"History is philosophy teaching by example." (Lord Bolingbroke)

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Sunday, July 25, 2004

From the "IDEAS MATTER" file ...

The Islam-instigated traumas that the world endures these days come from ideas, and the "cure" must also come from ideas, better ideas, held consistently.  The mess called "education" in the USA today, from K  through the universities, does its Dewey-ian best to derail our proper use of our minds.  Whenever possible, we must shine the light of reason on the darkness, from without and from within.  Thus, here is an entry for the "IDEAS MATTER" file, which is a short-hand way of presenting illustrative short topics.

Here is a quotation from Bernard Lewis' history volume, The Middle East:  A Brief History of the Last 2,000 Years, Touchstone Books, ISBN:  0-684-83280-1, 1997.  Referring to the heart of the Ottoman Empire, Turkey itself, he says:

In 1729, the long-sustained Turkish resistance to the printing press was at last overcome, and at last a Turkish printing press was authorized.  By 1742, when it was closed, the printers had produced seventeen books.  (page 306)

Two important items must supplement this quotation, if anyone is to understand the context.

First, prior to this effort in Turkey, there had been no printing presses in Islamia, none, that is, which were Islamic owned, run, and which printed Arabic materials.  Certain foreigners, e.g., some Jews in some places, could own and run printing presses, provided their language was not Arabic, the language of Islam, and provided that no Islamic materials or Islamic-related materials were published.  Napolean was utterly shocked when he arrived in Egypt in 1798 to find no presses or literacy.

Second, what shut down this press in Turkey in the early 1700s was reactionary Islam (Lewis, p. 307).  Let that sink in.

A quick look at Encarta, under "printing press," produced this familiar item:  "Invented by Johannes Gutenberg around 1450, the printing press made the mass publication and circulation of literature possible. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved."  By the time Turkey--for all of Islam--got the first Islamic press in 1729, European and American presses had advanced to mass book publishing.  In 15 years, the Turkish press squeezed off 17 books.

To this day, little--other than Islamic regurgitations--is published, translated, or written in Islamia.  The book translation output of ALL of Islamia lags behind Spain, a single country.

What this reflects is profound hostility to ideas.  Islam has not wanted any ideas since 900 A.D., and it has gotten what it asked for--extreme backwardness.  Islamists look around at the world on their satellite derived television broadcasts at what the rest of the world is like, and they recoil at the idea of joining progress.  Their response is to try to kill off the ideas of progress and those who have these ideas in the rest of the world.  There can be no lower form of resentment than this, which is an outstanding instance of what philosopher, Ayn Rand, called "hatred of the good for being good."

Islam is not a formidable enemy, in and of itself.  It is intellectually stagnant, shallow, and totally unsuited to human life.  What makes Islam formidable is its funding.  Mostly oil money but now other sources literally fuel Islam and its expression, modern terrorism.  Stop the funding, and stop Islam. 

Our own vulnerability to Islam comes from the dominant cultural ideas we hold as a people.  Right now, we inhibit ourselves from our proper defense.  We do not identify Islam as the enemy.  We do not demand that terror states like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Pakistan stop or face total annihilation.  We do not even do the full job on a piker state like Iraq.  At home, we allow Muslims to be the tail that wags us, the dog.  We are so full of corrupt ideas such as multiculturalism and "political correctness," that we cannot defend ourselves.  We may pay far bigger prices than those of 9-11-2001, if we do not clean up our own ideas and follow with consistent good actions based on consistently held good ideas.


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