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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Cracking the Code of Civilization

Civilization is a code, and while we easily fall into the habit of assuming that civilized norms are universal, they are limited to the civilized. Kindness, humility and reaching out to the enemy are valid behaviors only when they are likely to be reciprocated. Practicing that code toward nations and cultures which markedly refuse to be civilized, is the same thing as painting a target on your own back.

Because civilized codes of conduct only work when they are reciprocal. They allow us to treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves and permit us to find common ground based on underlying principles. But to those who choose to be outside the code, such concessions are a weakness. Not a sign of moral strength, but physical cowardice. To the Muslim who has been raised on the tales of the Koranic conquests of Mohammed and his successors, only force represents moral truth. In the Koran, the infidels negotiate in good faith, while Muslims negotiate in bad faith. That is because Islam was meant to supersede the old tribal codes with a superior moral system, based not on honor, but on submission to Allah and Mohammed.

What we might consider foul treachery, was to the Muslim only a means to an end. Because moral behavior no longer had anything to do with trust, only with forcing more victims to submit to Islam. Negotiating in good faith was itself a symptom of a lack of faith. For the true Muslim could never honestly accept any enduring compromise with an infidel that would lessen the temporal power of Islam. He could only do so as a stratagem for weakening the infidel. To do otherwise would be blasphemy and heresy, two charges still commonly raised in the Muslim world against their own leaders who make even the appearance of honest negotiations with Western leaders. Meanwhile the willingness of the infidels to negotiate in good faith, in the Muslim worldview only demonstrated their lack of faith.

Paradoxically the willingness to negotiate in bad faith, to betray and assassinate shows a commitment to something greater. While negotiating in good faith and treating your enemy kindly shows a lack of confidence and principles. This attitude is not unique to Muslim fanatics, it is just as ubiquitous the left of our own cities, which considers radicalism and ruthless terrorism the mark of a true revolutionary conscience. From Lenin to Mao to Che, Communists ridiculed and murdered those who were not willing to be as ruthlessly amoral as them. The Western left has long since absorbed that same attitude, treating political activism as a kind of fevered passion that does not answer to any moral code. From the Paris Commune to the Baader Meinhof Brigade. From the Chicago Anarchists to the Chicago Seven. From the Black Panthers to the PLO. The left admires most those who are willing to kill or die, as evidence of their sincerity.

And such people, whether they are Hamas members in Gaza or the descendants of the Mayflower in Berkeley, are savages. Not savages by race, but savages by choice. They know what civilization is. They have often benefited from it. But they despise it as weak and unprincipled. To them the civilized code is a sign of the cowardice of the infidel or the bourgeois, who want to make limited concessions in order to protect their possessions and privileges. To them civilization is the compact of materialism over spirituality for the Muslim and passionate political engagement for the leftist. And they are entirely willing to exploit it, but they have no interest in honoring it.

When we treat savages as civilized, we let ourselves be vulnerable by pretending that people who do not share our code, are nevertheless entitled to its privileges. But civilization can only be a reciprocal code, or it risks being overrun by the barbarians at the gate. Because civilization only has value if membership has its privileges. If one can be a savage and still benefit from being treated according to civilized codes-- then civilization becomes a mug's game. Such a conception of civilization cannot and will not last.

Imagine if taxes were done on the honor system. Or if stores were equally willing to extend credit to thieves as to valued customers. Very soon, honesty and decency would become endangered traits. Instead those who ripped off the system would thrive, while those with integrity would suffer. And that is exactly the consequence of extending the benefit of civilized codes to savages. Civilization itself becomes a devalued and worthless commodity.

A savage can be reformed only by providing him with the incentive to be civilized. That requires a two tiered system. One for those who follow civilized codes. And one for those who do not. The former are protected by mutual agreements. The latter have no protection whatsoever. They are treated as they treat others. They have no rights, but those which they are willing to permit to others. If they are willing to live and let live, so much the better. If they are not, then so much the worse for them. Let them not hide behind words or excuses, because only civilized people may be judged by their words-- savages can only be judged by their deeds.

What is the savage then? He is not a savage because he is illiterate or uneducated. He may have the finest education that civilization has to offer. The savage may be wealthy or poor, but in the civilized world he is more likely to be wealthy. He may be of any race and skin color. These things do not matter. Only this does.

The savage seeks power to rule over others. He lives by no true laws, instead laws for him are means of achieving his goals. His word is worthless, as there is nothing he will not betray for his greater aims. He may believe in all sorts of things, but there is one thing he does not believe in, that others have the same rights that he does. Therefore he cannot be a citizen of any civilized nation. Alone he is a wolf seeking prey. When he finds a pack, then he sets to sniffing around the walls of the city, he looks for a way to bring down the city and all within it.

Mohammed, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Karl Marx, Benito Mussolini, Hassan al Banna Bill Ayers, Charles Manson, Eldridge Cleaver, Yasser Arafat, Idi Amin, Lori Berenson, Abu Hamza and so many others-- all savages. And when the savage stands in the light of civilization, his only impulse is to burn it all down. The savage has cracked the code of civilization and to allow him to exploit it, is to let the civilized world burn.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Excellent post!

Keli Ata said...

I agree. This is a great article!

Paul said...

Why isn't the so called "right" available for the same denouncements here as the left as savages?

Adolph Hitler makes the Sultan's list of savages masquerading as civilized, but Adolph Hitler was a rabid anti-communist, an authentic card carrying member of the right. His only concession to socialism was in the name of his party itself, the National Socialist Worker's Party, which was a completely bogus posture. The Nazis didn't care anything about socialism their only ideological postures for socialism regarded banking and money lending and were the worse kind of quackery. They defined their socialism primarily as being not communism. They never seized personal property that was not Jewish, for example. Their basic economic theory was that all economic problems in Germany and the world, were the consequence of Jewish influence.

Recall that the Nazis said that communism and democracy were both conspiracies by Jews used to weaken and enslave their host countries. In international relations, their most compelling and often used defense of their regime was their war against communism. They argued that they were the only solution to commmunism advancing from the East. Many people continue to believe this to this very day and many holocaust deniers also embrace that whatever happened in the holocaust, what happened under communism was still worse. For these people the difference between mass murder and famine or labor camps is a subtle one and so is the fact that most of the victims of the Soviet Union were themselves communists.

It is also unfair to cite Islam as being naturally corrupting towards any person or country that is not itself Muslim without citing Christianity as suffering from the same problem, especially the older Catholic belief system and the countries it occupies. The Nazis, for example, were mostly Catholic. The Nazi party was born in a Catholic part of Germany, Bavaria and Hitler himself was a devout Catholic from a Catholic country, Austria. He was never German.

But of course the crimes of the Catholic church didn't start with Nazi Germany, but in fact follow its entire history back to its spiritual roots in the Roman Empire. A good part of the struggles for civilization in Europe has been against the Catholic Church and it is a struggle that continues to this very day and hour. In many ways the Catholic Church and Islam are united in undermining civilization among those of European descent and its struggles for civilization.

There is such a thing as human interest above and beyond civilization. Civilization historically is an expensive kind of association and depends rather heavily on the leisure to act remotely from issues of survival. But human survival still depends on more basic relations between people who recognize themselves as groups with old relations and functions that contribute to survival. And so culture is born. But culture can go bad or suffer from corrupting influences. But as long as there is such thing as common experience among a people, these hazards can be anticipated and confronted. And so culture evolves, its beliefs are tempered by experience and old bad beliefs can easily be handed over to knewer and better beliefs. But only as long people in a culture are free to do so. Take those freedoms away and you will find savages every time.

Tracy W said...

I agree it's a great column. And since it's focused mostly on the contrast between our free societies and Muslim fanaticism, I couldn't agree more.

But there are other villains that deserve to be mentioned here too.

With the Gulf of Mexico disaster in mind, I was thinking of sectors of society that appear to observe the civilization code, have excellent manners, obey most laws, and do not want to bring down the system - because the system serves him beautifully.

I'm thinking of corporations, banks and politicians, to name just a few, and the whole network that feeds from them.

Those people have to be closely watched and regulated because of the incredible damage they can perpetrate on society and on the whole planet.

They ignore the code of civilization with their desire to extract as much power and profit from the system as they can.

As you write: "The savage may be wealthy or poor, but in the civilized world he is more likely to be wealthy. He may be of any race and skin color."

The nice gentlemen who manage and profit from BP, the banks, Big Pharma, and Monsanto could be - aside from the wreakage they cause - be considered excellent citizens and neighbors. Civilized neighbors. Peaceful and trustworthy.

But I'm aghast at big corporations - in cahoots with governments - are creating havoc in our lives and our environment. Corruption and greed rule the day.

Just like jihaddists, the results of their actions are evil and destructive. They can bring down civilizations too, one environmental disaster, one economic meltdown at the time.

You write:

"Imagine if taxes were done on the honor system. Or if stores were equally willing to extend credit to thieves as to valued customers. Very soon, honesty and decency would become endangered traits. Instead those who ripped off the system would thrive, while those with integrity would suffer."

BUT WE DO! We allow banks and oil companies and many other Fat Cats to practically police themselves. Taxes are not done on the honor system but the system greatly benefits the rich.

Tax offices in the US and Canada are understaffed because governments don't really want to go after Fat Cats cheating on their taxes. They are good friends.

The code words here are corruption, collusion and self interest.

A recent column by Caroline Glick (The High Price of Coalition Stability) addressed the issue of PAST CORRUPTION IN THE ISRAELI GOVERNMENT (Arik Sharon, Ehud Barak) - which illustrates how nice civilized gentlemen can cause greater tragedy and destruction to their own people than any Jihaddist could.

http://www.carolineglick.com/e/2010/06/the-high-price-of-coalition-st.php#comments

If I've gone way off topic, Daniel, I'm sorry. I'm just devastated at what "nice people" are doing to my world, to Israel, and to the whole planet.

Hidden Author said...

What you said about the Left and the Islamists not deserving the benefits of civilization makes sense.

But what the Founding Fathers said about people having freedom of speech and freedom (regardless of ideology) until convicted of an actual crime makes sense as well.

How do you reconcile this contradiction?

Anonymous said...

Oh give me a break! Do you honestly believe that there is nothing for which a "civilized" person will not lie, cheat, steal or kill? Is there really no higher cause for which you would not do so? If there is not, you do not live a life worth living, nor do you love your wife, your parents, your friends or your children.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Tracy,

we're in the age of the post-american corporation that does business in the united states, but has no more allegiance to the country than it does to india or china

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Paul,

mainly because it's less of a factor at the present, of the list, Al Banna and Hamza would arguably be right wing, though non-european

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Hidden Author,

that was a debate in their time as well, particularly when dealing with foreigners, see the Alien and Sedition Acts

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Anonymous,

you're confusing anything and everything

peter said...

Buddha bless you my friend. I don't know how you do it day after day. It boggles my mind. One post more insightful and compelling than the next. Not just the subject matter but,the writing prowess. I certainly hope that there are books in the works.

Awesome, yet depressing post. One of the cornerstones of Buddhist belief is that the only "true kindness" is that which we express when dealing with the unkind. Dealing with gentile, kind people with kindness is a meeting of the "mutual admiration society."

That having been said, reality dictates that if part of the "universal body" is cancerous (self destructive), it must be removed without anger, without hatred. It must be removed dispassionately. It must be removed if the rest of the universal body is to survive. Different ingredients go into the fondue/melting pot of life - TRUE. But they must all be edible ingredients.

Muslims seen to be the arsenic in our universal fondue.

Tracy W said...

Dear Daniel:

Re your reply - The post-american corporation

Those corporations are part of our financial and social web. We don't require patriotism from them but compliance with our laws.

The worst offenders are those we expect the most from: our representative governments, who unashamedly break the contract between government and citizens.

Take the surrender of Israel's sovereignty, for example.

Ynet reports that the EU will be training Arab commandos in East Jerusalem.

UK Saladin Security - a "controversial" security firm that employs the veterans of elite British units - will provide instruction to 80 Palestinian security guards to be deployed in eastern Jerusalem.

"A senior European intelligence official expressed his SURPRISE at Israel's willingness to allow Saladin to operate in Israeli territory."

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3912121,00.html

Surprise? Not here!

Soraya said...

Sir, you made a huge mistake. There is no creature like a Muslim.

Mohammed (descended from Ishmael who was blessed, Mohammed was that blessing fulfilled) as anti-civilisation is not true, or you did not study history very well. Islam has built the world and civilisation owes everything to Islam. Reason being Al Quran, God willed his glory to shine through us:

(Al-Baqarah 2:143) “Thus We (God) have made you a just nation, that (with the example of your lives) you be witnesses before all mankind.”

(Al ‘Imraan 3:110) “You are the best of people ever raised up for mankind; .”

The Prophet Mohammed foretold as much in the Hadith, (our oral law) below and the Quranic verses in Surah Al Baqara and Al Imraan above, is God telling us that he would speak to humanity through us so that the world may know God exists.

Volume 9, Book 87, Number 127: Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said,

The Keys to the treasures of the world were given to me. And after me my people (Ummah) will carry those treasures from place to place.

The Prophet Mohammed is the single most influential person in history. The greatest king, warrior, leader, statesman, Prophet, Abraham looks down and smiles at his greatest son's acheivements for the world.

For your info, see the sites below which are used in the educational curriculums of schools and universities the world over. They prove the prophecies above, which were rather lofty at the time, a desert tribe ruler could not have known without divine guidance that we would be above all creation. The 1001 inventions (endorsed by the worlds top universities) has exhibitions on, worldwide. Why don’t you go to one, and learn what we gave humanity. They do exhibit in New York too,


The 100, A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons In
History,' New York, 1978.
www.amazon.co.uk/One-Hundred-Ranking-Influential-Persons/dp/0806513500

It is this unparalleled combination of secular and religious influence which I feel entitles Muhammad to be considered the most influential single figure in human history. In fact, as the driving force behind the Arab conquests, he may well rank as the most influential political leader of all time.

1001 Inventions
http://www.1001inventions.com

Inspired By Muhammad
http://www.inspiredbymuhammad.com/


Islamic Science and the Making of the European Renaissance

http://www.amazon.com/Islamic-Science-European-Renaissance-Transformations/dp/0262195577

R. Briffault: The Making of Humanity.

"The Miracle of Arabic science, using the word miracle as a symbol of our inability to explain achievements which were almost incredible... unparalleled in the history of the world. There is not a single aspect of European growth in which the decisive
influence of Islamic civilization is not traceable. "

The French philosopher Gustave le Bon stated in his book The Civilization of
the Arabs:

“ The Islamic civilization was one of the most amazing that history has ever known. “.


How Islamic inventors changed the world
http://news.independent.co.uk/world/science_technology/article350594.ece

From coffee to cheques and the three-course meal, the Muslim world has given us many innovations that we take for granted in daily life. As a new
exhibition opens, Paul Vallely nominates 20 of the most influential- and identifies the men of genius behind them
Published: 11 March 2006

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Tracy,

power without allegiance is always going to be destructive to a country

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Soraya,

There is indeed no creature like a Muslim, mainly because creatures don't kill without a reason, or murder their own children for "honor"

your religion was badly plagiarized from Jews and Christians, whose religious figures you have claimed as your own

but you mention coffee, yet you unaccountably forget Hashish, among the many drugs that Muslims adopted because your prophet forbade wine (yet didn't forbid himself 6 year olds)

speaking of Muslim science, perhaps you should emulate El-Benjamino Franklino and go fly a kite... oh I forget, that's also forbidden under Islam

2sloe said...

DG, thank you for another great article.
Evil uses other peoples' good intentions, for their own purposes.
It's a very painful thing that happens Before You Know It.

Anonymous said...

Paul --
Hitler was Left. Not Right. National Socialist. He was only anti-communist when he decided to attack Stalin. Compare the pre-war posters of Nazism and Communism. There are identical.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Hitler was more right than left, but in practice the Nazis were a grab bag of material from the right and the left

they promised the workers socialism, the factory owners capitalism, they promised everyone victory over the allies

the Nazis and the Communists had a good deal in common, because both were authoritarian ideologies based around the state with leader worship components

Anonymous said...

Daniel...

Of course when you get "old" you suffer from CRS - although in my case, it's advanced to CRAFT....

I had a Portugeuse documentary around here on Stalin's "Ukranian Harvest" in the 30's. What was remarkable about it, aside from the horror and the USA's total abandonment of that population; was the evolution of NAZI and Communist posters from that time. They paralleled one another in ideology. Different sentiments but the same images. It was striking.

jael
Yes, they were a mix match of left and right to start with, but weren'
t they more leftist elitist? That's the impression I've always been left with.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

the primary appeal of the Nazis was to the right, but they extended that by stealing the left's thunder by offering their version of socialism

at the same time in Stalin's Russia was taking on some coloration from the right, reviving russian nationalism and the church, for example

Anonymous said...

Soraya - Mohammed is the devil.

Shlomo said...

My apologies for posting a comment so far after the original, but I have first read it.

As usual an excellent article that makes a lot of sense. There is, however, one point which has bothered me for some time, and on which your article is not clear.

I am in agreement with the positions of the Muslims and the left, and your ideas as to how they should be treated. However, as an observant Jew, to use such violence against our enemies, would seem to violate my beliefs as a Jew, even though I feel strongly that they should be attacked with full force and even wiped out if necessary. But I still am not sure how to reconcile this feeling (and even more action) with my Jewish belief.

In WWII there was no reserve about bombing German cities, even though some innocent Germans might be killed - and there were certainly some that we know about. ????

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

If we value life, then we must do whatever we can to defend it. This stands opposed to "the mercy of fools" which prioritizes the lives of killers over their targets.

An enemy leader who goes to war with the consent of his population and targets civilians, his civilians are valid targets.

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