for valor in combat.

I don't partiucularly care if Kerry threw his medals away. That's his business. What I do care about is that he can't even seem to tell the truth about it of or get his story straight about it. To tell the truth about the medal incident either alienates Vietnam veterans (the very folks he may be counting on) or exposes him as a liar --- no win for Kerry no matter how you slice it.

The medal thing is a tempest in a teacup, to be sure, but it is indicitive of something else: are we dealing with a man who will do anything, say anything, whatever is expedient, to become President of the United States, and then when asked about the details and motivations will dissemble his head off? We've already had eight years of Bill Clinton, we don't need that kind of shennanigans in the White House again.
Who's Baffled?
Via Freerepublic.com, here's an article from the Asia Times about American's being confused by Islam:


I would suggest that perhaps in the interests of laying aside PC, multi-culti bullshit that the article be re-titled as "Why America Baffles Islam".
The answer, of course, is relatively simple: Islam, like Communism, cannot tolerate the following: free expression of thought, respect for the individual, challenges to authority. Western Civilization, and especially American civilization not only tolerates but encourages such things. This is why we live in a world of high-speed computers, medical miracles, abundant food and mass-media, and Muslims live in the 7th century longing for a return of the "glory days".

This is also why any attempt to implant democratic traditions in the Middle East will be a long-haul operation; there is no history of any of these simple societal structures to be found in the region. Muslims have a choice between their religion/social system and the 21st century--- the problem is getting them to disconnect one from the other. They want both and are unable or unwilling to reconcile them, at the present.

You tell me who's baffled?