The Delusion of Militarism

A fascinating article entitled ‘The Delusion of Militarism’ appeared in The Atlantic Monthly in 1908. It was penned by Charles Edward Jefferson (1860-1937), a New York author and minister. The first paragraph grabs the eye:

“The future historian of the first decade of the twentieth century will be puzzled. He will find that the world at the opening of the century was in an extraordinarily belligerent mood, and that the mood was well-nigh universal, dominating the New World as well as the Old, the Orient no less than the Occident. He will find that preparations for war, especially among nations which confessed allegiance to the Prince of Peace, were carried forward with tremendous energy and enthusiasm, and that the air was filled with prophetic voices, picturing national calamities and predicting bloody and world-embracing conflicts.”

As we know only too well from two world wars, not to mention several other major wars besides, the prophesies were self-fulfilling. The imagined violence and repeated affirmations of coming horrors were realized in fact, as if some sort of post-hypnotic suggestion were in force. Yet, at the same time universal calamity was being envisioned and professed, peace was being championed by world leaders and national statesmen, international workers’ organizations and peace leagues, conventions and courts. Indeed, we recall from our popular histories about the Great War that, prior to its outbreak in 1914, many experts considered international peace to be the foregone conclusion of economic development; after all, with the world inextricably linked by trade, what mammonist in his right mind would want to destroy accumulated capital and sever trade relations by waging war? Nevertheless, contrary to the proposition that perpetual peace was at hand, rumor had it that world war was imminent. As a matter fact, we know that generals had been preparing for 14 August several years prior to the invasion.

Confronted as he was with the contradiction between professed peace and the profession of war, with the “unprecedented growth of peace sentiment, accompanied by a constant increase of jealousy and suspicion, of fear and panic, among the nations of the earth,” Jefferson conducted an investigation, and tracked down the source of the war rumors to their origin: “(The) fountains from which flowed these dark and swollen streams of war rumor were all located within the military and naval encampments.”

Jefferson followed the flow of war talk downstream to legislative bodies where representatives had been convinced by the violent images and affirmations of the military experts, that war was in fact imminent, therefore their countries were really in grave danger. Hence an insane armament race around the world was launched. For instance, we recall the infamous Dreadnought race, between Germany with its Naval League, and Britain with its two-for-one policy, requiring it to have twice the naval power of any other two nations in order to secure world peace. The United States, also making a proactive suggestion along naval channels, sent a fleet of battleships on a peace mission around the world. Of course armies were enlarged accordingly and weapons improved and proliferated so that the world would have peace. But how absurd. The militant vision was driving men mad:

“(The) mere presence of the shining apparatus of death may have kindled in men’s hearts feelings of jealousy and distrust, and created panics…. It was only men who lived their life with guns who were haunted by horrible visions and kept dreaming hideous dreams and that the larger the armament the more was a nation harassed by fears of invasion and possible annihilation…. Was it a form of national lunacy, this frenzied outpouring of national treasure for the engines of destruction? Was it an hallucination, this feverish conviction that only by guns can a nation’s dignity be symbolized, and her place in the world’s life and action be honorably maintained?”

In other words, knowing fully well that war is butchery, murder, hell on earth, men built more guns, launched more battleships, recruited colossal armies and justified all this as peace-making with a pagan maxim in mind: “If you wish for peace, prepare for war.” What was the result of this mass delusion? Chaos and war. Imagine that. It is as if anxious people in want of peace were to join a perverse group therapy program, where, in session after session, they are firmly commanded to relax, to breath deeply as the group-affirmation is repeated: “The world is out to get us, the world is to get us….” Full attention is then directed at clear images of invading armies committing all sorts of atrocities, followed by images of glorious victories over the enemies of peace. If the therapy is effective, the subjects will be possessed by an unshakeable conviction in the patently absurd creed that peace is made by murdering other peace-makers. But this creed will be something different than normal dogmatism and fanaticism: if the power of suggestion in professional hands is as powerful as it is said to be, the subjects will eventually be rendered unable to believe in any alternative concept of reality. They shall begin to hallucinate, to see an enemy approaching where there is none, and no argument shall suffice to convince them otherwise: “A man who has the impression he is being tracked,” writes Jefferson, “by a vindictive and relentless foe, is not going to sit down and quietly listen to an argument the aim of which is to prove that no such enemy exists.” The group will take on an overpowering significance to which all ideas of persecution will be referred for the suggested response – killing people to save the world. It will be difficult to wrest the delusion of the supreme importance of the all-absorbing state from members of the group, because the delusion gives them a feeling of security. Jefferson duly notes that the militarist “is exceedingly impatient under contradiction; and, here again, he is like all victims of hallucinations. To deny his assumptions or to question his conclusions, is to him both blasphemy and treason, a sort of profanity and imbecility worthy of contempt and scorn.”

Delusions are usually individual mistakes, not mistakes held in common, such as the optical illusion that the world is flat. Jefferson poses the question, “Is it possible, someone asks, for a world to become insane?” He answers in the affirmative and provides several examples: the witchcraft delusion in Salem; the insanity associated with the Gunpowder Plot in London; the “hallucination” a thousand years ago that the world was coming to an end. We can think of many more cases. Mind you, Jefferson wrote his essay in 1908 – he did not have available as examples the mass insanity of the Great War and its devastating sequel, World War II.

We should ask ourselves today, Have we been hoodwinked or hypnotized into sailing on calm seas towards yet another holocaust by small groups of influential, paranoid, right-wing, regressive authoritarians at the helms of warships camouflaged as merchant vessels? Today a small fraction of the population does not have to have a legitimately defined state with armies, warships, and air forces to wage war in order to save the world from itself. Instead, a hijacked passenger airliner will do nicely, followed up by the deployment of compact weapons of mass destruction.

Alas, the great powers know not what they have done, hence they will continue to do it. Once in power, they manufactured enemies in their own image all over the world. They established themselves in power by revolutionary treason; and, if they win and prosper, they think they stand on higher moral ground, forgetting that the application of their original principle of liberty was treasonous. The implications of following suit are stupendous today. Now that much more can be done with much less, splitting a few atoms here and there can devastate a large portion of the world. A few men and women can destroy a city with a trunk if not a suitcase. Even a relatively small act of terror in comparison to the murder of millions can terrorize a paranoid populace into running amok in the name of global peace. Whether the force is exercised by a legitimate state or a group without a country, in both revolution and war we find a militant fundamentalist minority egging the masses on to chaos, They would soon make cannon meat out of millions of people. These neo-fundamentalists in state departments and remote caves preach the old doctrine, that life is a war of all against all; that might makes right; that life on earth, according to the old model of god, is meant to be hell on earth so that the fittest who obey god’s orders may survive, at least in the nebulous Hereafter. All those who die in battle are said to rest in Eternal Peace, or to have gone Home.

Proposals have often been made to liquidate the war-mongering minority at home and abroad: kill the enemy terrorists and kill one’s own leaders. Of course he who kills his own kind is evil, but killing another kind is fitting in the international jungle of anarchic natural right, where the natural law of reasonable society is not recognized. Of course there are exceptions to that rule: one may murder hundreds, thousands, millions of one’s own kind, providing they are sent off to war against the enemy. In any case, the burden of proof is always on the enemy, who is guilty until proven innocent, of doing what every egoistic leviathan has done or is doing: secretly preparing for war in order to secure the domestic peace.

A leader of the free world may not openly murder someone at home, but he may covertly authorize the assassination of alien leaders. He may for instance foster the rape and murder of “leftist” nuns and priests and the murder of countless “communists” in Latin America, sometimes whole native villages including women and children. He may deal drugs and arms, consort with international mobsters, and support the tyrants and terrorists he will later want to kill. He may have suspects murdered abroad without a trial; he may hold others in concentration camps for indefinite periods without legal process. And all this while preaching democracy to the world – at home he will be a great hero. The great democratic leader might condemn a diabolical man and his satanic generals for their mass murders, then offer them asylum somewhere. And knowing fully well that sanctions have never worked; knowing that sanctions have served only to enrich tyrants and aggravate the harm to their tyrannized subjects, who are not inclined to rise up against the tyrants unless they are promised military assistance; – the hero of democracy may impose and continue sanctions until at least one million innocent people have been killed, then point at the prosperous tyrant and say, “Look what he has done! Why didn’t the people rise up against him? Now I must save them.” And when people, thinking he is their ally, do rise up at his instigation against the tyrant, the democratic hero stands down while thousands of them are killed and buried in mass graves.

What hypocrisy! Well, then, why don’t the peace-loving people of the world rise up together and exterminate the war-mongering minorities of every nation? For one thing, that remedy would be a continuation of war as usual. Secondly, other licensed mass murderers would fill their bloody boots. Furthermore, the history of the Great War teaches us that, once war is started, internationalist pacifists take sides and become militant nationalists rallying around their respective flags, no matter what form of government the war banners symbolize.

Besides, it seems that people both male and female love to kill each other for the thrill of it or for no apparent reason at all – prosperity is no guarantee of peace. Zoologists tell us that even animals make war; alas, scientific experiments have yet to find the cause – there was plenty of things and space to go around, but one day some animals of the same kind showed up and all hell broke loose. The traditional justifications and rationalizations for war before and after the fact make ‘reason’ appear to be a mangy albeit logical dog dragged behind the war machine. Perhaps war, the greatest evil of all – some say it the greatest good – is caused by a virus or a bacterium; that is, if humans are not originally evil. Charles Edward Jefferson speculated on the possibility as follows:

“There are multiplying developments which are leading thoughtful observers to suspect that this pre-Christian maxim (“If you wish peace, prepare for war.”) is a piece of antiquated wisdom, and that the desire to establish peace in our modern world by brandishing the instruments of war is a product of mental aberration. Certainly there are indications pointing in this direction. The world’s brain may possibly have become unbalanced by a bacillus carried in the folds of a heathen adage. The most virulent and devastating disease now raging on the earth is militarism.”

Jefferson obviously resorts to metaphor: there is no such thing as an evil germ, bacillus, or virus in the microscopic sense. We might just as well say that peace causes war. We would not be the first to make the converse pronouncement that, “If you want war, prepare for peace.” This is not a mere play on words. Not only can repeated suggestions of war lead to war: so may repeated suggestions of peace made in the name of brotherly or neighborly love, accompanied by a vision of a definite utopias, lead to war – especially when someone wants to impose a particular visions. Militarists naturally imagine the violent means, and as ends in themselves if they love war enough. A warrior’s duty is not to question but to do his duty but to make war on command, even if that means, teaches the Gita, that one’s own relative will be killed. Now that war is not the occupation of a caste, it is no wonder that people at large who must dutifully die in wars want civilian control over the military forces – of course many soldiers once engaged in battle have often begged to differ with the principle of civilian control during the war itself. However that may be, politicians may dream of a certain universal peace to be had. Maybe they want to make the world safe for social democracy, or republican democracy, or national socialism, if not for brotherly love. Therefore they must make war to impose their version of universal peace onto the world.

Irving Babbit in his 1920 lecture, ‘Democracy and Imperialism’, points out that the masses have been sacrificed to the humanitarian theory of universal brotherhood:

“(This) particular ideal of union among men actually promotes the reality of the strife that it is supposed to prevent. One might without being too fanciful establish a sort of synchronism between the prevalence of pacific schemes and the outbreak of war. The propaganda of the Abbe de Saint-Pierre was followed by the wars of Frederick the Great. The humanitarian movement of the end of the eighteenth century, which found expression in Kant’s treatise on Perpetual Peace, was followed and attended by twenty years of the bloodiest fighting the world has ever known. The pacifist agitation of the early twentieth century, that found outer expression in the Peace Palace at The Hague, was succeeded by battle lines hundreds of miles long. The late M. Boutroux, whom no one will accuse of being a cynic, said to a reporter of the Temps in 1912 that from the amount of peace talk abroad, he inferred that the future was likely to be ‘supremely warlike and bloody.'”

Babbitt compares the clashes between states and alliances of states to clashes between Frankenstein monsters, and reminds us that Dr. Frankenstein’s monster had a beautiful sentimental soul, but he became ruthless when the beauty of his soul and his yearnings were not appreciated by others. Babbitt concludes his lecture with, “Here again the last stage of sentimentalism is homicidal mania.”

Hard-core militarists despise “feel-good” brotherly love as weakness or cowardice or stupidity, or they deny the possibility of a universal humanitarian brotherhood, preferring the clean love of barracks and trenches. The brotherly love of their fighting unit is better than any other brotherly love, especially the brotherly love of (expletive deleted) liberals who want to destroy the natural peace-making order of war; therefore, like other heretics and atheists, pacifists of all persuasions should be sent to the hell they are going to anyway lest they contaminate others. Like Carlyle, some conservatives accuse lovers of veiled hate: “Beneath this rose-colored veil of universal benevolence is a dark, contentious, hell-on-earth,” sayeth St. Carlyle. Be forewarned, then, that all efforts besides war to pacify the human race are doomed to failure. War is good and inevitable because men do not know what is good without submitting the important questions to the ultimate test. A life not worth dying for is not worth living. Long periods of peace corrupt and demoralize men. Peace is the cause of war.

We very well should be mindful of the dangers of making a universal out of a particular idea, of imposing a particular concrete utopia on the human race. But we are also mindful of the dangers of preaching violent means to achieve any sort of peace. We are but children grown up. Jefferson, speaking of the pageants of battleships given in his day, reminds us that children are most impressionable to our worship of violence and displays of weapons:

“Children cannot look upon symbols of brute force, extolled and exalted by their elders, without getting the impression that a nation’s power is measured by the calibre if its guns, and that its influence is determined by the explosive force of its shells. A fleet of battleships gives the wrong impression of what America is, and conceals the secret which has made America great. Children do not know that we became a great world power without the assistance of either army or navy, building ourselves up on everlasting principles by means of our schools and churches.”

War historians will beg to differ with Jefferson’s analysis. For example, after Geoffrey Perret graduated from high school in Wheaton, Illinois, he joined the U.S. Army. He is armed with degrees from the University of Southern California and Harvard – he studied law at Berkeley. His first book was about World War II. But I highly recommend his A Country Made by War, From the Revolution to Vietnam – the Story of America’s Rise to Power (1989). To wit: War makes America great. On the other hand, it behooves us to remember that there was a revolution within the American Revolution. The principles of the Declaration of Independence have still not been fully outlined by the U.S. Constitution. “Our fathers had an intuition,” says Charles Edward Jefferson, “that the New World would be different from the Old, that it had a unique destiny, and that it must pursue an original course.”

What Original Course does our author and minister recommend instead of the violent images and affirmations? “The deliverance will come as soon as men begin to think, and examine the sophistries with which militarism has flooded the world.” In other words, rather than leaving us with constructive images, perhaps with some quotes from the New Testament, he seems to recommend the talking-cure, the analytical method, in hopes that it will bring people to their senses, that it will wake people up to the truth. Think again and again. As previously noted, once war breaks out, pacifists tend to become patriots and internationalists become nationalists – or go into prison, into death camps, into exile. What truth should we wake up to? We are all by nature born imitators. What vision should we imitate? What affirmation shall we daily repeat? Should we raise up the Cross of Jesus and repeat the maxim unto our dying breath: “It is better to be killed than to kill.”

Does anyone have New World vision of peace to offer, one that the whole of humanity can believe is a realizable ideal? In 1908 Charles Edward Jefferson said that the Old World policy of militarism was dead wrong. He was proven right by the Great War, World War II, and every war thereafter. But, tired of waiting then, our minister finally capitulates, and plays an old tune: “It is possible to buy peace at too high a price. Better fight and get done with it than keep nations incessantly thinking evil thoughts about their neighbors.”

In want of a better model, we leave off here to search for one, with the beginning of Jefferson’s concluding paragraph in mind:

“Will America become a leader? At present we are an imitator.”


The Delusion of Militarism, The Atlantic Monthly, CIII, 1908

Democracy and Leadership, by Irving Babbitt, New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1924

Selected Quotations:

“The key to German historical teaching is to be found in Count Moltke’s dictum: ‘Perpetual peace is a dream, and it is not even a beautiful dream. War is an element in the order of the world ordained by God.’ ‘Without war the world would stagnate and lose itself in materialism.’ And the anti-Christian German philosopher, Nietzsche, found himself quite at one with the pious field-marshal. ‘It is mere illusion and pretty sentiment,’ he observes, ‘to expect much (even anything at all) from mankind if it forgets how to make war. As yet no means are known which call so much into action as a great war that rough energy born of the camp, that deep impersonality born of hatred, that conscience born of murder and cold-bloodedness, that fervour born of effort in the annihilation of the enemy, that proud indifference to loss, to one’s own existence, to that of one’s fellows, that earthquake-like soul-shaking which a people needs when it is losing its vitality.'” – The Outline of HIstory by H.G. Wells, New York: Macmillan 1921

Elementary School Children Honor Soldiers

WARRIOR header
South Pointe Elementary School Children Honor Soldiers


January 8, 2015

I was given cause to reflect on several wars when I passed by South Pointe Elementary School the day before my birthday this year and encountered schoolchildren greeting wounded soldiers kicking off a four-day Soldier’s Ride sponsored by the Wounded Warriors Project.

Warrior Project

My memories of war are nowhere near as painful as the physical and psychological wounds suffered by our brave and courageous war veterans. Yet I am a product of World War II. My father and mother met at a theatre when her baby daughter reached over to pull on the brass buttons of my father’s uniform. Her husband had been killed on a dam project. She died of polio six months after I was born.

Although I have never been on a battlefield, I often imagined I was there when I was on the elementary school playground playing at war during the Korean “police action.”

My best friend’s dad, home from Korea, hung himself in the garage where we played, and his mother followed suit a few weeks later on. I did not understand.

Combat became my favorite television program. I ran away from home to Chicago for good at age thirteen, and someone gave me a copy of The Ugly American to read. By the time President Johnson declared the “police action” in Vietnam, I was well disposed to violence. Enter Dr. Leary.

A few years hence, I was a pacifist being tear-gassed in front of the Chicago armory, where communists were handing out pamphlets.

I attended demonstrations in Washington, went to the White House, and recommended that President Nixon read Moby Dick.

I was dead set against both Bush wars on Iraq, certain that they would backfire on the United States. I marched against the first Bush war in New York City as patriotic Americans rained bottles on our heads from the buildings above, and demonstrated against the second Bush war in Honolulu as observers yelled obscenities at us. By the way, Vietnam veterans were among the demonstrators.

WARRIOR demonstrators

I studied war for hours on end at the university, and I found no cause for war in books other than it is human nature to wage war to make peace, some say for the moral improvement of the race. Other animals wage war as well, and not for food, mates, or territory.

Now I am wary of pre-emptive wars. Yet a war waged to save millions from being murdered for nothing if they can be saved is a just war in my opinion. I would sacrifice my own life in a defensive war. Sometimes I wish I had been killed in war, such has been my history, which seems in retrospect to have been quite a mistake at every juncture.

I would never wish myself wounded, to survive only to be forgotten by my own country, to come home and be shortchanged by the nation I served. I am not one to hold the soldier responsible for the politicians’ mistakes, to spit on him when he returns. No, I like the children at South Pointe Elementary School thank and honor the men and women for serving our country, for if no one answered when called to duty because someone thought the cause might be wrong, there would be no country worth fighting for.

WARRIOR fighting for

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WAGING WAR TO MAKE PEACE by David Arthur Walters

Florence Nightingale’s True Calling

Florence Nightingale
Her forte was administration not nursing





She denied she kicked every prick to get things done.

Florence Nightingale would be a saint today if she had been a Catholic, and she might have been a Catholic if she had followed her inclination to be one in 1852. As far back as 1844 she had admired the Catholic sisters of charity; she asked Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe if it would be “unsuitable and unbecoming” to take up charity as the sisters had done. He replied in the affirmative, but said she should “go forward” if called to the vocation. When Protestants in Scutari accused her of being a Catholic, an Irish clergyman remarked that she was a member of the Good Samaritan Sect. Some of the Protestants in turn were accused by other Protestants of adhering to the Socinian heresy. Such were the absurdities impeding good works.

Sainted woman, indeed. Given the formidable obstacles the Angel of Crimea faced, her success was in fact nothing short of miraculous. Whether she be sainted or not, the fame of The Lady With A Lamp is well warranted. Only Our Lady of Sorrows outshines her works. Although she believed not in the existence of germs, the fearless Lady-in-Chief certainly believed in loving kindness, soap and water, good clean air, and the better administration of everything – the death rate of patients at Scutari dropped from 60% to 1% in a few months. Wherefore Florence Nightingale changed the world forever and much for the better – there is not a nurse in the world who does not follow in her footsteps.

I am tempted to recount her deeds and give all due credit to her Band of Angels and to her supporters and admirers, from the Queen on down to the humble citizens who kissed her shadow when she passed them by on the street. Much credit would be due to the Radical paper, The Times, the first newspaper to cover a war with embedded reporters, for exposing the horrid conditions of the great blunder called the Crimean War and for raising funds from the appalled public to supply necessaries to the sick and wounded and dying patriots, who were called “scum” by their arrogant and incompetent officers. But I must refrain from the formidable task of retelling the tale. I do not have enough time on my hands to add another biography based on the many excellent biographies already written even though I would have a chance at fame and fortune: best-selling histories of histories have received the Pulitzer Prize. In any case, what Florence Nightingale did is already well known on the whole, for almost everyone knows a little bit of her story if not all. What I did not know and wondered much about – until I read Cecil Woodham-Smith’s Florence Nightingale – is what induced such a fine Englishwoman to kick against the pricks set up against progress in her field. She denied she had kicked every prick to get things done, but we can understand why people got that impression given her persistence when confronted by Red Tape.

Saul rebelled against his Lord as if he were an ox kicking against the pricks goading him to obey, thus driving them deeper and deeper into his tormented flesh. Florence, on the other hand, responded dutifully to the higher calling once she knew what it was. But almost everywhere she turned for the sake of charity, pricks were set up against her by wicked forces for fear that someone’s oxcart might be overturned and the goods therein spilled out into places more deserving. Do we not have such sayings as, No good deed will be left unpunished? Someone will invariably try to thwart the doing of good deeds if they receive advance notice that an attempt will be made. Flo encountered formidable impediments when she put her right foot on the high road. We are reminded of something Plutarch wrote to the effect that Pompey got along famously until he tried to save his country. Florence like Plutarch had the habit of writing. Besides writing letters for her dying ‘children” into the wee hours of the morning at Scutari, she produced long administrative reports of material transactions incidental to her work as well as accounts of her struggles with human resources. For example, she described her travails in a March 6, 1856 letter to Samuel Smith from Scutari:

Dear Uncle Sam:

I am very anxious to correct a false impression, which seems to exist in your mind, that I have had a steady & consistent support from the War Office – that, such as being the case, I kick against every prick – & am unduly impatient of opposition, inevitable in my or any situation, to my work.

The facts are exactly the reverse. I have never chosen to trouble the W.O. with my difficulties, because it has given me so feeble & treacherous a support that I have always expected to hear it say, ‘Could we not shelve Miss. N.? We dare say she does a great deal of good. But she quarrels with the authorities & we can’t have that.’

I have therefore fought my own battle – not only as I can truly say, unsupported by any official out here, with the exception of Gen’l Storks, so that I was amazed the other day at getting the loan of the little Gov’t tug for carrying good s – but exposed to every petty persecution, opposition & trickery that you can mention.

I have never had time to keep any records whatever except in the way of accounts. But I should have liked to have left some record of the way in which officials can torment & hinder a work. And, as they now see, torment, not only unmolested but rewarded, as every man who has been in any way instrumental in our great calamity, has received promotion or honors.

I will give you the slightest, pettiest instance of the hindrance which the pettiest official can make out here, if so minded.

When I came out, an order to furnish me with money was, of course, forwarded from the W.O. to the Purveyors here. I have never availed myself of this to the amount of one farthing. On the contrary, they have been frequently in my debt to the amount of lbs 1,500. But the Senior Purveyor at Balaclava refuses to cash my Cheques, for no other reason discoverable than the love of petty arrogance & the hope of injuring my credit, in the minds of ignorant servants.

As I think it is a pity that he should have then pleasure of doing this, I now send up CASH to the Crimea or take it.

Otherwise I could, of course, if I chose to complain, get an order to compel him not to refuse my Cheque.

This is the little Fitzgerald, who, after a course of successful villainy, has like id genus omne, been promoted to be Dep’y Purveyor in Chief, with back pay & all his little soul desires. This is Dr. Hall’s doing. But his is only one specimen of the promotions.

I do not like to use hard words. But I have no time to give the facts which would support them. But even to Sir J. MacNeill’s Report I could add a few facts which, if they were told (I being now one of the oldest inhabitants in Scutari & the Crimea) would make us feel that the times of the Scribes & Pharisees were nothing to these.

This little Fitzgerald has starved every Hospital when his store was full – & not, as it appears, from ignorance, like some of the honorable men who have been our murderers, but from malice prepense.

I know that you think the Credit of a wild imagination belongs to me. But I cannot but fancy that the W.O. is afraid of the Irish Brigade – and know that Card. Wiseman, who is supposed, right or wrong, to have some influence over Hawes, has been busy in this matter.

A ‘sot’ in the hands of ‘habiles mechans’ can do as much, as I know to my cost. And perhaps you do not know that Card. Wiseman has publicly, in his Insults, noticed with praise Mrs. Bridgeman’s Insurrection. Now Mrs. Bridgeman & Fitzgerald are one.

Fitzgerald topped up, with his ‘Confidential’ Report against me – for which he is rewarded, while a poor little Ass’t Surgeon, for a true & public letter in the ‘Times’, is dismissed the service.

I assure you that our utter disgust at these latter promotions would tempt us, (the few honest men as I hope,) to preach a Crusade against the Horse Gds & War Dep’t, feeling as we do now that not one step has been gained by our two years’ fiery trial & that more Aireys, Cardigans, Halls & Fitzgeralds will be propagated for the next war.

Believe me faithfully yours,

Florence Nightingale

[“Cardigans” appertains to Lord Cardigan, James Thomas Brudenel (1797-1868), notorious for his hot temper and for leading the disastrous Charge of the Light Brigade].

Miss Nightingale’s letter merely describes a small portion of the hindrances; yet she persisted until the war was over; and even then she would not leave her nursing post until the soldiers had gone home. A battleship would have returned her to the mother country for a hero’s welcome, but she would have nothing to do with glory: she found her own, discreet way back to England. And then she continued to work overtime for reform; no doubt she would have reformed the entire British bureaucracy if she had obtained leave to do so from the men in power – only men could have such power at the time. Miss Nightingale, by the way, was not a ruthless cutter of the monstrous Red Tape; to get her way, she saw to it that men followed their own rules right away.

Whatever possessed Florence Nightingale, a woman born into high station, to do so much for her people when so many people were dead set against it? Today we expect wealthy and noble women to occupy themselves with charitable work; for God’s sake, what else have they to do? A Victorian woman was expected to marry and attend to her family; if she was charitably inclined, she certainly would not take up nursing, which at the time was more or less the occupation of vulgar drunken women and whores who slept with their patients. Florence Nightingale landed in her vocation because, much to her dismay in the form of guilt feelings, she was possessed or called by her god to do something good for society; she did not quite know what.

Flo’s father inherited considerable property from his uncle. Her mother’s father was rich man; a member of Commons for 46 years – he tended to fight for lost causes. Florence, so named for the city made famous during the Renaissance, wanted for nothing material as a child. For Flo her parents wanted a liberal education appropriate to her high station and a marriage to a suitable husband. She was her father’s daughter more than her mother’s, wherefore she was self-righteous, and her elder sister Parthe resented her and was perpetually cross.

Flo sorely craved companionship in her teens, She later wished she had not wasted so much time on corresponding with others; the writing habit she developed certainly came in handy during her administrative career, and we would not know her and her work so well today without it. We cannot blame her family for Flo’s loneliness. She like all children brought her own peculiar disposition to the dinner table. She was situated better than most children of the realm, yet she was an unhappy girl. In fact she imagined she was a monster. Fearing that strangers would discover that she was an alien, she starred as the heroine of her dreams. Perchance she dreamed too much for her own good. She suffered collapses and was bid-ridden from time to time. Likewise in her adulthood did she spurn celebrity and wind up sick in bed, where she still did the administrative work of ten men. Her psychological state in her youth would require expensive therapy in our drug-ridden age – the nosology of her malease (obsolete English word) would be too complex for our consideration here. Her mind was clear and quick, and she perceived matters realistically, yet she was abnormally sensitive and given to emotional exaggeration. Suffice it to say that the neurosis common to her own age was Romanticism of the French sort, the somewhat hysterical and perverse symptoms which would not do for Englishwomen despite Byron’s despairing contribution to ennui and malaise; hence symptoms had to be confined to fainting over the failure of someone to write a letter, rather than over the failure of a lover to show up for an adulterous tryst. Lady Lovelace, Byron’s daughter, by the way, loved Flo and wrote verses about her.

Despite her inner struggles with her god and the fact that parties made her feel guilty, Florence developed into a gracious, charming and witty young lady, a debutante seen at the best balls. At age seventeen (1837) she came out in France, where she share Joan of Arc’s experience with a divine but objective voice: “God spoke to me and called me to His service.” And on to Florence, Italy, where Florence was absolutely mad about the opera and the Italian freedom movement. And on to Geneva, where she became the disciple of the great Sismondi. Back in Paris to escape an impending war, she met and became good friends with Mary Clark, the influential salon hostess who, unlike her sponsor Madame Racamier, was not beautiful or well off but who managed to revive the salon life so important for the progress of modern European civilization. Back in London in 1839, her conscience bothered her about greatly for not answering God’s call, preferring, instead, parties and balls. She wanted to overcome “the desire to shine in society.” Her parents knew nothing of her quiet desperation, the agony and despair under the smiling face. There was some disagreement over her desire to take up mathematics: her mom was against it because math, she thought, was of no use to a married lady of high station; her father also disapproved, favoring history and philosophy. Flo wound up with a compromise – eight math lessons. As we know from her later life, she remained fond of mathematics and often resorted to the budding science of statistics to support her professional calling.

So at age 22 Florence was a young society lady, a vivacious intellectual figure who cut quite a figure on the dance floor. “All I do is done to win admiration.” And she was a girl who was enslaved by the habit of dreaming, and she was ashamed of herself for not responding to her god’s calls – many years later, in 1874, she wrote of four calls to a definite but unclear course. Mystical union with her god would not suffice: she must do his works.

As for marriage, there was indeed a suitor in the form of a poet and philanthropist: Richard Monkcton Milnes. She saw him often and was most interested in his philanthropic work. During the 40s she had scenes with her family over her fancy for nursing, which they considered a contemptible calling indeed, one that would put to waste all the Latin, Greek, poetry, and music lessons afforded their daughter. She proceeded to occupy herself with the study of hospital reports and Blue Books on public health. She enjoyed housekeeping; putting the house in order, making lists, and so on. Otherwise she was miserable: she collapsed; bed rest was prescribed as usual. Recreation was called for. Onwards, to Rome in 1847, and dancing. Back to London in 1849 for more misery, dreaming, self-hating suicidal thoughts. Flo fantasized of marrying her suitor and doing heroic deeds with him; but she eventually rejected his proposal and decided that her intellectual, moral and active nature, together with her dreaming and fainting spells, disqualified her for worldly marriage. To Egypt in 1849. More dreaming spells. Her diary is filled with references to God’s calls. Berlin in 1850.

In 1851 Flo writes from England, “My present life is suicide…. I have no desire but to die…. In my thirty-first years I see nothing desirable but death.” She went to work at Kaiserwerth that year – hospital, orphanage, prison, school – and worked with children and patients; she said she learned nothing of nursing there since there was none practiced. She visited her parents in Cologne; they treated her like a criminal. In 1852 she wants to go to work in a Catholic infirmary; her big sister Parthe accuses Flo of wanting to kill her and has delusions and a nervous breakdown. In 1853 Flo takes an unpaid administrative position for the reorganization and relocation of the Institution for the Care of Sick Gentlewomen in Distressed Circumstances. She did a lot of practical nursing there, but she soon realized nursing was useless without proper administration. She learned to do many useful things: procuring a stove, furnishings, call bells and so on; managing coal deliveries, keeping accounts, supplying the kitchen, administering drugs so patients were not poisoned.

Miss Nightingale was finally happy. No more parties and balls. She was in her natural element, i.e. her Calling. In 1854 her apprenticeship was over and war was had with Russia. The Times broke the story about the outrageous conditions in Crimea: the pathetic state of sick and wounded soldiers who were dying more from neglect than from war. Her friend Sidney Herbert, Secretary of War, knew whom to call to service. He did not have to make the call, for she was already on her way.

Infidel Knight Dismisses Palestinian Statehood

Infidel Knight Dismisses
Drawing by Darwin Leon






Dajen Doomah:

Your claim that sovereign nation-states are a relatively modern invention occurring with the fall of the Roman Empire and then the Roman Church, and that Islam constitutes a return to the natural tendency to universal theocratic community under world empire pursuant to Muhammad’s 632 farewell address wherein he said, “I was ordered to fight all men until they say there is no god but Allah,’ is false propaganda designed to deceive your students.

First of all, the establishment of new nations or new countries with newly organized peoples by the time-honored tradition of warfare goes far back in history. For example, the nation of Israel, historically a sovereign nation firmly established by war and recognized by other sovereign nations thousands of years ago was deliberately put out of existence by the Romans because the Jews refused to submit to the sovereignty of the empire. No other nation had so continuously and persistently resisted Rome’s take-over as Israel. So, Rome decided if they couldn’t subdue the Jews, they would just make their nation disappear and scatter the people far away.

There was never any sovereign nation of Palestine. The Roman territory called Palestine was actually the land of the sovereign nation of Israel. Semitic peoples calling themselves Muslims wandered their way back onto the land, swearing to the Romans: “We’re not Jews… we’re Muslims… we hate Jews as much as you do, and we won’t cause any problems.”

That was plain old common-sense survival strategy; who could blame them? And so, they continued to live on, and multiply, through the death of the Roman Empire, through the Crusades and world wars, until this very day.

The killing of six-million Jews during the Holocaust was a horror which had not been seen in the modern world. The Holocaust, however, was not the start of the Zionist national movement, which simply the return of Jews to their historic homeland. It was ongoing for many years prior to the historic Balfour Declaration of November, 1917. The Declaration was not merely a personal letter, but was penned after Lord Balfour had talked seriously with many heads of state as to whether or not historical justice would be served by re-installing the Jews onto their historic homeland as the renewed nation of Israel.

It was only after the Holocaust was revealed to the world that the British openly declared that the historical nation of Israel must be re-established in their historic homeland, yet advised Israel that it must be mindful and tolerant of all the new history which had taken place there since their dispersal. Therefore the Jews did not demand the Dome of the Rock, which, although built on the site of the Jewish Temple, was of major religious significance to Islam. They also did not do anything to jeopardize any historic Christian holy sites.

The first reaction toward a peaceful establishment of a Jewish village was the slaughtering of every man, woman, and child in that village by knife-wielding Palestinians. The Israelis persevered, have made their land fertile and their industries productive, and have produced amazing new technological achievements for the world, such as the new nuclear and chemical warfare protective tents I happen to be selling in America. They have re-invested money in their agriculture and business and technological advancement.

The Palestinians, meanwhile, were co-opted by an Egyptian, who couldn’t get a dozen Egyptians on a street corner to listen to him, and by the skilled use of terror and murder against Palestinians, and his proclamation of hatred for Jews, made himself the “king” of the Palestinians. He spent years, raking in hundreds-of-millions, possibly billions of dollars for his own benefit, leaving the Palestinians to wallow in squalor, all the time blaming it on the Jews. Those dollars could have been spent in exactly the same way the Jews spent theirs in making their land fruitful, but that was not to be. Yet there was always plenty of money for weapons and for any and all Muslims who would use those weapons to kill Jews.

So, we continue to see Muslims murdering each other at an alarming rate and continuing to blame their own social and economic problems on the Jews. Palestinians, to boot, are now largely outcasts from all other Arab nations. They are publicly unwanted by other Muslims, yet are allowed to work, own businesses, attend schools and receive medical care in Israel.

I hope I have been of some help in your search for information. I have tried to present as much historical fact as I am able, but have limited time to do research for teachers such as you, so I must bid you farewell. I wish the best to you and yours, a thousand blessings on your family, and all the best to your students. And remember, I am not an infidel knight, but am,

Sincerely Yours,

Roundtable Rascal


The Doomah Discourse is taken from dialogue on the Roundtable of that took place circa 2003. David Arthur Walters took on the role of Dajen Doomah, Devil’s Advocate, an Iranian English teacher. ‘Roundtable Rascal’ is the late Hanley Harding of South Florida, an heroic American patriot, Navy SEAL, and the best friend one could ever have in terrifying times.

Pseudo-Persian Epistle to Friend in Allah

Don_Quixote_de_la_Mancha 7
Don Quixote de la Mancha





My Dear Friend Only in Allah,

Thank you for responding.

First of all, I pray that neither you nor your brothers and sisters were unduly offended when I referred to you as a “knight,” a term that I associated with the honorable King Arthur and his noble knights although you appear to be an Anglo-Saxon and not a Celtic warrior. I know why the table was round, but they were still noble knights.

Many of the knights who joined the pre-emptive Crusade against Allah’s people, however, were much less noble than the Arabs. As a careful student of history, you must know that “arab” means “noble.” Although we Persians have our differences with our Arab brothers, we certainly intend no insult when we call them Arabs; that is, “nobles.” Although we ourselves are a humble people, we are proud of our heritage. Our heritage is the foundation of our personalities, which are all not merely biased but faithfully prejudiced in favor of All-Merciful-Allah.

Unlike infidels (may Allah have mercy on their souls) who believe they can take off their personalities like hats under the pretence of searching for the truth, we find our truth within the personal commune. The infidels would too, if only they took to heart the truth revealed by foremost modern Christian philosopher and pope, Karol Wojtyla, in THE ACTING PERSON, a work that I have lately been interpreting for my students.

Indeed, every Christian who sincerely believes that the Prophet Jesus was the son of god – we respectfully do not share that belief – and was and is the same as god but in the form of the Supreme Personality, would esteem the person even higher than we do, and would not pretend to set aside the very personal feelings and prejudices that make him a human being made in the image of his personal god.

Even in the common parlance of your English language, the term ‘person’ is synonymous with an acting human being. Sometimes it is difficult for a people to know themselves through their own eyes, therefore it is useful for other people’s to come to their assistance; in this case, to point out that, no matter how impersonal or objective or detached or scientific a Westerner may think he is, he is still personally motivated and prejudiced, otherwise he would be an inhuman monster.

And, more often than not, when he claims that he is going to set aside his personal biases and feelings in order to speak truly, as you have done in your letter to me, he is about to lie, and is trying to deceive people into thinking he will not conduct himself as usual, most often badly, which if he were honest, he might as well do, that he might be corrected when in error. For the highest Christian truth, what you enjoy capitalizing in English, as Truth, although all truths are one in Allah, is not only personal but is a Person. And this brings me to question that my students are curious about:

How can Christian Americans believe in the Supreme Person while at the same time thinking the person is some sort of dirty thing, a mask that must be set aside in order to tell the truth, which is in effect a lie?

I neglected to pose that question on their behalf in my first epistle to you. I hope you will take it under consideration now while allowing me to address you as a noble person, or “knight,” as it were. For I see that you have proven my thesis true: you have pretended to set aside your personal feelings and biases, but you could not conceal them, wherefore you launched a personal attack on your Muslim cousins.

I assume that, if you are not Semitic by birth, you are, nevertheless, Judeo-Christian by culture if not by faith. Therefore may the All-Compassionate Allah have mercy on your person for the cultivated animosity that you feel for his slaves; may you be forgiven for your defamation of their characters for being Muslims and for mercifully pointing out the hypocrisy of Jewish leaders for their own edification and for surrendering to Allah’s will and following the holy prophets.

Without Allah’s compassion, your groundless hatred of your own kind shall surely work your ruination shortly after Election Day of your Common Era year 2016. Now what have you done, within the context of the Judeo-Christian culture, other than further foment or perpetuate, with your angry accusations, the very preaching of hatred and commission of murder among us that you yourself condemn?

In fact, your speech resembles that of the more “rabid” (as you say) fanatics among our beloved people in Palestine, who are taught to hate their Zionist oppressors in schools. Their teachers fail to make a clear distinction between political Zionism and religious Judaism, a flaw that our Iranian schools are correcting under my direction.

Naturally your personal animosity is due to certain vicious defects in your personal upbringing as well as your public education, which is a political mockery of the meaning “under God” in the idolatrous pledge to a flag of a country instead of a confession of faith in Allah, conditioning all docile students in the confusion of religion with politics, and inciting them to mass murder and organized terrorism.

Naturally religion is the worship of the Absolute Power, while politics is an attempt at its worldly distribution. All peoples have worshipped the Absolute Power, the Eternal Subject of universal religion, the Giver of Life and Death. Fire was the symbol of that Power for my Persian ancestors, as well as for the ancient peoples of Bharat. (Mind you that I capitalize certain nouns as proper without intention of idolizing them).

The Pharaoh of Love looked at the ultimate form of Fire, the Sun, or rather to “the energy within the Sun,” for the solace of the Egyptian people. Our Arab brothers in the deserts preferred the Canopy to the Sun, so they looked to the vast Sky as the one and only, the encompassing deity.

Monotheism was the original religion in our great cradle of religion. But power-hungry politicians worked vainly to variously distribute Allah’s power according to their base, materialistic inclinations, and therefore the number of idols multiplied. Infidels believe that power resides in the ability to manipulate people and to accumulate wealth for their minority interests, and thus do we have the “power elite” that you have mentioned, and we have them even in so called republics and democracies – their abstract idol is money, on which they crave usurious interest.

And it is well worth noting that that both communism and capitalism idolize matter and constitute political instantiations of greed. Your own country, where many immigrants found some fortune relatively small and great because of the vast resources that the invading European barbarians plundered from its natives, is for the most part owned by a neo-barbarian superpower elite that colludes with the money-hungry power elites of its allied infidels to exploit the poor countries of their natural resources.

Your infidel leaders commit this crime against Allah’s desire for peace: that is why we call the barbarian party the Party of War; that is why Iran exports the means for freedom from the perpetual mass terrorism of the infidels.

Now you have mistakenly charged Muslims with the hatred of Jews, when it is actually the Party of War that has perpetrated the persecution of Jews, and has often done so in the name of the Judeo-Christian deity identified under the pagan rubric capitalized, ‘God.’

As a highly educated man, you must surely recall that German philosophers, before and during the Great World War, went so far as to take the Jew out of Jesus by claiming that this holy prophet was Greek, in order to justify their hatred for Jews and greed for their property. Indeed, as the hateful Satan perpetrated a holocaust, just as before the Jews and other Semites had sacrificed enemies (herem) by setting them apart and sacrificing them to their Lord, devout Catholics got on the political stage and gave the Nazi salute (my students have photos of these rallies).

In point of historical fact, Muslims have always treated Jews well in comparison to the barbaric Party of War, and had not the Muslims converted the hordes from the East to tolerant Islam, there would be no remnants of Judah today.

But allow me to return briefly to your confusion in respect to the nature of nations as the native or navel origin of tribe, clan, and folk, and from this origin to the development of diverse populations, via seed-mixing in the harlot cities, into conglomerations subservient to political states that in effect incorporated many nations yet called themselves “nations” – to wit, mongrels – and to your confusion of the political state of Israel with the Semitic tribes, and your mistaken belief that the Israelites or Hebrews before them were the only Semitic people.

You would discover if you took the political course I have laid out for my students, that there is only one god with many names, namely, Allah, and that the hatred you speak of is not the fault of religion but is rather the use of religion by the Party of War as a political excuse to set one individual against another in the name of godless liberty and democracy, to use their mutual fear of one another in their protesting irreligion to organize them into warring parties ruled by the power elite for the accumulation of material wealth via the destruction of the world. The love extolled by the infidel elite is hate-others based self-love. Such is the greed of the Great Satan.

I shall provide you with some scholarly edification on the subject later on, if you wish, but suffice it to say at this juncture that the Great Satan is doomed for his hatred of man. The Great Satan was cast down in the first place because his love for Allah was constituted by his hatred for man. It is this very hatred that is cultivated by the false prophets of Judeo-Christianity, who, on the one hand, profess love for and faith in God in the form of Divine Personality, the God-Man, yet, on the other hand, curl their lips in disdain at humanity and snarl at “humanism” like dogs.

We Muslims do not hate our own kind as infidels do. Allah alone is merciful; therefore, you are our friend only in Allah. No, my noble knight, we do not hate the Jews that you and your commander-in-chief have professed to love. But many of us hate Zionists, for they have forcefully, without a referendum, established an unwanted political state in Muslim country, where nations are anathema.

Your Friend Only In Allah,

Dajen Doomah

School Teacher

Postscript: Incidentally, contrary to your stated opinion, neither kings nor sheiks nor emirs rule Iran. Iran is a holy democratic republic. Lest politicians stray from Allah, we have a council and a supreme holy man to keep it them in line with merciful Allah’s will.

Sunnis, Sufis, Jihads, Our Differences

Execution of Mansur Al-Hallaj







“Look at the travelers on the Path of Love, how each has a different spiritual state. The one sees in each atom of the world a Sun radiant and imperishable. Another directly witnesses in the mirror of existence the beauty of the hidden archetypes. And a third sees each one in the other, without veiling or defect.” Jami

Many Americans had never heard of Sunnis and Shiites until neoconservative Christian regressives seized executive privilege in the United States and led what its commander-in-chief, President George W. Bush, openly referred to as a “holy war” on Islamic extremists or Islamists in Afghanistan, in retaliation for Al-Queda’s retaliatory attacks on installations of the military-industrial-oil complex in the States, a complex that the President’s forebears had been instrumental in establishing, and then employed pretexts – in accordance with Carl Schmitt’s dicta that one must lie to a democracy to overcome its factious nature and get something done – to dupe frightened and angry people into participating in a preconceived, pre-emptive invasion of Iraq, to destroy its sovereign government, incorporate its oil fields, and establish a Western-style, democratic-capitalist bulwark against Islamism in the Middle East. Both military actions were in direct contradiction to the professed neoconservative ideology of not participating in “regime change.”

Until the other side of the “holy war” had been brought home to them, a majority of United States citizens could not place Afghanistan or Iraq on the map, let alone the several states and cities of their own country. Still almost every American had a general notion of what Islam stood for, as opposed to Christianity, and mature Americans had studied some of its history before such studies had become increasingly irrelevant to making a living in America; of course histories were still read by history buffs, usually for entertainment, as if they were novels. A few people interested in current events followed the Iran-Iraq war instigated by Saddam Hussein, who was aided by President Ronald Reagan. President Reagan had also supported jihadist Osama bin-Laden in Afghanistan. Sunnis controlled Iraq, where some of the holiest sites of Shiites are located, while the Shiites were dominant in Iran, so the Iran-Iraq war was viewed as a sort of religious or ethnic conflict between the two main Islamic cults. Still, few people knew much, if anything at all, about the religious difference between Sunnis and Shiites, especially since the difference was confused by regional politics.

As the United States was waging war in Iraq, newspaper columnists tried to distinguish between Islam’s two main branches because the difference had something to do with what was perceived as an unjust imbalance of power in Iraq. For example, Bill Tammeus, news editor and faith columnist for the Kansas City Star, wrote a useful article entitled, ‘Centuries of strife split Sunnis and Shiites.’

It is indeed important for the public to understand that, despite Islam’s professed universalism and the apparent superiority of Islam’s monotheism in that regard, compared to the feel-good faith of Christianity that fosters international strife in the name of its own one-god, Muslims are not all of a piece or at peace with one another nor have they ever been. Neither are we, for that matter, and our own differences are so similar to their differences and to other people’s that we have good reason to hope to resolve them via a universal global accord with a common political-economic religious theology posing as ideology. The wars fought until then shall increasingly be revolutionary wars and civil wars, instead of world wars between powerful states – that is not to say that World War III is impossible. Iran’s totalitarian regime has most lately set itself up for a fall – a push from the Great Satan i.e. the United States shall not be required – and perchance an Islamic state shall arise despite that being a contradiction to the religion.

Mr. Tammeus did not support the difference he drew, with examples of the strife between the two main Islamic branches, so that we could compare the divisions with our own. He might have pointed out that the Shiite faith, given its expectation of the appearance of the Hidden Imam, and its hierarchical structure, is more ‘compatible’ with apocalyptic and catholic Christianity than the Sunni faith, which has its similarities with protestant and secular Judeo-Christianity.

To further our confusion, the Kansas City Star’s faith commentator brought Sufism into his discussion, parroting the widespread notion that “Sufism is the small but influential mystic branch of Sunni Islam.” But Sufis worship saints – the various schools or paths were founded by various holy masters – and holy places and relics, which is anathema to orthodox Sunnis, the grossest infidelity as far as iconoclastic Muslims are concerned. That is not to say that the average Sunni cannot be tolerant, and submit to Allah’s judgment as to whether or not He is properly worshiped by someone or the other, or that the Sunni cannot at least be pragmatic whenever Sufis can be useful to them, especially in politics and war.

Sufis themselves have a reputation for tolerance wherever tolerance suits their purpose. They are famous for their professed love of God and their fervent desire for unity with the deity. The godhead is one thing if not no-thing or Nothing, and the religious forms of worship are something else, something secular or worldly. When in Rome we might do as the Romans do yet not lose our essential faith. The Romans required lip-service to the state religion, and a person could maintain his personal faith on his homely hearth. Christian martyrs, however, sacrificed themselves to be identified as bearing witness; yet Christians ultimately took up many of the Roman ways and became the state religion.

Why should not Sufi mystics be good Pythagoreans and observe whatever exoteric religion prevails while maintaining their esoteric preference? Indeed, Sufis have dared to claim that their mystical cult predates both Islam and Christianity. Classical Sufi author Moulana Nuruddin Abdorrahman Jami (Hakim Jami) of Herat, in his Alexandrian book of wisdom, identified esoteric Sufism with Western thinkers, naming Hermes Trismegistos, Pythagoras, Hippocrates and Plato as Sufis. As for that intelligence and learning from which we draw so many differences between ourselves, Jami said it is nothing to boast about, nor should people boast of their humility. He noticed that people have been taught to declaim dishonesty, but what they really abhor is hypocrisy.

Americans have enjoyed a romantic perspective on exotic Sufism since it was imported into the United States. Popular Sufism is associated with love and god, and with poetic, musical, and dance rituals that purportedly bring the devotee into harmony with the cosmos and unity with the godhead. Surely, we think, if everyone were a Sufi at heart our world would be peaceful. Or a mystical Hindu, or Christian, or Buddhist, et cetera; for the essence of true religion is the Supreme Being. Well, we may sing the same song and dance the same dance, but movement requires the exertion of force and harmony is born of conflict. If we in our particulars were the One, we would not be at all in our particulars. Religion may worship absolute power, but politics is required for its distribution. Religion has its politics in its practices. Although the morality of religion may be virtual suicide if it aims at the annihilation of the striving self, the struggle for life naturally goes on, for we would all endure forever without resistance if only we could, but if there were no resistance to our will, we would not exist as we are.

Mysticism may help the mystic get along in the world, to be at peace even when moving, to be blissful momentarily, and to tolerate human evil, or to be, at least in attitude, beyond good and evil. Yet there is nothing moral about being at one with an indefinite or infinite One. You are at one with God and you feel great, as if you were God Almighty. So what? What are you going to do about evil? He who ignores evil by transcending it or saying it is nothing but the absence of good is no good to anyone.

To wit: a mystic is not inherently good. A mystic may be an angel or devil or both. Sufi masters are not inherently good or holy simply because they practice mysticism and conduct the rituals of their preferred paths. They remain human beings in the world, a world necessarily political in its power struggles, and their regions of the world may be awful trying. To illustrate that fact and its consequences, our faith columnist and news editor might have, before he identified Sufism with Sunni Islam, proceeded with an investigation of the then current official status of Sufism in Uzbekistan, and the official persecution of religious dissidents, most of whom are Sunnis, with the cooperation of the United States in the “war on terrorism”, i.e. highly organized, well-equipped, uniformed terrorism against loosely organized, ill-equipped terrorists who also think they are fighting for “freedom.”

The Sufi persecution of dissident Sunnis in Uzbekistan is derived from the old policy of the U.S.S.R. Our faithful columnist might study the history Samarkand, and examine, for example, Tamerlane’s slaughter of reputed infidels in India. And he will find a history of sectarian violence in the mountain regions, especially those of Afghanistan and the Caucasus, once Sufi strongholds. He might note that the current leaders of the Naqshbandi sect of Sufism brag of their origin near Samarkand, and claim that they have always been peaceful; but they have always been politically involved and extraordinarily deceptive; by the way, their missionaries led the Chechen jihad against the Russians.

If in his historical journals the faithful student journeys south and west from the mountains, he will see that Sufi dervish cells were formed as a reaction to Sunni theocratic domination, a reaction against universalism and imperialism. He could conclude that Sufi spiritualism has more in common with Shism than Sunnism, instead of stating, “Sufism is the small but influential mystic branch of Sunni Islam.” Sufis were tolerated for political reasons by both Shiites and Sunnis, but efforts were eventually made to stamp out their cells, which reacted with more secrecy. The cellular type of organization is well known to freedom fighters, regardless of their races and creeds, throughout the world.

Given human nature, we should not be at all surprised to hear that Sufis have enthusiastically fought on one side or the other. Of course they are better known for fighting against imperialism than for it. The fact that Sufis on the whole put themselves on the path of ‘tasawwuf’, the consciousness or spiritual state of being of the perfect man, in distinction to his outward actions and spoken laws (sunna), does not mean they will not, for instance, behead an infidel, and perhaps use his skin for their war drums – as was done with Russians in Chechnya, where the Sufi Death Song was still chanted by rebels in our time.

We might believe that Sufis are political quietists, but history loudly speaks otherwise. Just because someone abhors the existing human world and obtains direct loving access to god does not mean he must withdraw to a mountain or desert cave or monastery cell to chant the names of god and leave the world alone. No, in addition to withdrawing to constantly remember god, he may become a knight of god or Muslim ghazi and wage a holy war or jihad on the evil world he has renounced. The ghazis were closely associated with Sufi orders. Not only did Sufi dervishes follow the warriors around, banging on drums and eating live snakes to inspire and entertain the troops, they also led the warriors in battle. Sufi ascetic discipline inured the body and mind to suffering: fasting, a strict regimen of praying, single-minded concentration, and related practices are not only conducive to passive martyrdom at the stake or on the cross but also to martyrdom on the battlefield. Still today the adept dervish engages in practices, such as whirling, that render him impervious to pain, enabling his body to be cut and burned without flinching.

We recall that the ghazi institution developed from the association of Arab with Turkish warriors. During the seventh century, Islam penetrated northeast into Transoxiana, a region north of Afghanistan, on the old Silk Road to China used by the Romans. Islam was joined there in the eleventh century by the Seljuks, a branch of the Turkic peoples who dominated the Asian grasslands from Mongolia to Russia. The Seljuks were precursors to the Ottoman Empire and the modern Turkish state, which descended from one of the ghazi principalities left after the fragmentation of the Seljuks by the invading Mongols who had followed the Seljuks south from Asia via the same gate.

After the Seljuks settled in Transoxiana, they converted to Islam and soon became masters of what revered Sufi Sheikh Kabbani, while attending a UNESCO conference in Uzbekistan, called the “Spiritual Heart of Islam.” (emphasis added). The Seljuks expanded southeast to capture Baghdad in 1050. The caliph obligingly appointed the Seljuk ruler sultan. The sultans thereafter became the temporal rulers of the Abbasid Empire, the caliphs remaining in office as mere puppets.

The Seljuks soon penetrated into Asia Minor and eventually prompted the First Crusade. They were joined by ghazis, frontier Muslim raiders and warriors. At first the ghazi bands had resisted the Seljuks, yet they eventually became closely allied with the Turks. Besides the prospect of ample material loot to be had from sedentary Christian settlements, the ghazis and the invading Turks had a common spiritual purpose under the one and only god. Nomadic warriors and the unemployed came from far and wide to wage jihad on Christians at the Byzantine frontier. The overall objective was political domination rather than conversion to Islam: it was more a case of your money (tax or tribute) or your life. Some people converted to Islam and argued that, since they were Muslims saved from Hell, they were therefore immune from the death penalty if they did not pay the tax; their arguments for immunity, however, fatally failed.

By the end of the fourteenth century, the ghazi ways had been adopted by the Turks and most of Turkish Asia Minor was ruled by ghazi groups. Each ghazi brotherhood had a spiritual leader, and most of the ghazis belonged to a dervish order. After the break up of the Seljuk Empire, the Ottoman Empire emerged from a small Turkish state occupying the border between Islam and Byzantine Christianity, ruled by Osman 1299-1326). An Ottoman ruler was thenceforth called a “border chief” or leader of the ghazis. A fourteenth-century saga calls ghazis “the instruments of God’s religion… God’s scourge who cleanses the earth from the filth of polytheism… God’s pure sword.” The principle and cornerstone of Ottoman political theory and the Ottoman state was the Sixth Pillar of Islam: Jihad.

The number of Sufi heroes waging war are legion. For instance, take Hasan al-Basri (642-728), who participated in the Arab conquest of eastern Iran in 663. His name is found in the genealogies of many Sufi orders. In the Sufi classic, ‘Nourishment of the Hearts’ (c. 970), he is acknowledged as “our imam in this doctrine… and we walk in his footsteps.”

Hasan was known for his puritanical piety. He rejected the world he described as a “venomous snake”, and he made the gnostic claim that creation was a bad mistake instead of something the creator was pleased with after making it. His gnostic views greatly influenced the kind of Sufism which had its ascetic roots in Arab displeasure with the Persian luxuries that perverted the Arabs as they swept north, creating a vast gap between rich a poor, a tiny, enormously wealthy minority in contrast to the desperately impoverished majority.

Hasan denied that a man can excuse himself by saying god caused his actions. He preached humility and the sort of self-scrutiny that became a cornerstone of Sufism. He extolled altruism. He scorned the pedantic reconstruction and transmission of lines of authority. He is well known for the depiction of antitheses, famous for his vivid, masterful images of heaven and hell. Muhammad’s promise of Paradise to martyrs and Hell to infidels was vital to his jihads.

Of course Sufis are not best known for either/or thinking. Usually, after engaging in antithetical thinking on fear and hope, hell and paradise, and the like, Sufis masters discounted the divisive process in favor of union with the god beyond relative good and evil; by way of example, here are two excerpts, one from the female love-mystic Rabiah al-Adawiah (d.801), the other from the male poet Omar Khayyam (1048-1131):


O my lord, if I worship thee from fear of hell, and if I worship thee in hope of paradise, exclude me thence, but if I worship thee for thine own sake, then withhold not from me thine eternal beauty.


Nobody, heart, has seen heaven or hell,
Tell me, dear, who has returned from there?
Our hopes and fears are of something which,
My Dear, there is no indication but the name.

Hassan had numerous followers from a wide variety of backgrounds; they are described in the literature as Koran reciters (qurra) and pious warriors (mujahidun). They despised social injustice, luxury, and especially hypocrisy – that is, the contradiction between inner and outer jihad, thoughts and deeds.

Another freedom fighter was Abd al-Wahid bin Zayd (d. 750). Wahid provided vivid images of Judgment Day to his followers: he admonished them to prepare to meet their maker. Wahid informed his disciples that God bestows secret knowledge on His righteous friends.

Wahid admired Christian monks for their disdain of the world and its sinners. He reportedly founded the first Sufi cloister on the island of Abbadan, a military outpost which became a training station for Iraqi ascetics – Abbadan was a major attraction for jihad-minded Muslims. The post was manned by ghazis who combined military service with religious worship – the ‘dhikr’ or constant citing of God’s name was practiced there.

We should also mention Ibrahim Ibn Adham, a native of Balkh (a city in today’s Afghanistan). He was said to have given up a kingdom in order to go out West to live as a vagabond and farmer. When there was nothing to reap, he fasted, meditated, practiced sadness, engaged in gnosis and divine friendship with God. He eventually settled in Syria, on the border with Byzantium. He died waging outer or “lesser” jihad: he was killed in the second of two navy battles he participated in.

Fahad Ansari, a specialist in anti-terror legislation, a researcher and spokesperson for the Islamic Human Rights Commission, posted an informative article on the Web about Sufi Jahidis: ‘Remembering the Great Tradition of Sufi Jihadis in Muslim History.’

Mr. Ansari complains that even those Muslims who fight against injustice and oppression are labeled “extremists.” Only “moderate” Muslims are acceptable, that is, only those who are willing to compromise their values, to be assimilated into the Western culture, keep their religion to themselves, and otherwise embrace Western and secular values. He points out Westerners believe that Sufis, whose mystics have a reputation for universal tolerance, are moderates with whom alliances against extremism can be forged. But they neglect the fact that Sufis established a reputation for fighting both Eastern and Western imperialism. He refers to three modern Sufi jihadis:

Omar Mukhtar aka the ‘Lion of the Desert,’ a Sufi member of the Sanussiyah tariqah or path, “led the jihad against the Italian military occupation of Libya for over twenty years beginning in 1912. Although a teacher of Quran by profession, Mukhtar was not one of those about whom Allah says, ‘Do ye enjoin right conduct on the people, and forget to practice it yourselves, and yet ye study the Scripture.” Mukhtar said, “We fight because we have to fight for our faith and our freedom until we drive the invaders out or die ourselves.” He was captured in 1931 and shackled despite his old age (70). He recited sacred verses while tortured, and was finally hanged.

And Abdul-Qadir al-Jazairi, an Islamic scholar and Sufi member of the Qadiri tariqah, led the jihad against the French invasion of Algeria. “Abdul-Qadir showed himself to be a leader of men, a great soldier, a capable administrator and a persuasive orator. He ultimately failed to defeat the French because of the refusal of the Berber tribes to unite with the Arabs against the French….” He was forced into exile, died in Damascus in 1860, and was buried next to the famous Sufi, Ibn Arabi.

And Imam Shamyl aka ‘The Greatest Imam’, a Sufi follower of the Naqshbandi tariqah, imparted Islamic law to the pagan tribes of the Caucasus and led them against the Russian invaders. Shamyl was a powerful man and great warrior himself. He taught his followers war chants, some of them still used by Chechen rebels, including the famous Death Song. The Russians admired him, sparing his life and allowing him to retire – he died in Medina in 1871.

“Mukhtar, Abdul-Qadir, and Shamyl,” states Mr. Ansari, “are just three examples of how tasawwuf was not regarded as an obstacle to armed jihad but as an inspiration for it. There are countless other examples.”

After referring to so many Sufi heroes of so-called Lesser Jihad, it would only be fair to mention the philosophical heroes of greater jihad; several notable spiritual fathers of Sufism were unwilling to fight the external albeit “lesser” jihad for militant Islam, preferring instead the internal or “greater” spiritual struggle. Despite Islam’s early predilection for militant jihad, mystically inclined Sufis still insist that jihad is unqualifiedly and essentially an internal struggle to put down the selfish self or internal enemy that craves mundane existence. The mystical revolutionary should direct animosity towards the real enemy within; he should meditate or enlist God’s help with virtual suicide; and, if action is absolutely necessary, then he might whirl about the non-dimensional point he wants to make, chasing his own tail instead of hastening towards specific goals. One becomes properly centered in or becomes the One: the cosmic dance provides a thrilling feeling of bliss, somewhat like a spinning top would feel if only it were alive.

The outward revolution of the whirling dervish is obvious, but the inner struggle, called the greater jihad, of the devotee to conquer himself, is invisible and does not appear to be revolutionary at all. Having thus conquered himself, the proudest man is the most humble man of all, a man purportedly more powerful than any worldly king, for he does not need a king to rule himself: he has submitted to the greatest sovereign of all, and is thereby saved from Hell and even the Paradise that makes Hell a hell by comparison.

If only everyone would comply and become the Holy One, peace, if not law and order under a theocracy pending the Last Day, would prevail in the outer world: for as it is in heaven so it should it finally be on Earth – that Earth would no longer be inhabited by warring human beings if their particulars or differences disappeared in the One. Ironically, only a violent revolution could impose a kingdom of God over every man as we know him. Each monotheistic person secretly believes his or her one-god is better than all the other one-gods put together. A lesser or militant jihad may be required to reconcile them all, but still the pacific struggle is preferable to war, hence it remains the greater jihad.

Sufi theorist al-Qushayi (d.A.D. 1074) provides us with insight into psychological jihad in his ‘Treatise on the Knowledge of Mysticism’:

“Al-Sulami said that his grandfather heard Abu ‘Amr ibn Janid say, ‘Whoever is generous with his Self attached no importance to his religion.’ Know then that the basis of striving and possession of it is weaning the Self from what it is accustomed to, and bearing the Self contrary to its desires generally, for the Self has two characteristics which prevent it from the good; indulgence in lusts, and abstinence from obedience.”

Furthermore, here is an excerpt from the great Baghdad Sufi saint, Shaykh ‘Abd al-Quadir al-Jilani’s (d. A.D. 1166) sermon ‘The Opening of the Unseen.”

“Each time you struggle against your lower self and overcome it and slay it with the sword of opposition, God restores it to life and it contends with you again, and demands of you your desires and delights, whether forbidden or permissible, so that you must return to struggle and compete with it in order to carry off the everlasting reward. This is the meaning of the Prophet’s saying – God bless him and give him peace – ‘We have returned from the lesser jihad (war) to the greater jihad (self-control).”

Also worthy of mention is the famous Baghdad mystic and martyr, Husayn ibn Mansur al-Hallaj, who was born in 857. He lived alone for twenty years, and was trained by several great Sufi masters of the time, but he broke away from them to do his own thing as an itinerant preacher. He wandered far and wide, from Arabia to the Indian subcontinent. His famous ecstatic exclamation “I am the divine Truth!” was the ultimate heresy to Muslim monotheists, who did not even believe the prophet Jesus was a divine incarnation let alone this mere vagabond. Hallaj also violated a vital principle of the great Sufi masters of his time and of mystics from immemorial: to keep one’s mouth shut about such incomprehensible experiences; the secrets of mystical union should only be divulged to sworn initiates.

Hallaj was flogged, mutilated, exposed on a gibbet and decapitated. Thus was he victorious as a martyr to love, as one who fought the inner fight or “greater” jihad. He had written:

Kill me, my trusted friends,
for in my death is my life!
Death for me is in living, and
life for me is in dying.
The obliteration of my essence
is the noblest of blessings.
My perdurance in human attributes,
the vilest of evils.

According to tradition, the severed head of Hallaj repeatedly said, “I am God.” The drops of blood on the ground spelled out the same statement.

Finally, to arrive at a balance between the inner and outer struggles, or the greater and lesser jihad, we should mention a much later Sufi, a poet of a love with all its cruel anger besides its tender affection: Jalal al-Din Rumi (1207-1273). Almost everyone knows that Rumi loved to dance, that he was a great poet, and that his son founded the ever popular Mawlawiyah Sufi order of Whirling Dervishes. Rumi was born in Balkh but his family removed to Konya, Anatolia (Turkey) to avoid the advancing Mongols. The family was warmly received by the Seljuk authorities. Rumi’s father continued his career as teacher and sheikh, and Rumi was educated in the religious sciences. When his father died, he assumed his father’s teaching post.

In 1244 Rumi met Shams al-Din (Sun of Religion), a wandering dervish, to whom he became the Moon, living with him for two months while Shams revealed the occluded Mysteries. Rumi’s family was reportedly jealous and scandalized by the intimate relationship, and Shams was sent away. Rumi was naturally disconsolate. Shams was recalled but disappeared shortly thereafter; he may have been murdered, perhaps with the knowledge of Rumi’s brothers. Rumi had two subsequent spiritual lovers, but Shams, his first love, was the inspiration for his poetry. In his nearly 40,000-verse work, Divan-i Shams-i Tabriz, he signed Sham’s name to the poems.

Inside a lover’s heart
There’s another world,
And yet another.

Rumi’s other masterpiece, Mathnavi-yi ma-navi, or Spiritual Couplets, is sometimes referred to as the Persian Koran. The Mathnavi consists of mystical teachings in the form of long poems, fables, stories, proverbs, anecdotes, and allegories. It is basically an extended commentary on the Koran and the Hadith (traditional sayings of Muhammad). The Mathnavi was a virtual Bible to Sufi-guided ghazi warriors. Therein, Rumi speaks of the tension between the inner and outer jihad.

In one Mathnawi story, a vain Sufi who is flattered by widespread praise of his spiritual conquests and who has contempt for the lesser jihad of war, joins soldiers in order to demonstrate his outward virtue as well. During his lesser jihad of actual combat, the arrogant Sufi is exposed as a coward, giving the lie to his former spiritual claims.

On the other hand, in another story Rumi portrays a military hero who flees from the ardors of spiritual struggle to the relative comfort of the bloody battleground.

We understand this lore because the tales are all too human. The difference between ‘us’ and ‘them’ or ‘us’ and the ‘others’ is very little and is artificially contrived. Obviously, given the crucial crisis underlying mind and body, given the crux of thought or symbolic action and deed or actual action, there is much room for hypocrisy on both the mental and material stages; but for the mystical actor those stages are one, and hypocrisy is resolved by the holy spirit.

The more we inquire into the differences between the people far from our peaceful shores, the better shall we understand ourselves, and the better we understand ourselves in our likenesses to them, the better we can serve the world by sharing with them the better things of life, instead of behaving like self-centered automatons. Sufi masters have considered the universe as a web of mutually supporting systems: a Kurdish Sufi reportedly said in ancient times, “Everything that exists maintains and is maintained by other existences.” Whether or not we are willing to give Sufis credit for discovering this law of reciprocal maintenance, we have an opportunity to pay down the debt of our existence, for we cannot progress on the spiritual path until we fulfill our obligation to our being on this planet. The least we can do after testifying to our good intentions with fine words is avoid the appearance of hypocrisy in our deeds.

Kansas City 2004


Sunna: custom, the words and practices
Shia: following, or sect
Suffi: suf or wool, safa or purity, sophos or wisdom?


Muslim Students Ask Why Israel?




President George W. Bush as Crusader






Dear Infidel Knight:

I have yet to receive a response to my last letter asking several leading questions posed by my students, and I hope to hear from you soon for the sake of peace.

Now a great tragedy engulfs Iraq and the United States because your President Bush, who said his “political hero” was Jesus Christ, used his awesome power as the military commander of the United States superpower to initiate an unprovoked war on Iraq; or rather, there was a provocation – a pack of lies deliberately put forward to deceive the people of the world.

All of this appears enormously profitable to the people whom President Bush and Vice President Cheney represent, particularly the power elite with a vested interest in the military-oil-industrial complex, including the tyrant puppets of the United States in the Middle East; but what does empire have to do with Jesus Christ, President Bush’s political hero, except that Christ was unafraid of empire for the sake of Allah, and was charged and convicted of a capital crime and crucified by the Romans at the instigation of his own people?

President Bush may not become a true peacemaker or disciple of Jesus Christ until he dies again and is born again a thousand times over. So do not believe, my friend in Allah, that you are safe from terrorism because your president is waging war all over the world, for the Terrorist Almighty is within, and all of your riches and weapons of mass destruction shall not protect you from his wrath. Your present peace, notwithstanding the sins of your leaders, is due to the mercy of Allah.

Beware and repent now for the time is nigh: “Those that make war against God and His apostle and spread disorder shall be put to death or crucified or have their hands and feet cut off on alternate sides, or be banished from the country. They shall be held up to shame and sternly punished in the hereafter; except that those that repent before you reduce them. For you must know that Allah is forgiving and merciful.” (The Table).

Indeed, the Final Hour, the Day of Judgment, rapidly approaches. In the interim, it is my main contention that those in power do not rule indefinitely; their names will be recorded in history and they will be constantly judge in the immediate and distant future.

Again, my students sometimes ask me questions about certain subjects that I may not have honest answers for, questions that you, an American patriot and military hero, may be able to answer.

For instance, my students examined old maps and documents but they were unable to find a country named Israel over sixty years ago, so they assumed Israel did not exist before then. They wanted to know why Israel was created, so they conducted some research into the question and learned that Israel was created because several million Jews had been killed in the war; the victors felt guilty about that, and gave them their own state. They asked me two questions after our morning prayers today:

1) Is it not true that the establishment of a new country with a new people is a phenomenon that is exclusive to our times?

2) How does the killing of six million Jews translate into the establishment a new state in the Middle East, particularly when the population of the region is opposed to its presence?

3) What logical justification does the United States have for its support of that intrusion? Since the Infidel Knights of the Round Table are well versed in this subject, I am hoping that you will help me answer these questions so I can enlighten my students.

Yours Faithfully,

Dajen Doomah
School Teacher

Mr. Doomah:

Please allow me to respond to your inquiry. First off, we are not “Knights” of the Round Table, as you have addressed me as such, for we do not claim to be so special and carry such noble purpose. We are Round Table Rascals. However, many of us do try to put our personal feelings aside in search of truth, or at least admit our personal biases, when discussing a topic, so others will more clearly understand why we opine as we do.

The way I see it, what divides the world today is that radical Islamists are radical inasmuch as they wish to distinguish themselves from their Jewish and Christian forebears and exterminate everyone in disagreement with their misguided fundamentalist agenda.

Your students are shortsighted, as you very well know yet fail to instruct them on the historical facts. The bulk of known written history dates back almost 6,000 years. The Semitic people were, in fact, the nation of Israel. The Muslims actually “splintered off” from the existing tribes of Israel and went their own way, creating Islam. This is why they revere the same prophets and even Jesus. For whatever reasons, historically, there was inculcated not only a disdain for Judaism, but a rabid hatred, which has grown, exponentially, to this day.

Historically, Jews have not preached hatred or declared war and death to Muslims, but Muslims blame all their problems on, and teach their children to hate, all Jews, merely because of their being Jewish. What kind of religion propagates itself through hatred and commission of murder? If a corrupt Sheik, Emir or King allows the majority of his people to wallow in poverty and hatred, and amasses all the land’s wealth for his own greed and selfishness… why do the downtrodden scream, “Kill the Jews!”? The Iraqis aren’t screaming “Kill the Jews!” They know that their problems lie within their own country and how it needs to be governed to the advantage and enrichment of ALL their people, not just a power elite.

Yours Truly,
Roundtable Rascal


The Doomah Discourse is taken from dialogue on the Roundtable of that took place circa 2003. For sake of argument, David Arthur Walters adopted the role of Dajen Doomah, an Iranian English teacher. ‘Roundtable Rascal’ is the late Hanley Harding of South Florida, an heroic American patriot, Navy SEAL, and the best friend one could ever have in terrifying times.


Islam’s Last Stand On Judgement Day






Maulana Muhammad Ali, since age 25 “a soldier for the literary service of Islam”, translated verse 99 of Chapter 18 of the Quran as follows:

“And on that day We shall leave a part of them in conflict with another part, and the trumpet will be blown, so We shall gather them all together.”

Muhammad Ali explains: “There is a change here from the historical to the prophetical. The Gog and Magog of the old days were to have their representatives in the latter days. The only other reference to Gog and Magog in the Holy Quran is contained in 21:96, where they are stated as taking possession of all places of advantage and eminence. This would identify them clearly with the European races; and the Slavs (settling as they do in Russia, the land of Magog) and the Teutons may therefore be suggested to be the modern representatives of Gog and Magog, and the verse prophetically refers to some mighty conflict of the European nations and to their ultimate gathering together in Islam which alone can settle their ideological differences.” (The Quran, 1948 edition).

The other Quranic reference to Gog and Magog in Chapter 21 (The Prophets), verse 96, appears under Section 7. – ‘The Righteous shall inherit the Earth.’ Muhammad Ali translates the verses 94-105 of the section as follows:

“So whoever does good deeds and he is a believer, there is no denying his exertion, and We write (it) down for him. And there is a ban on a town which We destroy that they shall not return. Until when Gog and Magog are made to overcome (the world), and they break forth from every elevated place. And the True Promise draws nigh, then lo! the eyes of those who disbelieved will be fixedly open: O woe to us! We were heedless of this: nay, we were unjust. Surely you and what you worship besides Allah are fuel of hell; to it you will come. Had these been gods, they would not have come to it and all will abide therein. For them therein will be groaning and therein they will not hear. Those for whom good a already gone forth from Us will be kept far off from it; they will not hear its faintest sound, and they will abide in what their souls long for. The great fearful event will not grieve them, and the angels will meet them. This is the day which you were promised. The day when We roll up heaven like the rolling up of the scroll for writings. As We made the first creation, (so) shall We reproduce it – a promise (binding) on Us; surely We shall bring it about. And indeed We wrote in the Book after the reminder that the earth – My righteous servants will inherit it…”

“Those for whom good has already gone forth from Us”, namely people who believe in God, will be kept at a distance from the hellish horrors. Further, the Prophet said that whosoever believes in God and future life and acts righteously, “on him shall come no fear.” Most importantly, the Prophet’s official policy on religion is “There is no compulsion in religion.” Many historians have remarked at length on the international character of Islamic law and its applicability even to enemies, in contrast to the frightful persecutions carried out by crusading Christians. However that may be, we should keep in mind the different historical circumstances of Jesus and Muhammad, and try to understand why, on the one hand, Jesus ordered the Sword sheathed in favor of the Word, pending Constantine’s vision of the Holy Cross on the battlefield, and why, on the other hand, Muhammad could not wait for a Constantine to defend Islam.

We do have evidence of glaring breaches in the Prophet’s official policy of tolerance. Nevertheless, whether Islam’s success is by Word or by Sword or by both Word and Sword, the phenomenal growth of Islam in its infancy seemed to prove that the whole wide world would on the Last Day recognize one deity. Muhammad Ali makes note of that view as follows:

“The Qu’ran has repeatedly stated that Islam would ultimately be made triumphant in the world. The righteous servants of God, we are here told, would one day be masters of the land. The words no doubt contain a prophecy of the possession of the Holy Land by the Muslims, which was fulfilled in the caliphate of Umar. Compare Ps.37:29. But, we are further told that the whole earth would be a Holy Land in the end.”

The Quranic story of the end time, of Gog and Magog, presages the Final Conflict between Good and Evil, the Dualism arising in Paradise with human knowledge of the difference between the two. Man is accordingly booted from the primeval garden, endowed with free will to make the prerequisite choices so that he may return to the virginal womb in heaven if not on Earth – special virgins await martyrs in Paradise. If man in rebellion will not return from evolved complexity to ultimate simplicity, then to Hell with him – as if Earth were not already hellish enough from the consequences of the original sin of being born into the wicked human world in the first place.

On Earth, pain has always had a slight edge on pleasure – bliss is death, for in bliss there is no motive to move. Yet in the final analysis, Good shall win over Evil, thus we may argue that there is a universal good, or a good God over all. In the interim, some sort of objective division between Good and Evil is required, no matter how arbitrary, something clear and concrete to protect us from the roving forces of Evil. A wall might suffice to protect sedentary folk and their precious utensils from bandit bands, hence they would do well to give thanks and kiss the wall protecting them from the curse of evil invaders.

An army might sally forth from behind the walls of one of civilization’s centers and make war in pre-emptive self-defense or simply for the sake of revenge, – then who is the evil barbarian? The world is conquered by the militant force: the defenders are killed or enslaved, settlements burned or exploited. Thus civilization is grounded in crime, and Good arises from Evil; otherwise there would be no Progress to Good. But now we are on the horns of a dilemma, even confronted with the gnostic heresy that the old god who kicked us out of Paradise may have horns, may be a fallen angel, the Devil himself.

The Quran informs us that the two-horned hero named Dhulqarnain, during his travels far and wide, was asked by a certain people whose speech was almost incomprehensible to protect them from the Gog and Magog, whereupon he built them a barrier or wall of iron – an Iron Curtain. The Gog and Magog were typical “barbarians from the north” at the time – Scythians, Cimmerians or other ancestors of later barbarians. There are various accounts of the original event in folklore, handed down with related historical sketches and other fragmentary evidence. Opinions vary as to where the Iron Curtain was built, and, for that matter, who Dhulqarnain really was. The popular position is that Dhulqarnain was Alexander the Great – one of Christianity’s adopted, virtual saints – that it was no less than he who built the wall at Derbent by the Caspian Sea. We may believe otherwise and take the minority view that the two-horned hero was Cyrus the Great – savior of the Jews – and that the prototypical event took place near what is now known as northern Afghanistan, the traditional home of Zoroaster, the hater of nomads who recognized Evil and its roving demonic bandit hordes as distinctly divided from Good and its attendant court of settled virtues. The final score between Good and Evil might then be settled not in Iraq or Israel but in that ancient region.


Patriotism, The Third Race, The Third World War

The Devil's Manifesto HEADER
911 by Darwin Leon


The Third World War on Terrorism declared by President George W. Bush was no doubt patriotic in the sense it was motivated by “love of one’s country.” The Bush rhetoric, mimicked by the U.S. Congress and the majority of Americans, is jingoistic. Moreover, the Bush administration was blatantly war-mongering; indeed, it came into existence as a continuation of the previous Bush administration’s mongering of war on Iraq. However, the administration’s attempt to associate the war with Christianity, i.e. as a holy war under god or a war somehow defending the Christian faith, was politically motivated, self-serving rhetoric. President Bush did not represent fundamental Christianity although he and other “well-meaning” people may have been deluded into thinking they did. Fundamentally, the president represented the secular economic interests of the wealthy, beginning with those of his own family, whose domestic and offshore corporate wheeling and dealing and political machinations are well known.

The more property one owns the more he will love his country and need its police force to defend his holdings. And those who hold much less may very well agree with him, but not for religious reasons. President Bush’s effort to identify the political-economic interests of the United States with the religious interest in god would be absurd unless one equated religion with the political theology of secular private capitalism. As far as most faithful and unfaithful people are concerned, the World Trade Center was not a spiritual temple nor was the Pentagon. Although some Muslims and Christians insisted they were are involved in a religious conflict of crusade versus jihad, and that president Bush was a Christian fanatic behind the scenes, we think not: the issue was material not spiritual.

On Independence Day 2002, President Bush said patriotism is a “living faith.” The god of Christianity must be really dead then, or the president had lost touch with his Christian roots, for faith in nations is anathema to original Christianity. Therefore, not only was the patriotism of the Bush administration war-mongering and jingoistic, it had an anti-Christian agenda as well. Patriotism as “living faith” worships the primitive land-god of fear and hate rather than the man-god of love and forgiveness.

To advance this thesis, we refer to Edward Westermarck’s The Origin and Development of the Moral Ideas (1917). He discusses the Stoic cosmopolitan philosophy of a universal or world state, then states:

“But the Roman ideal of patriotism, with its utter disregard for the foreign nations, was not opposed by philosophy alone: it met with an even more formidable antagonism in the new religion. The Christian and the Stoic rejected it on different grounds: while the Stoic felt himself as a citizen of the world, the Christian felt himself as a citizen of heaven, to whom this planet was only a place of exile… Indeed, in the whole Roman Empire there were no men who entire lacked patriotism as the early Christians. They had no affection for Judea, they soon forgot Galilee, they cared nothing for the glory of Greece and Rome. When the judges asked them which was their country they said in answer, ‘I am a Christian.'”

However, “Christianity was not hostile to the state.” He notes the scriptural injunction to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to obey the authorities as god’s ministers, and cites Tertullian: “… but the emperor should be obeyed only so long as his commands do not conflict with the law of God – a Christian ought rather to suffer like Daniel in the lion’s den than sin against his religion, and nothing is more entire foreign to him than affairs of State.”

Of course religious people differ as to the true nature and the right applications of the laws of their god. The early Christians were generally opposed to killing, and rejected military service. Origen would not have Christians serve in the imperial armies, but he approved of Judith murdering Holofernes, hence he condoned tyrannicide. War was further justified in defense of the faith. Clement condemned war as contrary to the faith. In the West, militarism and bloodshed was altogether abjured. Lactantius took the injunction “Thou shalt do no murder” in its absolute sense, drawing no distinction between criminal “murder” and legal “killing.”

“For when God forbids killing, He not only prohibits us from free-booting, which is not permitted even by public laws, but He also advises that those things also, which are regarded as lawful among men, should not be done. So, neither will it be permitted a just man, whose service is justice herself, to enter military service, nor can he accuse anyone of a capital crime, because there is no difference whether you kill a man with a sword or word, since the killing itself is prohibited. Therefore, in this command of God, no exception whatsoever must be made. It is always wrong to kill a man whom God has intended to be a sacrosanct creature.” And, “One of the greatest reasons for which Christianity was considered a civil offense was this, that the Christians refused to take part in state wars.” (Lactantius, The Divine Institutes, translated by Sister Mary Francis McDonald, O.P., in The Fathers of the Church, Catholic University of America Press: Washington)

However, Professor Latourette of Yale arrives at a different conclusion after examining the records: “For years many Christians regarded service in the army as inconsistent with their profession. Some held that for them all bloodshed, whether as soldiers or executioners, was unlawful. At one stage in history the powerful Church of Alexandria seems to have looked askance upon the reception of soldiers into the membership and to have regarded enlistment in the army as permissible in only in exceptional circumstances. Tertullian argued against Christians taking part in the army, on the ground that such service brought one under another master than Christ, that it was out of accord with the Christian obligation to the family, that it involved taking the sword, and that it made necessary inflicting punishment, when to a Christian was forbidden all revenge… To most Christians, however, at least in the first three centuries, the ethical problem involved in military service was not an issue. Jew and slaves were legally disqualified from membership in the legions and, therefore, such Christians as were drawn from these groups were ineligible. The state could nearly always obtain as many soldiers as it wished through voluntary enlistment without recourse to conscription. Then, too, as time passed, the legions were filled chiefly with barbarians from the fringes of the Empire, where Christianity was late in obtaining a large following. After Christianity was adopted by the state, the Church expected those of its members who served in the army to remain there.” (Kenneth Scott Latourette, A History of the Expansion of Christianity, Volume II, The First Five Centuries, New York: Harper, 1932)

Thus people disagree on whether or not militarism was an issue; if it was not, considerable discourse on the non-issue had still been handed down to us from antiquity. Christians did agree on practicing the Jewish virtues, especially those of the Pharisees: caring for orphans and for the sick, giving alms to the poor, visiting prisoners, burying the dead, and loving their brethren. And they agreed their god, the Creator and Lawgiver, was the one and only god for humankind. Early Christianity had no class discrimination or castes and outcastes; it was a universal religion recognizing everyone including laborers and slaves as brothers. Christians were “a third race”, an “antisocial” or alternate society opposed to both Jew and Roman in its obsession with personal salvation – a feature which made it popular. Calamities and hardships visited upon the Greco-Roman world were blamed on the Christian refusal to recognize the national gods. Christians were adjudged guilty of high treason, punishable by death. They could recant and be spared, or persist and be given to the beasts – those who were Roman citizens could be mercifully beheaded. The persecution of the “criminals” in those trying days when works proved faith, served to strengthen their bond:

“Every Christian rejected with contempt the superstitions of his family, his city, and his province. The whole body of Christians unanimously refused to hold any communion with the gods of Rome, the empire, and of mankind.” Also, “The personal guilt which every Christian had contracted in thus preferring his private sentiment to the national religion was aggravated by a very high degree by the number and union of the criminals.” Furthermore, “The new converts seemed to renounce their family and country, that they might connect themselves in an indissoluble bond of union with a peculiar society, which everywhere assumed a different character from the rest of mankind.” (Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of he Roman Empire)

W.H.C. Frend’s The Rise of Christianity affirms fundamental Christianity’s antipathy to patriotism. Whereas Romans identified religion with the state, Christians separated politics from religion, hence they were atheists, traitors who were wont to declare: “I do not recognize the empire of this world. Rather, I serve that god whom no man has seen.” Therefore they must be punished, for their refusal to participate in religious nationalism made them responsible for the wrath of the gods. Christian martyrs refused to pledge allegiance to emperor or to empire. The martyr Polycarp said, “If you vainly suppose that I will swear by the genius of Caesar… you are ignorant who I am… Listen plainly… I am a Christian.” (No doubt Polycarp would also refuse to pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of American, and to the Republic for which it stands, or to its Commander-in-Chief).

Whereas Westermarck’s stated, “Christianity was not hostile to the State,” Frend provides information that for some Christians it was a religion of protest. For instance, the convert Peregrinus Proteus, famous for committing suicide by throwing himself onto a pyre at the Olympian games, had made several absurd attempts to stir up trouble between Greeks and Romans, and was at one point expelled from the empire for insulting the emperor. But he was a “backslider”, reverting to Cynicism. Therefore consider the convert Tatian (fl. 160). Tatian despised what he perceived as the emptiness, pride and injustices of the Greco-Roman world, which at the time was enjoying unprecedented peace and prosperity: “I reject your legislation, for there should be common polity for all,” declared Tatian.

Christian, Cynic and Stoic were all disgusted by the luxurious corruption of good times; Christianity waited for troubled times to flourish. Celsus considered the Christians a revolutionary cult bent on subverting the establishment; he said Jesus was an impudent quack who learned magic in Egypt. In his view, Christianity was an illegal association, an introverted sect solely interested in its own members, having the blind faith conducive to revolt. As for Christian rejection of the things of this world, Lucian explained: “Their first lawgivers persuaded them that they are all brothers of one another, after the have transgressed once and for all by denying the Greek gods, by worshiping that crucified sophist himself and living under his laws. Therefore they despise all things indiscriminately, and consider them common property….”

Eventually troubled times fell upon the empire, Christians were gladdened by the opportunities provided for their church to flourish; Constantine took up the cause for reasons of his own; the state become Christianity’s friend instead of foe. Alas, thus far a new religion has required state force to become a world religion instead of sinking into obscurity. Constantine’s son Constantius took up the cross where his father left off. Not only did zealous Christians pray for the troops, they exhorted them to do their duty under god and inspired them to bloodshed. The Eastern and Western bishops argued over the fine points of the Christian creed, those points being symbolic of their regional political differences. The Eastern Caesar would force a particular creed upon the whole empire; he wanted to be pope as well as emperor, just as the old pharaohs were gods incarnate, a Jesus and a Christ at once. Thus the schism in attitudes, and the Eastern and Western churches evolved from the difference – the separation was a bloody one.

Whether historically informed people are religious or not, they understand the importance of separating church and state. The separation releases each from the embrace that tends to hamper them both if not destroy one or the other. After all, which cult, if any cult at all, would the state favor? Which creed, if any creed at all, would be the official creed? Would it be, for instance, the cult and creed of right-wing fundamentalists politically represented by born-again Christian George W. Bush? But he does not represent all Christians, nor does Christianity represent all people. In fact, the exclusiveness of a cult and its creed is bigotry – bigots are those who swear “By God” to justify their own opinions.

To those of other “bigoted” (by god) persuasions, Christians appear on the whole to be a “bigoted” Jewish cult. The ancient Romans, tolerant of 40,000 gods, saw them as such. But the most radical bigots have certain virtues in common, and we should know what they are. For instance, still today a few Christians recognize that genuine fundamental Christianity is hostile to much of our commercial activity and thought. These few remnants of the true faith still have hope for the brotherhood of the whole human race under a single father. They believe war is an outrageous crime against humanity. They know courageous Christians (faithful Christians) can no more burn incense to the modern nation or take oaths of allegiance to flags under national gods than could the early Christian pledge allegiance to Roman gods and the empire those gods stood for. There is no true faith when a “one and only god” is exchanged for many gods and then the religious go on to make war against each other to see which nation is most favored by the “one and only god.” How absurd, immoral and repugnant that is to fundamental Christianity; behind its lip-service to god is the barbarian standard: “My country right or wrong.”

Of course the barbarian standard is a national idol or an emblem of god – a term with a barbarian origin. J.B. Bury recounts what happened in the fourth century when triumphant Christianity lost their grip over a certain German frontier: “With the exodus of bishop Wulfilas and his company, Christianity had not died out in Gothland, and the pagan chiefs, especially one of the most prominent, named Athanaric, were intent upon killing it. It made them indignant to see men of their folk withholding sacrifices from the national gods, insulting the images, even burning the sacred groves. And to the blood of martyrs flowed in Dacia. A religious test was instituted. On feast days statues were carried around the wooden dwellings in every village, and whosoever refused to worship was burned alive. You may read about this persecution in the Acts of the Martyr Saint Sabas, which preserve a general picture of its character.” (J.B. Bury, The Invasion of Europe by the Barbarians)

Now, then, modern patriotism is nationalistic and appears to be a relatively new social phenomenon associated with the rise of nationalism coincident to the rebellions against the authority of the Church and its anointed princes. But loyalty to one’s own native group or “nation” as well as dissidence is older than the hills of Rome. Edward Westermarck recapitulated patriotism in The Origin and Development of Moral Ideals:

“The citizens of Alexander’s huge empire had in a way become citizen of the world…. There is also an obvious connection between the cosmopolitan idea and the Stoic system in general. According to the Stoics, human society has for its basis the identity of reason in individuals; hence we have no ground for limiting this society to a single nation…. The Roman ideal of patriotism, with its utter disregard of foreign nations….met with a formidable antagonist… The Christian felt himself as a citizen of heaven…. There were no men who so entirely lacked patriotism as the early Christians…. The Church became a positive enemy of national interests. In the seventeenth century a Jesuit general called patriotism ‘a plague with the most certain death of Christian love.’

“With the fall of the Roman Empire patriotism died out in Europe and remained extinct for centuries…. In the Middle Ages ‘his country’ meant little more than the neighborhood in which he lived. Kingdoms existed but no nations. The first duty of vassal was to his lord…. The cause of a distressed lady was in many instances preferable to that of the country to which he belonged…. In the code of Chivalry, true patriotism had there no place at all…. It is strange yet undeniable that no trace of this feeling displayed itself in the medieval history of France before the English wars…. To make use of the native dialect was a sign of ignorance, and to place worldly interests above the claims of the Church was impious…. In England the nation feeling developed earlier than on the Continent, no doubt owing to her insular position…. In France the development of the national feeling was closely connected with the strengthening of the royal power and its gradual victory over feudalism….

“The key-note of the great movement which led to the Revolution was the liberty and equality of the individual, not the glory or welfare of the nation. Men were looked upon as members of the human race rather than as citizens of any particular country…. According to Voltaire patriotism is composed of self-love and prejudice, and only too often makes us the enemies of our fellow men…. Lessing writes… ‘Love of Fatherland (is) at best an heroical weakness’ … Gradually the interest in other countries grew to be more selfish; the attempt to emancipate was absorbed in the desire to subjugate…. When Napoleon introduced French administration in the countries…the resistance was popular…and it was national…. It was stirred by the feeling of national rather than political unity; it was the protest of race over race…. The French people were regarded by it (the resistance) as an ethnological, not as a historic unit…. Ever since, the racial feeling has been the most vigorous force, and has gradually become a true danger to humanity….”

Leo Tolstoy defined patriotism as the principle that justifies the training of wholesale murderers. The wholesale man-killing trade requires more and better equipment than that required for the making of such necessities of life as shoes, clothing, and houses. And the murderous occupation guarantees far better returns and greater glory than that obtained by the average workingman.

Gustave Hervé called patriotism a superstition – one far more injurious, brutal, and inhumane than religion. Religious superstition originated in man’s inability to explain natural phenomena. That is, when primitive man heard thunder and saw lightning, he could not account for either; therefore he concluded that there must be a force greater than himself operating behind the scenes. Similarly, he assumed there existed a supernatural force in rain and various other natural phenomena. Patriotism, on the other hand, is a superstition artificially created and maintained through a network of deliberate lies and falsehoods; patriotic superstition robs man of his self-respect and dignity, vastly increasing his arrogance and conceit.

Emma Goldman, the great anarcho-communist who averred that patriotism is “a menace to liberty,” liked to quote Dr. Johnson as saying, “Patriotism, sir, is the last resort of scoundrels.” Incidentally, Dr. Johnson did not use the term, “resort”. Rather, the word “refuge” is what appears in Boswell’s entry of Friday, 7 April 1775:

“Patriotism having become one of our topicks, Johnson suddenly uttered, in a strong determined tone, an apophthegm, at which many will start: ‘Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.’ But let it be considered, that he did not mean a real and generous love of our country, but that pretended patriotism which so many, in all ages and countries, have made a cloak for self-interest. I maintained that certainly all patriots were not scoundrels. Being urged (not by Johnson) to name one, I mentioned and eminent person (Burke) whom we all greatly admired. Johnson: ‘Sir, I do not say that he is NOT honest; but we have no reason to conclude from his political conduct that he is honest. Were he to accept a place from this ministry, he would lose that character of firmness which he has, and might be turned out of place in a year. This ministry is neither stable, nor grateful to their friends, as Sir Robert Walpole was, so that he may think it more in his interest to take his chance of his party coming in.”

When taken in context, the famous quote does not support the argument that patriotism per se is a menace to liberty, at least not as strongly as Emma Goldman and others wanted it to. Yet, even when the forceful maxim is watered down by the text, we remain wary of anyone who wraps himself in the flag lest we sink in his ship. As Rochefauld cynically said, after experiencing the absurd Wars of the Fronde, “Virtues are lost in self-interest as rivers are lost in the sea.”(Maximes)

When Dr. Johnson spoke of the patriotic refuge, many Englishmen had good cause to openly distrust patriotism and to have malice for government and its alleged justice: the sacrifice of lives and property under patriotism’s bloody banner soon appeared to be for the sordid gain of a few at the expense of many. Yet, in the 1790s, when France’s Revolutionary forces threatened to liberate its neighbors including English subjects from the monarchical patriotism oppressing them, Pitt’s government successfully cracked down on civil liberties – dissenters were driven underground. British patriotism was back in vogue with a vengeance, as was the patriotism of other peoples. Patriotism eventually found its object in the People around the Flag instead of the King on his Throne. Whatever the form of sovereignty, whenever a people is threatened by dire circumstances, it often embraces its domestic oppressors in self-defense and roots out anyone who sympathizes with the enemy. As we recall, the greatest English conservative of all time, Burke, led the patriotic English bandwagon against the dissonant dissidence of English radicals, including Christian Dissenters, who were corresponding amicably with their Jacobin brethren in France. The United States chimed in across the Atlantic: a number of English radicals were idolized.

More than a century prior, just after the English civil wars of the 1640’s, Thomas Hobbes rendered his opinion on malicious dissent, considering it to be a high crime:

“It belongeth to the Office of the Soveraign, to make a right application of Punishments and Rewards. And seeing the end of punishment is not revenge, and discharging of choler; but correction, either of the offender, or of others by his example; the severest Punishments are to be inflicted for those Crimes, that are of the most Danger to the Publique; such as those which proceed from malice to the Government established; those that spring from contempt of Justice; those that provoke Indignation in the Multitude…”

Hobbes believed rebellion was frequently caused by the reading of political and liberal books. Young men are misled by the classic accounts of popular uprisings and wars successfully waged by ancient democracies. They wrongly attribute the successful exploits to the form of government rather than to the imitation of particular strong men. “From the reading, I say, of such books, men have undertaken to kill their Kings, because the Greek and Latine writers, in their books, make it lawfull, and laudable, for any man so to do; provided before he do it, he call him Tyrant.”

No doubt Hobbes would have approved of William Pitt’s crackdown on dissidence in the 1790s, and he might have recommended severer measures, for, after all, as he wrote elsewhere in Leviathan:

“For the Lawes of Nature (as Justice, Equity, Modesty, Mercy, and in summe) doing to other, as wee would be done to,) of themselves, without the terrour of some Power, to cause them to be observed, are contrary to our naturall Passions, that carry us to Partiality, Pride, Revenge, and the like. And Covenants, without the Sword, are but Words, and of no strength to secure a man at all.”

The American colonists begged to disagree, not so much with the form of the tyranny but with its exercise from afar: some thinkers see the American Revolution not so much as a revolution but as a changing of the guard resulting in local autonomy under an elected king, aristocratic senate, and house of commoners. Gustave Le Bon commented on institutional conservatism of some revolutionaries:

“They may be desirous, it is true, of changing the names of their institutions, and to obtain those changes they accomplish at times even violent revolutions, but the essence of these institutions is too much the expression of the hereditary needs of the race for them not invariably to abide by it. There incessant mobility only exerts its influence on quite superficial matters. In fact, they possess conservative instincts as indestructible as those of all primitive beings.” (Gustave Le Bon, The Crowd)

In any case, the liberty that United States citizens so valiantly wrested from the clutches of British tyranny helped inspire European radicals. And the English radicals were, conversely, much admired in the new United States; they were effectively suppressed by Pitt’s government when England embarked on its long war against Revolutionary France. The English radical movement, driven underground, re-emerged forcefully in 1830; in France, of course, mother of a genuinely democratic revolution, and of one reactionary “terrour” after another designed to enharness liberty unleashed. In retrospect, the war against France denounced by the English radicals seems like a just war: not only had France moved on Holland, but she had declared war on England. As for the sordid gain of scoundrels who take refuge in patriotism; there was plenty of hard-won booty, but only after the nobler principles of patriotism were laid down by loyal lords.

Just what are the noble principles of patriotism? Let us not take our own word for it, but rather turn to Francis W. Coker’s study in the 1934 Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences.

‘The word patriotism has no precise definition and there are vague and varying ideas as to the psychological springs, historical origins and characteristic manifestations of the sentiment of patriotism. All may agree that patriotism is love of one’s “country.” There is little agreement among equally intelligent and public spirited men as to what is meant by one’s country, who one’s fellow countrymen are, what services and sacrifices one owes them and what sort of social conduct follows naturally from the patriotic attitude… What some have regarded as the most characteristic and ennobling virtue of civilized man, others have execrated as “the passion of fools” or “the last refuge of a scoundrel.” Sir Robert Walpole, when he was the active political head of England in the eighteenth century, declared, in referring to the political group opposed to him who called themselves “patriots” that he could create fifty patriots overnight merely by “refusing to grant an unreasonable or insolent demand.” ‘

Professor Coker further observed that patriotism reaches its height in divisiveness and hostility. He reminds us that radical and revolutionary doctrines are antithetical to patriotism; he quotes the Communist Manifesto: “The proletariat has no fatherland.”

Furthermore, Christians fundamentally rejects patriotism in favor of the salvation of all persons – in fact, patriotism is regarded as anti-Christian by many fundamental Christians.

We should add here that fundamental Islam is no lover of nations, and would treat all persons, regardless of nationality, according to one law. All those who are opposed to universal law and order are referred to as “the Party of War.” And of course all monotheistic world religions espouse universal peace for those who nod, bow, bend their knee, or otherwise submit to their one-god – infidels who don’t, as St. Louis said, should be run through with a sword.

Patriotism, whatever its correct definition may be, is hard to put down, and it often takes on a religious tone when it faces and makes an idol or god of death; witness this current regression to religious nationalism or state religion by the administration of the United States government: “Patriotism is a living faith. We love our Motherland, and we love her even more when she is attacked,” said the commander-in-chief on Independence Day 2002, avoiding the Germanic implications of the term “Fatherland.” The asexual term, “Homeland”, was finally settled upon as the most appropriate term. Nonetheless, the President of the United States did say that he consulted a “father” higher than his own “father” for authority to wage a pre-emptive war to destroy a sovereign nation, which plunged its people into chaos, thus returning them to their fundamental faith in Allah.

Setting aside the question of whether or not the so-called Third World War on Terrorism, the highly organized terror led by “this great Nation of Ours”, the “Leader of World Civilization, upon whom an attack is an attack on civilization itself”, is a Just (Holy) War, or whether or not the ultimate goal for which the administration ran for office, the continuation of the war against Iraq, is a sane and righteous agenda, we are correct in saying that the patriotism of the Bush administration is war-mongering and jingoistic. And it is an anti-Christian as well, for patriotism as “living faith” worships the primitive land-god of fear and hate rather than the man-god of love and forgiveness. On the other hand, some Muslims and Christians insist the underlying cause of the antipathy is religious: a continuation of Crusade versus militant jihad on behalf of, purportedly, the same one-god.

Patriotism has its positive side. Coker refers to idealists who have managed to synthesize, at least in their own minds, patriotism and pacifism; thus we find, for instance, a world of states that have a liberal attitude towards their social obligations. Each state would be a responsible member of global society, or a nation subject to international law, and so on. We are familiar with the various ideas proposed, monistic or pluralistic, to achieve world peace and harmony. In all social spheres, we dream of unity in diversity even though it defies the fundamental principle of “rational” logic.

Patriotism involves affection for and loyalty to one’s own group. When writing about “group mind” and “herd psychology”, Freud pointed out that sociologists had derived their theories about the pernicious aspects of collective mental life from the behavior of revolutionary groups, particularly those of the French Revolution. Nevertheless, the researchers admitted that groups, despite their low average intelligence and susceptibility to suggestion, have a potential for ethical conduct surpassing that of any individual taken alone. Loyalty and self-sacrifice, after all, may have worthy goals.

Freud criticized sociologist Gustav Le Bon’s immortal little book, The Crowd

Freud’s negative criticism was itself unoriginal. At least in regards to morality, which always implies mentality, Solomon was right when he said there is nothing new under the Sun. Professional criticism of human behavior presents a scientific or objective facade for praise and blame, and is really an elaboration of subjective prejudices associated with pleasant and unpleasant feelings.

“That the moral concepts are ultimately based on emotions either of indignation or approval is a fact which a certain school of thinkers have in vain attempted to deny,” noted Westermarck.

“A crowd may be guilty of murder, incendiarism, and every kind of crime,” wrote Le Bon, “but it is also capable of very lofty acts of devotion, sacrifice, and disinterestedness, of acts much loftier indeed than those of which the isolated individual is capable. Appeals to sentiments of glory, honour, and patriotism are particularly likely to influence the individual forming part of a crowd, and often to the extent of obtaining from him the sacrifice of his life. History is rich in examples analogous to those furnished by the Crusaders and the volunteers of 1793. Collectivities alone are capable of great disinterestedness and great devotion. How numerous are the crowds that have heroically faced death for beliefs, ideas, and phrases that they scarcely understood!”

The psychologist William McDougal believed groups could be raised to a higher ethical level under certain conditions: a continuous existence (in contrast to a ephemeral crowd); a definite idea of the group’s nature – its composition, capacities and functions; association with other similar but different groups; possession of traditions, customs and habits; possession of a definite structure. In retrospect, however, we might wonder what conditions are sufficiently humane and ethical for the fulfillment of higher aims: consider the worst case of patriotism or fatherism, the Nazis. But conditions are not in themselves human and ethical – only people are humane and ethical. One might say that fatherism and its father-principle is no better than the fuehrers (fathers) at its head; that is, no better than what they have in mind, whether they are conscious of it or not. An intelligent individual might not want to be led by a moronic (foolish) father, or a father who is unconscious of the virtues and vices of his motives.

“Unconscious phenomena play an altogether preponderating part not only in organic life, but also in the operations of the intelligence,” wrote Le Bon. “The conscious life of the mind is of small importance in comparison with its unconscious life. The most subtle analyst, the most acute observer, is scarcely successful in discovering more than a very small number of the unconscious motives that determine his conduct. Our conscious acts are the outcome of unconscious substratum created in the mind in the main by hereditary influences.”

Le Bon dwelled on the fact that when individuals come together as a crowd, the crowd has an average mind, a mind of its own, one of low intelligence: “From the intellectual view an abyss may exist between a great mathematician and his boot maker, but from the point of view of character the difference is most often slight or non-existent.” Hence we might expect that a democratic-republican assembly of experts from different walks of life might be best to direct vital public affairs; but Le Bon lowers that expectation: “(The) fact that crowds possess in common ordinary qualities explains why they can never accomplish acts demanding a high degree of intelligence. The decisions affecting matters of general interest come to by an assembly of men of distinction, but specialists in different walks of life, are not sensibly superior to the decisions that would be adopted by a gathering of imbeciles…. In crowds it is stupidity and mother-wit that is accumulated.”

Most interesting is Le Bon’s assertion that crowds are lousy witnesses subject to a heightened suggestibility which can lead to collective hallucinations: “Their collective observations are as erroneous as possible…. most often they merely represent the illusion of an individual who, by a process of contagion, had influenced his fellows. Facts proving that the most utter mistrust of the evidence of crowds is advisable might be multiplied to any extent.”

Said facts are accumulating to this day. For instance, the interpretation of the “evidence” and the “facts” used to justify the inevitable Second Bush War against Iraq was faulty, as was the trust placed in the Great White Father, His Vice President of War, His Cabinet, His Intelligence Agencies, His Congressional Court, and His People’s Intuition. War was a foregone conclusion the day He was elected. After 9/11, collective fear turned to rage and lust for revenge. Thanks to presidential guidance of base instinct, fearful self-defense was converted to belligerent offense: retaliation was diverted to a target with greater spoils for the power elite, who had their contracts drafted long before the war began.

“The violence of the feelings of crowds is always increased, especially in heterogeneous crowds, by all sense of responsibility,” reads The Crowd, “An orator wishing to move a crowd must make an abusive use of violent affirmations. To exaggerate, to affirm, to resort to repetitions, and never to prove anything by reasoning are methods of argument well known to speakers at public meetings.”

The lone wolves who howl warnings are shouted down: “Being in doubt as to what constitutes truth or error, and having, on the other hand, a clear nothing of its strength, a crowd is disposed to give authoritative effect to its inspiration as it is intolerant,” Le Bon observed. “An individual may accept contradiction and discussion; a crowd will never do so. At public meetings the slightest contradiction on the part of an orator is immediately received with howls of fury and violent invective, soon followed by blows and expulsion should the orator stick to his point.”

Our blows and expulsions and secret investigations and interrogations are more subtle and civilized today, our legal mass murders are more “humane”, but we are just as vicious. If patriotism can be a good thing for nations and the world, we had better cultivate better fathers at home.


Muslims Question Infidel Knight







December 20, 2005

Sir Infidel Knight of the Round Table:

My students keep asking me these questions:

How can President Bush and his people be followers of Jesus Christ, God’s great messenger; how can they claim to respect human rights; how can they present the United States Empire as a model for world civilization and claim to be working towards a unified international community or Empire of God over which Christ will be the emperor and the virtuous people of the Earth as his obedient subjects; how can they announce their opposition to the proliferation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass devastation; how can they make their slogan, “World War on Terrorism’; how can they claim all that as their agenda, yet, at the same time, engage in mass organized terrorism and have whole countries attacked and destroyed with their massive means of destruction?

How can they believe in the natural right to life, liberty, and property, and then have the lives, reputations and possessions of people destroyed on the chance of the presence of a few criminals in a village, city, and country?

How can they claim to be Christians or good people, and then occupy and destroy a sovereign nation and plunge its people into chaos and civil war on the pretext of nonexistent weapons of mass destruction, which they themselves possess enough of to destroy the world several times over, having themselves killed hundreds of thousands of people with nuclear bombs against even the advice of some of their best generals?

How can they claim to be defenders of human rights after having killed with sanctions, according to the Red Cross and the Catholic Church, nearly one million men, women and children and infants of Iraq?

How can they say they are spreading world peace by most recently killing one hundred thousand more Iraqis, putting nearly two hundred thousand invading troops on the ground, and systematically breaking the sanctity of private homes?

How can they with a clean conscience justify rebuilding the infrastructure of a country whose infrastructure they deliberately destroyed, charging their own people for the reconstruction monies diverted to their friendly contractors, like Vice President Cheney’s Halliburton?

How can they accuse one tyrant of killing and impoverishing his own people while they themselves put their own troops, many of whom joined the military service not to fight wars on flimsy pretext but to relieve themselves of grinding poverty, in harm’s way, taking them away from the loved ones who need their support and having them killed, maimed, and psychologically traumatized, squandering hundreds of billions of dollars in the process?

How can your beloved president be, as he claims, a follower of Jesus Christ, his “political hero” (may Allah have mercy on the great messenger’s soul); how can he genuinely respect human rights; how can he honestly present liberalism as a civilization model; how can he truly oppose the proliferation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction; how can he dare to make “the Global War on Terror” his slogan; how can he sincerely work for the establishment of a unified international community which Jesus Christ (Allah has mercy on his soul) and the virtuous of the Earth will one day govern; – how can he do all this with good intentions, yet, at the same time, spit in the face of the international assembly three times and then preemptively attack on flimsy pretexts other countries that have done his countrymen no harm; command the military organ of mass terrorism to destroy a sovereign state and the infrastructure of a country, destabilizing its people, killing a hundred thousand of them, and plunging the country into the horror and terror of constant chaos; violate the sanctity of private homes, kicking down doors at all hours of the day, dragging people out of their beds, blindfolding them and forcing them to their knees, and sometimes murdering men, women and children in their homes; kill hundreds of innocent people in their homes with bombs because a few criminals might be hiding among them; hold suspects in prisons for years without charge or counsel in violation of standards of human decency and international justice; take his own people’s children away from their homes and send them into harm’s way on the basis of a pack of lies, in effect, psychologically and physically maiming and killing his own people; waste trillions of dollars of his people’s resources on the commission of evil and consequent chaos, while reducing taxes on his rich supporters and diminishing the welfare programs guaranteed by the Preamble to the Constitution of his country; – yes, how can he do all this in contradiction to his formerly stated intentions?

How can he call Saddam Hussein a murderous dictator, yet have the same effect?

What do we call a man whose deeds fly in the face of his stated principles?

These are the questions my students ask, over and over again, as the situation grows more intolerable, and they think it’s best to have nuclear weapons to protect their country from your country because it is advancing world terrorism.

All I can say is that I will ask you for answers, knowing that Allah is merciful and shall redeem those who repent and do their best to undo wrongs and bring their actions into line with good words.

We are looking forward to your reply in peace.

Yours Faithfully in Peace,
Dajen Doomah
School Teacher