Are We Falling Prey to our own Arrogance?

If you had told an Afghan woman in the 1960s that her granddaughters would wear a veil she would have laughed you out of the door. Women in Kabul wore skimpy dresses, make up and high heels. The occasional headscarf or even Burka could be seen, but was very uncommon. Out in the countryside women wouldn’t have dreamed to ever wear something as clumsy as a veil. They were working in the fields and had no patience for fancy prudery virtue signalling.

 

The picture was very similar in Tehran, in Cairo, in Algeria, in Pakistan and in many other places. Women of the sixties were so sure of themselves, they had nothing to worry about.

 

I think we see the same again in the West right now. The only argument why things could not become worse is that “nah, not us”. In other words, the argument is no argument. It’s arrogance.

 

Things slowly dawn on the left, but they are too self-righteous to admit it. The new antisemitism commissioner Felix Klein demanded that the crime statistics be “reconstructed”. He says what we all know. They must stop lying. Specifically, he spoke about the lie that 95% of all antisemitic crimes were associated with the political right.

But the pace is slow and whether his words will have any effect is yet to be seen.

 

The real problem is the lack of education, particularly history classes. The multiculturalism and “we are immune to downfall” mantra can only be pushed because people lack actual information. They don’t realize how deep a culture can fall.

 

What we have seen in the Islamic world so far might not even be the worst outcome. We also might see that the moral relativism could result in a complete breakdown of virtues. The left does not fear that because it claims that all cultures are equal.

 

Even a very superficial look at history should give you a break. The Mongols under Genghis Khan slaughtered about 40 million people, estimated to have been a tenth of the world population at the time. That is even more people than Adolf Hitler killed.

 

The fall of the Roman Republic resulted in a rapid and utter destruction of gender roles and a blood lust that spawned the golden age of gladiator games. That shift is so strong that I could write an entire article about it. By the time of Cicero, a strong and well-rounded sense of masculinity was still prevalent and the chivalry that came with it resulted in an unparallelled influence of women in premodern times. By the time of Nero, a mere century later, killing was a popular game, the Emperor castrated and married another men and Pompeii was inundated in pornography (Sodom was probably prude in comparison). Infanticide (postnatal abortion) became common.

 

The Japanese were in constant war for ages. Their samurai soldiers were out to collect heads. The more heads you collected the more money and prestige you earned. Some cheated and chopped off the heads of women. The heads were examined to find out the shenanigans. This is what happens when chopping off heads is rewarded in a culture.

 

The Maori of New Zealand are a bit touchy when one speaks of their warrior past. They have changed dramatically since and hide what was. Was it all about a quaint warrior dance and fancy tattoos? It was also about collecting heads. There was also a game that resembled tin knock down – only with stacked up heads.

 

Some Indians famously burnt widows to death. Many cultures practiced cannibalism. Idi Amin, President of Uganda from 1971 to 1979, was very proud of his habit of eating humans and drinking their blood.

 

The Inca were so much into killing that they basically fought wars for fun. The game was that you proved your warrior skills by catching your opponents alive. Only a captive could make your wife and children enjoy the presence of his death as a public human sacrifice. The captive was slit open alive and his pounding heart was ripped out by the priest, displayed to the public and flung into a fire. The thrill was appreciated so much that it let to regular unjustified attacks on surrounding tribes. We are supposed to feel sorry that they are boring Catholics now.

 

Whenever we hear about colonialism we are on the defence. Most of us roll over. A few know that Europeans were also colonialised by Muslims and in a very brutal fashion. Muslims have a longer and more devastating history of colonialism committed against Europeans than the other way around. But also the motivation of the European colonialists are derided and dismissed. Did Christian missionaries not serve a good role? Just think of the examples of savage cultures above.

 

The left defines colonialism only by its lowest points, the most brutal battles, the most unjust rulers, the unfairest treatment of subordinates. Are we also supposed to be ashamed about streets, hospitals, and schools? With the attack on colonialism the left says that savagery does not exist. If savagery does not exist, you have nothing to lose. If you feel so safe to think that you have nothing to lose, you also cannot comprehend that your granddaughter will wear a Burka. And maybe it doesn’t matter because all cultures are equal. She may also be a cannibal by then.

 

Nobody says that our culture is better than others. This is now considered racism. Where the Christian missionaries racists? Why would they care about the souls of the savages if they were racists? We are constantly on the defence and not even that. Douglas Murray said quite rightly that we are first and foremost intellectually lazy. It is very easy to roll over and take on the chin every accusation against our groups because we don’t have to research why they are wrong.

 

How do people explain the world and history if they know absolutely nothing about it? The answer is historical materialism. I notice that we are so doused with Marxism that you will not even find many on the conservative side who have the balls to rip it apart. Historical materialism simplifies the world for dummies. You don’t know what happened but you know that some struggle for money and power is enough to explain it. Whatever does not fit, the rituals, from widow-burning to human sacrifice, is at best something that was implemented or “abused” by those who seek material wealth. At worst the fact is ignored. That’s all. Neither human nature nor cultural aspects are allowed to explain history so we could actually learn from it.

 

Its charm is the intellectual laziness. It actually erases all history and saves you from looking it up. The left is aggressively telling us that we should look forward anyway. Nothing to be seen here. They mirror the attitude of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China, famous for his terracotta army. He was not only burning all writings and mass murdering at least one million people, he also demanded that people forget about the past. This is the theme all totalitarians have in common.

 

The left claims that it does want to remember the Holocaust. I fear that they have lost their entire religiously bequeathed moral systems and historic roots so thoroughly that the superficial memory of the Nazi era is the only reference their moral compass has. All the world must be looked at through the prism of how much it resembles the Third Reich. But with only one data point, one cannot learn from history. If you want to prevent something like the Shoah to happen ever again, you must talk about Genghis Khan, Stalin, Mao and so on and honestly find the similarities and differences.

 

People don’t do this because of the shame that came with the Holocaust. But our memory of the dead does not serve the purpose of instilling shame. We honor the victims because they deserve it. It is a question of basic humanity. We also want that the Holocaust like other mass murders teach us to stop this from ever happening again. As a human being I’m also ashamed of the Holocaust. I’m also ashamed of the slave trade. But I’m equally ashamed of crimes that were committed by non-Europeans.

 

Shame is a dangerous emotion. Two German words have gone almost extinct because they were over-used by Adolf Hitler: Schande (like shanda) and Schmach. Both mean shame. The emotion was one of the main drivers that called Hitler to revenge the loss of the WWI. Do we really want to douse people with emotions of guilt and shame without putting things into perspective? I am the last to relativize the Holocaust. I know how many morons want to play it down. I call for redemption. We humans have enough reason to be ashamed. Learning from it is how we can redeem ourselves. But learning and redemption is a continuous process. Those Germans who say “we learnt from the past” usually want to close the case. If you continue to learn from the past, you will continue to find redemption.

 

Women in Kabul

Comments

Katharine Otto Added May 20, 2018 - 4:17pm
Benjamin,
OK.  I can't argue with your historical accounts of other cultures, but I can ask if your perspective is distorted by the "winners" who wrote the history books.  I've heard different stories about the Incas and Native Americans, for instance, but their sides haven't been told, not really.  The "observers" had their own agendas and world views.  The Christian missionaries, for instance, used their faith to punish non-believers.
 
I believe in redemption, too, but not a perpetual re-hashing of events.  You remind us that mankind worldwide has had a brutal history.  Will shame redeem us or lead us to change our ways?  
 
Freud linked shame to the "anal stage" of development, the age of toilet training.  Successfully negotiating that phase leads, he claimed, to autonomy.  As a world society, we seem stuck in the anal phase, looking to "leaders" rather than within our own moral consciousnesses to distinguish right from wrong.  
 
Hitler was a "leader" who couldn't do what he did without lots of help.  I imagine most of the world's brutality has stemmed from people following leaders' examples.  It takes courage to stand up to the group, but that's what autonomy does.
 
 
Bill Kamps Added May 20, 2018 - 4:20pm
Benjamin, interesting points to consider.  We should not assume things will always be as they are.
 
The main thing that keeps the US relatively stable, is a Constitution that is VERY difficult to change.  These other countries for the most part did not have this level of protection.  Having said that, never say never.  A wave of some ideology could sweep the US, as it did in the Muslim world, and the Constitution could be eliminated or changed.  All it takes is enough people in government casting a vote, while the citizens are scared and confused.
 
During times of war we put citizens( Japanese decent) into concentration camps. During the 1950s we had the red scare where people were arrested, and black balled for the mere suspicion of having friends who were Communists.  These without constitutional changes.
 
Since the war on terrorism will never end, we can never say when martial law may be declared, or when our rights may be taken away.  The French suspended the need for search warrants for a time after one of their bombings.  
 
As you say, education and awareness are the defense for avoiding a worst case scenario.  Rights taken away, are difficult to get back.
Benjamin Goldstein Added May 21, 2018 - 4:49am
K Otto: If the side of the Native Americans have not been told how have you heard of a different account. Didn't archeologists find enough evidence in the carved wall murals to support what the Spanish said? I also appears that for non-nomadic indians the pattern was very similar (think of the mesoamerican cultures that also had a human sacrifice fetish). I don't even know what the upside of these cultures were.
 
Can you give an example of missionaries who "used their faith to punish non-believers"?
 
I understand that you are a fierce individualist and it's funny that we seem to differ exactly on this point most. By comparison to most people, I'm extremely individualist myself. But the notion that we just have to stop following others and we might do the right thing, somehow finding all orientation in ourselves, is uncomprehensible.
Benjamin Goldstein Added May 21, 2018 - 5:00am
Kamps: There is a vicious onslaught against the American constitution, particularly the Bill of Rights.
 
The war on terror like the war on drugs are no real wars that would require a vote in the Congress. I don't know how likely martial law really is. But the Patriot Act shows how politicians on both sides are happy  to undermine your freedom.
 
The French are utter cucks and are STILL under martial law. They never lifted it again. It says all about Europe.
Jeffry Gilbert Added May 21, 2018 - 6:20am
 I don't know how likely martial law really is.
 
I have lived under martial law several times. For all intents and purposes I wasn't affected or was affected so little it was of no consequence. Perhaps the locals felt the sting more than we foreigners.
 
However, I argue that what DUHmericans currently live under is magnitudes worse. 
 
Much of DUHmerica's population is under de facto martial law where more than 90% of its population live within the Border Patrol's Constiutionless zone. Living in the east or never leaving the coast in the west you don't have any concept of the extent of government lawlessness. 
 
In one 11 hour period from the moment I landed at LAX to arriving at my friend's house in Phoenix I was accosted by no less than a couple of dozen CBP criminals for simply traveling. In the airport itself and three times on I-10. Myself and tens of thousands of travelers were forced to answer their criminal questions and severely delt with for the temerity to suggest they didn't have the authority under the Constitution to insert themselves into our business.
 
So do carry on with the mistaken impression that you are free and that's why "they hate you" for your so-called freedoms. 
 
Doug Plumb Added May 21, 2018 - 6:21am
Good points Benjamin, but many in the West are saying that shame is good, particularly in psychotherapy where criticizing a client was forbidden. I watched an interview yesterday with a doc who has written best sellers and trained clinicians. Defects in character need to be pointed out for healing.
 
re"Douglas Murray said quite rightly that we are first and foremost intellectually lazy. It is very easy to roll over and take on the chin every accusation against our groups because we don’t have to research why they are wrong."
 
Right on, except the knowledge base is desperately short on philosophy and law, these along with history create a knowledge base from which to make judgements.
 
re"How do people explain the world and history if they know absolutely nothing about it?"
 
History doesn't repeat itself, it rhymes, to the rules discovered by law and philosophy.
Doug Plumb Added May 21, 2018 - 6:26am
re "Can you give an example of missionaries who "used their faith to punish non-believers"?
 
Too much Hollywood 8-)
Dino Manalis Added May 21, 2018 - 8:25am
 We have to return to morals and values, while history is an important lesson to review what worked and what didn't.
Stephen Hunter Added May 21, 2018 - 9:11am
Benjamin, a good analysis of facts from a historical basis and I agree with many of your conclusions. However I feel that both those associated with the left and the right are equally guilty, as human behavior will polarize to the right(protection), regardless of the pack you are in. 
If you look at the Muslim culture on a timeline, their greatest scientific discoveries happened when they were behaving in a more peaceful manner. 
Benjamin Goldstein Added May 21, 2018 - 1:40pm
Gilbert: I wouldn't know the details of the zone that you describe. But sure this airport harrassment must stop. I also think that the breach of privacy rights is a human rights violation that is unacceptable and must be stopped. In this regard the US is ahead of us in a bad way. We only recently started all this naked scanners and excessive search nonsense here. The absurdity: Muslims are the only ones who are not asked to comply despite their history of being the only ones in the last decades who ever kidnapped flights which started from Western airports.
 
Doug: Thx. Yes, history does not repeat it, but it rhymes. That's why we have to look at various events when we try to glean lessons from history. This is a continuous process. The right patterns must be found to avert catastrophy.
 
Stephan: What scientific discovery? (Coffee doesn't count although scientists surely appreciate coffee ;-)).
Katharine Otto Added May 21, 2018 - 2:52pm
Benjamin,
I don't know different but wish I did know their side.  They were essentially wiped out before we could learn what they might have taught us.  The book, Open Veins of Latin America, by Eduardo Galleano describes the early days of Spanish and Portuguese invasion of South America.  I read it a long time ago but do remember how the priests justified brutal Indian slave labor in the gold and silver mines because they were "pagans."
 
I would point to Machu Picchu as an example of Inca mastery.  In an arid climate with earthquakes, that technological marvel was built without mortar, with stones so tight fitting and earthquake-resistant that it has lasted hundreds of years.  It's terraced architectural design allowed for maximum water efficiency for its crops.  My impression was that the Incas were not that warlike.  So can you prove they were?  Were the Spanish and Portuguese merely blinded by their own militaristic prejudices?
 
About the individualism, I don't believe in original sin, for one thing.  If basic needs are met, mankind is not excessively violent.  Even the most vicious animal takes time to rest and play, if he has been sated.  Mankind has a distorted idea of himself based on fear and insecurity.  The sexes have been out of balance through recorded history, with women's civilizing role not fully recognized or appreciated.  I think (hope) this is changing.  
 
 
Stephen Hunter Added May 21, 2018 - 3:27pm
Benjamin; Algebra, Astronomy, Astronomical navigational tools, to name just a few. (Just checked out the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto and was amazed) 
Jeffry Gilbert Added May 21, 2018 - 3:41pm
 I wouldn't know the details of the zone that you describe
 
 

Many people think that border-related policies only impact people living in border towns like El Paso or San Diego. The reality is that Border Patrol's interior enforcement operations encroach deep into and across the United States, affecting the majority of Americans.
Roughly two-thirds of the United States' population lives within the 100-mile zone—that is, within 100 miles of a U.S. land or coastal border. That's about 200 million people.
Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont lie entirely or almost entirely within this area.
Nine of the ten largest U.S. metropolitan areas, as determined by the 2010 Census, also fall within this zone: New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego and San Jose.

 
CBP Crimes
 
It also appears the 95% figure I quoted was incorrect its 66%.  A mere 200 million DUHmericans. 
 
Benjamin Goldstein Added May 21, 2018 - 4:17pm
K Otto: Dismissing the plight of those who are not yet Christian and harming people by converting them to Christianity are two different things. They had this entire calendar with festivals that required ever new sacrifices for which they had to go to war. I have no reason to believe that their own writing plus the accounts of the invaders are wrong.
 
"If basic needs are met ..." Were basic needs not met when the American civil war broke out? Where basic needs not met when the Syrian civil war broke out?
 
Hunter: Algebra was not invented by Muslims. The word was taken from a not very influential book. So the entire scientific discovery was about astronomy and how to sail along the stars? Didn't many people figure that out?
 
Gilbert: I understand that the stop and frisk/freeze whatever policy was very effective in New York. But I also think that an invasion into privacy should not be done often. I must say that I'd rather see my bag checked from time to time than my phone and internet surveilled. And we all know that the government, both in the US and in Europe, is doing it although they lie to us.
Bill Kamps Added May 21, 2018 - 4:42pm
Jeffry, while you are correct about the border zone, and it is another awful trampling of our rights, just like you say about martial law, it doesnt affect most of us.  I have lived in the border zone for 30 years, and have never been stopped or affected by it.  You apparently were not so lucky. 
 
That doesnt mean I like it, or approve of it, or that I am a stupid DUHAmerican.  It just means I get along as best I can, just like you get along the best you can where you are.  I cant fix what is wrong with any country, and Im not going to waste my time trying.
George N Romey Added May 21, 2018 - 8:56pm
Look at the TSA. You are effectively treated like a criminal. By forcing everyone to go through the security charade undue search and seizure have been thrown out the window. 
A. Jones Added May 21, 2018 - 9:43pm
Stephan: What scientific discovery? (Coffee doesn't count although scientists surely appreciate coffee )
 
Coffee was most likely discovered in Ethiopia in the 9th century C.E. during the country's Aksumite Kingdombefore Islam subdued it by means of the sword. Ethiopia (called Abyssinia at the time) was, in fact, Christian.
 
Whole number symbols (1, 2, 3, 4, 5 . . .) are often referred to as "Arabic numerals" to distinguish them from Roman numerals (I, II, III, IV, V . . .) but in fact, they were first developed and used in India. When Islam subdued that country by means of the sword, the symbols spread to the rest of Islamic culture and only later became known — incorrectly — as "Arabic numerals."