The Official Blog Of Edward Cline

Month: January 2014

Censorship by “Example”

Dinesh
D’Souza, the prominent conservative writer, has been arrested and indicted on
trumped-up Federal Election Law charges.
Why?
Just
as Leona Helmsley was charged and tried for tax evasion, and Wall Street
maverick Michael Milken was charged and indicted for “racketeering,” political
enemies can be quashed by fiat law. They were back-stabbed by the envious and
the disgruntled. D’Souza has been targeted for punishment for having criticized
the Obama administration in the least flattering terms. Just as opponents of
Hitler’s régime were crushed, not principally by Nazi-legislated laws, but by laws
passed during the Weimar Republic, President Barack Obama is resorting to laws
passed long before anyone had ever heard of him. The one this time is the Bipartisan
Campaign Reform Act of 2002
, which amended the 1971Federal Campaign Act.
It’s
all perfectly “legal,” you see. Obama has simply put on the brass-weighted
gloves that Congress had already prepared for him.
D’Souza
was often in the limelight, having written controversial books critical of Obama’s
policies, and having made one relatively successful political film (“2016:
Obama’s America
“) and will debut another next July
To
qualify for having a brass glove knock one’s jaw to the back of one’s cranium,
to invite the wrath of such Nazi or Stalinist persecution, one must be a
“name,” a celebrity, in the public eye, a non-submissive personality
who eschews political correctness and has never exhibited signs of unreserved
esteem for an establishment more and more governed by the fiat laws that
emanate daily from Washington D.C. In this instance, D’Souza allegedly flouted
federal campaign finance laws. He contributed to the war chest of a local
candidate whom he happened to have known during her campaign.
I
am not a fan of D’Souza, first, because he is of the Christian right, and also
because he claims that Islam, a totalitarian ideology, can be “tamed”
in the name of religious tolerance, when it is inherently the most intolerant
creed in existence. However, my differences with D’Souza are not the subject
here. I have no power and no desire to silence him.
The
federal government has both.
The
Washington
Post
reported on January 24th:
Conservative activist Dinesh
D’Souza has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of violating
campaign finance laws in contributions to a Senate candidate.
D’Souza was charged with making
$20,000 in illegal campaign contributions to an unnamed candidate, which
carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison.
In 2012, D’Souza reimbursed
people who he had told to contribute amounts totaling $20,000 to a candidate’s
campaign, according to the indictment. The candidate was not named in the
indictment.
In 2012, D’Souza supported Wendy
Long, New York’s Republican candidate for the Senate. Democrat Kirsten
Gillibrand won re-election. New York elections records show D’Souza donated to
Long’s campaign in 2012.
D’Souza is also charged with
causing false statements to be made to the FEC, which carries a maximum
sentence of five years in prison. Federal law during the time his contributions
were made allowed individual campaign contributions up to a total of $5,000.
You
know this is a trumped-up charge because so many politicians are guilty of the
same offenses, including Obama, whose own campaign finances, which deserve
scrutiny especially in light of suspected massive illegal foreign contributions
to both his presidential campaigns, yet escape the noose for political reasons because
they are not considered serious enemies (most Republicans) or because they are
“friends” of the White House and of the Left.
 Jihad Watch’s Robert Spencer in his January 27th
FrontPage column, “The
D’Souza Arrest: Obama Adopts the Stalinist Style
,” wrote that while he
and D’Souza “locked horns” over, among other things, the latter’s
charge of “Islamophobia” against Spencer, D’Souza’s indictment
represents a new level of political persecution of the Left’s opponents.
Arresting prominent members of
the opposition is the kind of behavior we have seen from the likes of Joseph
Stalin and Adolf Hitler; it is a hallmark of authoritarianism, not (until now)
of politics in the United States. Of course, Stalin and Hitler didn’t stop with
arresting their foes; they had them murdered as well, usually after a show
trial. Obama is not doing that, but is even one step down this road one that Americans
want to take?
Perhaps
Spencer has forgotten the fate of Nakoula
Basseley Nakoula
, the Coptic filmmaker whose YouTube video
trailer
of “The Innocence of Muslims,” was blamed for the September
11th, 2012 attacks in Benghazi in which four Americans were killed. He
remains in jail, without bail. Even the jihadists who participated in that
attack deny that the film had anything to do with the assult. If that isn’t incarceration
for political reasons, I don’t know what is.  
Helmsley’s
offense was that nobody liked her, and that she was billing her husband’s real
estate company for personal expenses. Well, that’s the byzantine, thousand-page
tax law at work. Before enactment of the 16th Amendment, I’m sure
countless individuals, likeable or not, conducted their business the same way
and it was no one’s business but their own. The government couldn’t hold their
feet to the fire over it.
Michael
Milken’s offense was that he was a successful pioneer of a new field of finance
which ran afoul of federal “racketeering” law and the ambitions of
Rudolph Giuliani, U.S. Attorney for the Soutehrn District of New York, to make
a name for himself. Craig Roberts, writing for Business
Week
in 1995, noted:
Milken was a victim of his
success. His financing strategy, which focused on future performance rather
than past results, enabled upstart companies and those with weak credit
histories to go through reorganizations that made them major players. Although
Milken himself did not organize hostile takeovers, junk bonds made them
possible, thus exposing the underperforming corporate Establishment to pink
slips. Corporate fear and hatred, together with Wall Street’s envy of the
tremendous profitability of Drexel Burnham Lambert’s high-yield bond division,
created a lynch mob.
Paul
Craig Roberts, writing on Lewis
Rockwell
about Milken and Giuliani in 2008, quotes Giuliani boasting of his
method:
Giuliani once bragged that by
giving negative treatment to his targets, “the media does the job for
me.” Giuliani certainly had no difficulty manipulating Wall Street Journal
reporters James B. Stewart, Daniel Hertzberg and Laurie Cohen or The
Predators’ Ball
author Connie Bruck. Milken, who had done nothing except
make a lot of money by proving Wall Street wrong about non-investment grade
bonds, was branded the “Cosa Nostra of the securities world.”
Milken’s attorneys concluded that Giuliani, lacking
any case, was far out on a limb and desperate for a face-saving plea. They
worked out a plea to six minor technical offenses that had never carried any
prison time. But Giuliani was determined to have his victim, and Milken was
double-crossed by sentencing judge, Kimba “Bimbo” Wood, and spent two
years of his life in prison.
I
have yet to hear any outraged leftist call for Obama being charged under those
same racketeering laws for all his failed green energy and solar programs,
generously funded by the federal government.
D’Souza’s
offense is that he violated more fiat law, and because he has rubbed Obama the
wrong way too many times with his best-selling books and in film. A
hypothetical Pew Poll comparing Obama’s plunging popularity numbers to D’Souza’s
steady ones would leave Obama eating D’Souza’s dust. He is being made an
“example” of. Obama is saying: “Here is what is going to happen
to you if you incur my anger and contribute in any way to my plummeting
popularity. You are going to pay.”  
D’Souza’s
bail at $500,000 is considerably higher than that set for definable criminals. The
Blaz
e listed a number of violent crimes whose perpetrators’ bail was set
far less than that of non-violent criminal Dinesh D’Souza. These include rape,
robbery, combinations of rape and robbery, and attempted murder.
And
what were D’Souza’s offenses? Of violating the wholly arbitrary contribution amounts
allowed to an individual by the campaign finance law to state, district, and
local party committees during a federal election cycle, which is now $10,000. D’Souza
exceeded that amount, and further, donated more via “straw donors” to
the campaign of Wendy Long, who was running for Hillary Clinton’s vacated New
York U.S. Senate seat (she lost to a Marxist). Why just $10,000? Why just
$5,000? Why not $10, or $10 million? Why not just a nickel or twenty grand? These
are the consequences of Congressional numerology tables and crystal ball
reading. They are policed
by the Federal
Election Commission
.  The numbers
have no basis in reality.
D’Souza’s
indictment is probably good news for Obama’s political pal, Bill Ayers, who was
scheduled to debate D’Souza at Dartmouth College this Thursday, January 30, on
the subject, “What’s so Great About America?” The event, writes
Meghan Pierce of the Union
Leader
:
Before his arrest, conservative
political commentator and author Dinesh D’Souza was scheduled to debate 60s-era
antiwar activist Bill Ayers at Dartmouth College on Thursday.

The event headlined “What’s So Great About America?” is being
promoted as “the ultimate fight between left and right.”
…”We’re actually unsure
about that at this moment,” said Stuart A. Allan, president of The
Dartmouth Review.
Allan said his office has reached
out to D’Souza to find out if his schedule has changed because of his arrest,
but has not yet heard back from him.
Personally,
I would not deign to debate an aging Marxist like Ayers, or a Marxist of any
age. While Bill Clinton has earned the sobriquet “Slick Willy,” Ayers
can be dubbed “Slick Billy.”  He
is too adept at weaseling his way out of tight argumentative corners.  But Ayers, who planted bombs in order to kill
people, must be breathing a sigh of relief that he might not be debating a guy
who planted ideational bombs that can kill no one.
America
is joining that roster of rogue régimes that persecute, incarcerate, and make
an “example” of anyone dissenting against a government’s oppressive policies.
These “examples” are meant to frighten average Americans into
mechanical obedience, submission and deference to arbitrary authority. The message
of these “examples” is: Say or write anything nasty but true about anyone
wielding fiat power, and you will probably be frog-walked in cuffs to jail and
to penury. Is it worth the trouble for the sake of uttering the truth?

“Studied” Censorship

Stealth
treason by usurping the Constitution. Stealth surrender to Iran. Stealth
indoctrination of children in schools. Stealth fascism. Stealth amnesty. Stealth
wealth distribution. Stealth health care.
Stealth
censorship. It’s all of a piece in the name of domestic tranquility. Its feasibility
must be “studied.” The nation must be made “safe” from
provocative words.  If that means
shutting up anyone who offends with his words, and preventing projected or
hypothetical or imaginary violence, so be it.
It
won’t be called “censorship.” It will be called the enforcement of
“responsible speech.” “Irresponsible” speech must be
codified into the criminal law and punished.
It
is uncommon knowledge – I say uncommon
because not everyone is anchored to reality – that when the government begins
to “study” a problem, it usually leads to legislation to control or
eradicate the problem. The government studied the meat-packing industry, and
wound up regulating it. The government studied farm prices, and decided they
needed to be “stabilized” with subsidies. The government studied
cars, and wound up regulating them. The government studied smoking, and wound
up regulating it. The government studied nutrition, and wound up regulating it.
The government has studied climate change, and wishes it could regulate it. The
government studied birds, bees, trees, and rocks, and wound up regulating or at
least protecting them.
I
can’t think of a thing or human action the government hasn’t studied and not
wound up regulating, protecting, or even prohibiting it.
The
problem of “hate speech” has been something the government has been
“studying” for a long time. Now thirteen Democrats are proposing that
it be “studied” even more, and have introduced a bill in the House
that would lead to the creation of a special committee charged with coming up
with the right solution. An a priori, or a foregone, politically
correct conclusion. One can’t decide if it’s part and parcel of a conspiracy,
or just the natural progress of statism with blinkered politicians at the wheel
steering us on a course over the cliff of no return.
The
modus operandi of American style
fascism is not to goose-step its way into your life in time with an umpapa band,
but to quietly sneak up on you in a pair of Nike Forging Iron basketball shoes
and, in this instance, slip a gag over your mouth. The irony is that you paid
for those shoes. The thirteen politicians are not the mouthpieces or poodles of
an Argentine junta you didn’t elect. And if you resist, you won’t be secreted
away in an Argentinean made Ford Falcon. You will be tossed ever so gently into
a General Motors-made SWAT-mobile. Or, if that’s a scenario that our Platonic
guardians want to avoid lest it scare Americans into open revolt, you’ll simply
be run ragged in court or sued until you cry uncle or poverty.
On
January 16th, Pete Kasperowicz reported on The Hill in his article,
13
House Democrats offer bill demanding government study on Internet hate speech
“:
Thirteen House Democrats have
proposed legislation that would require the government to study hate speech on
the Internet, mobile phones and television and radio.
The bill, sponsored by Rep.
Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) and 12 other House Democrats, would look at how those media
are used to “advocate and encourage violent acts and the commission of
crimes of hate.”
“Hate
speech,” of course, is any speech that any politician, advocacy group, or
speech-sensitive group or tribe deems it to be. It could be a scholarly book or
paper on Islam, or colloquial mockery of gays or bearded ladies, or chitchat about
Barack Obama’s lousy golf scores, or even images transmitted to or sent from one’s
mobile phone from an article published somewhere on the Internet.
Jeffries says the NTIA needs to
see how hate speech is transmitted over the various new modes of communication
that have sprung up over the last two decades.

“The Internet is a wonderful vehicle for innovation, creativity and
entrepreneurship,” he said. “But it can also be used as a platform to
promote hate and target vulnerable individuals.

“This legislation will mandate a comprehensive analysis of criminal and
hateful activity on the Internet that occurs outside of the zone of the First
Amendment protection.”
His legislation requires the NTIA
to update its report to examine how the Internet and mobile phones can be used
to encourage and commit hate crimes based on race, gender, religion and sexual
orientation.
What
are “vulnerable individuals”? They are any group of people, as Moonbattery reports, that qualifies
as a “protected” group, or a politically favored one, like bald eagles
or snail darters or Joshua trees. Or Muslims. The Internet is a wonderful
thing, concedes Jeffries. But it should be controlled so that wildfires of
violence are not lit by speech that targets those groups. “Hate
speech,” after all, can incite “hate crimes,” or even be treated
as a “hate crime” itself. “Hate speech,” you see, has the
same metaphysical properties as real bullets, bricks, and bombs. Words can
wound, injure, or maim, or cause feelings of inadequacy and a theft of
self-esteem. “Irresponsible” speech poses the same danger as arson.
Doubtless,
that “comprehensive analysis” of what is said or shown on the Internet
will cover everything from the Duck Dynasty to lascivious asides on “Two
and a Half Men.”
Representative
Jeffries will help the committee to decide which “hate crimes” are
sparked by which kinds of “hate speech” against the race, gender,
religion and sexual orientations of their collective choice. If the bill
passes, it will be called the Hate
Crime Reporting Act of 2014
. Read it here and weep. Or fight it.
What
is outside the “zone of First Amendment protection”? It used to be simple-to-grasp
concepts like slander and libel. However, the “zone” has grown with
the appetite of The Blob, while the First Amendment has been whittled away to a
pathetic shadow of its once formidable self. Now the “zone” can include
anything the government wishes to be in it, because the immeasurable feelings
of the potentially offended trump individual rights and freedom of speech.
Caveat: The next time you hear a
Congressman propose that a “problem” be studied in order to find a
solution, know that he hasn’t your freedom in mind and that the solution will
likely be a further tightening of the noose around your neck, your wallet, and
your future.

Postscript to “Lawrence of Arabia”

I
neglected to mention in “‘Lawrence of Arabia’: A Reappraisal” French
composer Maurice Jarre’s incomparable score to “Lawrence of Arabia,”
one which is closest to what we would call classical composition. Jarre
composed the scores to many other notable (not necessarily good) films,
including “Dr.Zhivago,” “A Passage to India,” and
“Witness.” He also composed the score to the Islamic version of a
Biblical epic, “Mohammad,
Messenger of God
” (1976), financed by the Saudis and the late Libyan
dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Anthony Quinn also appears in this puff piece as
Mohammad’s “Frank Nitti” enforcer, Hamza. No one plays Mohammad.
There isn’t even a voice-over, because that would’ve been in violation of the
Islamic rule of never portraying the “prophet” in any form
whatsoever. Moustapha Akkad, the
director/producer, also appropriately produced the seemingly endless
“Halloween” horror movies, and another Anthony Quinn vehicle, “Lion of the Desert.”
Not so ironically, Akkad, a “Zionist conspiracy
to take over the world” believer, was killed by a Muslim
suicide-bomber in Jordan in 2005. When he was killed, he was in the process of
producing another Islamic epic, this one about Saladin, to star Sean Connery. About
that project, Akkad said,
“Saladin
exactly portrays Islam. Right now, Islam is portrayed as a terrorist religion.
Because a few terrorists are Muslims, the whole religion has that image. If
there ever was a religious war full of terror, it was the Crusades. But you
can’t blame Christianity because a few adventurers did this. That’s my
message.”
Well, because a relatively few Nazis killed a few
people, should Nazism earn a negative image? Or Communism? Or even
Progressivism? Hollywood was co-opted by Islam decades ago, just as it was
co-opted by the Left decades earlier. It explains why, in one respect, there
have been no films critical of Islam, only a handful excoriating the U.S., or
about terrorists in the form of neo-Nazis or madmen or space aliens or
“right wing” conspirators.
I can picture Connery soft-pedaling the character of
Saladin, who in fact was a brutal Muslim demagogue with a taste for beheadings,
just as he soft-pedaled the character of the Berber brigand Mulai Ahmed er
Raisuli in “The Wind and
the Lion
” (1975).
I think Noël Coward’s 1943 lyrics capture the politically
correct lunacy of our times very nicely: 
When
our victory is ultimately won,
It was
just those nasty Nazis who persuaded them to fight
And
their Beethoven and Bach are really far worse than their bite
Let’s
be meek to them
And
turn the other cheek to them
And try
to bring out their latent sense of fun.
Let’s
give them full air parity
And
treat the rats with charity,
But
don’t let’s be beastly to the Hun.
Coward was a “Naziphobe,” you see. He
ought to have been arrested and dragged into court and charged with blaspheming
Hitler, defaming Nazism, and provoking Nazi violence. He also denigrated
“excessive humanitarians” and their assurances that Islam really is a
“religion of peace.”

“Lawrence of Arabia”: A Reappraisal

When
you move through the years and acquire knowledge of things you liked and the
wisdom to dislike them when they show their true colors, it is time to put some
distance between you and the objects of that youthful admiration.
For
me, at least, this is true of that great 1962 epic, “Lawrence of Arabia.” I
first saw it in my senior year of high school, in 1963. It knocked me flat,
psychologically speaking. I had a free pass to the movie theater in which it
was showing; I must have seen it a dozen times. Today, in retrospect, I cannot
say anything against the direction, cinematography, cast, Robert Bolt’s screenplay,
and grand scale theme of the picture. They all met the criteria of what a movie
should meet when a director intends it to be a defining epic. I did not care
much for director David Lean’s later pictures. Yet, “Lawrence of
Arabia” in no small way influenced my desire to become a novelist.
The
occasion of actor Peter
O’Toole’s death
on December 14th apparently prompted Israeli
writer and TV commentator Reuven Berko to pen a column “The
Final Death of Lawrence of Arabia
.” O’Toole made a spectacular screen
debut playing T.E. Lawrence. It won several Oscars, a Golden Globe, a BAFTA,
and was even nominated for a Saturn Award by the Academy of Science Fiction,
and Horror Films. In his article, Berko does what I had wanted to do for years,
but had other writing commitments to meet: call director David Lean’s bluff.
Berko
begins appropriately enough:
Peter O’Toole, who was marvelous
in “Lawrence of Arabia,” died recently. Many commentators and critics
feel that Lawrence’s story and the movie about him influenced the actions of
many European statesmen, politicians, and members of Western foreign ministries
and security services. However, there is considerable argument as to whether
and what, as a matter of historical fact, T. E. Lawrence contributed to the
British war effort by collaborating with the Bedouin tribes of the Arabian
Peninsula against the Ottoman Turks during the First World War. Not all
historians agree to the truth of the glowing reports of his personality, moral
stature and personal behavior.
Ever
since “Lawrence” debuted in theaters so long ago, it has become political
and cultural policy not to speak ill of either T.E. Lawrence or the Arabs. David
Lean’s stock of knowledge about the Middle East and Islam is, at this point,
unknown, and is hardly the issue. However, it could be said that he pioneered
and popularized the politically correct way of viewing and portraying Islam and
Lawrence himself. Berko writes:
Nevertheless, the enigmatic
figure of Lawrence, an intelligence officer, became a role model for Western
diplomats and statesmen, and he is revered as a master of mediating with the
leaders of the Arab world. He seemed secretive and manipulative, with the rare
ability and knowledge to exploit Arab ideology to achieve victory and foster
the interests of the West, and to build inter-cultural cooperation and
coexistence in a way that was both noble and romantic.
The Arabs with whom Lawrence
collaborated were romanticized and made to appear exotic and other-worldly. The
murder, grudges, blood feuds, treachery, deception, destruction, violence,
theft, robbery and looting, all deeply ingrained in the psyches of the Arab
tribes, were wrapped in romanticism and existentialist concepts explained and
justified as necessary, forced upon the Bedouins by their daily struggle to
subsist in the hard conditions imposed on them by the desert.
That was the foundation for
utterly false and baseless concepts such as “Arab honor” and
“his word is his bond,” from which the image of the noble, almost
feral, desert Bedouin Arab was constructed.
Over
time, ever since first seeing “Lawrence,” I grew to distrust any epic
based on the life of an actual historic person. After all, to make a story
interesting, the writer must put words into such a person’s mouth he never
spoke, and have him take actions he never took. Few are the movies in which the
historic person is accurately depicted in word and deed, and they are, as a
rule, as dull as dishwater. The more I learned about Arabs, Islam, and the
Middle East over the years, the more I questioned the value of “Lawrence,”
not as an esthetic or literary value, but as a vessel of truth.
Many
years ago I owned a facsimile of Lawrence’s opus, The
Seven Pillars of Wisdom
, an autobiographical account of his role in the
Great Arab
Revolt
.” As an adventure story purportedly based on fact, it has few
parallels. But even as I read it then, questions occurred to me about the
overall veracity of the tale. There are virtually no critical statements in the
book about the Arabs or Islam. Berko notes:
Few people have bothered to read
the Muqaddimah, or Introduction, written by Arab historian Ibn
Khaldun in the 14th century, in which he describes the Bedouins as
destructive, lacking any sense of morality or values, and working only to
destroy culture and world order. Even fewer have read Fouad Ajami’s 1998 book, The
Dream Palace of the Arabs: A Generation’s Odyssey
, with its painful
criticism of the pitiful Arab, whose inherent culture left him no shred of
sincerity, creativity or courage. Worse, even fewer members of Arab society
itself have dared to honestly criticize its faults for fear of reprisals.
What
is the nature of that fear? The knowledge of the fact that Islam is a
vindictive ideology, murderously jealous of its myths and fabrications and
falsity.
Peter O’Toole was a great actor,
but the movie “Lawrence of Arabia” was nothing more than a Hollywood
fantasy which, like the imaginary story of Lawrence, swept away many romantics
and for decades had a negative impact on the decisions made by influential
Western officials and statesmen dealing with policy in the Middle East. The
problem is that today as well, Western leaders and policy-makers view and
discuss the problems of the Middle East through the prism of Lawrence of
Arabia, romantic, distorted and nostalgic as it is, seeing only the unilateral
Arab position of every conflict, and adopting paradigms, symbols and historical
deceptions as the gospel truth.
Islam
has a reputation it cannot live down, which is that it is responsible for an
enormous portion of human misery in history. From its very beginnings in the 7th
century up through the Crusades, covering the raids of Moslem raiders for
slaves on Europe as far north as Iceland, its built-in denigration and
persecution of Jews, up to our own sorry times, Islam, and the Arabs, have a
rap sheet engrossed with little else but blood, destruction, and death. However,
as Berko writes:
Lies told repeatedly, as the past
has shown, become historical truths. Actually, Hollywood’s world of dreams and
fantasy did not penetrate the wandering sand dunes of the evil and unjust acts
perpetrated by the Arabs and Bedouins throughout the years of the jahiliyya
(the era of ignorance before Islam) which left their indelible imprint of
murder and theft. Those crimes accompanied the Arabs and Muslims from the rise
of Islam and accompany them to this day. All the evil storms of history visited
upon humanity did not expose to the people of Europe (who today host
well-established enclaves of radical Islam in their midst) even the surface of
the slaughter and injustice carried out by Muslims in the name of Islam,
“the religion of peace,” against Jews and Christians.
About
“Lawrence of Arabia” itself, I have a number of criticisms.
Inaccuracies
abound in the film. For example, the still which illustrates Berko’s IPT
article is taken from the scene when Lawrence is in one of his “emotional”
states, pulled in one direction to lead his army on to Damascus and triumph and
bypass a retreating Turkish column, and in another to attack the column, partly
in vengeance for the gruesomely slaughtered Arab village of Tafas the Turks
have left behind, and partly for his rape by the Turks in Daraa. The column is
massacred, but there is no scene depicting an attached German army unit that
successfully fought off the attacking tribesmen.
Also,
in that scene is briefly shown a Saudi warrior or prince with the green Saudi
banner. However, the Saudis, who at the time were just another tribe vying for
prominence, were not allies of Lawrence, who was fighting for the rival
Hashemites and Hussein, the Sharif and Emir of Mecca. So, that warrior just
didn’t belong there. The Saudis later conquered all of the Arabian peninsula
without Lawrence’s help (but with plenty of British help; by then, Lawrence,
ever flighty, had retired and gone into hiding in the Army and the RAF as a
mechanic under the names of Shaw and Ross), dispossessing Hussein of his
titles. He retired to Amman, in what is now Jordan.
Another
gross inaccuracy was the attack on Aqaba. A daring charge is depicted in the
movie, but in fact the Turks had agreed to a surrender of the town and
Lawrence’s Arab army simply walked in. There are photographs of the
“charge.” I could go on with more inaccuracies and inconsistencies,
but I think I’ve made my point.
I
must agree with Berko; the movie does romanticize the Arabs, and inflates
Lawrence’s role in the Arabs’ fight for “independence.” But this
romanticization of Arabs and Islam is nothing new; writers and artists have
been doing that for nigh on two centuries. See Ibn Warraq’s excellent book, Sir
Walter Scott: The Crusades and Other Fantasies
, for example (discussed in
my column, “The
Fraudulent Frankenstein of Islam
” on Rule of Reason and other blog
sites). Painting the Islamic Arabs in rosy colors doesn’t do justice to them;
they remain “greedy, barbarous, and cruel,” in no small part because
of the nature of Islam itself.
Another
thing wrong with the picture is that it creates the false impression that the
Arabs were all one big happy but occasionally dysfunctional family, exploited
by Turks and British alike, ready to unite against the British colonialists but
often descending into petty squabbling and bickering, some of it comical, some
of it leading to bloodshed. In fact, the various Bedouin tribes at the time
were constantly at each other’s throats, raiding caravans and villages in
interminable turf wars. Some of this is depicted in the film. One of the few
honest lines of dialogue in the picture was spoken by Anthony Quinn as Auda Abu
Tayi:  “Arab? What tribe is
that?”
Historically,
tribal contentions, claims, and warfare can be exemplified by the rivalry
between Hussein bin Ali, putative Sharif and Emir of Mecca, of the Hashemites,
and the tribal Sauds, headed by Wahhabist Ibn Saud (Abdulaziz). Doctrinal
differences in Islam contributed to their contest for power over not only the
Arabian Peninsula, but “Arab” lands as far away as present day Yemen.
The Sauds wanted to rule everything “Arab,” but so did Hussein. T.E.
Lawrence was sent by the British to advise the Hashemites; later, however, the
British sided with the Sauds. In this reversal, British policy was aided by
another one of those “desert-loving English,” Hillary St. John Bridger Philby,
an intelligence officer who originally sided with Hussein, but also persuaded
the British to put their support behind the Sauds. Philby and Lawrence differed
on which band of avaricious cutthroats deserved British support. Lawrence
“went native” only as far as his dress and his sympathies. Philby
converted to Islam. His son, Kim Philby, became a Soviet double agent.
David
Lean’s movie was partly inspired by playwright Terence Rattigan’s stage play,
Ross,” which
in various productions has starred Alec Guinness, John Mills, Ian McKellen, and
Simon Ward in the title role. Being a collector of Rattigan’s works, I still
have a copy of the Hamish Hamilton edition of the play with Guinness on the
front cover that is featured in the linked Wikipedia article. Many of the key
incidents that occur in the film were taken or adapted from Rattigan’s play. Robert
Bolt, the screenwriter, performed a superb job of “blowing up” the
play to help produce an hours-long, sun-soaked cinematic epic. The most
valuable lesson I have profited from in the screenplay was the importance of
dialogue.  
Today,
we really haven’t much to thank T.E. Lawrence for, unless it was his qualified
and debatable contribution to the rise of Arab nationalism and the ossification
and then growth of Islam as an ideological nemesis.

Thomas Edison Has Been Repealed

It is a measure of the corroding
progress of “Progressivism” that the federal government has mandated
that we turn off our minds. That is, it has ordered light bulb manufacturers to
cease making residential incandescent light bulbs (the wattage is irrelevant)
that we have used for over a century, and purchase the new LED bulbs or the pigtail,
mercury-filled bulbs.
The
cartoon light bulb has served for decades as a symbol of an individual having
an idea, of an individual thinking. This is the latest episode of the government
vandalizing our minds.
Has
the government really ordered us not to think, not to have ideas? Yes. We are
no longer allowed to exercise our personal choices concerning light bulbs. Or health
care insurance. Or gun ownership. Or the schools Americans send their children
to, and what they learn in them. Or smoking. Or the foods we eat, or the beverages
we drink. Or the gasoline we can afford or prefer to put in our tanks. And et cetera. The list of government violations
of our rights, of the usurpations of our freedoms, of the steady invasions of
our lives by fiat law, is long and wearisome to read. If compiled – and I’m sure
someone or some organization has undertaken the task – it would be thousands of
pages high – higher than the Affordable
Care Act
– and a big chunk of them, at the bottom of the stack, would be
yellow with age.
We
are no longer permitted to think that we have choices. The government has made
or will make the choices for us. The lights that will turn on in our minds will
be government lights. Doubtless, penalties will soon be imposed on anyone using
an incandescent bulb in his home or office.
It’s
all in the name of “public service,” or the environment, or the
planet, or energy conservation, or “efficiency standards.” This is
the nature of statism. In particular, of fascism.
In
2007, Congress voted to phase out the incandescent light bulb at the behest of
environmentalists and sundry other collectivist groups. The effective date was
set for January 1st, 2014. A feeble attempt was made by some in
Congress to repeal or emasculate the law. It failed. Many Americans noted the
passage of the law, then, in the midst of other crises, their attention was
diverted and it was promptly forgotten.
But
destroying the incandescent bulb wasn’t necessary, said Congress. It isn’t even
true. We still permit you a choice. All the incandescent bulb must do is meet
our energy consumption requirements. Then you’ll be free to manufacture it, and
Americans will be free to purchase it.
Of
course, like all Congressional standards, the bar was set so high it was out of
sight. There was no way any incandescent bulb could meet such criteria. Everyone
knew it. Especially the bulb manufacturers.
Fox
News
was virtually the sole mainstream news outlet that didn’t chortle or
snicker about this latest assumption of power. In its December 31st
news item, it reported:
When the ball drops on New Year’s
Eve, the year ends — and so does the ordinary lightbulb.
Jan. 1. marks the end of a
seven-year effort to outlaw the ordinary lightbulb, thanks to a 2007 law that
raised minimum efficiency standards for traditional incandescent bulbs far
beyond what the technology can manage.
It’s lights out for the
traditional light bulb, in other words, which was essentially killed by that
bill.
Fox
News quoted a staffer at the Heritage Foundation about the wisdom of the ban.
“The federal government is taking
decisions out of the hands of families and businesses, destroying jobs, and
restricting consumer choice in the market. We all have a wide variety of
preferences regarding light bulbs. It is not the role of the federal government
to override those preferences with what it believes is in our best interest,”
wrote Nicholas Loris.
The
Fox News item discusses the “pros” and “cons” of differences
between incandescent and the new LED and pigtail bulbs.  (Yes, they’re commonly called
“twisties,” but there are some nicknames I refuse to help propagate.)
Contrary to some reports, the
2007 law doesn’t mandate that manufacturers discontinue their bulbs, just that
they improve them: 40W bulbs must draw just 10.5W, and 60W bulbs 11W. The
result is the same: Incandescents simply can’t keep up with those twisty
compact fluorescent (CFL) and newer LED bulbs, and even retailers are buying in
bulk as the calendar winds down.
Home Depot has a six-month
stockpile, according to Mark Voykovic, the store’s national light bulb
merchant. “Home Depot anticipates running out of their stock of 40W to 60W
bulbs six months into 2014,” he told Fox News.
Now
that the cat is out of the bag, I would give that stockpile between one and two
months before its gone.
The
New York Times chortled in high gear. In David Pogue’s March 23rd
2013 article, “New
Reasons to Change Light Bulbs
,” it opened with:
People sometimes have trouble
making small sacrifices now that will reward them handsomely later. How often
do we ignore the advice to make a few diet and exercise changes to live a
longer, healthier life? Or to put some money aside to grow into a nest egg?
Intellectually, we get it — but instant gratification is a powerful force.
You don’t have to be one of those
self-defeating rubes. Start buying LED light bulbs….
…LED bulbs are a gigantic
improvement over incandescent bulbs and even the compact
fluorescents
, or CFLs, that the world spent several years telling us to
buy.
Well,
I guess the U.S. must catch up with the rest of the world. Thomas Edison can go
fry an egg. You’re just a gun-toting, rights-quoting, unpatriotic rube who
refuses to sacrifice for the common good if you don’t see the wisdom of buying
LED or CFL bulbs. Most bulb manufacturers agree. What was that lyric from The Producers?
            “Don’t be stupid!
            Be a Smarty!
            Come and join the Nazi Party!”
And,
like most German businesses and industrial giants who supported Hitler, and
after his accession to power in 1933, offered him the leashes with which to
fashion around their necks, ours all heeled on order from Washington D.C.
The
rest of the world means the European Union. I haven’t read any news stories about
how the African and South American continents are struggling with light bulbs. A
more recent New York Times article of November 1st, “This
Little LED of Mine
,” by Diane Cardwell reminded us:
European regulators have also
been pushing consumers to switch to more efficient bulbs. Last year, the
European Union completed its phaseout of 40-watt bulbs, the last common
incandescent model still available.
And
federal regulators here seem to be in cahoots with the manufacturers.
For several years, manufacturers
have been making LED lights that increasingly mimic incandescents, while steadily
bringing down their prices. Big-box retailers like Wal-Mart are jumping into
the market, offering their own brands of the bulbs, often for $10 or less.
Regulators are getting involved,
too. The Environmental Protection Agency recently finished overhauling lighting
standards for its Energy Star program, making it easier for more LEDs to
qualify for generous discounts. And California, a leader in all things green,
is going even further, with elaborate new requirements to control not just how
much electricity the bulbs use but how the light feels.
Am
I exaggerating or hallucinating when I accuse America manufacturers of
cooperating with a fascist scheme to subject Americans to the will of
Washington? Well, let’s hear it from the horse’s mouth. Fox News also had this
to report:
While consumers might not
appreciate the drop in choices, they should like their plunging energy bills,
said the National Electrical Manufacturers Association – the main trade
association for bulb builders.
“NEMA’s members are in the energy
efficiency business,” Phallan Davis, a spokeswoman for NEMA, told FoxNews.com.
“Electroindustry products are becoming more and more energy efficient and the
systems that often manage their use add to energy and cost savings. NEMA
believes that energy efficiency policies, for the residential, commercial, and
industrial sectors, should be a central component to any national energy
policy,” she said.
And
those “energy efficient” policies will join the nutrition efficiency policies,
and the health efficiency policies, and environmental efficiency policies, and
solar efficiency policies, and the banking efficiency policies, and every other
efficiency policy an ambitious policy creator can imagine and shepherd through the
venal, corrupt halls of Congress.
There
are countless Americans who are completely oblivious to the fundamental issues,
such as Katherine Salant, whose November 19th Washington Post
article, “Say
goodbye to the incandescent bulb
,” is a front-seat demonstration of
myopic pragmatism:
Though the LEDs are not exact
equivalents of the 60-watt bulbs they replace, they are close enough that most
consumers will not, in my estimation, experience much of a change (when I tried
several in my own house, my husband didn’t notice a thing).
Based on my home testing, and
rating five LED 60-watt equivalents for both price and performance, the two
that seemed the best bet for most homeowners are CREE’s
“Soft White LED 60 watt Replacement”
 and Philips
“11w – 60w,”
 (available at Home Depot for $12.97 and $14.97
respectively). They are both Energy Star rated, which means that they are both
eligible for rebates when local utilities offer them.
In addition to a pleasing color
of light (they each are 2700 degrees Kelvin, close to the 2800 degrees for an
incandescent 60-watt bulb), both bulbs have excellent “light distribution.” That
is, when switched on, the light shines both up and down, making these suitable
for reading as well as for general use.
There
you have it, from an expert who has a degree in architecture from Harvard. Like
the global warming issue (aka the “climate change” issue), the lumen
“science” is settled. She’s “tested” it. You, too, won’t experience
much of a change. The test, after all, is about near-equivalence. Rights? What rights?
What has politics to do with the issue? Are you with the Tea Party or
something? Go away. I’m not interested in that intellectual stuff.
The
advocates of the new bulbs and their friends in the press keep blithely nattering
away about the alleged energy cost reductions and longevity that would balance
out the prices of the new bulbs, as though that will compensate for being
denied the choice of setting one’s own standards. But are those germane,
legitimate issues? Where in the Constitution is the article that empowers
Congress to regulate candle light, or gaslight, or electric lights? Some facetious
Supreme Court justice might cite the commerce clause or the “public
welfare” clause, as the Court did when it sanctioned ObamaCare, or
socialized medicine and health care.
The
energy consumption comparisons are irrelevant. The brightness differences are
irrelevant. The costs are irrelevant. The issue is not whether or not the new
bulbs are any better or last longer. The issue is the government robbing Americans
of their freedom of choice, with the assistance of America businesses and
manufacturers, who cave at the first sign of government interest in what they
are doing or not doing.
Thomas
Edison did not work under government orders or try to comply with government standards,
nor would he wish to. Today, his freedom of thought has been abolished by the
“efficiency” experts of a vast bureaucracy. And so has ours.

The Fraudulent Frankenstein of Islam

Thesis:
Islam is a Frankenstein-like creature sewn together from the body parts of
other religions, a monster composed of reanimated dead limbs, torso, and head,
bent on murder and conquest to remake the world in its own self-acknowledged
ugly image. Who created it? Not some ambitious woman recording and developing her nightmare
into a Gothic novel, not some evil scientist, and not even Mohammad. Rather, it
is a totalitarian horror patched together by successive generations of
cackling, malevolent mystics and haters of life stretching back twelve
centuries.
Two
books were published over the last year that contribute in no small way to
exposing Islam not only as a pernicious and viral ideology, but as a fraud
perpetrated on countless Muslims and on the West.  They are Norbert G. Pressburg’s What the Modern Martyr Should Know:
Seventy-Two Grapes and Not a Single Virgin
,* originally published in
Germany in 2009 as Goodbye
Mohammed
but revised for a wider market, and Ibn Warraq’s Sir Walter
Scott’s Crusades & Other Fantasies
.** Both books subject Islam to
the intellectual and scholarly equivalent of night vision devices (NVD’s) to
reveal what really lurks in ambush in the dark green jungle of Islam.
The
following comments do not pretend to be comprehensive reviews of the books, but
are intended to serve as recommendations and enticements to read the books.
What the Modern Martyr Should
Know
helps to reveal
the bitter, psychotic flummery in the Koran
and Islam. Pressburg presents a very persuasive argument that the Koran and its companion works, chiefly
the Hadith, were and still are
works-in-progress, put together from disparate sources by Islamic myth-builders
who may as well have worked as skit-writers for Saturday
Night Live
.
I
can pictures it now, a variety show broadcast by Al Jazeera. “Live! From
Mecca! It’s Friday Night Prayers!” (Cue a jiggy muezzin reciting the adhan to a rapper’s rhythm. Cue a rapid,
subliminal montage of stonings, beheadings, hangings, amputations, rapes, honor
killings, genital mutilations, suicide bombs, Bush holding King Abdullah’s
hand, Obama bowing to the Saudi king, flash images of Afghani bacha bereesh, mass wiggling arse-lifting
or “Mooning the West” by Muslims at prayer, cast head shots, guest host,
guest bands and musicians, etc.).
Pressburg
addresses such questions as: Did Mecca actually exist? What is the true history
of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem? How impossible was it for Islam to
conquer the Arabian Peninsula and a goodly square mileage of the Middle East,
and also Persia and Egypt, in less than a century? Did Christians and Jews
really thrive under Islamic “tolerance” in Muslim Spain? Do the abrogated,
earlier verses of the Koran play any
role in the propagation and proselytizing of Islam today? In which century did
anyone note the irruption of Islam from Arabia? 
…There is no scientific evidence
about invasions and the capture of Syria, Persia, or Egypt by Muslims during
these time periods. That is because the establishing of the Arabian Empire was
not a result of Islam – the empire had been there already. Only due to its
existence was the exhaustive spread of Islam possible. Hence, the conquests of
the first two hundred years under the green banner of the Prophet are
nonexistent….(p. 146)
And that Arab “empire”
was fundamentally Christian, a functioning political and religious legacy of
the Byzantine era. In short, Islam’s doctrine takes credit for another
historical phenomenon, with which it had little or nothing to do with Islam’s
influence on the course of events in the Mideast and Northern Africa between
the eighth and twelfth centuries.
The birth of Islam and the
creation of its Holy Book did not happen overnight. And Islam certainly didn’t
spread over half of the ancient world within just a few years, [as Islam’s]
religious legends are trying to tell us. The history of Islam is long and
twisted. It originated from the Arabic Christendom, [which] split off from
Judaism, and Islam split off from Christendom. Signs of the coming separation
were visible during the sixth and seventh centuries. The separation took place
in the eighth and ninth centuries….The creation and establishment of what we
refer to as Islam today was not completed before the twelfth or even the
thirteenth century….(pp. 147-148)
The
Hadith, contends Pressburg – and I’m
sure few other scholars and students of Islam would disagree – was a collection
of invented or tongue-in-cheek anecdotes about Mohammad’s life. Pressburg
quotes some twenty-seven Hadiths to
show just how nonsensical and bizarre the majority of them are. Such as:
IV, 6 Narrated [by] Abu Ayyub
al-Ansari, who said the messenger of God had told him:
“When relieving yourselves,
your faces or backs must not face the Ka’ba, but rather turn west or
east.”
XXXIV, 15 Narrated [by] Abu
Huraira:
“The Prophet said: ‘The evil
eye is reality.’ And he banned getting tattoos.”
XXVI, 7 Narrated [by] Abu Sa’ID
al-Khudri:
The Prophet said to the women:
“Is it not true that the testimony of a woman is only worth half of that
of a man?” They replied: “Yes, oh messenger of God.” – “The
reason for that is your intellectual deficiencies.”
XXXI, 14 Narrated [by] Abdul
Aziz:
Someone asked Anas: “Did the
Prophet say anything about garlic?” “Yes, he said: ‘A person who has
eaten garlic shouldn’t dare to get anywhere near our mosque.'” (pp. 42-48)
Manufacturing
Hadiths, centuries after Mohammad’s
time, apparently became a cottage industry, almost a contest to see who could
come up with the most imaginative and inane pseudo-anecdotal incidents in
Mohammad’s life and the blandest things this intellectually deficient brute
could possibly have said.
Hundreds of thousands of Hadiths were written down at least two
hundred years after the alleged events….During the ninth century, a real Hadith-producing industry evolved.
Hadiths were made to order and for money. People in power had Hadiths produced that would legitimize
their positions. A certain al-Auja admitted to having made up four thousand Hadiths. Despite the fact that he was
executed for this, the problem of forged Hadiths
remained….According to conservative estimates, there are around 1.5 million Hadiths….(p. 48)
It
was interesting to learn that a Koran existed over a century before Mohammad was born in 570 A.D.,
that it was a Syrian Christian liturgical work, and that the Islamic Koran, which was supposedly dictated
whole and “perfect” by an angel to an illiterate brigand in a
semi-comatose state, is largely a work of fiction written by minds as malignant
and corrupt as Charles Manson’s or Hannibal Lector’s. However, its collation,
writes Pressburg, didn’t begin until at least two centuries after Mohammad’s
death in 632 A.D., and even then it had to be continually corrected and
expanded to resolve contradictions and to fill in gaps in doctrine and to
account for historical conflicts and anomalies. The task of creating and
developing the Koran and the life of Mohammad
was much like a movie treatment handed to a succession of Hollywood hack
screenwriters, except that it took centuries, not mere years, to complete the
end product.
The
chief value of Pressburg’s book is that the author performs the important task
of examining the linguistic roots of the Koran’s
language, showing that it was not written in Arabic (or “Qur’anic’ Arabic”),
as Islamic clerics claim, but in a mixture of Aramaic, Greek, and local
dialects, and cadged heavily from contemporary Hebrew and Christian doctrines
and documents. “Allah,” after all, was originally a pagan deity,
Allat, a moon goddess of fertility. Pressburg draws extensively on Christoph
Luxenberg’s The
Syro-Aramaic Reading of the Koran
(2009) to bolster his argument that
in no way could Islamic clerics claim that the Koran was originally written in Arabic, because the language, at
that time, was not sophisticated enough to accommodate what would eventually
become the written Koran we know
today.
Pressburg
also traces the architecture, coins, tablets, and monuments of the period, much
of which, while created in the Arabian period, bear Christian, Byzantine, or
semi-pagan styles, symbols and markings. They have nothing to do with Islam.
Until the Muslim hordes burst out of Arabia on campaigns of conquest, Pressburg
writes that Islam was little known before the tenth century (Mohammad purportedly
died in 632 A.D.). There was virtually no mention of a fanatical religion being
spread by scimitar and spear or of Islam or of a “Prophet” in
contemporary chronicles or in debates or discussions by writers and political
figures until the end of the twelfth century. One would have thought that the
depredations of such an “invincible” nemesis would have given Islam’s
alleged contemporaries and enemies grave pause for thought. Islam’s aggressions
and atrocities ought to have been “headline news” in the previous
centuries. Why weren’t they? Pressburg provides convincing arguments for why
not.
The
downside of What the Modern Martyr Should
Know
, translated from the German, is that apparently no serious attempt was
made to line-edit the text by the author’s middlemen. It contains scores of
typographical, spelling, punctuation, and formatting errors. Publication of the
English language edition ought to have been delayed until they had been
corrected. Pressburg’s book deserved better treatment.
The
“Seventy-Two Grapes” in the subtitle, by the way, refers to the
linguistic confusion over what is promised to Islamic suicide bombers, martyrs,
and other jihadis once they arrive in
Muslim Paradise. Pressburg cites Christoph Luxenberg’s analysis of several abstruse
and ambiguous passages in the Koran,
including the promise of six dozen renewable virgins or houris (“heavenly maidens”) to Allah’s
“warriors”:
In using Qur’anic as well as
non-Qur’an’anic sources, Luxenberg was able…to show that the alleged
“white ones” [houris with
big eyes] in the Paradise-related passages undoubtedly refer to grapes. The
Syro-Aramaic word in, which is
unknown in Arabic, means “crystal-clear, shiny, splendid, jewel-like
appearance” in Aramaic. That means that hur in does not refer to any creature or person – certainly not to
any houris – but rather, refers to shiny, jewel-like grapes. (pp. 16-17)
From
that, Luxenberg’s translation of Sura 44:54, in its original form, “…and
shall wed them [the believers] with houris
that have big eyes,” actually means, “We will provide a comfortable
place for them under the jewel-like grapes.”
One
can’t help but wonder if so many Muslims would be in such a rush to die with
their slain infidels if they knew what their Holy Book actually promised them
in the afterlife. Grapes? That’s it? Paradise isn’t an eternal combination of Studio 54 and a houri-house? Never mind. I’d rather herd
sheep.
Pressburg
performs some of his most vital work in Chapter 5, “Two Hundred Years of
Silence: The Historic Muhammad” (pp. 71-94). For example, about the name Mohammad, or Mohammed: It would have been difficult for the brigand that carries
his name to have been “christened” with it when it wasn’t even a
proper name. Pressburg writes:
With the Marwanids (in 682 A.D.)
came also the muhamad. The term muhamad occurs first on al-Malik’s
coins. According to traditional interpretations, it of course, refers to the
Prophet Muhamad. The facts, however,
tell a different story. As Christoph Luxenberg clearly shows, muhamad certainly does not represent an
individual’s name. In Arabic, as well as in Syro-Aramaic, the latter of which
was the main language at that time, this term denotes a gerund [meaning]
“The One Who Is to Be Praised” or “the Praised One.” Muhamad was a title, not a name. The muhamad-logo is found in many places. It
was created in Persia….
The same applies to the
frequently used expression abd Allah,
which means “God’s servant” and serves as a modifier, not a name. To
the Arabian Christians, the name for God had always been Allah; and [so] this term hasn’t got anything to do with the
Islamic Allah. (pp. 79-80)
Pressburg
turns to one mute authority on which to base his contention and also
Luxenberg’s: the inscriptions on the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, number
three of Islam’s holiest sites.
Ibn
Warraq tackles a different realm of Islamic falsity and myth-making.
Warraq’s
nonpareil and highly readable essays can also be found on the New English Review
site, here.
His
Sir Walter Scott’s Crusades & Other
Fantasies
dwells largely on the fascination Western writers, historians,
and thinkers have had with Islam, a fascination which conflicted with the
realities of Islam and with recorded historical fact. Warraq focuses on four of
Scott’s Waverly novels, The Betrothed,
Count Robert of Paris, Ivanhoe and The Talisman, the latter set during the Third Crusade and which
pits the Christian crusaders against Saladin and the Saracens.
In
Sir Walter Scott’s Crusades, Warraq
also discusses the plight and fate of Jews and Christians under Islamic rule in
different periods of history, the persecution of Jews in Western Europe and by
crusaders enroute to the Mideast, and the recent policy of self-censorship in
the wake of Muslim mayhem and its threat over the representation of Mohammad in
print and in the media, together with the alleged “misrepresentation”
of Islam and Muslims by journalists and the news media, a policy which inhibits
or suppresses any provable and obvious connection between Islam and Islamic
terror
.
Warraq
deftly distinguishes between the brutal and doctrinal reality of Islam and what
its Western defenders imagined it to be, especially in the person of Saladin, a
major character in Scott’s The Talisman,
a sympathetic character who towers over the conflicted and almost uniformly
grungy characters of the crusaders he is fighting. Warraq highlights the fact
that the seeds of today’s political and moral relativism, which allows Western
politicians, intellectuals, and media to ignore the nature and record of Islam,
were planted in 19th century literature, such as Scott’s novels that
dealt with the Crusades.
He
speculates on whether or not Scott knew he was painting a fraudulent,
“romantic” picture of Islam and of Saladin. He cites contemporary
chronicles that reveal the Saracen leader in less than flattering terms, and
not the magnanimous, sagacious, and humane Moslem warrior who pardoned his
captured enemies, but as a cruel, sadistic brute who regularly made a show of slitting
their throats or beheading prisoner crusaders and even ordering the slaughter
of 50,000 defenseless Sudanese soldiers, once his military allies, in Cairo in
1169.
Sir Walter Scott, under the
influence of the Scottish historian William Robertson, who had perpetuated the
Enlightenment myth of the superiority of Islamic civilization, continued the
theme of the vain and avaricious Christian Crusaders in contrast to the chivalrous
and honorable Saracens. (p. 16)
Scott,
writes Warraq, although committed to “religious and racial tolerance, and
his Enlightenment abhorrence of superstition and fanaticism, whether of the
unreflective kind of the masses, or the more dogmatic variety of the religious
bigot,” subscribed to an inverse bias which reflected a weakness for the superstition
of Islamic superiority and a dogmatic penchant for cultural bigotry – in favor
of Islam.
In
The Talisman, Saladin is depicted as
an idealistic individual, uninterested in booty, blood shedding, forcibly
converting infidels to Islam under pain of death, or conquest, but instead as a
colorful, tolerant, and almost selfless character devoted to the allegedly high
“ideals” and ethical standards of Islam. He is imbued with the
virtues heretofore reserved to the European Age of Chivalry. Saladin is
projected as a near compatriot of St. Francis of Assisi. However, writes Warraq
in his chapters on Ivanhoe:
Scott, though often considered a
respectable historian, is quite cavalier with the historical facts in Ivanhoe, or as A.N. Wilson [a British
writer and newspaper columnist] put it, “wildly inaccurate. Scott himself
admits the unhistorical nature of many of the details in a footnote, “…but
neither will I allow that the author of a modern antique romance is obliged to
confine himself to the introduction of those manners only which can be proved
to have absolutely existed in the times he is depicting, so that he restrain
himself to such as are plausible and natural, and contain no obvious
anachronism.” (p. 17)
On
the subject of forced conversions to Islam, which Scott may or not have been
aware of, Warraq quotes from The Talisman
a pair of Saladin’s fictional speeches, written to cast a heroic aura around
the Mohammadan leader:
Saladin makes no converts to the
law of the Prophet, save those on whom is precepts shall work convictions. Open
thine eyes to the light, and the great Soldan, whose liberality is as boundless
as his power, may bestow on these a kingdom; remain blinded if thou wilt, and,
being one whose second ife is doomed to misery, Saladin will yet, for this span
of present time, make these rich and happy. But fear not that thy brows shall
be bound with the turban, save at thine own free choice. (p. 63)
And:
Have I not told these that
Saladin desires no converts saving those whom the holy prophet shall dispose to
submit themselves to his law – violence and bribery are alike alien to his plan
for extending the true faith. (pp. 63-64)
Warraq
then counters this fictional portrait of Saladin with quotations from Saladin’s
own biographer, Bahā al-Din Ibn Shaddad (1145-1234), “who was permanently enrolled
in the service of the Sultan in 1188, and for the rest of Saladin’s life was his
intimate and close confidant….”
[A]…[A] Frank [a Christian crusader]
who had been taken prisoner was brought before him [Saladin]. He ordered his
head to be cut off, which was done in his preence, after the man had been
offered Islam and had rejected it.
[B] [Saladin once ordered his son,
al-Malike al-Zahir, lord of Aleppo to execute a young man that came forward…of
whom it was said that he rejected the Holy Law and declared it invalid. His son
had arrested him because of reports about him that he heard. He informed the
sultan [Saladin] of this, who ordered his execution and his body to be publicly
displayed for some days. This was done.
[C] [After the Battle of Hattin, July
1187, Saladin summons the prisoner Prince Reynald of Châtillon] He said to him,
“Here I am having asked for victory through Muhammad, and God has given me
victory over you.” He offered him Islam but he refused. The sultan then
drew his scimitar and struck him, severing his arm at the shoulder. Those present
finished him off….(pp. 64-65)
Elsewhere
in his book, Warraq discusses the fact that representations of Mohammad are
common in Islamic and Western art, the treatment of Jews by Saladin and the crusaders,
Saladin’s bloody political intrigues (he was Sultan between 1174 and 1193 in
conflict with other Muslim leaders and groups), the perceptions of Jews and Islam
by prominent writers in the 19th century, such as George Eliot, John
Stuart Mill, and Mark Twain, and the rare thinker who saw through the
romanticized view of Islam and Islamic rule for the despotism it actually was, particularly
in the Ottoman Empire.
Warraq
ends his book by moving to our own time to discuss the delusional policy of
treating Islam and its repressive culture as beyond moral judgment, or as actions
to not  risk taking by criticizing Islam
in scholarly works or in satire lest Muslims be “offended” or
“insulted” (“pre-emptive censorship, or self-censorship). Here he
dwells on Barack Obama’s blatantly pro-Islam policies, the South Park “Mohammad in a bear costume” capitulation, and
other craven surrenders to Islamic extortion via riots and street
demonstrations and in the culture at large. He calls for a stand by the West to
reject Islam’s “holy law” about criticizing Islam, and quotes Kenan
Malik
, a board member of the Index on Censorship:.
Once we accept that it is
legitimate to censor that which is ‘unnecessary’ or ‘gratuitous,’ then we have
effectively lost the argument for free speech. (p. 242)
“Unnecessary”
and “gratuitous” as defined by whom? By Islam, and by Islam’s hapless
Western dhimmis in the courts and in
the culture, and by killers otherwise known as Islamic suicide bombers and
other jihadis. Warraq cites Daniel
Pipes’ The Legal Project (I would
also include The Lawfare Project)
as a means to spotlight incursions on freedom of speech,
Warraq
concludes his book on a Gunga Din note,
sounding a warning about the trap Westerners are marching into.
A firm declaration in support of
artists in whatever medium would send a clear message to all Islamic, yes, Islamic,
terrorists, and easily offended Muslims that we are proud of our values, and we
will defend them at all costs, and that we shall not be terrorized….Unless we
show greater solidarity, massive, public, noisy solidarity and show that we
care for our freedoms, we risk losing all to Islamist thuggery. (pp. 243-245)
Speaking
of fiction, one can view Islam in another way, as well. In contrast to The
Protocols of the Elders of Zion
, an antisemitic hoax perpetrated and proselytized
by forgers, the credulous, and the ignorant, the Muslim Brotherhood’s 1991
Explanatory
Memorandum: On the General Strategic Goal in North America
” can be
viewed as an appendix to “The Protocols of the Long-Dead Elders of Islam,”
evidenced, documented, and demonstrated daily by the Islamic jihad against the West, whilst
conforming to the totalitarian nature of Islam, and constitutes a very genuine
and provable conspiracy to conquer the world.
Islam
is a savage, fraudulent monster lumbering and lurching in our midst, destroying everything
it touches. Only the torches and pitchforks of scholarly research and satire
can drive it away and over the cliff into the dustbin of history.
*What the
Modern Martyr Should Know: Seventy-Two Grapes and Not a Single Virgin,
by Norbert
G. Pressburg. 2012. Create Space, 2013.
**Sir Walter Scott’s Crusades & Other
Fantasies
, by Ibn Warraq. Nashville: New English Review Press, 2013.

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