Belloc and the Oecuphobes

I was looking up books by Hilaire Belloc on the web, and by chance came across this Wikipedia entry. This paragraph is from a section subtitled ‘On Islam’. The quote is from Mr. Belloc, and the italicized lines are from the anonymous editor.

Belloc’s 1937 book The Crusades: the World’s Debate made no pretence at being impartial. He wrote,

Our fathers all but re-established the spiritual mastery of Europe over the East; all but recovered the patrimony of Rome… Western warriors, two thousand miles and more from home, have struck root and might feel they have permanently grasped the vital belt of the Orient. All seaboard Syria was theirs and nearly the whole of that “bridge”, a narrow band pressed in between the desert and the sea, the all-important central link joining the Moslem East to the Moslem West … Should the link be broken for good by Christian mastery of Syria, all Islam was cut in two and would bleed to death of the wound.

In his [Belloc’s] view, had the Crusaders captured Damascus, the Islamic World would have been cut in two and “bled to death of the wound”—which, in Belloc’s explicitly stated view, would have been a highly desirable and positive outcome.

My comment: please note the fine craftsmanship with which the anonymous editor manages to maintain the pretense of objectivity while conveying a condescending sneer to Mr. Belloc.

Belloc (so we are told) does not regard the victory of Christendom over Dar-el-Islam as desirable, but as highly desirable, nay, highly desirable and positive. This slight heft of emphasis is enough to convey that victory against Islam is indeed not desirable. At least some readers will come away with the impression that anyone wishing for victory is expressing not merely an untoward opinion, but a risible or uncouth one.

Note also that the editor does not boldly state such an opinion as editorial (which would had the minor virtue of at least being honest)  but assumes the deep, dignified, stentorious voice of objective fact. It is merely fact that the victory of Christendom over Dar-al-Islam is not only not desirable, but unthinkable, gross.

And then in the next paragraph, the anonymous editor calls him a racist.

In the footnotes, anonymous editor drops the hint that Belloc was a homosexual, or, at least, he goes out of his way to reference a Monty Python joke which he, the editor, interprets as being a sly reference to outing practitioners of the arts of Sodom. (Whether the joke was meant to be taken this way, I leave to others to debate.)

Note too the sneer about Belloc making “no pretense at being impartial”. The reader is supposed to swallow without chewing (and without vomiting) the idea that impartial writers regard the victory of their friends with the same judicious equanimity as the victory of their enemies in a civilizational war whose purpose is to destroy the fundamental ideals and identity of the West. (One of the ideas targeted for destruction is the Western and Christian notion of judicious equanimity, which gives the concept as applied here not merely a suicidal character, but a logically self-contradictory character.)

Please also be suspicious whenever you see an ellipsis.

The missing sentence in the quote above is this: “…the all-important central link joining Moslem East with Moslem West, giving Mesopotamia, Persia, and the Mohammedan mountaineers beyond their access to the wealth of Cairo, of Tunis, of all of Barbary, and to the wealth also of half-conquered Spain.”

Belloc then indents, showing a that he is starting a new paragraph, a new thought: “Should the link be broken for good by Christian mastery of Syria, all Islam was cut in two and could bleed to death of the wound.”

And that next paragraph immediately following: “But though the Crusaders had nearly occupied all the narrow band it was ‘nearly’ and not ‘quite.’ There ran down the edges of the desert a string of cities and their connecting road—Aleppo, Horns, Damascus—which remained wholly in Moslem hands and still threatened the sea coast belt and its Christian garrisons….” And he continues in like vein.

In other words, Belloc is emphasizing nothing more that the crucial importance to the Moslem to maintain communication across Syria.

One may dispute or not the crucial importance of Syria as significant for the military operations of the crusades, but to dismiss the analysis as “no pretense of being objective” is not merely a lie, it is a worthless and malign lie: not a falsehood spoken to deceive a person as to a matter of fact, but a falsehood spoken to put across a false emotional attitude. Pure propaganda, in other words.

If Belloc says Syria was crucial to Moslem objectives, and therefore to Crusader strategy, Belloc is not indulging in rhetoric or propaganda. He is making the claim that this importance, as a matter of objective fact, did influence history, and the failure of the Crusaders to capitalize on their victories in the Holy Land was a turning point in history.

Is Belloc being objective? I do not doubt that he, as a Christian and a man of the West, would prefer his civilization survive and flourish rather than decline and fall. Does this mean his assessment of Syria as crucial for the military strategy of the Crusades has been biased by his preference?

Well, no. No one is saying that. That would be stupid. The anonymous editor is not disagreeing with Belloc’s opinion about the importance of Syria. The anonymous editor is quoting something out of context to put across an emotional impression, not to convey facts nor to engage the rational faculties of the reader. Indeed, his approach shows the care and caution of a stalking predator not to startle the rational faculties by revealing his desire is to put across an emotional impression.

The anonymous editor is quoting one mildly colorful passage which is emphasizing a relatively boring and obvious historical fact, but quotes it out-of-context and follows it up with a very faintest of sneers in order to put across the emotional impression that Belloc wanted to stab Islam and watch it bleed … slowly, with sadistic slowness … to death.

Finally, of course, when the editor refers to Belloc’s explicitly stated view that it would have been highly desirable and positive for the Crusaders to hold Syria (or perhaps he means it was Belloc’s explicitly stated view that it would have been highly desirable for Islam to be cut in half and bleed to death) one must note one thing: the anonymous editor is not telling the truth. In fact, he lies.

The truth is that Belloc does not explicitly state that Christian victory over Mohammedanism to be desirable anywhere in the paragraph, nor in the chapter, nor in the book. Belloc may perhaps believe it. He may state things from which the implication might be drawn that he would prefer the false and diabolical heresy of Mohammed to be banished from the earth, and all the peoples dwelling in the darkness of that barbaric faith be brought into the light of Christian truth and eternal life. But he does not explicitly state anywhere that he wants to see Syria conquered, Moslem territorial domination cut in half, and the power of Islam slowly bleed to death.

Now, keep in mind three things. Each of these points merits an essay in itself, but here I will only touch upon the basics:

First, Christendom and nothing else produced modern civilization.

Everything from the scientific method to the view of man as a creature born with equal rights to the abolition of slavery was not only created by Christians in Christendom, it was done so for reasons and motives unique to Christian civilization which did not appear and arguably could not have appeared under classical or Oriental philosophical, religious, or metaphysical beliefs, social norms, or cultures.

Now, I know, dear reader, that you have been taught and told that Christianity fought science tooth and nail, was finally overcome by the sacrifice of martyrs to science, Galileo and, um, more Galileo, and the torch of knowledge has finally driven back the dark dragons of superstitious theocracy.

You have been taught total bullshit, and in order to teach it to you, you have also been taught either totally bogus history, or none; and in order to keep you deceived and uncritical, they did not teach you logic.

There have indeed been martyrs to science, men killed for having the wrong scientific beliefs: Lavoisseur was killed in the French Revolution with the chilling words ‘The Republic has no need of scholars’ and a number of scientists who disagreed with the crackpot theories Lysenko in Soviet Russia  were sent to Siberia and died. (This was during the period when the Soviets were convinced by the logic of material dialectic that they should be able to create supersoldiers by breeding apes and men.) In other words, history’s only science martyrs died at the hands of revolutionary anti-clerical secularists of the political Left. Galileo was placed under house arrest for denying Church authority to teach and interpret the Bible, not for supporting the theory of Copernicus (who was a churchman and a monk).

If Christianity were the opponent of science, would not the scientific revolution, all else being equal, have happened in China, where there is no established Church, and never has been? The Mandarin class was always selected by examination. The Middle Kingdom was not ruled by kings and priests, but by scholars. They invented many fine products, such as paper and inkblock printing and gunpowder, but they never encountered a scientific or industrial revolution. Why in the world should that be?

I hope you will not suggest, my dear Leftwing reader, that DESPITE the retardation and cruel antiscientific opposition of the ruthless antiscientific Church worshipping anti-science, the White Man is so more brilliant and more independent of thought than the Yellow Man, that the Teutonic spirit shook off the flimsy chains of clericalism, and marched forth triumphantly to discover the Heliocentric Theory, Genetic Theory, and the Theory of the Big Bang.

Because if you say that, you are a racist.

(And you are also an historical illiterate, because Mendel, Copernicus, and Lemaitre were not just Christians, but members of holy orders.)

In real life, the university system in Europe was created under Church auspices for Christian motives and spread literacy rapidly through the culture. There is no parallel to this in Chinese or Indian history. One can count the number of universities founded in Christendom in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Century and compare them to the academies and centers of learning found in Christian lands in North Africa and the Middle East conquered by Moslems in order to correct the currently fashionable, politically correct, and utterly false impression that the scientific and technical accomplishment of antiquity burned brightly in Dar Al Islam and dimly in Christendom. Christendom includes the Byzantine Empire, let us not forget, who maintained the arts and letters of their forefathers in unbroken succession.

If the Church actually meant to suppress science the way it meant to suppress witchcraft, all I can say is that She did an immensely incompetent job. I can name half a dozen scientific men from the years when the Church was at the height of her powers, and recite the names of Popes and institutions famed for being supporters of science and research. I cannot name any famous Witch before Crowley or after Erichtho, and no Pope who supported Witchcraft, except for Peter II, who unfortunately does not actually exist. The Papal astronomical observatory is the oldest in the world still in use. The Vatican Cathedral of Darkness designed by Leonard da Vinci, where Diana, Hecate, and Shub-Niggoroth are worshipped in the Black Mass is not as old or as famous, because, like Peter II, it does not exist.

No, the reality of it is that the Church opposed fortunate tellers and astrologers and magicians, and supported and encouraged classical learning, logic, science and so on. It is no accident that all the names of the forms of logic are medieval mnemonics invented by schoolmen. It is not coincidence that the Linnaean classification scheme is in Latin, and the scientific terms for everything from stars to elementary particles is in the same language used in the Latin liturgy, or perhaps in the Orthodox.

A similar argument could easily be made for such ideas and ideals as the Left pretends to cherish while openly or covertly acting against and undermining, such as the Rights of Man or the Equality of the Sexes. You did not get these ideas from Confucius or Buddha. They come from the lands were men were wont to vote for their bishops, and where even kings were not divine, not above the law: the land where man was seen as being made in the image and likeness of God, yes, even the same poor and downtrodden who in other lands were spat on as Untouchables. I will not make that argument here and now, as it is not needed.

And, again, there is no parallel crusade in the near or far east of a rejection of superstition and witchcraft, no attempt to put the common beliefs of the common man into a strictly logical theological basis.

Second, Islam is not some new invention.  It is a simplified form of Catholicism (for Orthodox and Protestant communions did not yet exist in the Seventh Century, nor would for centuries after the Prophet, peace be on him) dumbed down and with its human heart and soul removed, and used as an excuse for war rather than as a service to the Prince of Peace.

Third, war there was between Dar al-Islam and Dar al-Harb, the House of Submission and the House of War, and centuries of blood spilled. The original and systematic purpose of Islam through all ages has been the destruction of its parent religion, Christianity. It is not just Jews and Pagans they hate. The entire Eastern and Southern quadrants of the Roman Empire (by that date, thoroughly Christianized) were eaten up by the Mohammedan conquerors. North Africa and the Middle East, Asia Minor, Spain — all of these are Christian lands, and none came peacefully under the dominion of the scimitar out from the sign of the Cross.

So, return to the main point above, as a matter of objective fact, for anyone who desires the triumph of civilization over barbarism, truth over heresy, our friends and ourselves over our enemies, for the Crusaders to have broken the Islamic world into two sections during the crusades would have been highly desirable.

There is a mental disorder call xenophobia, which is an irrational and pathological fear and loathing of all things foreign and alien and strange. Less well known is the opposite mental disorder, to be known as oecophobia, which is irrational and pathological fear and loathing of all things of your own culture, your neighbors, your forefathers, yourself.

For an oecuphobe living in the West, and enjoying the fruits of Western civilization that nurtured and nourished him, for the Crusaders to have broken the Islamic world into two sections would have been very much not desirable.

But the oecuphobes are not objective (albeit they do make a risible pretense of objectivity). In thought and word and deed, they are the enemies of Western Civilization, of Christendom in particular, and Catholicism in specific. The heritage of thought that comes to use from Athens, Jerusalem, and Rome, they hate. In any history book or economic treatise, they support laicism or barbarism.

This group keeps changing its name and its philosophy, but a smidgen of insight will show you where their loyalties rest.

Sometimes they are called liberals, but they only support liberty when liberty is opposed to the Church. Otherwise they support tyranny.

Sometimes they are called statists, but they only support the state when state power is in secular hands, and opposes the Church. Otherwise they support liberty.

Sometimes they are called Progressives, but only when the course of so called Progress opposes the Church. Otherwise they are the most conservative and reactionary of partisans.

Sometimes they are called Secularists, but when comes to Islam, they support theocratic government over the secular governments of Europe, and support the theocracy of Tibet over the secular tyranny of China.

They support the rights of women, but only when the rights of women can be used as a bludgeon to oppose the Church or some teaching of the Church. The rights of women in Mohammedan areas does not concern them.

They support the rights of homosexuals, but only the rights of homosexuals to do things opposed by the Church, or to desecrate a sacrament. The right of homosexuals in Mohammedan areas is limited to the right to death by stoning versus death by defenestration, with nary a peep of protest from their erstwhile ersatz champions.

And so on and so on.

And what do they write about such men as Hilaire Belloc? Out of his entire body of work, history, poetry, apologetics, fiction and so on? As you see.

The anonymous editor and those of his ilk cannot use the truth to argue against the truth. They cannot make direct statements, and so must retreat to innuendo.

Nor are they very imaginative or innovative or witty in innuendo: the approach they use is always the same: they attack the person, and leave aside what he his saying, ad hominem. It is their habit and their addiction, and their only argument and only approach.

So they do what we Houynhmhms call ‘saying the thing which is not’ and which you humans call ‘fibbing.’