Saturday, August 13, 2016
A great statesman before the “Great Inhibition”
That phrase the “Great Inhibition” was coined by Hugh Fitzgerald (harking back to the Great Prohibition) to denote the surreal, bizarre, irrational, maddening mass neurosis of our era with regard to our collective habit of walking on eggshells around the Elephant in the Room (Islam) and everybody pretending that the Emperor has clothes on when he’s standing buck naked with his wee willy and balls dangling in full view.
It’s difficult to say when this mass neurosis set in; but it’s interesting to note that French philosopher Jacques Ellul, speaking of academe, complained as long ago as the early 1980s about already then a climate of inhibition. In his preface to the 1985 edition of Bat Ye'or's book (The Dhimmi: Jews and Christians Under Islam), Ellul wrote:
"In France, criticisms of Islam or Arab nations is no longer tolerated."
And in his preface he goes on to articulate many other interesting habits of this Western intolerance to open rational criticism of Islam, such as:
"Thus one 'demonstrates' that it is false that Arabs were cruel invaders, that they rampaged with terror and massacres against peoples who would not submit... that [it is false that] Islam was intolerant, on the contrary, it was Tolerance itself. [That] it is false that women are held in an inferior state and that she was excluded from the city. [That] it is false that jihad was a material war; etc. etc...."
Years later, in 1991, Ellul wrote in the foreword to Bay Ye'or's book (The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam: From Jihad to Dhimmitude):
"In the general current of favorable predispositions to Islam... there has been a reluctance to allude to the jihad. In Western eyes, it would be a sort of dark stain on the greatness and purity of Islam."
And he goes on to say about Bat Ye'or's book:
"This book neatly highlights what one is concealing -- I would say carefully concealing -- so widespread is the agreement on this silence that it can only be the result of a tacit agreement based on implicit presuppositions."
And this situation of inhibition, of self-censorship, only became worse in succeeding decades -- perversely magnified post-911, where in a sane world such a collective trend of fashionable political correctness would have appropriately corrected itself by renewing and reviving a general suspicion of Islam and of the Muslims who keep insisting it is made of jasmine & spice & everything nice.
But we know that didn't happen.
At any rate, many great men of yesteryear -- before this inhibition set in, in the massively fashionable way it has in our time -- had no qualms about speaking truth to jihad: Voltaire, John Quincy Adams, Mark Twain, Carl Jung, Bertrand Russell, Will Durant -- and Teddy Roosevelt.
The problem today is that the West thinks Muslims are not still driven by their perennial dream of conquest; that somehow they have shed their medieval past as we have; for, after all, all peoples of the world must be, deep down inside, Homo Occidentalis, for we are the measure of all men, right...? Thus the condescending global narcissism of the PC MC view (and, in spades, the Leftist view). To think that Muslims have grown out of their perennial jihad is a disastrous miscalculation on our part, and, regrettably, remains the reigning fashion of thought. With exquisitely painful irony, this fashion of thought of ours is the one factor that will enable Muslims to realize their dream of conquest; given that, due to the astronomic disparity between the two cultures (West and Islam) on every level, they can’t otherwise conquer us anymore by conventional military means.
Let us then take some small comfort in one voice of yore who had his head on straight, unlike most in our West today:
It is utterly impossible to appreciate social values at all or to discriminate between what is socially good and socially bad unless we appreciate the utterly different social values of different wars. The Greeks who triumphed at Marathon and Salamis did a work without which the world would have been deprived of the social value of Plato and Aristotle, of Aeschylus, Herodotus, and Thucydides. The civilization of Europe, America, and Australia exists today at all only because of the victories of civilized man over the enemies of civilization, because of victories stretching through the centuries from the days of Miltiades and Themistocles to those of Charles Martel in the eighth century and those of John Sobieski in the seventeenth century.
During the thousand years that included the careers of the Frankish soldier and the Polish king the Christians of Asia and Africa proved unable to wage successful war with the Moslem conquerors; and in consequence Christianity practically vanished from the two continents; and today nobody can find in them any “social values ” whatever, in the sense in which we use the words, so far as the sphere of Mohammedan influence and the decaying native Christian churches are concerned. There are such “social values” today in Europe, America, and Australia only because during those thousand years the Christians of Europe possessed the warlike power to do what the Christians of Asia and Africa had failed to do, that is, to beat back the Moslem invader.
-- Teddy Roosevelt, “Social Values and National Existence” (p. 18 in an edition of essays by various individuals titled War and Militarism in their Sociological Aspects, published by the American Sociological Society, 1916)
Note: Charles Martel’s army of European allies saved Europe in the 8th century from invading Muslims who had already taken Spain; while John Sobieski’s army of European allies at the Siege of Vienna in 1683 saved Europe from invading Muslims who had already conquered a massive chunk of Eastern Europe and what is now Turkey -- which used to be Christian Byzantium. Two names that every Western child should learn in school; but of course, doesn't anymore.