Jump to content
BeatKing.com | Music News | Downloads | Forums | Videos | Lyrics

History a key to Islam's view of West


Recommended Posts

History a key to Islamic world's view of Western civilization

Sunday, March 21, 2004

THE idea that what goes around comes around applies not only to individuals but to nations and whole civilizations.

It was just a few centuries ago not long, as history is measured that China had the highest standard of living in the world and the Dutch were the world's largest exporters, while North Africans were enslaving a million Europeans.

Nowhere have whole peoples seen their situation reversed more visibly or more painfully than the peoples of the Islamic world. In medieval times, Europe lagged far behind the Islamic world in science, mathematics, scholarship, and military power.

Even such ancient European thinkers as Plato and Aristotle became known to Europeans of the Middle Ages only after their writings, which had been translated into Arabic, were translated back into European languages.

Today that is all reversed. The number of books per person in Europe is more than ten times that in Africa and the Middle East. The number of books translated into Arabic over the past thousand years is about the same as the number translated into Spanish in one year.

There are only 18 computers per thousand persons in the Arab world, compared to 78 per thousand persons worldwide. Fewer than 400 industrial patents were issued to people in the Arab countries during the last two decades of the 20th century, while 15,000 industrial patents were issued to South Koreans alone.

Human beings do not always take reversals of fortune gracefully. Still less can those who were once on top quietly accept seeing others leaving them far behind economically, intellectually, and militarily.

Those in the Islamic world have for centuries been taught to regard themselves as far superior to the "infidels' of the West, while everything they see with their own eyes now tells them otherwise. Worse yet, what the whole world sees with their own eyes tells them that the Middle East has made few contributions to human advancement in our times.

Even Middle Eastern oil was largely discovered and processed by people from the West. After oil, the Middle East's most prominent export has been terrorism.

Those who look at the world in rational terms may say that the Middle East can use some of its vast oil wealth to expand its own educated classes and move back to the forefront of human achievement. They did it once, why not do it again?

All sorts of things can be done in the long run, but you have to live through the short run to get there. Moreover, even the short run, as history is measured, can be pretty long in terms of the human lifes pan.

Even if the Islamic world set such goals and committed the material resources and individual efforts required, they could not expect to pull abreast of the West for generations, even if the West stood still. More realistically, it would take centuries, as it took the West centuries to catch up to them.

What will happen in the meantime? Are millions of proud human beings supposed to quietly accept inferiority for themselves and their children, and perhaps their children's children?

Or are they more likely to listen to demagogues, whether political or religious, who tell them that their lowly place in the world is due to the evils of others the West, the Americans, the Jews?

If the peoples of the Islamic world disregarded such demagogues, they would be the exceptions, rather than the rule, among people who lag painfully far behind others. Even in the West, there have been powerful political movements based on the notion that the rich have gotten rich by keeping others poor and that things need to be set right "by all means necessary.'

These means seldom include concentration on self- improvement, with 19th-century Japan being one of the rare exceptions. Lashing out at others is far more immediately satisfying and modern communications, transportation, and weaponry make it far easier to lash out destructively across great distances.

Against this background, we may want to consider the question asked by hand-wringers in the West: Why do they hate us? Maybe it is because the alternative to hating us is to hate themselves.

-- Thomas Sowell, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, can be reached through Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90045, or through his Web site at www.tsowell.com .

:read this:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Hoover Institute is well known for its conservative leanings. It's an interesting article. You mean they are 'telling it like it is" from their pov.

Do you have a link for the article?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I typed about 20 different responses to this article, and decided to delete all of them.

It's pointless. The article has so many holes, generalizations, uninformed statements, and overall one-sided thinking, that it's not even worth it.

And folks, I don't belong to the democratic party.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

makes sense to me ...but if you have a better.... more plausible... theory on it ...please feel free to share it with us.

You want me to give an historical overview covering centuries, that refutes the author's contention that the Middle East's biggest contributions to the world today are 'Oil and Terrorism", and that harnessing technology is the answer to restoring their cultural status?

I wouldn't know where to begin and I don't think a page will suffice... That said, I think the historical overview above is simplistic, and I think the modern day analysis is dead-wrong Certainly these countries have other things to offer besides oil and exporting terrorism. Otherwise, there's no hope, and I'm an optimist. Lastly, I don't think that technology is the answer to everything.

More to the point, if I had an interest in the subject matter, my approach would be more scholarly and in-depth. I think the above article is simplistic at best--frankly its demogoguery at its worst. That said, I dont have the time to respond every article, and if it doesnt interest me, Im not going to respond to articles like this in the future. I simply dont have the time.

You know my political point of view--its diametically opposed to whatever the Hoover Institute is touting, and I have no interest in having endless debates that dont solve anything. But others may find the subject matter more fascinating and provide more engaging conversations than me. Let them have at it...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't offer any opinions on the Middle East because there are no right arguments...it's a hopeless cause to debate. All points of view are so firmly entrenched that there can never be a meeting of the minds, much less an end to the powderkeg situation that exists. If someone wants to post these articles, then try to bait arguments, that's fine by me...I don't have to read them or participate if I choose not to. If others enjoy that, have at it....within the boundaries of civility.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with Ken, Dude and Koop 100%

Articles like these express the view of the writer only and he can write whatever he wants but spreading around stories like these is imo even worst.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Our picks

    • Wait, Burning Man is going online-only? What does that even look like?
      You could have been forgiven for missing the announcement that actual physical Burning Man has been canceled for this year, if not next. Firstly, the nonprofit Burning Man organization, known affectionately to insiders as the Borg, posted it after 5 p.m. PT Friday. That, even in the COVID-19 era, is the traditional time to push out news when you don't want much media attention. 
      But secondly, you may have missed its cancellation because the Borg is being careful not to use the C-word. The announcement was neutrally titled "The Burning Man Multiverse in 2020." Even as it offers refunds to early ticket buyers, considers layoffs and other belt-tightening measures, and can't even commit to a physical event in 2021, the Borg is making lemonade by focusing on an online-only version of Black Rock City this coming August.    Read more...
      More about Burning Man, Tech, Web Culture, and Live EventsView the full article
      • 0 replies
    • Post in What Are You Listening To?
      Post in What Are You Listening To?
    • Post in What Are You Listening To?
      Post in What Are You Listening To?
    • Post in What Are You Listening To?
      Post in What Are You Listening To?
    • Post in What Are You Listening To?
      Post in What Are You Listening To?
  • Create New...