Beyond the Cusp

August 9, 2014

Ringing the Clarion Alarm Bell Once Again

The world throughout the eons has risen to great heights only to fall seemingly back into an age of darkness time and again. China has been propelled to the forefront of civilization repeatedly only to be overrun by barbarians or stricken by totalitarian leadership which dragged them back into mindless oblivion. The Greco-Roman empire reached to the pinnacle of advancement in architecture, philosophy, mathematics, physics and literature only to fall from those heights and eventually be overcome by the barbarians who not only were at the gates but had busted those gates in and destroyed the empire though the roads, aqueducts and coinage continued forward for a few centuries as nothing capable of supplanting them was to arrive for a number of centuries. Egypt rose to heights, especially in architecture, agriculture, construction, organization of labors and writing only to fall from internal revolts and endless wars. India once led the world in theoretical mathematics inventing such concepts as the idea of zero, the decimal point to have a new and computable way of expressing fractions as well as introducing numerous concepts and approaches to computing and problem solving techniques only to fall to invaders. So, the question that comes to mind is what did these different and far flung empires and their downfalls have in common and how do these lessons apply to these modern times.

The one consistent threat in each case, whether internal or external, was some primitive force which changed the standards of living making survival more challenging thus taking up much of every individual’s daily efforts thus removing the luxury of advancement and the free time for investing in more esoteric and cerebral aspects of life which had made up a significant part of life in the former society. Where most often these changes which destroyed the advanced societies were brought forth through conquest by less advanced and barbarous entities usually from outside of the empire or society; the other reason which could be behind such collapses and declines could also be natural disasters, especially famines, drought, volcanos, floods, earthquakes or meteor or asteroid strike. The possibility of a natural disaster being the primary cause behind societal collapse has lessened as the size of the advanced cultures existing and interacting with each other has increased. Such is still conceivable but the natural disaster would need be further reaching bordering on global such as the explosion of Mount Kilimanjaro which placed particulates into the atmosphere dropping temperatures globally for close to a decade. Today’s world the Western nations hold the widest range of high technology and advanced socio-economic sectors across all of both the hard and soft sciences. These nations encircle the globe from Europe to North America and on to Australia, Asia and Israel. Additionally there are the up and coming nations which are entering into the information age as they expand and further their industrial proficiency and technological advancement. Some of the nations in this field are Brazil, India, Argentina and South Korea.

The fact that the most advanced and the up-and-coming nations on their way to joining the most advanced nations are spread over the entirety of the planet, something unique in all of history, any destabilizing disaster to drag the world backwards to a less advanced state would need to be a huge and widely effective force or disaster. Of course another projectile from space, such as the dinosaur extinction meteor, would obviously have such an effect and more but even a lesser strike might be sufficient to force humankind back to survival mode and drive the technological levels back and make any advancement near impossible. Still does this mean that short of a relatively unprecedented natural disaster the world is likely beyond any real and actual threat of reentering another dark age? Unfortunately, no, there is at least one definite possibility of another dark age and it is threatening the first world and being mostly ignored at our own peril.

One needs look no further than Syria, Iraq and Israel for the most virulent and most obvious example of this threat. It is an archetypical version of the barbarians at the gates except that liberal immigration standards has also placed this threat within the gates as well. There was a time where Islam and advancement appeared to be capable of existing in the same place and time but those times are long past. As Islam has fallen behind the Western nations, and the other nations rising to join them, as they lead the world in development of technologies and pushing the frontiers in the varied sciences even to the point of discovering new areas of research and development, the answer which has been pushed by many in the Islamic world has been to fall into near fanatical enforcement of the strict structure and definitions of what is acceptable as written in the Quran and associated Hadiths only sending their societies spiraling further backwards. If one were to tour the Islamic nations outside those oil wealthy nations of OPEC, one would be treated to third world countries most of which are not heading towards modernity. These are also the nations where the Islamic revolutions and the future of jihadi society are prevalent.

Further proof of the direction society takes under the auspices and rule of Islamists one need not look any further than the two major fronts of Islamism, Israel against Hamas and ISIS against Iraq. Where the oppressive confrontation of ISIS against the sixty-thousand Christians of Mosul gave a frightening glimpse of what would be the result of Islamist conquest of Western nations which practice multiculturalism and religious freedom, two concepts beyond the ability of ISIS and its leadership to grasp, let alone practice. Mosul has seen its Christian population in the past weeks fall to zero. Those who were unable to flee were put to the sword, some even despite appearing to convert to Islam as ISIS allowed their conversion and then executed them to remove any possibility of their lapsing from their practice of Islam and save their souls so they would find their way to heaven as perceived and defined by Islam. The other situation is the assault on Israel by Hamas by launching thousands of rockets into the civilian populated areas within Israel. Over the past three days there was a ceasefire and Hamas took that period to execute some Gazans under the claims that they had assisted Israeli forces over the past weeks of conflict. The proof of these Gazans’ guilt consisted of their having Israeli Shekels within their homes or an Israeli SIM card in their mobile phones. The actual reason behind many of these over thirty public executions was the allegations or actual acts of their protesting against the totalitarian rule of Hamas. There was no trial, simply the suspected individuals were rounded up, summarily charged and convicted, as to be charged is sufficient proof of guilt, and executed as part of a public spectacle which would also serve as a lesson to the rest of the Gazan population what resisting or opposing Hamas leads to. But these are two isolated instances, why should the rest of the Western world even give this a second thought?

During the last weeks of the Israeli Operation Protective Edge the world witnessed levels of demonstrations and violence against Jews as a part of their demonstrations against Israel. There was no litmus test of whether these Jews supported Israel, just being a Jew was sufficient for violence to be perpetrated against one. Across Europe Synagogues were attacked in numerous countries. There were synagogues which suffered swastikas and anti-Jewish graffiti painted on their walls and doors. Many demonstrations broke into anti-Jewish chants which would have been considered beyond the pale just a few months ago. In France the numbers of Jews expected to emigrate, the majority to Israel, is expected this year to meet or exceed the totals for the past three years and this trend is expected to increase in each ensuing year. Sweden is another European nation where the Jews are facing open hostilities and are fleeing. There were even open signs of open anti-Semitism in Berlin and around Germany during this current conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. Where these demonstrations were fortified by a strong Islamic presence, the Muslims found a large number of supporters from indigenous Europeans and Americans. So-called experts claim to be at a loss to explain this resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe and they appeared to be unable to grasp the probable truth that there was no resurgence, the anti-Semitism had existed all along and only needed the impetus expressing approval that the Islamic presence gave to the historic hatred simply permitted it to rise above a threshold and surface on the streets of Europe and around the world. The lack of replacement birthrates for most of the European nations has resulted in making increased immigration a necessity if there was any possibility to have sufficient workforce to support the aging populations. Thus far this has proven unsuccessful as the new immigrants have refused to assimilate and are becoming a further strain on the societal systems instead of providing the saving resources which was the hoped for expectation.

The rise of Islamism around the globe conceivably could signal the introduction of stagnation which eventually may begin a regressive movement where scientific and sociological advancement is not only stymied but reversed and the Western world dragged back who knows how many centuries. This effect from the backwards force of Islamist fundamentalism will not only affect the Western world but also the oil kingdoms as once the Western world regresses they will have lost their market and find themselves soon vulnerable to the Islamist forces. What makes this threat all the more foreboding is that it is taboo to even speak its name, let alone identify the source, and doing so is sufficient to get one ostracized from polite society. The ‘if I refuse to see it then it must not really exist’ syndrome, probably called the ostriches head in the sand effect, has worked to obscure the reality from being recognized and thus permitted the problem to possibly metastasize and possibly become a killing cancer spreading throughout Western societies. There is always the hope that a sufficient number of individuals will wake to the threats within the gates posed by these forces and possibly bring the rest of the society to the realization that the threat needs to be opposed and the immigrants given the choice of assimilation or exile back to their nation of origin no matter how many generations back that may be. This will be troublesome as many of the most radicalized individuals belong to families which have resided in the Western nations for more than a single generation; often these affected individuals are third generation or recent converts. Currently it is not too late for the Western nations to awaken and face this challenge, but time is of the essence. Should another generation pass before the problem is addressed, then it may be way too late to turn back the threat and those nations who waited beyond a certain tipping point will not be able to be rescued without a great upheaval, they may just simply be lost. There have been some signs that there are those waking to the threat within, but that will still leave the threat without. That threat will take on a whole new dimension should Iran be permitted by a witless leadership of the negotiations to attain nuclear weapons capabilities, something that many fears may already have occurred. How long does the Western world have before they cross the point of no return? Who knows for sure? The one truth we can understand is the greater the time that passes before we reach the point of reckoning, the bloodier and more costly the price that will be exacted. That is a truth we can fully count upon, honestly.


Beyond the Cusp


February 5, 2013

The More Things Change the More They Remain the Same

Near the start of what was called the Arab Spring the people of Egypt witnessed the removal of their President and Evil Dictator Mubarak and awaited what were to be real free elections for a new President and for Egyptian Hope and Change. The election did not exactly prove to produce the liberating governance the Egyptians had so hoped for. The result in Egypt and throughout the countries which were initiating or striving to initiate change now faced what had been renamed the Arab Winter. The results did not quite measure up and fulfill the Hopes for Change that had driven the initial uprisings. Now Egypt is experiencing buyers’ remorse or is it reMorsi. They have come to the realization that the new boss is not all that different than the old boss; he simply has a slightly different dogma which results in the exact same practices. The protesters are still being shot and murdered. Those arrested still face torture and people still simply disappear. But the people of Egypt are going to find that their new oppressors are far more difficult to remove than was Mubarak as the new oppressions have the backing and support of Allah.

Having the professed support and direction of Allah and the religious class of Imams means you are facing forces who can define all who oppose them to be apostates.  Once any group has been labeled as apostates they become enemies of Allah. Once they become enemies of Allah they can also become the target of Jihad. Once you have become a target of Jihad you then can face a Fatwa used as a death sentence that frees the hands of the believers to bring you to justice, the justice of final judgment of the grave. This provides President Morsi with his backing of the Muslim Brotherhood legitimacy far greater and more dangerous than Mubarak could ever have claimed. Mubarak could only claim the legitimacy of the State, the same claim that could be made by the people who were calling for the overthrow of the tyrant Mubarak. Morsi can claim the legitimacy of Allah with the literal blessings of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Imams and thus has legitimacy beyond that the demonstrators can ever hope to claim. Morsi can claim that he is performing the will of Allah which makes any opposition to his will an act of blasphemy which can often result in death. This will make Morsi that much more difficult to replace, and even should such be accomplished, would the next leader chosen by either the Muslim Brotherhood or the Salafists be any improvement? Very likely they would be as bad if not worse.

The pro-democracy supporters, tempted to call them dreamers as they have little tangible power, might have had an opportunity to pull Morsi from taking power very early after he assumed the Presidency. That is no longer the case as Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood made some shrewd maneuvers rather quickly after assuming power. They revamped the top brass in the Egyptian Military retiring many of the Generals and other senior officers replacing them with members of the Muslim Brotherhood. They also promoted replacements who were also members of the Muslim Brotherhood who had managed to infiltrate the military while Mubarak was in power. Now Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood hold all the levers of power as they have replaced the necessary people in the state police and other enforcement arms of the government cementing their rule. Egypt will continue to appear to be a democratic country but in reality the winning candidates will be chosen by the Muslim Brotherhood. In many ways it is a real shame that the Egyptian people who were the original protesters were not the ones who had the organization and the funds to run and win the national elections they deserved after they had given the initial impetus for change. Now they have received change, received change but not hope.

The really sad part of the story of the Arab Spring turned Winter is that the current forces throughout the Middle East and the Arab and Muslim Worlds will lead every country which is able to forge change and will be more likely than not to end up going from their nationalist rule to theocratic Islamic rule. Even Turkey which had been organized by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk to be a guarded sectarian democracy where the military was charged by the Constitution of Turkey to enforce the country’s secular nature and to remove and call for new election should Islamists ever try to compromise the modern secular nature of the country. Unfortunately, the blindness and ignorance of the European Union and its individual nations along with the United States under President Bush with advice given by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice demanded the Turkish military stand down at the crucial point at which Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan crossed over the point of no return in his implementation of plans to alter Turkey from a secular state to one based on Sharia. The main reasons behind this reality is that the majority of the population of these countries were raised completely on Islam and either in isolation from the Western World or with an animosity for the Western World as they had a resentment of being colonized after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. Western influences have had an effect on the youth in many of these countries but there are also a significant sector among the youth who are strict Islamic adherents which serves as a further reason for the overwhelming influence and power held by the Muslim Brotherhood. If Western culture and secular science based civilization manages to survive for another century, then the Islamic world may experience a reformation which will allow for a separation between Mosque and Government. If such is not the case, I do not even pretend to be able to predict what would follow. My hope is that should Islam become the dominant force on Earth they would progress forward with a rebirth of the early writings from the Mecca Koran coming into prominence. That could allow for a pluralistic society with freedom if not quite complete equality for all peoples, even non-Muslims. The coming years are going to be a crucial period where much will be held in judgment and the progress of all mankind will be in the balance. The next century will either usher in an age of unlimited brightness and discoveries or darkness where war, pestilence, and hatreds rule the earth, the seas, the skies, and the hearts of mankind.

Beyond the Cusp

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