Defending the 12th century since the 14th; blogging since the 21st.

Catholicism, Conservatism, the Middle Ages, Opera, and Historical and Literary Objets d'Art blogged by a suburban dad who teaches law and writes stuff.

"Very fun." -- J. Bottum, Editor, FIRST THINGS

"Too modest" -- Elinor Dashwood

"Perhaps the wisest man on the Web" -- Henry Dieterich

"Hat tip: me (but really Cacciaguida)" -- Diana Feygin, Editor, THE YALE FREE PRESS

"You are my sire. You give me confidence to speak. You raise my heart so high that I am no more I." -- Dante

"Fabulous!"-- Warlock D.J. Prod of Didsbury

Who was Cacciaguida? See Dante's PARADISO, Cantos XV, XVI, & XVII.

E-mail me

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Here's the tenth anniversary. 9/11 was the reason blogging itself took off when it did: people needed a new way to keep in touch and to get behind the anodyne news coverage.

It was also the reason this blog, named after a crusader, was founded. However, this blog has both expanded and contracted its interests over the years. One reason I started it -- excuse me, one reason I came down from the Heaven of Mars to start blogging terrestrially -- was that I feared the topic of radical Islam and the danger it poses would not be adequately covered.

I need not have worried. Other blogs have sprung up, devoted (unlike this one) to nothing else. Questions have been raised on occasion about their accuracy, and people with no basis of knowledge have held forth on these bloggers' motivations. This much is clear: ten years ago, one never heard the term "Islamophobia"; it may not even have existed. Today it is routinely hurled -- and accept as damning -- at anyone who points out (more than, say, once) that violent strains of thought exist within modern and perhaps classic Islam and that these have real-world consequences. Blow up planes and buildings, kill nearly 3000 people -- and become a protected class. Pretty smooth.

That said, I have refrained getting eyebrow-deep into the transatlantic anti-Islamic culture (though perchance I have some links that may take one there if one is not careful: a link is not "eyebrow-deep," imo). That culture's apparent (perhaps not real) ties to renascent European fascism are a little too close for my moral comfort.

In saying so, I do not mean to pile onto Geert Wilders, who I do not think is a fascist. But I note that -- well, perhaps you've heard of Nigel Farage, and his UK Independence Party? It's the fourth largest party in Britain today, after the Liberal Democrats (and the LDs are part of the governing coalition). I remain a Thatcherite Tory, but I admit to being a bit "Ukippy" (in Tory MEP Dan Hannan's wonderful expression). UKIP "reject[s] the 'blood and soil' nationalism of extremist parties," a clear dig at the unspeakable British Nationalist Party. UKIP's platform also calls for "requir[ing] UK schools to teach Britain's contribution to the world, including British inventions and Britain's role in fighting slavery and Nazism." Emphasis added. Apart from my greater preference for schools setting their own curricula, official UKIP's non-racist and anti-Nazi credentials are clearly in order.  

I mention all this because it gives context to a recent Tweet by Mr. Farage, to the effect that that not all the northern European rightwing parties are "friends of UKIP." He singles out one, the True Finns, that is. Others, we are to infer, are too dodgy for UKIP. And what's too dodgy for UKIP is too dodgy for me. (Farage doesn't mention them by name, but I infer the "Sweden Democrats" come under the ban.)

Today's European far right is divided not only by degrees of "extremity," but also by its stance on Islam. The most extreme among them see radical Islam not as the problem but as the solution, because they all agree that real enemy is the you-know-whews. That the Mufti of Jerusalem, an influential figure in the launching of modern today's Islamism, spent the War years in Berlin should not be, and no longer is, seen as a coincidence (though the debate continues as to whether he was made anti-semitic by the Nazis, or whether he sought refuge with the Nazis because they were anti-semitic.) Take-away for today: if you want to shake a hand on the European not-so-center right, have a care for what's at the other end. Make some sort of noise about the need to combat Islamic terrorism, and judge if their reaction is real or pro-forma. Or whether, ahem, they don't even agree.

But that's enough from me. He's what you really want to read: a column by Prof. Richard Landes, a medievalist (another theme of this blog!) at Boston University, specializing in millennialist and apocalyptic movements: "By reacting to 9/11 with self-recrimination, the Western elites have strengthened the hand of brutal Islamism."

P.S. Re comments: Yes, comments are disabled at the moment. That is temporary, I hope. Haloscan has ceased to function as I remembered it from the old, four-posts-a-day, 12-comments-per-post heyday of this blog (who know? We may go there again), so I deleted the Haloscan code and am looking for a new commenting format. I'm also getting used to Blogger's new dashboard. So give me time: comments will return. In the meantime, I'll check paradisoxv at hotmail dot com from time to time.