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The Tragedy of a Non-Muslim West
The Corner @ National Review ^ | January 23, 2008 | Mark Steyn

Posted on 01/23/2008 9:44:35 AM PST by forkinsocket

How far are western intellectuals prepared to take civilizational self-loathing?

In The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire, Gibbon called the Battle of Poitiers in 732 "the high-water point of the Muslim tide in western Europe". Had they won, they'd have pressed on to Paris and London and beyond. But they didn't win - which causes David Levering Lewis, the American historian and author of God's Crucible: Islam And The Making Of Europe, 570-1215, much regret:

Lewis sets out to show that the failure of what he calls "the jihad east of the Pyrenees" is "one of the most significant losses in world history." He argues that the Frankish defeat of the Islamic invaders at Poitiers in 732 and the subsequent poetic glorification of Roland's sacrifice to cover Charlemagne's retreat from his own incursion into Spain were "pivotal moments in the creation of an economically retarded, balkanized and fratricidal Europe that, by defining itself in opposition to Islam, made virtues out of hereditary aristocracy, persecutory religious intolerance, cultural particularism and perpetual war . . . 'winning' at Poitiers actually meant that the economic, scientific and cultural levels that Europeans attained in the 13th century could almost certainly have been achieved more than three centuries earlier had they been included in the Muslim world empire."

As Tim Rutten, the Los Angeles Times reviewer, remarks:

In other words, the West would be better off if it had been incorporated into an all-conquering Islamic empire in the early Middle Ages.

OK.

Still, it's fair to wonder why, if that's true, the West ended up with the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution and the Scientific Revolution and the Islamic world got chronic underdevelopment, a pervasive religious obscurantism, Al Qaeda and the trust fund states of the Arabian peninsula?


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: conquest; history; islam
.
1 posted on 01/23/2008 9:44:35 AM PST by forkinsocket
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To: forkinsocket

Mr Lewis better e careful what he wishes for. He just might get it now after all..


2 posted on 01/23/2008 9:48:29 AM PST by Kozak (Anti Shahada: There is no god named Allah, and Muhammed is a false prophet)
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To: forkinsocket
Now that is amazing. How could anyone look at Islam and think we would be better off having lived the past 1300 years under its repressive control?
3 posted on 01/23/2008 9:50:06 AM PST by MPJackal ("From my cold dead hands.")
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To: forkinsocket
It's a good thing for Mark that we don't (yet) have an American "Human Rights Commission."
4 posted on 01/23/2008 9:52:46 AM PST by VR-21
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To: forkinsocket
the economic, scientific and cultural levels that Europeans attained in the 13th century could almost certainly have been achieved more than three centuries earlier had they been included in the Muslim world empire."

Indeed.

5 posted on 01/23/2008 9:53:39 AM PST by Madame Dufarge
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To: forkinsocket

How the hell could any individual look at the contrasting development of the Islamic world and the Western world and say things would have been better but for victory? How does an individual so dumb manage to breathe while he sleeps?


6 posted on 01/23/2008 9:54:29 AM PST by domenad (In all things, in all ways, at all times, let honor guide me.)
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To: forkinsocket
Yeah, we'd have all that great Iranian technology and the best of Wahabbi fashion.... Don't forget that soccer stadium in Kabul.

Kiss Chaucer, Aquinas, Chartres cathedral,Shakespeare, Bach and Beethoven goodbye though. Proust, Victor Hugo, and Henri Bergson would have had to write in Arabic. It gets complicated...

Bad news for Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Fellini, Jean-Luc Godard, and Bergman.

7 posted on 01/23/2008 9:55:34 AM PST by HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
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To: forkinsocket
Still, it's fair to wonder why, if that's true, the West ended up with the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution and the Scientific Revolution and the Islamic world got chronic underdevelopment, a pervasive religious obscurantism, Al Qaeda and the trust fund states of the Arabian peninsula?

I hear an answer rattling around the liberal blogosphere: If Islam were universal, then the Arab part of it would not be in grinding poverty and ignorance. It's because of the "Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution and the Scientific Revolution" in the West that allowed the West to keep the poor Islamists stupid, see? Had Islam been allowed to overrun the world in the 7th century, then we'd be much more advanced today, probably flying around with cool jetpacks and beheading infidels with rayguns.

8 posted on 01/23/2008 9:57:35 AM PST by Cyber Liberty (Don't trust anyone who canít take a joke. [Congressman BillyBob])
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To: forkinsocket

Let’s run down the list:

1. Economically retarded - perhaps this is the only somewhat true one - Islamic countries traded very freely and had flatter systems of taxation that allowed individuals to accumulate more wealth than the resulting feudal Europe (after you pay your tithe for being non-Muslim of course).

2. balkanized and fratricidal - Um, Sunni vs. Shia? Anyone?

3. hereditary aristocracy - last I checked, Saudi Arabia was one of the few countries with a true ruling aristocracy

4. persecutory religious intolerance - You have got to be absolutely bullcrapping me

5. cultural particularism - You have got to be phenomenally bulcrapping me

6. perpetual war - You were bullcrapping me. I knew it.


9 posted on 01/23/2008 10:01:50 AM PST by domenad (In all things, in all ways, at all times, let honor guide me.)
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To: Cyber Liberty

I say bring back Vlad “the Impaler” Tepesh. He knew how you handle Muslims spoiling for a fight.


10 posted on 01/23/2008 10:03:06 AM PST by domenad (In all things, in all ways, at all times, let honor guide me.)
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To: forkinsocket

mark for later


11 posted on 01/23/2008 10:04:01 AM PST by Trailerpark Badass (Don't taze me, bro!!)
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To: forkinsocket

Recently hired by NYU. He has won an extraordinary number of prizes and honors, as you might expect for a radical leftist. His field appears to be African-American history.

His CV is here; it’s a .pdf file.

http://silverdialogues.fas.nyu.edu/docs/CP/301/LewisCV.pdf


12 posted on 01/23/2008 10:05:16 AM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: domenad
Start from the premise that humanity is a cancer of the biosphere that merits extinction, and it all makes perfect sense.
13 posted on 01/23/2008 10:07:17 AM PST by JasonC
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To: forkinsocket
defining itself in opposition to Islam, made virtues out of hereditary aristocracy, persecutory religious intolerance, cultural particularism and perpetual war . . .

I'm not sure how adopting all those things represents opposition to Islam, since they are all hallmarks of it.

14 posted on 01/23/2008 10:07:52 AM PST by wideawake (Why is it that those who call themselves Constitutionalists know the least about the Constitution?)
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To: Cicero

What do you know? At the bottom of his CV, it says, “Born in Little Rock, Arkansas.”

Must be something in the water down there. (Apologies to Freepers from Arkansas.)


15 posted on 01/23/2008 10:09:17 AM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: Cicero
His field appears to be African-American history.

Ah. That explains his hatred of western civilization.

16 posted on 01/23/2008 10:10:42 AM PST by forkinsocket
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To: forkinsocket
In other words, the West would be better off if it had been incorporated into an all-conquering Islamic empire in the early Middle Ages.

This was the lament of certain high-ranking Nazis (who were obviously quite ignorant as to the nature of Islam... they fantasized about a world in which the Nazis bent Islam to serve them).

17 posted on 01/23/2008 10:10:59 AM PST by Charles Martel (The Tree of Liberty thirsts.)
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To: HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
Kiss Chaucer, Aquinas, Chartres cathedral,Shakespeare, Bach and Beethoven goodbye though. Proust, Victor Hugo, and Henri Bergson would have had to write in Arabic. It gets complicated...

I suppose it is somewhat simplified if over half your population is illiterate...

18 posted on 01/23/2008 10:22:35 AM PST by tacticalogic ("Oh bother!" said Pooh, as he chambered his last round.)
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To: tacticalogic

There is the usual neglect of the civilizing influence of Christianity. Immigrants are not flocking to places like France, England, Germany, and Italy because they are less advanced or more technologically backward.


19 posted on 01/23/2008 10:27:49 AM PST by HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
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To: Cyber Liberty
Had Islam been allowed to overrun the world in the 7th century, then we'd be much more advanced today, probably flying around with cool jetpacks and beheading infidels with rayguns.Cool!
20 posted on 01/23/2008 10:32:43 AM PST by GATOR NAVY
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To: forkinsocket

I’d rather read about the “trajedy” of a non-muslim world.


21 posted on 01/23/2008 10:57:45 AM PST by TexasRepublic (Islam is a mental disorder)
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To: Cyber Liberty

Science in the pre-Islamic Middle East (Persia, Baghdad, etc.) was very advanced, and trading with India and the Far East brought Asian discoveries into that part of the world, too.

Islam wiped it all out within about 3 generations.

When Islam takes over a society, the society may still retain traces of its previous culture for a couple of generations. Then the imposition of sharia and the theocratic system, not to mention the backward, violent Arabic caravan-raiding culture that goes with Islam, crushes the life out of it. And then, presto, you have the glories of Islamic culture: Violence, degradation, slavery, ignorance, repression and poverty.


22 posted on 01/23/2008 11:08:04 AM PST by livius
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To: forkinsocket
His field appears to be African-American history.

I know of many folk who majored in African-American history in college as it was the easiest, no work necc. major to skate through to a degree.

23 posted on 01/23/2008 11:25:02 AM PST by maine-iac7 (",,,but you can't fool all of the people all the time" LINCOLN)
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Comment #24 Removed by Moderator

To: forkinsocket

“. . ‘winning’ at Poitiers actually meant that the economic, scientific and cultural levels that Europeans attained in the 13th century could almost certainly have been achieved more than three centuries earlier had they been included in the Muslim world empire.”

OR...the victory of Islam may have delay these things six centuries given the eventual beheading of: Leonardo da Vinci, Fibonacci, Petrus Peregrinus, Roger Bacon, ...etc.


25 posted on 01/23/2008 6:35:14 PM PST by Fitzy_888 ("ownership society")
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