There is not a square acre of habitable land on the face of the earth that has not been inhabited by an earlier human population than the one that lives on it today. When the white man came to “The New World” he was not, as some (Lawrence’s “highbrows”) would have it, invading a pair of continents that had been under the stewardship of a single people, living peacefully and in harmony with nature for thousands of years. He was stepping onto a perpetual battlefield where the inhabitants had arrived in successive waves of occupation, conquered and re-conquered each other, committed repeated savagery upon each other and permanently changed the character of the environment. Human sacrifice, slavery and constant low-intensity warfare were universal across both North and South America before the Europeans arrived. The Europeans who trickled in for the first three hundred years and then poured in in immense numbers in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries came to escape religious persecution, political domination and limited economic prospects in their home countries. They came here and founded the greatest experiment in liberty, prosperity and self-government ever seen on earth. Without their descendants and The United States of America, the national socialist and communist monsters of the twentieth century could not have been defeated and would have dominated the earth. You can, as I do, feel compassion and even nostalgia for the American Indians but you can only lament their replacement as the dominant culture in the Americas if you believe that life on earth would be better had they not been conquered.
Did I say “conquer”? Yes, I know that the word “conquer” is out of fashion these days. It makes most people very uncomfortable because it is redolent of violence, greed, slavery and colonialism. In this post colonial age The West has a very guilty conscience about all of that and its not that we don’t deserve it. Conquest is a messy and spontaneous process and it gets exceedingly ugly at times. Conquest by force is bloody, and even conquest by cultural conversion can look very harsh. The fact remains, to paraphrase D.H. Lawrence, when cultures that are as different as Western Civilization and the American Indians meet, one must prove fatal to the other.
We in The West try very hard to keep from thinking about conquering anything. Some of us are even ashamed that our culture is so successful and powerful that most of the conquest we do these days is of the non-violent, social and cultural kind. There are any number of leftists who speak of western “cultural hegemony” as if it were a bad thing. They bemoan the loss of native cultures and the metastasization of Hollywood product around the globe while ignoring that fact that the reason why it is happening is that our culture is dominant for good reasons- it offers better protection for the less powerful and it provides better economic opportunity than any other. It is fine for leftists and progressives to bemoan the spread of democracy and capitalism but precious few of them would want to live under any of the alternatives. It is, still, a conquer or be conquered world but we are so used to having our own way and becoming dominant wherever in the world we happen to be that we have forgotten how hard the fight for survival can be and how quickly it can turn desperate. We really need to keep reminding ourselves that just because we no longer have the urge to conquer that no one else does.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali arrived in Europe along with the current wave of Immigrants from Islamic countries but she arrived not as an economic refugee trying to find a way to survive but as a refugee of conscience and belief. Most of the refugees from the failed economies of the Islamic world have not come with her open-minded intent to learn western ways.
Ironically, the guilt and loss of confidence in The West has allowed the Islamic immigrants in Europe to begin the process of degrading European culture. By shear weight of numbers and inert recalcitrance they have been insisting that their traditional and legal practices be accepted by their new home countries even when they are counter to existing law. In an attempt to pacify and integrate their new citizens Germany, Belgium, France, Britain and others have been allowing more and more exceptions in their legal and social fabric, exceptions that will make those countries more like the poverty stricken and depressed countries from which the immigrants fled and less like the productive, welcoming democracies they thought they were moving to. Europe, typified by the French, has been arrogant and complacent enough to believe that what they imagine to be the grandeur of their culture would turn all of their Muslim immigrants into Western European citizens. Now their streets and Metros are plagued by chaos and violence.
In Holland, Hirsi Ali found the Dutch (who have been as conscientiously open-minded and egalitarian as any other country in Europe) to be under siege as well. They have suffered two traumatic assassinations. One was the murder of the prominent politician, Pim Fortyun. The other was of the well-known film-maker Theo van Gogh who was the director and producer of “Submission” the film, written by Hirsi Ali. Submission, only ten minutes long, touched on one of the great vulnerabilities of Islam in the modern world- the repression of and discrimination against women.
No more volatile subject exists for Muslims. The subjugation of Muslim women and their possible liberation by continued contact with The West is the one subject, other than the dignity of The Prophet himself that is absolutely guaranteed to roil Caliphate Muslims to unreasoning savagery.
Hirsi Ali, under threat of death herself has since taken refuge in the United States and recently published a wonderful autobiography, Infidel. Reading Infidel, I am vividly reminded of the lesson I learned in that lecture hall almost forty years ago. In the first two chapters of her book it becomes clear that this extraordinary woman grew up in a family that, in the span of two generations was dislocated from its nomadic tribal roots and thrust into the turbulence that occurs when ancient cultures come into contact with the modern world. The clarity with which she describes the drama of the conflicts that arise when t simple culture that is specifically adapted to meet the demands of a narrow band of ecological and social conditions is confronted by radical changes in both the natural and social environment is striking.
Her father’s father was, she tells us, a feared nomadic raider and petty feudal lord. His name was Magan and was known by the title: The Protector of all He Conquered. As ironic as that name may sound to us, it speaks volumes about the world in which her parents grew up. That title is a holographic representation of Caliphate society. It can be used as an entry point into a more complete understanding of the nature of the proto-feudal strain of Islam that has interbred with modern fascist movements and evolved into a monster. His “might” made Magan “right”, for the people he conquered, it was a matter of good luck that he protected them. The title does not even imply that he was just or fair- only that he kept them under his protection kept them from the additional trauma of being conquered by others. Conquering and being conquered is the story of the human race and whether the conquest is violent or cultural, we ignore this at our own risk.
This brings us back to Lawrence’s idea that. “The Indian way of consciousness is different from and fatal to our way of consciousness. Our way of consciousness is different from and fatal to the Indian. The two ways, the two streams are never to be united. They are not even to be reconciled.” If the two ways of consciousness are fatal to the other, then it must be obvious that there is a contest for survival going on whether the contestants wish this to be the case or not.
So, now we are ready to answer the question, posed above, “Has the western conquest of the Americas has made the world a better place? Is it lamentable?”
The left finds a way to lament. They claim to see no difference between the moral authority of the American experiment (even as they are sheltered under its protective mantle) as compared with Caliphatist Islam. Moral imbeciles like Ward Churchill, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn and a host of others promote relativistic absurdities that equate the actions of America and Israel to those of al Qeada and Ahmadinejad and find ways to excuse the violence of those thugs and bullies.. Their arguments are based on that same fulsome emotion, dressed up to look like real discourse.
They do this by establishing certain constructs of “received knowledge” that they try to convince us cannot be challenged. This un challengability is an emotional barrier to free speech and intellectually honest debate. When you ignore the emotional prohibition they are challenged with ease and found to be nothing more than emotional absurdities.
Multiculturalism is chief among these absurdities. Originally conceived as an expression of the bland but laudable liberal impulse to “honor differences” and acknowledge the diversity of cultural influences, multiculturalism has become an overbearing burden to never offend or even “judge” the views and behaviors of other cultures. If rejecting the moral relativism of Multiculturalism seems “insensitive” to us today it is because we have been badgered into buying the premise that all cultures are equally deserving and good. This is absurd.
People like Hirsi Ali, for instance, who have lived in some of these other cultures, know how absurd it is. Hrisi Ali knows first hand the horror of being a woman in Somalia and Saudia Arabia. I have used this quote before but it bears repeating here.
“This is gender inequality: an inequality most obscene, expressed through acts such as mutilation, beatings, rape and murder--and almost all this aggression is justified in the name of culture and creed. Atrocities committed against girls and women in the most intimate setting of all: in the home; by dad or mom; by a brother or a sister; by a husband or his mother. The sort of persecution I talk about is one in which the religious leaders, the politicians, aunts and uncles, fathers and mothers, all share the staunch belief that girls--that women--are born of a lesser god.”So why can’t we stand up as a civilization for women everywhere? Why do the feminists in The West prefer to quibble about salary differentials in the upper echelons of corporate leadership to campaigning to end the rape, torture and murder of Islamic women? Can they really be that morally blind? Is multiculturalism such an important idea that we have to sacrifice our moral souls and another generation of women and children? Why?
Part of it is that we are genuinely touched by the pathos of cultures like those of the American Indian which we have defeated and incorporated into our own. This melancholy reluctance to effect any change in the culture of others is illogical and misguided. It is driven by the guilt that we can’t stand to talk about, acknowledge or even think about. The guilt of knowing that our great standard of living humiliates other people who don’t live as well is the silly, racist core of the multiculturalist urge. We dearly want to be able to tell them that they are not really humiliated so they won’t be angry with us anymore but we know that this is a lie. In doing so we perform the worst act of humiliation of all, we let them off the hook. In not helping to them to see their position truly, we commit a much worse act of racism- we admit that we don’t think they are up to meeting the truth head on.
We have bought into multiculturalism because we no longer have the fortitude, the honesty or the intelligence to look someone in the eye and tell them, “Look, you are humiliated because you do not have the culture or political leaders or the education to be otherwise. You really need to stop making such a big deal about feeling humiliated. Why not try some of these simple steps toward civilization instead:
1. Specifically outlaw honor killing
2. Stop beating your wife and/or kids.
3. Send your kids to a decent school where they won’t waste their time memorizing an entire “holy book” to the exclusion of learning critical thinking skills and studying arithmetic, science and geography.
4. Forget using Israel, Jews and America as the excuse for being a looser.
5. Understand that your leader (fill in one: Ahmadinejad, Assad, Kadafy, Mubarak, Abdullah etc…) is a tyrant of the worst sort and is actually working hard to keep you ignorant and filled with rage, that’s how your feudal system works.
6. For God’s sake stop thinking of anyone who believes (or doesn’t believe in him) in him (God that is) in a different way than you do as less than human. That only makes you feel worse when you see that those “unbelievers” live better than you do.
If you take care of all that, there would be no need for you to feel humiliated anymore.”
David Yeagley, a Comanche Indian is one who poignantly understands the culture clash from the inside. His work is proof that the valiant Indian traditions of his culture can, if victimhood is refused and intellectual honesty is applied, be part of a modern western world view. Yeagley has written at length about the comparison between the Indian and the Palestinian Arab world. His writing offers the Arabs hope for dignity if they will only drop their humiliation speeches and stop pretending that they are better than the rest of the world. They would be much better off if they learned to follow his lead into the twenty-first century. Yeagley writes,
“Arabs weren’t even in Palestine until the mid-7th century AD, over a thousand years later, after Palestine’s 1,300-year Jewish history. Arabs later living in Palestine never developed themselves or the land, but remained nomadic and quasi-primitive during their 1,200-year stay.He also quotes Theodore Roosevelt:
Then a stronger people modern Jews who’d been expelled from their homes in Europe and in Arab countries came in and conquered (without annihilating) the Palestinian Arabs.
As a Comanche Indian, I’m sensitive to this history. I believe the conqueror has a right to what he has conquered. No one owns the land. Only he who is strong enough to possess it will control it and the people living on it. That’s the law of war…,”
“Teddy Roosevelt once said, "Let sentimentalists say what they will, the man who puts the soil to use must of right dispossess the man who does not, or the world will come to a standstill." (W. T. Hagan, Theodore Roosevelt and Six Friends of the Indians, 1997). In the end his final telling comment echoes out theme of culture succession, “The land developers, the agrarians, have become stronger than the hunters.”
When D.H. Lawrence wrote “The common, healthy, vulgar white usually feels a certain native dislike of those drumming aboriginals.” He was expressing, albeit in a dated and innocent way, the view that when you live in a world that has more than one culture, there are often “others” who are “unsuited” for life in that culture. At the border lines between cultures the differences as so much more apparent We can’t admit to that feeling anymore- we are too sophisticated and sensitive, too multicultural. But we have to understand that Western Civilization is (at least for the time being) the dominant culture and we have to turn that coarse dislike and revulsion into a realization that the reasons that we find those people either dislikable or adorable come out of the same basic elitism. If we are to treat them as true equals we need to level with them and tell them that the reason for their humiliation is in their culture and their leadership. We also have to take the prudent steps to protect ourselves.
We do need to protect ourselves. We may be blinded to the danger because we are so sure of our safety and our ability to manage social change. We are so confident that we have created a culture that is immune to relapse into tyranny and intolerance that we have felt free to indulge multiculturalism. This is not the case for the other side however. They are not multicultural. The Caliphate Muslims can see the fatal nature of the confrontation so much more clearly because they are the ones who are threatened most immediately by it. Since the end of World War II the influx of oil money, the amazing revolution in globe-shrinking communication technology and the creation and phenomenal success of Israel right on their door step have combined to expose the Arab world to Western culture in a way threatens every dark secret abuse and humiliation. When communication was primitive and Israel was not turning fetid swamps and arid desert into fertile farmland using Arab labor right next door the Arab "leaders" could deny to themselves and hide from their people how lame and infantile they are. Without the artificially maintained veneer of rage and "humiliation speak" that they have paid so dearly to foster, the Arab leadership would be exposed, alone in the spotlight, as the incompetent, despotic ignorant rabble that they are. The Arab Street we hear so much about is the tool of the Arab leadership. They know only too well that the rage, anti-Semitism, anti-American and humiliation idiocy that the drill into their followers is their only screen against being so exposed.
Meanwhile, under the influence of multiculturalism the Left looks at the Palestinians and, as Lawrence might have said, “…performs the mental trick, and fools themselves and others into believing that the “head scarfed”, Kalashnikov toting darling is nearer to the true ideal gods than we are.” That, of course, is mind numbing nonsense- “fatal to our way of consciousness” as Lawrence had it. But to the left it is irresistible; it is full of guilt, pity and bathos – “fulsome emotion”. If The West will commit suicide – the unwillingness to give up both the ugly side and the maudlin of that racism will surely will be the weapon.
One of the two cultures, Islam or The West, must conquer the other and if the end of the conquest is to be humane, there must be a clear winner. Someone has to admit they have been conquered. At the end of the Indian wars there were many moments of despair, bitterness and regret which still haunt America. Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce tribe gave voice to the Indian defeat in a speech that is both dignified and noble:
"Tell General Howard I know his heart. What he told me before, I have it in my heart. I am tired of fighting. Our chiefs are killed; Looking Glass is dead, Too-hul-hul-sote is dead. The old men are all dead. It is the young men who say yes or no. He who led on the young men is dead. It is cold, and we have no blankets; the little children are freezing to death. My people, some of them, have run away to the hills, and have no blankets, no food. No one knows where they are—perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children, and see how many of them I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead. Hear me, my chiefs! I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever."
It took several generations and much bloodshed to force that speech out of an Indian. It took another one hundred and forty years for an intelligent and realistic spokesman like Yeagley to put into words the brutal truth that will allow him and his people to go forward as full citizens of the new world of which they are now a full part.If we cannot get the Arab world to make that same transition peacefully, we will have to reduce them by force the way we did with Chief Joseph.
We have to ask ourselves how dedicated we are to this struggle, how hard are we willing to fight to insure that our children do not have to live through a (not yet inevitable) slide into a new dark age- for an ascendant world-wide Caliphate would bring on a very dark age indeed. Anyone who doubts that need only see how the Shia and Sunni are savaging each other for dominance in Iraq. How willing are we to fight for freedom and do we have the courage to see what is required of us - and to do it.
If we cannot find a way to free ourslelves from the dogma of the left and drop multiculturalism so that we can fight with our whole minds, media, hearts and intellects we will have to continue to fight with tanks and bombs. Ultimately, we have to find both the intelligence and mental agility for the cultural approach and the will and strength for the forceful one. If we do not start soon then we might as well avoid the apocalyptic rush and start shopping for turbans and bhurkas now.
Update, Friend Eric Odessit posted this article which has a very promising resemblance to what a an Arab equivalent to Cheif Joseph's speech. It is dignified, realistic and forward-looking.