Monday, September 05, 2005

Marx and Mohammad - Soul Mates.

Jack Wheeler argues that Marx and Mohammed have more in common than you’d think. For example, Wheeler notes:
Thus both Marx and Mohammed are advocates of apocalyptic totalitarianism. For both, “nothing is private,” as in Lenin’s famous dictum. The state, whether under the Communist “dictatorship of the proletariat” or Islamic Shari’a law, has the moral right and duty to control every aspect of an individual’s life.
Similarities include the idea of peace (we rule, you submit), totalitarianism (all private matters are the state's concern), violence as a means to power (ends justify means), and class division (proletariat vs. bourgeois and believers vs. infidels). And this is just for starters. The rest is in Jack’s article which requires a subscription. It’s a thought provoking read.

12 Comments:

Anonymous Old Peculier said...

I haven't got time to read the article now, but no doubt Jack touches on another aspect - economic mismanagement. Islam is hot on wealth distribution, but feeble on wealth creation, presumably reflecting the fact that Islam is parasitic on the wealth creation of others.

This was true right from the start. Mohammed and his companions got their wealth by war and plunder. These days Muslims are dirt poor unless they get their wealth from an accident of geology, which would be useless to them without Western expertise, or from Western aid, or, if they live in the West, often, given high unemployment rates, from Western welfare.

Marxism was pretty useless a generating wealth too - wealth creation is inhibited when there are no incentives for individual effort.

9/5/05, 9:51 AM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

Excellent point! And it’s one that neither Wheeler nor I have examined in print.

The Arab-Islamic culture still can't get the idea of wealth creation. Tom Palmer of the CATO Institute mentions on his blog that when he was in Iraq a few months back he tried to explain to the Iraqis about wealth creation, the need for property rights, and the government required for private production. They kept telling him that they had oil and thus they are rich. He heard that over and over again.

9/5/05, 10:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do you think of this column by Victor Hansen?

http://www.victorhanson.com/articles/ibrahim090405.html

9/5/05, 8:07 PM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

Hanson’s article is a must read. Thanks for pointing that out.

The parallels are frightening – even more than Hanson implies. Consider the German defeat after WWI. During Hitler’s rise he made much of the fact that Germany surrendered with its military intact and without an invasion of the homeland. Hitler and others believed the military wasn’t defeated but betrayed by those above (and, of course, the Jews.) In other words, Germany was defeated by WWI but not defeated enoughthis took WWII. The devastation of WWII was thorough. It was apocalyptic and caused a complete loss of faith in the Germanic nationalistic philosophy.

If we assume this parallel, the Arab story is as follows: with the defeat of the Arab military in the ’67 Israeli War, secular Arab socialism and nationalism were discredited (see Bernard Lewis.) Muslims looked to their history and found glory in the rise of Islam – which conquered most of the known world in its first century. The defeat of the Soviets in Afghanistan was further evidence that authentic Arab tradition – Islam – is the way to go.

But what of the current defeats in Afghanistan and Iraq at the hands of the American led coalition? Once again, Islam wasn’t defeated but stabbed in the back. The Northern Alliance in Afghanistan (with the quisling Musharaf) and the Shiites in Iraq have stabbed the jihadists in the back.

The jihadists aren’t done. They are defeated by not defeated enough. If the parallel to Germany is similar (and one can make a similar parallel to Japan), the implication is that only an apocalyptic defeat with bring a complete loss of faith. Does the parallel hold completely? I’d like to hear Hanson’s answer.

9/5/05, 9:13 PM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

The article on Hanson's site is by Ray Ibrahim and called "From Nationalism to Fascism to Terror:
Parallels between Germany and the Arab World." It says nothing about Mr. Ibrahim. Does anyone know who he is?

9/5/05, 9:16 PM  
Anonymous Mustang said...

Wealth is created from natural resources, of which there is only one in the Middle East. Wealth is maintained, however, by diversification. This explains why the Arab world owns a hefty chunk of US real estate, has invested heavily in US businesses, and owns a number of our politicians.

I cannot condemn them for doing everything within their power to sustain their wealth, but I can condemn our system for allowing the ME invasion in the first place. They lack morality because it is all part of their plan of conquest, we lack morality because we are greedy and we have our heads up our . . . well, you know.

9/6/05, 1:12 AM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

Actually, there is a common misunderstanding about wealth and I think your post, Mustang, has a hint of it. Wealth isn’t static. America creates, every year, $12 trillion of wealth and consumes the majority of it. That is, the GDP of the USA is $12 trillion. The value of assets outstanding is far greater. I vaguely remember a figure like $35 trillion but I’d have to look it up. However, as far as production of goods and services, $12 trillion is created every year.

Out of the $12 trillion, we consume almost $9 trillion. We export $1.3 trillion. We import $2 trillion. There’s investment of $2 trillion. Thus, most of the GDP is consumed and gone. We have to produce another $9 trillion to continue to consume plus more to invest, export and fund the government.

One needs, of course, an application of capital (including resources, machinery, plant, etc.) and labor. However, wealth isn’t just a shifting of resources but a value-added production process that creates something that didn’t exist before – a good or service. And it will most likely be consumed - $9 out of $12 is.

Ref: http://www.bea.doc.gov/bea/dn1.htm

9/6/05, 6:47 AM  
Blogger Benjamin said...

Both Communism and Islam take advantage of the resentment and ignorance of masses of poor people. The term 'ignorance' may sound elitist, but what I mean is that they have no clue about the lessons of history, have no notions in their heads such as 'separation of powers', and so on. It takes a certain amount of intelligence and information for a democracy to be successful. Individualism as an ethos is closely related. Those who don't have it feel more secure with a crowd. However, it also takes intelligence and individualism to get a successful economy going. There's no way out for Islam but to modernize, but instead many of them escape into deeper depths of religious fervor, creating a vicious circle.

9/6/05, 6:27 PM  
Blogger Benjamin said...

Regarding the Hanson article and Jason's replies, I think there is much truth in them, but I think that there is also a psychological aspect. It is easy to concoct pop psychology and cheap stereotypes, but I do feel that different societies tend to develop different characters (in an average sense). I've had some exposure to French and Germans, and the French do follow the stereotype of being more vivacious, humorous, clever, witty and so forth. The Germans and Arabs have tended to have a 'darker' mentality, and one prominent symptom is a certain lack of humor and a stark view of things. The British too have had a good sense of humor and avoid being 'heavy' and dogmatic, and I associate these mental traits, shared with the French, with a more rational mind that can separate politics from emotions and that is capable of skepticism and self-deprecation. Also, there is more detachment to events and less egoism (which isn't to say there isn't conceit, not quite the same thing, less dense). The Germans (or at least pre-war Germans) and Muslims tend to lack these qualities. Associated with this is a susceptibility to a kind of dark quasi-religious mentality, like the Wagner referred to. These are just imprecise impressions, but I think there is a kernel of truth. In other word, Hanson is incomplete when he limits his factors to external events. There is also an inner psychology, but many historians consider this treacherous territory, with good reason.

9/6/05, 7:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"They are defeated by not defeated "/*. If the parallel to Germany is similar (and one can make a similar parallel to Japan), the implication is that only an apocalyptic defeat with bring a complete loss of faith. Does the parallel hold completely? I’d like to hear Hanson’s answer."

What an excellent statement. I agree 100%. Along with Yaron Brook, you are my favorite comentator on the subject of the war.

I love your blog. Keep up the great writing.

9/6/05, 7:23 PM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

I know what you’re talking about Benjamin and it’s hard to sum-up in a word. However, I use the word culture for the dominant character of a society or nation and its importance is the reason I named this blog “Liberty and Culture.” I should create a blog entry just to describe what I mean and why it is important.

Thanks, Anonymous. It’s an important question and I’m glad Hansan and his friend had the courage to raise it. They have a large audience. Let’s see how they proceed. I should link to Brook’s stuff but I’ve been focusing on other areas until this post.

9/6/05, 8:47 PM  
Anonymous Old Peculier said...

Benjamin - interesting comments about national character.

Self-deprecation is a very British trait, as is self-mockery. The problem is, when confronted with more macho, primitive cultures such as the shame/honour culture of the Arabs, misunderstandings can arise. Arabs and Muslims generally take Western self-criticism at face value, often citing Western sources when criticising our decadence. Yet they bristle when criticised or mocked themselves.

The disastrous dogma of muliticulturalism has meant that many Muslims in the UK have failed to integrate and have held onto their backward shame/honour culture.

9/7/05, 9:46 AM  

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