"Civilisational entropy on the rise" ... If entropy is a change to a more disordered state, then civilization produces more disorder than the lack of it.
Submitted by Ianus (Poland), Mar 12, 2007 at 18:26
Dear Plato, you wrote :
> Ianus you are in inverted commas. I am in bold. Just in case the post gets scrambled.
"And as the caliph personified Islam, so Mustafa had no choice but to order his fanatically Moslem Anatolian soldiers to fight their previous "shadow of Allah on earth"
This raises the question about the fanaticism of the Turks. Their fanaticism seems to have detached itself from the 'shadow of Allah on earth' who personified Islam (accepted for hundreds of years by Muslims) and transferred itself to a military commander?
Yes, it did happen as at that time Mehmet VI relied on and befriended the Allied Forces that occupied Constantinople and was in favour of their demands against Turkey. Although it necessarily estranged the Turkish officers and soldiers who wanted no concessions Mehmet VI was strong and influential enough to start a civil war against his Army Inspector who was building an anti-western army at the heart of Anatolia. At that time (1919-1920) , dear friend , the situation was so pervert that the "backward" caliph was pro-Western and Mustafa Pasha our would-be "secularist" was savagely anti-Western. And the loyalty was transferred to the army commander after the so called Caliph's Army was crushed in the field and exterminated by the Kemalists. Besides , you should remember that it was long after that that Mehmet VI lost only his sultanate (military office so to say) , while his caliphate was abolished much later after breaking a tremendous opposition. So the Anatolian peasants were exterminating the Christians of Asia Minor still under the banner of Mehmet VI as they still recognized his nominal suzereinty. His was still their caliph . It was only after the war was over that the open break and the expulsion of Mehmet VI took place. The fiction of caliphate (pro-Western until the very end) had to give way to the anti-Western genocidal dictatorship of Mustafa Kemal - the new "sultan" and the new "caliph" in a turban of "secularism" , if I may use a metaphor understandable to his Moslem soldiers .
> It seems that if some local events could achieve such a drastic transfer of loyalty from the person who personified Islam
"Local events" ? Man , what are you talking about? The treaty of Sèvres abolished Turkey practically as a state. It was an event that meant death to Turkey! Had the allied waited half a year longer with making the treaty public the Caliph's Army would have wiped out Mustafa's rebellious Grand Assembley and all it stood for in spite of their lslamic window-dressing ! It was a cataclysmic event that allowed Mustafa Masha to come to power and oust Mehmet VI out of office.
> what prevents that happening in other parts of the Islamic world.
The simple fact that such incredible circumstances that were created in Anatolia between the end of 1918 and autumn 1922 recurr once in a five hundred years or perhaps in a thousand years or never.
"They did it only because they believed that Allah had sent a new "ghazi" a better caliph to them."
> Maybe you have something to substantiate that statement ,
How can you explain in a different way the fact that although Mehmet VI excomminicated Mustafa Kemal , still the army didn't abandon him ? Do you suppose the illiterate peasant Anatolians were already "secularists" , although at that time nothing indicated Mustafa Pasha's secularism ? They understood the struggle in religious terms and if the caliph turned against them they could turn agaist the caliph only because they had someone better than a caliph on their side and not because they had none or a kaffir leader. Or do you believe they were fighting against Allah who stood on the caliph's side? They gave the title "ghazi" - the destroyer of the infidels - to Mustafa Pasha for quite plain reasons. They knew no titles and honours but the Islamic ones.
> but I would think what happened in Turkey is a demonstration of the universal fact that humans, if they can be shown something/someone better than what they have, will change loyalty - an evolutionary instinct hard-wired into us.
If you read some study ( I'd suggest Jacques Benoist-Méchin , "Mustapha Kemal. La mort d'un Empire , Paris 1954) on what really happened between the truce at Mudros and the treaty of Lausanne you would see that things were a little more intricate. Some incredible whimsical coincidences made the conflict between an able and ruthless rebel- tyrant and a corrupt and feeble-minded tyrannical "shadow of Allah on earth" something unique which can't by any means be treated as a universal paradigm. What was paradoxical in the struggle was that Mustafa Pasha avoided openly condemning his opponent until he gained absolute power and could fear no rebelions from his owm Moslem troops. His Moslem soldiers were convinced that fighting the Caliph's Army they were fighting for Allah , not against Him.
"The outward weakening of Islam served the strengthening of Mustafa Pasha's personal power and did no real harm to the cause of Islam as now it was the only religion of Turkey "
> Surely even though islam probably strengthened in Turkey its power was weakened in the world.
But this outward weakening was a temporary one. Time was on Islam's side in Turkey and as statistics has greater force than an arbitrary ruling of a long dead tyrant the regaining of power by Islam in Turkey is just a question of time.
> Witness the pining for the caliphate among Islamists.
They have a problem though who's going to be a new caliph. I do hope they'll fight a protracted and bloody civil war over the issue.
"And his pan-Turkism? What was it if not a jihad without using the name? "
> Would any self-respecting Muslim want to jettison jihad for pan-Turkism?
You can join the two things as Enver Pasha did. Mustafa couldn't do that. His saviour's name was Lenin.
> As you have yourself pointed out the Arabs hated the Turks.
And why ? Because the Turks - a minority in the Ottoman empire - were to all intents and purposes the "Herrenvolk" while the Arabs felt that they themselves as the descendants of the prophet should be the "Herrenvolk" of the Ottoman empire.
> I can't imagine Turkey leading a new Turikish caliphate.
Why ? If Turkey rejects his secularist hijab - if I may put it so - and proudly unveils its Moslem beard and puts on a turban on its head, then many a past wound can be forgotten and many a bridge to Arabian Islam can be built.
"What a typically Western distinction! You imply people are more important than ideas. It applies no doubt to our humanistic culture. But transferring it so simply onto Islam it's highly risky. In the East an individual is nothing. The collective is all and the religion(deen) is sacred and infallible and most tyrannical.
For me people are.
Prove this approach of yours is valid for Islam too!
> That ideas are more important than people is essentially an Islamic idea.
And here we are talking mainly about Islamic ideas and what they imply for us , dear Plato.
> Islamists are always calling on Muslims to defend the idea of Islam with death and destruction because that is what many verses in the Koran tell them to do.
And that the end of the argument Plato. You can't say "but" when your Moslem interlocutor states this "fact". He knows of no "but" to Allah's word.
>But ideas are generated by people (not by Allah).
I wonder how you will explain this typically Enlightenment idea to a Moslem ?
> Ideas are generated, incubated, emerge from and are nurtured by people. Old ideas can be replaced/abrogated by new ideas. It happens all the time.
I hear Dr. Pipes teach and preach... Now prove this is valid to our most beloved Moslems' deen !
> Islamic ideas do have an iron grip on Muslims. Many believe it is made of stainless steel but I believe it is mild steel and is beginning to rust especially with the ideas corrosive to Islam being spread by the internet and modern communications.
You're so optimistic, Plato.
My impression is that the internet and modern communication - value-neutral as they are - can serve quite the opposite purpose. They provide a good ground for brain-washing opportunities for "endangered" Moslems on how to oppose and combat those corrosive ideas. If I am not wrong most Moslems prefer to watch live reports from Mecca to reading our dimmi-no-more's disclosures of Moslem lies and tricks.
> Muslims are more important than Islam.
I'd say : "No Moslems, no Islam".
I wrote: They can be persuaded to interpret their religion differently.
Your reply: "Differently ? How do you mean that ? They will invent un-Islamic Islam like Islamo-democracy and Islamo-humanism or what ?"
> One of the curious ideas I have noted on one blog is that some Muslims claim many of the Koran's directives were meant only for prophetic times i.e. for those directly addressed by the prophets and those not directly addressed are generally not subject to them.
And you pin so much hope to that ? Which verses did they mean ? Probably those already abrogated in the prophet's own time like "There is no compulsion in religion".
> I do not know when this idea started.
Most probably , another trick to make Islam look respectable at any cost and to deceive unprepared kaffirs still waiting for a miracle of moderate Islam to materialize, dear Plato. The idea started as the need to present moderate Islam to the moderacy-hungry West became too strong. Quite a recent subterfuge then.
> But I think it is a brilliant idea, a good beginning.
I don't think so.
> If over time Muslims can accept this idea they would be free of the rock of oppressive Islamic theology pinning them down. There will have to be many a Muslim Sisyphus before the rock is worn to a pebble.
You have visibly forgotten the point of the original Greek myth. Sisyphus' stone is never worn to a pebble. It's an eternally useless toil. This particular punishment was invented for Sisyphus because of his hubris. He as a mortal believed that was cleverer than Zeus. If you change "Zeus" for "history" the same punsihment awaits those who believe they can outwit history. Moderate Islam is un-historical.
"Being Turkish without being Islamic is rather a strange combination to my mind..."
> A nineteenth century European or American without being Christian would also have been a strange combination.
How do you mean ? What you say applies to the middle ages . In the 19th century we had many free-thinkers of whom we may be so proud. We're the only civilization with atheists and agnostics as a respectable class we owe much to.
> From this post of yours not much of the Ataturk's Islamic credentials is visible.
Well, Moslems are so ungrateful. He did more for their advancement that Mehmed II and yet they give him no credentials...
> I would think if there were more Ataturks rather than Khomeinis, Turaibis, Saddams and Gaddafys in the Islamic world we would all be better off.
I have to correct you : "We would be either all exterminated as all Ataturks are necessarily genocidal or Islamized." All the non-Turks (excepting a dwindling group of Greeks in Constantinople and on Imbros and Tendos ) that remained in Turkey after 1922 were forced to embrace Islam. Omar Asan - one of such Greek Moslems - in his book " The culture of Pontus" published in 1996 estimates there there are still c. 300 000 Greek speaking Moslems in Turkey. For his views the "secularist" Kemalists sent him to prison.
> It would put an end the dar al harb and dar al Islam schizophrenia of the Muslims."....
Would it ? Wouldn't it rather give a new meaning to this schizophrenia with a new caliph in "secular" clothes , so to speak.
> It is constructed and works according to a totally different civilizational blueprint , if I may put it so.
"There is not much of civilisational content in Islam as a religion.
I wouldn't say that. Islam dominates and permeats and forms all life of every Moslem individual and every Moslem social entity . It creates necessarily a civilization if you are ready to accept the fact that Islam as a religion defines and makes civilization and not vice versa. So "Islamic civilization" is a quite precise term. It would be better to say "Civilizational Islam". ("Civilizational" is a value-neutral term here.)
> There were and are civilised Muslims in spite of Islam.
Yes there are , but not in our meaning of "civilization" as something value-positive. In this meaning all Moslems are "civilized" . (Again "civilized" not in the sense of being "compatible with the Western civilization").
The civilisational content can only increase over time.
> The civilizationall content of the world seems to increase over time, somewhat like entropy.
Are you sure of your metaphor , Plato ? Entropy is a property of this universe that entails that order everywhere decreases and disorder in this universe increases over time. So you sentence sounds "The civilizational disorder of the world seems to increase" . Did you really mean that ?
> The order of ideologies, religions and cultures give way to the disorder of democracy (individualism over collectivism).
This theory reminds me of another one where "the end of history" after the victory of American-style democracy was proclaimed. You can believe in it but history goes on as it did before. It doesn't want to come to an end as the theory prescribed it to do.
You can believe that individualism increases universally and replaces collectivism but Islam goes on aggressively and herd-like as ever before. It hardly confirms your optmistic belief.
Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".
Reader comments (2100) on this item
Comment on this item
Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum. Daniel J. Pipes