Alliance of the Pristinians
In this post I cover another important unholy alliance against the West: that of the spiritual Left with Islam. I use the term “spiritual Left” to distinguish it from left-wing secularists and atheists, most prominently the Marxists. Although both are allied with Islam, their reasons are different.
The puzzlement aroused by the alliance of the secular Left with Islam is, in my opinion, minuscule in comparison to that aroused by the alliance of most (not all, but nearly so, just as with secularists) hippies, New Agers, pagans, environmentalists and the like with the Muslims against the West. For all the Marxists’ delusions, at least one thing can be said for them: they recognize Islam to be a political movement, not a spiritual one, and form their alliance with them out of political expedience. But the spiritual Left see Islam as a spiritual movement like theirs, yet they ally themselves with it against the Judeo-Christian West although Islamic doctrine holds Islam to be Abrahamic, to be more Jewish than Judaism and more Christian than Christianity. Nor is Islam friendly toward so many practices of the spiritual Left, such as “free love”, homosexuality, nature worship, magic, divination and polytheism (that last is the worst crime in Islamic eyes, the unpardonable sin).
What do we make of this alliance, then? Is it a simple case of, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”? I think the answer is yes, but more than that. I think that, for all the irreconcilable differences Islam and the spiritual Left, there are ties, spiritual ties, that bind them. Of course, the Muslims themselves are glad to have those useful idiots at their disposal. But as the secular Left sees the Koran as a socialist manifesto, so the spiritual Left sees it as yet another collection of Upanishads. What feeds the attraction of the spiritual Left to Islam? I submit that the answer is primitivism.
Primitivism goes, at least in systematic form, all the way back to Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–78). The idea that the primitive, natural state of humanity is the most beneficial branched off into the Historical Materialism of Karl Marx, which sought to solve the human problem by bringing it back to an idealized “classless society” of the past; and into the various New Age movements, striving to save the planet by bringing it back to its trouble-free pre-human days (just don’t tell them about the Permian extinction…), or bringing humanity into a healthier mental state by ridding it of those pesky Judeo-Christian inhibitions, or calling the New Age by going back to pre-monotheistic religions.
For the primitivist, feelings are key, and romanticism trumps all evidence, or indeed any need to gather evidence. Pre-human mass extinctions are glossed away, or excused because they were acts of Mother Nature rather than of “Bible-based human rape of the Earth”. Human sacrifice performed by Aztec, Ashanti or Babylonian polytheists is shrugged by the rationale that “the atrocities of the British colonials were much worse”. Historical records of class warfare and inequality in primitive societies is trodden underfoot, or shredded in the razor of revisionism. And slave-trading by Christians is marshaled as an example of Biblical corruption, while slave-trading by Muslims does not cause the primitivist Leftists to bat an eyelid. The myth of a pre-human or pre-capitalist or pre-Biblical Garden of Eden has to be maintained, no matter the facts, for else how can the narrative of the fall from there, instigated by the human or capitalist or Judeo-Christian snake, thrive?
An Aztec calendar. From Wikipedia.
Did you see the movie King Kong? (Any of the versions.) If you did, what was your reaction to the scene where the natives of Skull Island put Ann (or Dwan) to sacrifice while the drums go on beating?
If your reaction included a “…BUT that’s their native culture” or something of that sort, you may well be part of the spiritual Left. If looking at the natives, frenzied, unclean, unkempt and malnourished, sends a surge of admiration down your spine, you’re probably not only of the spiritual Left, but also already allied with the Muslims against the West.
The average Westerner’s knowledge of the Muslim world and Islam still stems from romantic sources, feeding a Laurentian (after T. E. Lawrence, also known as Lawrence of Arabia) admiration of Arab and Islamic culture, no different from 18th-century Enlightenment Europeans trying to find their own soul, their very own authenticity, in primitive cultures, in “noble savages”. The “Palestinians” are, in this narrative, Incas, the Iraqis Native North Americans, the Muslims as a whole keepers of the flames of resistance against Western, Judeo-Christian colonialism raping native peoples and the planet’s resources. Under a primitivist framework that excuses Aztec human sacrifice, one can easily excuse as native culture similar features in Islam.
Where other eyes look at the unkempt hair as a sign of neglect, at the rotting tooth as a disease that should be cured, and at human sacrifice, Aztec or Islamic, as something that a person ought to be serving quite a few years inside for, primitivists excuse it all, make apologies for it. As the hard childhood excuses the murderer and foists the blame upon the society that took away the man’s innocent childhood (of which G-d has a different opinion—see Genesis 8:21), so the primitivists transfer the blame of suicide terrorism away from the Muslims and onto the European, American or Zionist colonialists. Primitive good, modern bad.
Best as untouched by the sophisticated clutter of civilization as possible. Collage from a Daily Kos diary.
“Why does G-d not bring people into the world circumsized?”, the Roman commander Turnus Rufus asked Rabbi Akiva. For the spiritual Left, nothing has changed. Rabbi Akiva’s answer was to offer Turnus Rufus freshly-picked stalks of wheat to eat, at which the Roman naturally protested that it was not in an edible state. Rabbi Akiva then fired the winning shot: that was the proof of what G-d says (in Genesis 2:3), “…of all His work that G-d created to do”, meaning that the world was created for changing things, not for glorying in its primitive state (and that verse, remember, comes before the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden!).
Now the question may be raised as to how the woolly, postmodern, “anything goes if it feels good” spiritual Left can reconcile itself with a religion of one god, of scriptural revelation and of absolute certainty. On the face of it, it looks as if never the twain shall meet, but Islam, for all its talk about certainty, suffers from great weakness in that regard. Perhaps it’s a reaction: the assumption of absolute certainty as a cover for the inability to achieve it.
The Jewish religion is only for the Jewish people, yet the requirements of evidence that G-d has bestowed upon the Jews are stringent: no fewer than the fathers of the entire nation were to behold His giving of revelation, the Torah. Consequently, the claims of all other religions since have been judged paltry in Jewish eyes. Christianity claims many eyewitnesses for the resurrection of Jesus, but that’s not enough for a believing Jew—he requires that the fathers of all living religionists be eyewitnesses of the formative event of a religion. Still, the (for Jews) insufficiency of the number of eyewitnesses for Christianity’s formative event is next to nothing against that of the event of the revelation of the Koran to Mohammed. Here the number of eyewitnesses is so insufficient that not just a Jew, not just a Christian either, but any judge sitting on the court of law would throw the case out: one man. Only one man. The god of Islam revealed the Koran to one man, with no other human participants, and we are supposed to take it all on blind faith.
Yet there are more than a billion Muslims. How can that be, with such a shaky foundation? They do have rationalizations for their belief in the Koran. Foremost among those is the Argument from Inimitability: that the Koran is written in such a style that no one has ever succeeded in producing a similar work, or ever will.
The jaw drops at such an argument. To rest your entire life on literary or poetic judgment! Yet that really is the prime argument for Koranic divinity, there being no eyewitness case as in Judaism or Christianity. Subjective judgment, the type of which applies to the works of Shakespeare or Molière, is touted as proof. The feeling of being swept off one’s feet by the style of the Koran does it all for the Muslim believer. The contrast with the Torah, containing various styles according to the best fit (narrative when G-d wants to narrate, poetry when Israel is to be readied for prophecy, and so on), could not be starker.
And so the primitivist love of pre-Columbian lore, of the sight of snake-charmers playing next to their basket and of Chinese calligraphy meets the foundation of Islam: feelings of being carried away. Not a bad thing in and of itself, but to base one’s very way of life upon it is, to put it bluntly, lunacy.
Islam and the spiritual Left both rest their beliefs upon subjective feelings. They both view the past (Mohammed’s political system at Medina, America before the Europeans arrived) as flawless, and as something that needs to be restored. And whatever failures they run into they explain away as unfairness and oppression on part of the unbelieving or unprimitive West.
And the rest is history being made now in our lifetimes.