spengler-page-logo1.gif  Spengler is the pseudonym that a mysterious internet columnist at Asia Times Online has assumed. He writes a weekly column dealing with current events in the world, the fate of nations and implications for the future from the perspective of existential philosophy. The pseudonym is a reference to the early 20th century philosopher Oswald Spengler most famous for his works The Decline of the West and The Hour of Decision.

The choice of Spengler as a pseudonym is an ironic one considering the differences between the two but they also share many similarities both in style and content. The original Spengler mocked and scoffed at optimists famously stating that, “Like a grotesque ostrich he buries his head in hopes, ideals, and cowardly optimism.”[1]Similarly, the internet Spengler disregards optimism and takes on a very pessimistic view of the world, in which bloody civilizational war and the extinction of nations and languages though tragic is inevitable.

The internet-Spengler also prophesizes in a similar style as Oswald Spengler, albeit less successfully. Oswald stated, “I write not for a few months ahead or for next year, but for the future. What is true cannot be made null by an event.” [2] This was certainly true and he seemed to have some success in this department when he declared in 1936 a few months before his death that ‘the German Reich wouldn’t last 10 years’: with Hitler’s defeat in 1945 this prediction came true.

Internet-Spengler on the other hand has been predicting the eminent bombing of Iran since 2004; once even boldly stating that it was a near surety in October of 2006. None of which panned out which isn’t to say that it still can’t happen as one cannot put anything past the delinquent and irrational Bush government, but it does highlight the less than accurate prediction rate in that department.

Internet-Spengler’s claim to fame rests in the ‘Clash of Civilizations’ drama that has unfolded since 9/11 in which intense scrutiny has been paid to Islam and Muslim civilization. It comes from a very real place in which the West seeking to fill the void of foe after the collapse of the Soviet Union for the first time in years feels the existential threat of resurgent Islam, the forever ‘green menace’ on its borders threatening the way of life of Westerners. His goal in this regard is “to promote Judeo-Christian ecumenicism in the support of … the resolve to defend the West against its enemies.“[3] By enemies what is meant is Islam.

Franz Rosenzweig and The Star of Redemption

Aiding internet-Spengler is his inexhaustible reference: Franz Rosenzweig. Rosenzweig was an early 20th century philosopher and a good friend of Martin Buber as well as an early teacher of Leo Strauss. His magnum opus The Star of Redemption is where he introduces what he terms the “new thinking.”

I haven’t read this work closely and so do not want to give a summary here, but N.N. Glatzer gives us an insight into Rosenzweig’s project in the foreword to the book. The “new thinking” is “[t]hinking that ensconces common sense in the place of abstract, conceptual philosophizing; posits the validity of the concrete, individual human being over that of “humanity” in general; thinking that takes time seriously; fuses philosophy and theology; assigns both Judaism and Christianity distinct but equally important roles in the spiritual structure of the world; and sees in both biblical religions approaches toward a comprehension of reality. (emphasis added)”[4]

The distinct but equally important roles that he assigns to both Judaism and Christianity may be summed up as follows. “The Christian claim that no man can come to the Father except through Jesus was true for all others but not for the Jew, since Jews, being already with the Father, had no need to ‘come’ to him. Rosenzweig came to adopt the novel view that both Christianity and Judaism were true religions. Christianity for all others, Judaism for the Jews.“[5]

In such a scheme of God’s universe there is of course no place for any other religion, even a monotheistic religion such as Islam. Islam according to Rosenzweig then is only a masquerade of true revealed religion because it only attained the “outward conversion/comprehension” and not the “inner conversion/comprehension” of true revelation.

It doesn’t seem to me as though Rosenzweig has some special malice for Islam, but it becomes clear through out the book that Rosenzweig’s intent is to use Islam as an example of a strong contradiction to his “new thinking” and to aid all the more in proving his points as he says continuously, “Islam furnishes the proof of our problem.”

Rosenzweig was not a specialist in Islam nor did he from my knowledge understand it particularly well. In this sense he shared something in common with many Westerners not only of his time but today: incomprehensibility of Islam. A Sephardic Jew and even a traditional Orthodox Jew would understand Islam better.

Rosenzweig was coming from the outside, relying on Orientalist translations and was still new to Islam to which he was introduced around 1919. My guess is his incomprehensibility of Islam extends more from ignorance rather than a lack of rootedness in his own culture or tradition. Not one time in The Star of Redemption do you read the word hadith mentioned or its importance alongside the Quran as primary source of guidance. At other times there seems to be gross simplifications made of Islamic concepts such as about the role of Mujadid, Ijma,’ and even the meaning of the word Islam. In all it seems that Rosenzweig lacked a comprehension of Islam and rather used it as stated previously to drive his points home to the reader.

Never the less there are some challenging issues raised by Rosenzweig that internet-Spengler has transformed into consistent talking points in his columns and which he uses as proof that Islam is ill equipped to deal with a modern world which necessitates faith to make the switch from traditional/classical to personal faith. Some of these issues deserve to be engaged and answered and those Muslim philosophical theologians with the background should give it a look. As a novice though I would like to posit some suggestions and maybe add to the conversation.

The Beginning: Why did God Create the World?

We start with the beginning, at the point of Creation. Internet-Spengler asks, “But why was there a beginning at all? That is, why did God bother to create the world? The mainstream Islamic answer, going back to the 11th-century sage Muhammed al-Ghazali, is that Allah bloody well felt like it. He did not have to, and might as well not have. As Benedict observed, Allah is ‘absolutely transcendent’, that is, absolutely capricious. It is this arbitrary and capricious God, the pope implied, who demands conversion by threat of violence.”[6]

This is a regular claim that Spengler makes in his columns and is clearly something that he relies upon from Rosenzweig who thought of Allah’s act of creation as capricious and without purpose. Never is there a direct citation to a work of al-Ghazali or any other Islamic scholar. Still it is not outside the realm of possibility that some scholastic theologian, even al-Ghazzali, possibly held this view though I haven’t seen any proof of it, but if it were the case it would go against the opinion that Allah created this world for a purpose and not because He “bloody well felt like it.” As the Quran states,

Behold! In the creation of  the Heavens and the Earth and in the changing of night into day are indeed signs for people of understanding. Those who remember Allah standing, sitting and lying down, and contemplate the (wonders) of creation in space and the Earth. (They declare,) ‘Our Lord! You didn’t create all of this for nothing. So save us from the punishment of the fire.’“[7]

“It was not in jest that We created the Heavens and the Earth and all that lies between them. We created them to reveal the truth.“[8]

“It was not in sport that We created the Heaven and the earth and all that lies between them. Had it been Our will to find a diversion We could have found one near at hand.” [9]

“We did not create heaven and earth and everything between them to no purpose. That is the opinion of those who are disbelievers.” [10]

In my conversations with Shi’a I also know that in this regard they hold central that God never acts with out a purpose and He only acts for the benefit of mankind as He is in need of nothing. If we look at this question from the perspective of Shariah, Islamic law, we realize as has been agreed by Sunni scholars for over a millennia that the Sharia came to help us understand and discover the intent/objective of the Lawgiver which is “the fulfillment of the interests and benefits of the servant in their lives and the Hereafter.” So it is clear from the above verses that Allah All-Mighty created this world for a serious purpose, to reveal truth, and for the benefit of mankind and not out of some whimsical fancy.

Islam: Monistic Paganism?

Another claim that internet-Spengler reproduces is that Islam is no better than a monistic paganism. “Allah’s creation for Rosenzweig is a mere act of “magic”. Muslim theology “presumes that Allah creates every isolated thing at every moment. Providence thus is shattered into infinitely many individual acts of creation, with no connection to each other, each of which has the importance of the entire creation. That has been the doctrine of the ruling orthodox philosophy in Islam. Every individual thing is created from scratch at every moment. Islam cannot be salvaged from this frightful providence of Allah … despite its vehement, haughty insistence upon the idea of the God’s unity, Islam slips back into a kind of monistic paganism, if you will permit the expression. God competes with God at every moment, as if it were the colorfully contending heavenful of gods of polytheism.” [11]

This strikes to the heart of the Rosenzweigian idea that Islam is nothing more than a pagan religion, a product of its pagan milieu and just a monotheistic pretender trying to eat at the big kids table.

I am sure this would have been news to the Prophet (pbuh) and his Companions (ra) who it seemed were oppressed, killed and tortured for no good reason by the pagans of Arabia! If only the pagans of Mecca had known that they weren’t really giving up anything then everything would have been alright.

Seriously though this is a claim that required some further investigation as I haven’t seen any statement definitely attributable to al-Ghazzali on this. It is related by internet-Spengler and his groupies that al-Ghazzali’s reasoning was the cause for the decline of science in Muslim lands a few hundred years or so after his death. What is more likely and accepted is that the decline was due to stultification and rigid codification of thought encapsulated in the statement that “the gates of Ijtihad are closed.”

The closest corollary I could find off hand that might relate to this matter is a vexing issue that is not uniquely the providence of Islam but of mankind in general: the dilemma of free will versus pre-destination. It is a problem that is shared by the three Abrahamic Faiths, and in this regard the Muslims have contributed original answers.

The early Creed of Imam Al-Tahawi, a creed which is accepted in its authenticity and authority by all the scholastic schools of thought, Ash’ari, Maturidi, and Athari of Sunni Islam takes up the problem. It says in point 107 that, “Human actions are God’s creation but humanity’s acquisitions (kasb).” [12]

Kasb or acquisition “According to Ibn Furak (d.1045)…refers to “the state and decree whereby the human actor among us exercises the relation of his created power to that which has been decreed.” Ibn Furak mentions that accoding to Abu Hasan al’Ash’ari, acquisition referred to “what had occurred through created capacity,” and that al-Ash’ari would never say more about it than that and did not prefer any other expression to that one. Ibn Furak also quotes al-Shirazi (d.1083), who said, “It is whatever created capacity is related to, and this meaning is sound because any event not related to created capacity cannot be called ‘acquisition’ (kasb)”[13]

“In…a commentary on al-Nasafi’s creed (d.1310), al-Taftazani (d.1390) explains,

“[According to Nasafi] ‘God, the Sublime and exalted, is the creator of all the actions of His creatures, including rejection of God, the Sublime and Exalted, or acceptance of Him, obedience to Him or disobedience.’ However, this understanding differs from [the belief of] the Rationalists (mu’tazila) who claim that men are the ‘creators’ of their actions…The people of truth opposed them for a number of reasons: the first is that if the creature were indeed the creator of his actions, he would surely know all of their particular details, since it follows that power and freedom necessitate such knowledge. The ensuing inevitabilities of such a proposition are patently false. For example, even to walk from one place to another may comprise a series of interspersed stops along with the movements that oscillate between faster ones and slower ones. Meanwhile, the one walking is totally oblivious to those subtleties. This is not a result of his merely being distracted from such things. Even if he were asked about them, he would not know. This is apparent in the most obvious of actions [such as walking]; if, on the other hand, he were asked about the internal movements of his limbs and organs in walking, talking, striking, and what not, and what he needed in terms of the micro-movements of his muscles and the elasticity of his cartilage and nerve impulses, it would be even more apparent [that he knows noting of the particulars of his actions]. The second objection is due to the clear revealed texts that exist, such as God’s words, God created you and you do (37:96)…There is also the Quranic verse, God is the Creator of every thing (13:17). Rationally, this refers to every contingent thing, and man’s actions certainly constitute a contingent thing. In addition, the Quranic verse, Is the One who creates like the one who does not? (16:17), is used to praise the station of creative capacity and relate it to the worthiness of receiving servitude [from those who cannot create].” [14]

This is obviously an Ash’ari view and I am not sure about the Maturidis (who are close to the Ash’aris), or the Atharis (who are often opposed to the other two schools) view on this problem.

The Shia view in the creed book Itqadat al-Imamiyah by Shaykh Saduq states that,

“Taqdir (pre-destination) means that, Allah possesses foreknowledge of human action, but He does not compel anybody to act in any particular way.” The Shia also say that “Freedom of action is a gift of Allah. He has given us power, freedom, strength, limbs, wisdom and everything with which we do any work. Therefore, we are not independent of Allah, because our freedom is not only given but even sustained by Him. However our actions are not compelled by God, because He, after His showing us the right and wrong ways, and after His encouraging us to do right, has left us to our own free will. If we go wrong, it is our own choice.

Shaykh Saduq stated: “Our belief in this respect is what has been taught by Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (the sixth successor/grandson of Prophet): There is no compulsion (by God) and no relinquishing the authority (of God); but a condition between these two conditions. Then Imam was asked: How is it? He said: Suppose you see a man intending to commit a sin; and you forbade him; but he did not listen to you; and you left him; and he did commit that sin. Now when he did not pay attention to you and you left him, nobody can say that you ordered him or allowed him to sin.” [15]

Tawhid: Qul Huwa Allahu Ahad

The biggest miscomprehension comes in internet-Spengler’s attack on the foundation of Islamic belief: Tawhid. He says, “Oneness” in the sense of tawhid derives from the all-consuming tyranny of traditional society. Ghazali’s use of the term is quite different from the Jewish motto, “YHWH is echad,” which means (as Michael Wyschogrod demonstrates clearly) “unique” rather than “one” in the Parmenidean philosophical sense. For the Judeo-Christian god to self-reveal through love, he must become differentiated, either through YHWH’s anthropomorphic love for Abraham, or through the Christian Trinity in which God becomes Man.”[16]

Tawhid is the origin to which all true divine religions actually return and this is what internet-Spengler gets precisely wrong in his crass non-sensical interpretation of it as some result of the “all-consuming tyranny of traditional society.” The first commandment isn’t as Rosenzweig says, “Thou shalt love” but rather “Hear, O Israel, Thy God, Thy God is One” and this commandment is according to the New Testament Jesus the first and the greatest commandment. ‘YHWH Echad’ is profoundly synonymous with the Quranic verse Huwa Allahu Ahad! This verse comes up in the 112th chapter known as Surat al-Ikhlas, or the Chapter of Sincerity or Purity.

This chapter is known as being “one third of the Quran” as it is related that the Prophet (pbuh) once told his Companions to assemble and said to them, “Assemble together for I will recite to you one third of the Quran. So many Companions gathered, whereupon the Prophet (pbuh) came out of his home and recited this chapter and then withdrew. The Companions speculated that he withdrew because he had received a revelation. The Prophet again emerged from his home, however, and said, “I told you that I would recite to you one third of the Quran and most surely this sura equals one third of the Quran.”

Ahad comes from the same tri-lateral root as its counterpart in Hebrew.

“Before the revelation of the Quran, the Arabs were not known to use the word ahad in the description of God, which would have signified His oneness. Surveying its usage in the Quran, ahad is employed in the context of describing God as “one,” unique in His existence and indvisible in His being. It indicates God’s firstness, partnerlessness, and matchlessness; that, is God is one and has no equal. But when ahad is used as an attribute of Allah, it occurs only once in the Quran, the first verse of Sura 112 (just as the other key terms that describe God in this sura appear exclusively here). (emphasis added)[17]

As is related in many of the books of commentary and rhetoric this word Ahad means the Uniqueness of God, (Khass) and His indivisibility which is a strong rebuttal to the whole concept of a trinity, or three persons in one or the pagan idea of anthropomorphism.

Qur’an: The Eternal Uncreated Final Revelation

Another crude concept that has oft been repeated not only by Spengler but others has been the assertion that since Muslims believe the Quran is the eternal uncreated Word of God they are unable to come up with contextualized readings or reformation in their faith.

Spengler states, “It is possible to admit multiple authorship of the Hebrew Scriptures and remain a believing Jew, just as it is possible to concede inconsistencies among the Gospels and remain a believing Christian. But the premise of Islam is that the Archangel Gabriel dictated the Holy Koran to Mohammed as the final revelation to humankind.” [18]

On revelation Rabbi Sacks differs greatly with Spengler and his analysis seems more faithful to the majority Jewish view of Torah min Hashomayim, or Torah being the unmediated word of God.

Sacks says,

“Now, this is a fact which Jewish thinkers forgot to reckon with. And they made a very big mistake. They made the following mistake: that what the concept of revelation means in Christianity is not the same as what revelation means in Judaism. There is a totally fundamental difference and you can see this if you ask the following question. Where does God reveal himself? In what?

In Christianity the answer is: in a person. In Judaism the answer is: in words.

Now that is a very fundamental distinction. It means that, for instance, the four Gospels in Christianity are not revelation: they are evidence of revelation. They tell the story of revelation – which exists not on the page but in a person, in a life, etc. That is why, incidentally, Christians found it not difficult to accept the documentary hypothesis that there were four authors of the Tenach. Because in fact Christianity has exactly that. Where does it have it? In the four Gospels. Instead of “J”, “P” and “D” they are called Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. But there was never any attempt to, as it were, weave those into a single document because they are not revelation: they are evidence of, testimony to, the Gospels. The besorot tovot – declaration of good news – all the rest of it. They are not revelation. They are evidence of revelation.

Therefore, where in Christianity God is incarnate in a human being, in Judaism that concept is, as you know, inconceivable because if God is incarnate in a human being, God is in Judaism incarnate in every human being as tzelem elokim. And as for one individual being the son of God, we believe that every Jew is son or daughter of God, chavivim Yisroel shenikrim banim lamakom. “Precious are you O Israel,” says Rabbi Akiva, “because you are called God’s children.” Or, as God announces through Moses to Pharoah, Beni bechori Yisrael – “My child, my firstborn, Israel.”

In other words, Judaism and Christianity occupy extremely different world views. I am not critical of either nor do I wish to compare them, but they are different at absolute root! And what is fundamental is that in Christianity you can accept the book of criticism because the words are not holy! The words point to that which is holy. Whereas in Judaism, the words themselves are the vehicles of revelation. They are what is holy.(emphasis added)[19]

This is closer to the Islamic view on revelation, as Kalaam Allah, (the Word of God) and contradicts Spengler’s assertion that ‘It is possible to admit multiple authorship of the Hebrew Scriptures and remain a believing Jew,’ (“The Koranic Quoatations Trap,” May 15, 2007)

There has been a plethora, indeed an industry of books that have arisen attacking Islam by analyzing the perceived incompatability of revelation and reason in Islam because of the status of the Quran. Internet-Spengler shares the view of the current Pope who took a swipe at Muslims not being capable of reason because of their belief in the Quran as the uncreated Final Revelation of God.

This also has implications for reform according to detractors in that ascribing a human origin to the authorship of the Quran is the only possible way to open up a historical and contextualized reading of the Quran. Despite Spengler’s contempt for Tariq Ramadan, (who he says “As a “philosopher”…would not pass a freshman course” and “his relationship to 20th-century neo-paganism is unambiguous: he preaches a much older form of paganism, next to which Europe’s 20th-century totalitarians were upstarts.” [20])

I believe he provides a succinct rebuttal to this assumption, (also notice the similarity between what Sacks and Ramadan say about text criticism)

Ramadan says,

“One must add that the very terms of this debate have generated postulates that need to be questioned. Thus, people tend to believe that dogmatic or literalist approaches are caused by the nature of the Quranic text, and that ascribing a human origin to it[2] would suffice to open the way to a historical and contextualised reading. However, this statement performs two dangerous shortcuts. The first one consists in assuming that the status of the text alone determines its readers’ mode of interpretation, while this is far from obvious or inevitable. The history of religions and ideologies is filled with examples of texts produced by guides or thinkers, which have been, and still are, read dogmatically by their adepts or followers. The status of the text can indeed influence the modalities of reading, but in the end, it is the mind and psyche of the reader interpreting it that projects its categories and the modalities of its interpretation onto the book. Up to very recent times, Marx’s works were sometimes read and interpreted in most dogmatic terms by most atheistic Marxists. A text’s human source by no means warrants a historicizing reading of its contents, and numerous Christian trends, while recognising the various historical strata of the Gospels’ elaboration, still advocate a literal reading of the New Testament. What must be assessed and questioned is often the outlook, psychological set-up and frame of reference of interpreting scholars, and the debate over the status of the text falls far short of resolving the issue of historical and contextualised interpretation.

The other shortcut is methodologically more serious and its consequences are far more harmful. It consists in exporting the experience of Catholic theology into the Islamic tradition: since the historical-critical approach was only possible, in the Christian tradition, once the human source of the New Testament had been acknowledged, it is assumed to be the same – by natural induction – for the Islamic legal tradition. However, this exogenous, imported outlook fails to do justice to the great legal tradition of Islam that has never, since the beginning, linked the status of the Quran (as the “eternal word of God” ) to the impossibility of historical and contextualised interpretation. Indeed, quite the contrary has occurred: from the outset, the Prophet’s companions (as-sahâba), the following generation (at-tâbi`ûn), then the scholars, the leading figures of the various sciences and schools of law, kept referring to the context, causes (asbâb) and chronology of revealed verses. The sciences and commentaries of the Quran (`ulûm al-Qur’ân and at-tafâsîr), the study of the Prophet’s life (as-sîra), the classification of prophetic traditions (`ulûm al-hadîth) are so many areas of study that were constituted while taking into account the historicality of the revealed Word as well as of the Prophet’s speech and action. The eternal Word of God was revealed within a specific history, over twenty-three years, and if some texts or injunctions transcend the human History that receives them, some other verses cannot be understood without being inserted within a particular time sequence. Then, human intelligence alone can determine the contents of the timeless principle drawn from the text, while necessarily taking into account its relation to the social and historical context of its enunciation. This critical approach has been known and acknowledged since the beginning by all schools of law, and what was debated over later on was not the legitimacy of the approach itself but the norms and limits of such contextualising.[3] The debate already involves the elaboration of an applied hermeneutics.”(emphasis added)[21]

Jihad and Hajj: Sacraments of Self-Sacrifice in Bridging the Gap with the Eternal

The last major point that I wish to counter is the charge that internet-Spengler makes when he asks, “What is it that Muslims do to bridge the great gulf fixed between the eternal realm and ordinary human existence?” He answers, “I elaborated this point in a recent essay titled “Not what it is, but what it does”. [5] My conclusion was that Muslims sacrifice themselves, in a benign way through pilgrimage to Mecca, but also in a malignant way through jihad.” [22]

This is not entirely accurate as he does not mention the sacrament and pillar of pilgrimage to Mecca at all in that article but rather says, “How does a faith address the paramount concern of human mortality, and what action does it require of its adherents? I addressed these issues under the title Jihad, the Lord’s Supper, and eternal life (September 19), explaining that jihad does for Muslims precisely what Communion does for Christians. It is not a doctrine but a sacrament, that is, a holy act that transforms the actor.” [23]

Neither does he mention pilgrimage in his previous article dealing with the subject entitled “Jihad, the Lord’s Supper, and eternal life”

This seems to be a gross emission as Hajj is probably the greatest sacrament, incumbent on every male and female who is able to make the journey, where as Jihad of the lesser kind is not required of every single Muslim unless his land is attacked. The Hajj is a deeply profound sacrament, a journey of a lifetime, taken through out history with much hardship and through much trepidation and suffering with the ultimate goal of meeting your Lord, at His House and to end with a transformative re-birth of the Self. As the Prophet (pbuh) related ‘that one who undertakes Hajj and does it right and with the correct intention will be as a fresh born baby with his sins washed away.’

Jihad, no doubt is a great and meritorious sacrament when carried out legitimately in following the Law as well but to generalize and imply that it is the way for all Muslims is extremely misleading. Of course the Greater Jihad, the Jihad against the ego is a perpetual Jihad against the base desires, the Nafs-al-ammara or Inclining Soul and is incumbent on every Muslim.

Iran: The Axis of Evil and the Age Old Persian Problem

All of this philosophical masturbation leads interntet-Spengler to declare that “All that matters is the coming confrontation between the United States and Iran.”[24] He states his feelings about Iranians: “As for the Persians: they have been rather a nuisance since Thermopylae in 480 BC, and it is time that someone taught them a lesson.”[25] Well if not Thermopylae then certainly “[t]he Persians have been an annoyance since the Battle of Marathon, and it will not displease me to see them fail again.”[26]

The solution to this ‘nuisance’ is a pre emptive American attack on Iran. “It is…silly to reject a preemptive act on Iran on the grounds that the Persian nation would rally behind the radical regime of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad.” [27]
In this regard internet Spengler is quite sure that “the US will attack Iranian nuclear facilities.” [28] He was so sure about this that he declared that “Nonetheless, there will be war, and Washington will strike Iranian nuclear installations, probably before the end of 2006“[29]

Previously in 2004 he believed that the attack was imminent as he said, “To be specific, the United States will in some form or other attack Iran while it arranges the division of Iraq.”[30]

After the above predictions failed to materialize internet-Spengler unashamedly continued with his belief that the US would take action against Iran. “I have predicted US military action against Iran by Halloween (October 31), and I am sticking to my story.” [31]

One feels almost embarrassed to recount the litany of false prophecies and predictions especially in the light of the recent National Intelligence Estimate which stated that “Iran abandoned its nuclear program in 2003.” China and Russia saw this Estimate “as changing everything” and indeed the coalition for sanctions is split. This seems to have taken the wind out of the sails of the neo-con war hawks, but one can never be too careful with this administration and ‘ole misfiring’ Cheney.

In the end this defense of the West by internet-Spengler is really nothing more then the age old propagation of Western Imperialism and the percieved superiority of the West. It is the same idea that drove the slave traders, and colonialists of old: that the West with its Christian values is the champion of civilization and only through accepting its values can one achieve salvation. So he sees hope in Africa only because of the spike in conversions to Christianity.

Islam on the other hand is according to him a problem. In contradiction to the majority of historians it hasn’t contributed anything to Western Civilization or Renaissance. It can not achieve freedom and its salvation, in fact, in his absurd mind its last hope lies in accepting Israel. The Palestinians in his view are the same as Southern plantation slave holders. Iranians are an annoyance and their women are whores.

Spengler is not an Islamophobe in the usual sense though on his forum he attracts some of the most rabid Islamophobes on the internet that would make Anne Coulter and Robert Spencer (whom he calls an ally) and their followers blush; usually they receive small reprimands such as “when critiquing Islam be tactful.” Some of his forum goers have called for the imprisoning of Muslims, the bombing and invasion of their countries, genocide, torture while at the same time calling Muslims sub-human, barbarians, diseased and a plethora of racist and bigoted insults.

Spengler is much more tactful and he prefers to stay in the shadows, behind the computer rather then come into the public sphere or limelight. He sincerely wishes the West to win and even accelerate the so called “clash of civilizations” and there is proof that he is not merely a lone voice out there as he recently published an article on these topics in the journal First Things.

First Things is a journal directed by Father Richard Neuhaus “A close, yet unofficial, collaborator of President George W. Bush, Neuhaus advises Bush, who simply calls him “Father Richard”, on a range of religious and ethical matters, including abortion, stem-cell research, cloning, and the defense of marriage amendment. In 2005, Neuhaus was named one of the “25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America” by Time Magazine.” So Spengler does have some influence though the extent of his influence into the realm of the holders of power is not well known and shouldn’t be over blown.

One will not find much scientific analysis with Spengler, or much context either because it’s simply something he is not interested in. Spengler takes on the mantle of Prophet in the OT sense. This prophetic stlyle laments and admonishes, fights evil/bad ideas and (purposefully) over looks facts.

This is pardonable as he is a man carrying the white man’s burden.

References:

[1] Spengler, Oswald. The Hour of Decision

[2] Spengler, Oswald. The Hour of Decision

[3] Spengler Forum

[4] Glatzer, N.N., The Star of Redemption, p.xiii-xiv

[5] Jacobs, Louis. “Franz Rosenzweig and the Founding of the Lehrhaus,” 1995

[6] “Not what it was, but what it does,” 10/3/06

[7] The Holy Qur’an (3:190-191)

[8] The Holy Qur’an (44:38-39)

[9] The Holy Qur’an (21:18)

[10] The Holy Qur’an (38: 27)

[11] “Oil on the flames of civilizational war,” 12/2/03

[12] Yusuf, Hamza. “The Creed of Imam Al-Tahawi,” p. 74.

[13] Yusuf, Hamza. “The Creed of Imam Al-Tahawi,” p. 120-21.

[14] Yusuf, Hamza. “The Creed of Imam Al-Tahawi,” p. 120-21.

[15] Saduq, Shaikh. “Itaqad Al-Imamiyah,”

[16] “The faith that dare not speak its name,” 6/12/07

[17] Hammad, Ahmad Z., “One God: The Everlasting Refuge,” p.119

[18] The Koranic quotations trap,” 5/15/07

[19] Sacks, Jonathan., Revelation – Torah from Heaven, 3/26/01

[20] “The faith that dare not speak its name,” 6/12/07

[21] Ramadan, Tariq., Radical Reform: Ethics and Liberation,” 11/7/07

[22] “The Koranic quotations trap,” 5/15/07  

[23] “Not what it was, but what it does,” 10/3/06

[24] “The peacekeepers of Penzance,” 8/22/06

[25] “Frailty, thy name is Tehran,” 10/24/06

[26] “The peacekeepers of Penzance,” 8/22/06

[27] “Frailty, thy name is Tehran,” 10/24/06

[28] “The peacekeepers of Penzance,” 8/22/06

[29] “Military destiny and madness in Iran,” 6/6/06

[30] “Bush, Marshal Foch and Iran,” 9/21/04

[31] “Prisoners dilemma in Iran,” 6/27/06

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