Of Possible Interest: The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise

ZZZ Myth of the Andalusian Paradise

At The Gates of Vienna, I review The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise by Dario Fernandez-Morera.  One of the indispensable resources of advocacy for multiculturalism and diversity is the fairy-story of the Muslim-Spanish utopia, a religiously pluralistic, philosophically open-minded, and creatively rich society that prevailed in the Spanish Peninsula for eight hundred years until the Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella completed the Reconquest at the end of the Fifteenth Century.  Fernandez-Morera has appropriated the scholarly equivalent of the main, sixteen-inch, nine-gun battery of an Iowa-class battleship to demolish this fairy tale.  The demolition is a joy to behold.  I urge all readers of The Orthosphere to buy Fernandez-Morera’s book, and indeed to buy multiple copies to distribute to their friends.

I offer an excerpt:

The basic vocabulary of the Andalusian Myth reflects a mendacious agenda, as Fernández-Morera takes care to point out in his opening chapter, on ‘Conquest and Reconquest.’  In modern accounts of Spain under the Muslims, scholars of the departments invariably refer to a geographical entity called Iberia.  In a detailed summary of the historical background to the centuries of Muslim hegemony, Fernández-Morera reminds his readers that the Romans, who were active in the peninsula from the time of the First Punic War, never named it by any other name than Hispania.  That same Hispania became a province of the Roman Empire, providing it with emperors and artists over the centuries, and playing a role within the imperial structure in the west only second to Italy.  When the imperial administrative structure in the west broke down in the Fourth Century, and the Visigoths inherited the Roman mantle south of the Pyrenees, they too still called the region Hispania.  Spain had thus been Spain to its inhabitants for nearly a thousand years before the Muslim invasion.  After the invasion, Spain remained Spain to its Spanish-Christian inhabitants, as Fernández-Morera demonstrates by bringing into evidence documents from the period in question.  The academic use of the term Iberia conveniently deletes these facts, just as it deletes the spiritual resistance of the actual Spaniards (the Spanish-Roman-Christian-Gothic people of Spain) during the relevant centuries to their militant overlords of another religion.  Fernández-Morera therefore prefers the terms ‘Spain, medieval Spain, and Islamic Spain’ to Iberia.  Indeed, Fernández-Morera characterizes both the Muslim attempt, beginning already in the Eighth Century, to replace standing Latin toponyms with Arabic labels and the modern recursion to that replacement-nomenclature as imperialistic gestures.  He writes that medieval Spaniards ‘considered the lands conquered by Islam to be part of Spain, not part of Islam, and therefore they did not use the term Al-Andalus, the Muslim name for the subdued region.

Mortified by the New Necromancy

If you wish to make a man do something that he does not wish to do, you must proceed in one of three ways. You may threaten to do him harm, you may promise to do him good, or you may persuade him that he is under some sort of “moral obligation” to do what you wish him to do. These might be called the three roads to power, power being “the possibility of imposing one’s will on the behavior of other people” (1). For simplicity’s sake, I will call these the Minatory Road, the Remuneration Road, and the Mortification Road. Continue reading

The Revolution Devours Her Young

I remarked the other day that for all practical purposes Islam cannot any longer attack the West except by attacking liberal institutions; for, the institutions of the West are all liberal.

But the same is of course true for liberals themselves. The only way they can attack the Establishment is by attacking liberals, because the Establishment is pervasively liberal. There are no right wing institutions out there, other than a few think tanks and magazines that don’t have budgets for the sorts of jobs that liberals are fit to do, with the result that few liberals infest their offices.

Who now is the Left attacking, and destroying? The Progressives who run the universities. Schadenfreude ain’t in it.

Gene / Culture Devolution

Culture – memetic variation and selection – is the medium of Lamarckian evolution. Culture is the way that humans pass along acquired characteristics – learned ideas – to their fellows and heirs. And ideas have consequences. Our ideas shape how we live, and thus where, when, and how long we live, how many children we have and how we raise them, or not, how we coordinate our activities, and so forth. The structure of social coordination evolves.

As factors of prosperity and reproductive success, ideas have genetic consequences. And those genetic consequences feed back into the selection of cultural memes.

So there is coevolution of genes and culture. Men prosper in cultures to which they are physiologically well fitted, and cultures prosper among men who are physiologically equipped to enact their memes. Their physiological equipment includes the structure and organization of their nervous systems.

Men and women of a given thede, then, are likely to be better adapted physiologically to the cultural forms historically predominant in that thede. This is why Swedes do better than the Ik at Social Democracy.

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Immigration is like salt…

a small amount of it is pleasant and even has benefits. But too much is deadly.

Take this vat of soup on the stove. Since a teaspoon of salt makes the flavor better, let’s add a cup and make it excellent. No, let’s add 10 pounds and make it heavenly.

What?  Limit the salt?  You must be a racist!

[Inspired by a post by Bruce Charlton.]

Is It Possible to Discriminate and Still Be a Christian?

This is a guest post by regular commenter Finn McCool

This very question has been percolating in my mind for many years now. I am a middle-aged man and I have never heard a sermon preached in any church which did not at least tacitly affirm the standard liberal view; i.e. that all discrimination is sinful. You may be wondering if I have any standing that would qualify me to speak on such a delicate subject. Well, I can tell you that I am an ordained presbyter, with orders in one of the conservative “alphabet soup” Anglican groups (e.g. ACC, ACNA, APCK, REC, etc.). I have an M. A. in Theology from a conservative, evangelical seminary, and I have been employed as a Bible instructor in a small Christian high school for close to ten years. I teach the Bible for a living, and in working through the scriptures I am daily reminded that the Triune God of the Bible is far tougher than the Unitarian god in whom “we trust” as Americans.

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Esoterica in science

A guest post by commenter Bill:

Over the last century or so and especially over the last fifty years, Western elites have adopted a number of bizarre positions. These positions are held not because any evidence suggests them to be true, but, evidently, for reasons emotional, ideological, and self-interested. This, by itself, is not especially comment-worthy: people are like that.

They also, however, adhere with similar intensity to older positions: to modern philosophy, to a kind of Whiggish history, and to the machine—to the Mechanical Philosophy and the scientific program it lionizes. To themselves they are hard-headed, empirical rationalists; guardians, seekers, and producers of truth. Naturally enough, rationalists, realists, and truth-tellers deserve to be high, while spiritualists, super-naturalists, and fantasists deserve to be low. The Logos must rule.

Tensions arise when the new beliefs come into conflict with truths produced by the machine, to which they are committed by the old beliefs. The tensions are not merely internal to the heads of Liberals, either. These two belief-sets are not equally strong in all Liberals, some of them lean heavily towards the machine and some of them lean heavily towards progressivism. Since progressivism is increasingly ascendant, the machinists retreat. One way they retreat, reminiscent of the way their predecessors the alchemists retreated before them, is into esoterica. That is they retreat into producing texts whose exoteric, open meaning is false and progressive but whose esoteric, hidden meaning is true and anti-progressive.

The most accessible example of this is race denial. The renowned Stanford geneticist (and cowardly machinist), Luigi Cavalli-Sforza, in the introduction to and again in chapter 1 of his 2001 book, Genes, Peoples, and Languages says explicitly and in almost these words that human “racial” differences are unimportant and are only skin deep. The remainder of the book is a detailed refutation of these claims, which refutation, however, never notices itself as such. By two pages from the denial in chapter 1, you know that race is at least blood deep. By the end, you know it is bone deep, gene deep. Exoterically, he never admits that race exists, that it is biological, or that it is important. Esoterically, the book is almost about showing the truth of these things. Cavalli-Sforza is famous enough that his behavior has provoked learned commentary. There is a fine series of blog posts on this by the anthropologist Peter Frost beginning here, continuing here and culminating in an informative seven part series (one, two, three, four, five, six, seven).

A funny example of this came to my attention the other day over at West Hunter, the blog of the physicist-turned-anthropologist Gregory Cochran. In the linked post, Cochran talks about the work of Dan Freedman with newborns. As it turns out, newborn babies display some of the stereotypical behavior of their respective races. Newborns display large differences in their willingness to accept externally imposed discomfort. Babies rank, from most to least accepting: Navaho, Chinese, Japanese, White, Black. As it turns out, you can buy a DVD of data from the experiment, a DVD entitled Cross-Cultural Differences in Newborn Behavior. Look at the word between “cross” and “differences.”

Peculiarities of life under Leftist rule

In my previous post, I suggested a distinction between “liberalism” and “Leftism”.  Now I’d like to consider some of the features of living in a Leftist society.  Whereas my last post concerned personality traits of the liberal and the Leftist considered as ideal types, here I will be talking about Leftist society itself, about emergent phenomena that appear because of the power of Leftist mythology on the populace, regardless of the wishes of individual Leftists.

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Bitter irony

I am proud of the level of discourse my colleagues maintain at the Orthosphere.  The focus is on the highest things and the biggest questions, and the tone is serene and charitable.  I hate to spoil this, but being a blogger, sometimes temptation gets the better of me.  Below are some rants about the world underneath Heaven, and the tone is cynical to despairing because nothing I see prompts any better feeling.  Now you can’t say you haven’t been warned.

Questioning evolution

I hope all of you saw Bruce’s brilliant post on this topic.  Excerpt:

There are two prominent kinds of anti-evolutionist in public life – and by which I mean people who deny the applicability of evolution by natural selection to some aspect of humans

…it turns out that the much demonised and despised religious anti-evolutionists who are skeptical about macro-evolution of humans are in plain fact much more scientific and empirical than are those numerous and influential secular Leftists who challenge the solid, and indeed observable, reality of human adaptation or micro-evolution.

The religious anti-macro-evolutionists who acknowledge within-form adaption are indeed within the historical mainstream of biology in their focus upon form as primary; the secular Leftist anti-adaptationists are chucking-out biology altogether in favour of a political ideology which ignores the most basic level of reality-testing.

Since it is secular Leftists who control public discourse we find public discourse in the extraordinary, and scientifically indefensible, position of asserting that on the one hand macro-evolution is necessarily real and the essential form of the human species certainly arose by natural selection – which is an incremental accumulation of adaptive changes; yet on the other hand denying that micro-evolution, adaptation, has occurred within the human species.

In other words, the speculative and uncertain aspect of Darwinian natural selection is accepted as necessary, as dogma (to reject which is to move outwith the bounds of legitimate public discourse); while the empirically and experientially verifiable aspect of Darwinism is at the same time rejected.

Secular Leftists thus believe in speciation but not adaptation; they believe that humans arose by natural selection, but also that – once humans had arisen – natural selection does not apply to humans!

Before reading this article, I hadn’t quite realized just how ridiculous the Leftist line on human evolution actually is.  Of course, this says nothing about what our position should be.  I believe that speciation by natural selection is compatible with a realist position on forms (because essentialism just requires the existence of sharp boundaries, not that they can’t be crossed between generations), but greater philosophical minds of the Thomist school are known to disagree (because supposedly an effect can’t have something lacking in its cause–see here for an explanation of this disputed principle).  Unlike the Leftists, we have no reason to deny the obvious differences between the human races.