Why our Civilization could fall to Islamists

Historian Niall Ferguson does not look away from the weakness being exploited by *Islamists:

I am not going to repeat what you have already read or heard. I am not going to say that what happened in Paris on Friday night was unprecedented horror, for it was not. I am not going to say that the world stands with France, for it is a hollow phrase. Nor am I going to applaud President Hollande’s pledge of “pitiless” vengeance, for I do not believe it. I am, instead, going to tell you that this is exactly how civilizations fall.

Here is how Edward Gibbon described the Goths’ sack of Rome in August 410 AD:

“In the hour of savage license, when every passion was inflamed, and every restraint was removed . . . a cruel slaughter was made of the Romans; and . . . the streets of the city were filled with dead bodies . . . Whenever the Barbarians were provoked by opposition, they extended the promiscuous massacre to the feeble, the innocent, and the helpless . . .”

Now, does that not describe the scenes we witnessed in Paris on Friday night?
….
Let us be clear about what is happening. Like the Roman Empire in the early fifth century, Europe has allowed its defenses to crumble. As its wealth has grown, so its military prowess has shrunk, along with its self-belief. It has grown decadent in its shopping malls and sports stadiums. At the same time, it has opened its gates to outsiders who have coveted its wealth without renouncing their ancestral faith.

So who exactly will speak up to ensure that future citizens ‘renounce their ancestral faiths’ when those faiths are incompatible with western secular values? Clearly not a job for the feint of heart, or perhaps we can just use the shorthand ‘college administrators‘ going forward. Someone who is up to the job is named Maajid Nawaz.

Nawaz coined the term *Islamists. He is a British Muslim who speaks frankly and at great personal danger about the extremism in the Muslim world. He describes Islamists as “those who wish to impose their version of Islam over society.” [see video at the 11 min mark below]. More from Nawaz:

[He likens] Islamism to the evil character Voldemort, from the Harry Potter books. In the novels, Harry is the only one allowed to name Voldemort and acknowledge his existence, while the rest of the wizard community are too scared to do so and instead insist he does not exist.

“When we’re dealing with the challenge that we call Islamism, if we get to a situation where the president of the United States cannot even bring himself to name this ideology, we cannot even begin to tackle it. So what we’ve been doing with the British government is focusing on getting the British government and the prime minister to recognise that there is an ideology.

This ideology is called Islamism. It needs to be isolated from whichever interpretation of Islam Muslims may happen to subscribe to and then it needs to be challenged, because we are indeed engaged in an ideological war.”

Nawaz’s influence might have had something to do with the fact that this week British Prime Minister David Cameron finally broke with those leaders who to date continue to pretend that terrorism is unrelated to Islam.

Douglas Murray, another British warrior in this cause, who also happens to be a gay atheist, happily documented the PM’s newfound clarity, Cameron said the following:

“It is not good enough to say simply that Islam is a religion of peace and then to deny any connection between the religion of Islam and the extremists. Why? Because these extremists are self-identifying as Muslims.”

The Niall Ferguson article is copied in full at end of post

—————————————————————-
Paris and the fall of Rome

By Niall Ferguson – November 16, 2015

I am not going to repeat what you have already read or heard. I am not going to say that what happened in Paris on Friday night was unprecedented horror, for it was not. I am not going to say that the world stands with France, for it is a hollow phrase. Nor am I going to applaud President Hollande’s pledge of “pitiless” vengeance, for I do not believe it. I am, instead, going to tell you that this is exactly how civilizations fall.

Here is how Edward Gibbon described the Goths’ sack of Rome in August 410 AD:

“In the hour of savage license, when every passion was inflamed, and every restraint was removed . . . a cruel slaughter was made of the Romans; and . . . the streets of the city were filled with dead bodies . . . Whenever the Barbarians were provoked by opposition, they extended the promiscuous massacre to the feeble, the innocent, and the helpless . . .”

Now, does that not describe the scenes we witnessed in Paris on Friday night?

True, Gibbon’s “History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire’’ represented Rome’s demise as a slow burn over a millennium. But a new generation of historians, such as Bryan Ward-Perkins and Peter Heather, has raised the possibility that the process of Roman decline was in fact sudden — and bloody —rather than smooth: a “violent seizure . . . by barbarian invaders” that destroyed a complex civilization within the span of a single generation.

ISIS is lashing out as it loses ground in the Middle East, and the attacks in the French capital are part of this.

Uncannily similar processes are destroying the European Union today, though few of us want to recognize them for what they are.

Let us be clear about what is happening. Like the Roman Empire in the early fifth century, Europe has allowed its defenses to crumble. As its wealth has grown, so its military prowess has shrunk, along with its self-belief. It has grown decadent in its shopping malls and sports stadiums. At the same time, it has opened its gates to outsiders who have coveted its wealth without renouncing their ancestral faith.

The distant shock to this weakened edifice has been the Syrian civil war, though it has been a catalyst as much as a direct cause for the great Völkerwanderung of 2015. As before, they have come from all over the imperial periphery — from North Africa, from the Levant, from South Asia — but this time they have come in their millions.

To be sure, most have come hoping only for a better life. Things in their own countries have become just good enough economically for them to afford to leave and just bad enough politically for them to risk leaving. But they cannot stream northward and westward without some of that political malaise coming along with them. As Gibbon saw, convinced monotheists pose a grave threat to a secular empire.

It is conventional to say that the overwhelming majority of Muslims in Europe are not violent, and that is doubtless true. But it is also true that the majority of Muslims in Europe hold views that are not easily reconciled with the principles of our modern liberal democracies, including those novel notions we have about equality between the sexes and tolerance not merely of religious diversity but of nearly all sexual proclivities. And it is thus remarkably easy for a violent minority to acquire their weapons and prepare their assaults on civilization within these avowedly peace-loving communities.

I do not know enough about the fifth century to be able to quote Romans who described each new act of barbarism as unprecedented, even when it had happened multiple times before; or who issued pious calls for solidarity after the fall of Rome, even when standing together in fact meant falling together; or who issued empty threats of pitiless revenge, even when all they intended to do was to strike a melodramatic pose.

I do know that 21st-century Europe has only itself to blame for the mess it is now in. For surely nowhere in the world has devoted more resources to the study of history than modern Europe. When I went up to Oxford more than 30 years ago, it was taken for granted that in the first term of my first year I would study Gibbon. It did no good. We learned nothing that mattered. Indeed, we learned a lot of nonsense to the effect that nationalism was a bad thing, nation-states worse, and empires the worst things of all.

“Romans before the fall,” wrote Ward-Perkins in his “Fall of Rome,” “were as certain as we are today that their world would continue for ever substantially unchanged. They were wrong. We would be wise not to repeat their complacency.”

Poor, poor Paris. Killed by complacency.

Niall Ferguson is professor of history at Harvard University, a senior fellow of the Hoover Institution and author of “Kissinger, 1923-1968: The Idealist.’’

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About Jorge Costales

- Cuban Exile [veni] - Raised in Miami [vidi] - American Citizen [vici]
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