Interesting Material on Byzantium & Persia

Occasionally, I go through the stats in WordPress to see who is backlinking The Declination. Doing so can be pretty eye opening. I’ve found more than a few detractors this way, and some very amusing social justice warriors. But I’ve also discovered fascinating intellectual material this way.

In the course of perusing my backlinks, I discovered a little-known blog call the House of DavidThis one is fascinating because the author delves deeply into a topic which has bothered me for most my life: just how was it that Islam conquered Sassanian Persia and most of Byzantium more or less simultaneously? Normally this question is answered in the West, at least, by primarily Greek sources. Those are useful, yes, but only paint part of the picture. The proprietor of House of David seeks to answer the question from Persian and Arabic sources, also.

The strangeness of this event cannot be overstated. As successors to the Romans (or as Romans themselves, depending on how you account them), the Byzantines were masters of siege craft. Certainly the Theodosian walls impress well enough. Being consummate engineers of fortifications, Roman forts and walled cities dotted the empire, and for the most part, the Romans were excellent at defending them. The Byzantines continued the tradition of effective defense throughout most of their history, as they were under near-constant assault from all sides.

Hannibal himself found the Romans impossible to conquer, even when winning most of the important field battles. And when much of the Western Empire fell apart, it was due not to siege warfare, but to what might be called a refugee migration situation gone to pot. Modern Europe, it should be noted, ought to be paying very close attention to that portion of their history.

Now, one might say the Persians were able to do it, at least temporarily during the Sassanian war of the early 7th century. And that is true enough, though the Romans still emerged triumphant even then. But the Persians had long experience fighting Romans. They were no strangers to dealing with Roman fortifications and siege craft. Despite the feudal nature of their army (think of dehgans like predecessors to medieval feudal nobility), it was powerful and well organized.

The Arabs, on the other hand, had little organization along those lines. Neither, it should be noted, did they have experience storming Roman forts and cities.

In some cases, of course, there was treachery from some of the Byzantines themselves, most notably in Egypt. But in other cases, such as the Exarchate of Africa, local Byzantine resistance was absolutely fierce. The wars in North Africa absolutely devastated the place. It never recovered after this. So complete was this devastation and desolation that Carthage, which bounced back even after the Romans razed it, never recovered from it. Even conquest by the Vandals had not been so terrible.

And still, after the Byzantines themselves lost much of North Africa, the native Christian Berbers continued to resist for some time under a supposed witch-queen named Kahina. And Byzantine resistance remained for a time around Cueta even after Carthage was destroyed, where the possibly-apocryphal Count Julian was said to have finally thrown in with the Muslims in order to avenge himself upon the Visigoths.

Yet the Arab steamroller moved on.

The final triumph of Byzantine siege craft could be seen in the twin Arab sieges of Constantinople, both beaten back effectively by the Byzantines. So why did they lose so completely everywhere else?

It’s a mystery that has defied satisfactory explanation. Some would say that the Persian war exhausted both countries, and that is true to some extent. Persia spiraled into internecine warfare, and was ruined by Heraclius. But Persia never had the defensive depth that Rome did. Persia was more reliant upon the land-holding nobility, and they were a better offensive force than a defensive one. The Byzantines, meanwhile, had won the war, and Heraclius was (at least according to Greek sources on the matter) still able to field massive armies who, ostensibly, had great experience in the Persian war.

Byzantium was weakened economically by the war, at least to some extent. But militarily, it may have actually been stronger.

So how did a bunch of relatively disorganized Arabs, with little experience, overrun Byzantium and Persia in a way that even Alexander the Great would have gawked at?

The purveyor of House of David has more then a few theories and ideas about how this could have been done, and what may have been going on. And there’s a ring of truth to a lot of it. It ties in well with what is going on today in the West, namely that the bureaucracy and the nobility may have, in effect, sold out their own country for personal profit. That in Byzantium, at least, the bureaucracy may have deliberately sacrificed Rome’s old empire for the sake of what we might call proto-globalization of trade.

The idea of globalists selling out nations for profit, of course, has a long tradition. To them, nations are collections of people, they are arbitrary social constructs (like gender is an arbitrary social construct to them, also). So for them, selling out a country is more or less the same thing as selling your pizza shop. It’s just a pizza shop. Who cares? If you can make more money closing your business and selling off the assets, no big deal, right?

Except countries are not pizza shops. And the things you wind up selling off are people. Sometimes very literally, in the case of Islam.

I don’t want to go on a long lecture on that topic, though. I’ll save that for another day. As to whether or not I believe this theory, I don’t know. It has a ring of plausibility to it, but I’m not familiar enough with the primary sources to say. However, it is interesting, at the very least.

Suffice it to say I have been reading more of this man’s musings on Islamic and Persian history, and they are fascinating. It’s a very different perspective than reading all this from the translated Greek sources. There are a great many posts worth reading on there. Here are a few more.

Enjoy.

Erdogan Strikes Again

Naturally, as one with Armenian family members, Turkey is not exactly high on my list of favorite countries in the world. But Erdogan has managed to lower my opinion of Turkey even further.

Now he has the unmitigated gall to call the Dutch Nazis. There’s a bit of pot, kettle, black irony in this, as Turkey still remains defiant in its assertion that the Armenian genocide never happened. Tell that to my ancestors who fled the place just ahead of Ottoman advance.

What prompted Erdogan to do this?

The Netherlands wasn’t pleased with Turks within their borders holding rallies to call for more power for Erdogan. The Turks responded with this little stunt:

Police clashed with pro-Erdogan demonstrators in the Netherlands overnight while in Istanbul on Sunday a man climbed onto the roof of the Dutch consulate and replaced the Dutch flag with a Turkish flag.

Finally, after a long time kow-towing to any Islamic country that asked, both the Netherlands and Germany took a harder line.

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said Sunday he was against Turkish ministers holding political rallies in Germany.

“A Turkish campaign has no business being here in Germany,” he told public broadcaster ARD.

Separately, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said he hoped Turkey “would return to its senses”.

Before Leftists come to The Declination with accusations about free speech, let’s be very clear. These are Turkish citizens conducting large-scale “rallies” in a foreign country, in support of an authoritarian, who has been playing both sides against the middle where this refugee and migrant situation is concerned.

Quite frankly, I wouldn’t want that kind of activity in my country either. If European countries were smart, they’d expel the ones that didn’t have citizenship immediately. If you’re not a citizen, you are a guest, you are in the country on the sufferance of its citizens. If you want to stir up trouble, they’ve every right to boot you out.

“The West has clearly shown its true face in the last couple of days,” Erdogan said.

“What we have seen is a clear manifestation of Islamophobia,” he added.

Turkey used to have a reputation for being at least somewhat secular, at least compared to their more radical Islamic counterparts. I would not go so far as to say Turkey was good, but certainly Erdogan has made things worse.

By making the Islamophobia argument, Erdogan is de facto admitting something I’ve long suspected: Turkey is back to being a fundamentally Islamic nation, not a secular one. The Kemalists are done. And insofar as Erdogan is looking at this from an Islamic angle, these rallies, and the massive number of Turks in the EU, must be looked at from that angle also. This is part of a bid for more control and power in Europe.

In other words, Erdogan seems to fancy himself an Ottoman Sultan, or something closely approximating that. He ought to be treated likewise. He’s no friend of the West, nor is he a secularist. He’s an Islamist with pretensions of restoring the Ottoman Empire under his own banner.

And, quite frankly, nobody should put any stock in the mutterings of some tinpot Islamist would-be dictator.

Keith Olbermann Plays on Your Sympathies

Here’s another blatant case of Weaponized Empathy:

Keith brings up the case of Fatemeh, an infant who needed open heart surgery. Like most cases of Weaponized Empathy, the story is a sad one, and it plays on the heartstrings. To be fair, the circumstance surrounding the case, if Keith’s presentation of the facts is true, does sound like something that might be accounted an exception to the rule, at least as long as the parents and the child had no intention of staying in the country after the surgery was performed. Supposedly, their sole reason for coming was to obtain the surgery, which was being paid for entirely by the family, and then they would return home.

But notice where Keith goes with it at the end. He ties this in to the “60,000 others” denied entry into the United States as a result of the ban. Here’s where it diverts from being a sad story, and a victim of happenstance, to its ultimate weaponized form.

Lift the ban, he is telling you, or else you want more little babies to die. Where, of course, this sympathy for babies is when they discuss late-term abortions, I cannot say. But instead of arguing for occasional exceptions to the ban for very specific business, in this case open heart surgery, he argues for admitting everybody.

Do you see the fallacy here?

And then he makes sure we know that it’s a travesty, and that it’s our fault, and being done in our name, because we voted for Donald Trump.

This is a classic bait-and-switch. We are sold on poor babies who need heart surgery. What we get, upon doing what they ask, is something entirely different. Observe:

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The fascinating statistic from this little infographic can be found on the lower right hand corner. Note the overabundance of men. And note, also, that many children are actually military age men claiming to be children. So depending on whether or not the statistics account for that, the percentage of children may be even lower.

We are sold on poor children and families escaping a war-torn country. We get the bait-and-switch: here’s your invasion force of military-age men, some of whom may have even been participants in the conflict. You’re importing a war, not saving children.

Weaponized Empathy in the form that Keith Olbermann is employing is nothing more than an amateur sales tactic seen frequently at used car dealerships. Don’t fall for it.

Weaponized Empathy – Coming Soon to an Illegal Alien Near You

With the fight surrounding Trump’s 90-day travel ban from certain Muslim countries in full swing, public attention is, for the moment, rather distracted. But from the #NoBanNoWall hashtag, we can infer that the Left hasn’t forgotten about the illegal immigration invasion, and can be expected to mobilize its full resources in defense of the practice.

One of my detractors once explained to me that we don’t really need a wall, and that Democrats have been very much in favor of securing the border through other means. That, of course, is a blatant lie. At any time, Democrats could have reached across the aisle and found, if not robust support for securing the border (some Republicans like the cheap labor), at least enough support to make it happen, if they truly desired it.

The only answer that makes sense is that they want illegal immigration to continue. Their defense of the practice went to absurdity during the election. We all remember this little gem:

Most videos of this are focused on Trump. But I like this one, even if it’s of relatively poor quality. Here we can see the reporter’s smug, self-satisfied air of superiority, as if he is the great arbiter of moral authority. The press has grown too big for its britches. Rather than simply reporting on the news, or even engaging in editorial spin, the press now demands compliance with its dictates.

You better say it this way, or else.

Trump, naturally, declined. And you can almost see the wheels spinning in the reporter’s mind. Time to call him a racist, we warned him it was offensive, so now he’s a racist, and we’ll destroy him. Of course, if Trump had submitted, and spewed the line “American born child of an undocumented immigrant,” a heap of worthless, kludgy Newspeak straight out of Orwell’s book, then the press would have laughed at him, and put out a piece saying “Trump didn’t even know anchor baby was offensive, lololol.”

The only way to win is not to play. Of late, I’ve been convinced that arguing with these people is futile, because their attacks are Kafkan in nature. They are traps, from which there is no escape except abject submission to the Narrative. And, invariably, the attacks will focus on the person, rather than the issue. You are a racist, sexist, homophobe, islamophobe, or whatever. You are stupid, ignorant, and uneducated. You need to educate yourself, but in our manner, and with our books, and with our concepts. Yours, of course, are anathema. Wrongthink. If you study them, you are stupid.

I remember Phil Sandifer, the self-described Marxist Occultist (whatever that’s supposed to be), lecturing me on the need to educate myself. If you’re brave, you can see the utter dreck he writes, trying to interpret old console video games with Marxian dialectic, or trying to defend self-admitted incestual pedophiles because the Right-wing had no regard for Sarah Nyberg’s relative status and fame. Yes, to a Marxist, status within the party trumps any actual crime, and spinning a 16 bit video game as fundamentally Marxian is accounted an intellectual matter of some importance.

It reminds me of a relatively rare book my father-in-law gave me to read once. I was Castro’s Prisoner, by John Martino. In it, we get a first hand account of an American trapped behind the revolution, betrayed by his own government, and left to rot in prison. But the fascinating thing to note from it is that the author described Castro releasing many criminals, people convicted of theft, murder, and other such things. Instead. Castro filled the prisons with political prisoners, like the author. Wrongthink was a great crime, in the minds of Marxists, worse than actual, physical crime.

So we shouldn’t be surprised that they apply this same standard to illegal immigration. To them, the breaking of our laws is a mere trifle. It doesn’t matter at all. I remember when Michael Brown’s theft at a convenience store, not long before his encounter with police, was hand waved away with the statement that “a few cigars isn’t worth a young black man’s life.” Well, clearly Michael Brown thought otherwise. If the Left is okay with the theft and assault, then crossing the border illegally wouldn’t faze them in the slightest.

They want illegals because they are politically useful. Don’t let them fool you about morality or compassion. Perhaps some of the rank-and-file liberals believe this, but the ones calling the shots certainly don’t. For them it is about obtaining political control over America. Mexicans are useful idiots, in their view. There is speculation that as many as 800,000 illegals voted in the last election, though it is unconfirmed at best. But it is known for certain that some illegals did vote. Yet that’s not the primary boon illegals grant to the Left.

Amnesty is the great prize. Ann Coulter put together some rather convincing figures in her book Adios America, in which the 11 million illegals we think are in the country may actually be closer to 20 or 30 million. But whatever the number, once the Left gets amnesty and eventual citizenship past the goal line, there will never be a Right-of-center President in America ever again. They’ve made sure minorities who step off the ideological reservation are branded Uncle Toms, Uncle Changs, and traitors to their race. So the vast majority will be good Socialists, even if they were otherwise inclined.

And on top of that, the political usefulness of decrying anyone who fights illegal immigration as racist has been immense. Opposition can be spun as hatred of Mexicans, racism against brown people (even though many Mexicans are essentially fully Spanish in descent – just look at the Mexican first family). It’s another bludgeon that can be deployed against the Right.

All three things have great utility to the Left. The illegal votes they get today, the greater number of votes they’ll receive if they can push amnesty, and the ability to deploy Weaponized Empathy for the poor, oppressed brown peoples of the world, terribly maligned by white Right-wing racism.

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No papers, no fear. And by the way, everybody coming into your country is guaranteed to be a beautiful butterfly. Of course there are no terrorists, no criminals, no extremists, no drug dealers, no welfare moochers… all beautiful butterflies.

Remember, to these people borders are nothing, and jumping them is fine. Laws don’t matter. Only wrongthink matters. No amount of welfare statism, terrorism, drug smuggling, or otherwise is enough to even allow the questioning of this practice.

Migration is a human right? You do mean invasion, don’t you?

You’re going to see a lot more of this propaganda soon. Be ready for it.

A “Shooter” at OSU, Little Green Fuckheads, and Other Assorted Prog Idiocy from Today

Yeah, the title is long. The post will be mercifully short.

So here’s a sampling of Progressive stupidity in no particular order. First, in Canada, a female MP from Alberta takes issue with the loss of jobs in her province, and delivers a speech that contains the word “fart” in it. Another MP, with the sort of pompous, perpetually-offended scowl reminiscent of every Gender Studies professor you’ve ever seen then declares how offended she is. The SJW cannot even bring herself to say the word “fart” and must, instead, spell it out to protect her delicate sensibilities. Take a look for yourself:

All I can say is, thank God I am not a Canadian MP. My language would trigger Miss Cat Lady into conniption fits.

For our second display of Progressive idiocy on this Monday, November 28th, I present the following: Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs, a blog that, many moons ago, once made a lot more sense than it does today. Ole CJ used to be something of a center-right kind of guy, until he had an epic meltdown that resulted in the banning of something like 75% of his readership (including yours truly).

Today, he takes offense with people saying mean things about Castro. I, naturally, had feelings about this which resulted in my immediate blocking:

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Feel free to go to his Twitter to see the originals – blocked from my feed. He was taking offense that Trump said “assholish” things about Castro. He was also hurt that Hillary lost.

But today’s winner in the contest of who can be the biggest Progressive idiot goes to whoever was responsible for this headline:

gunman

The problem? Machete-wielding guy had no gun. He tried to run people over, and resorted to the machete after crashing his Honda 4-banger. The gun graboids were practically drooling… and were resoundingly disappointed by the result. Also, said terrorist turned out to be a Muslim Somali immigrant, instead of the militant Amish gun owner the media was praying for.

My good friend Nicki has dissected this in detail over at the Liberty Zone. I highly recommend it.

The Religious War Has Begun

There was a scene in Tom Kratman’s Caliphate book where a priest was crucified, and speaks to a young boy, telling him to take up the crucifix on the ground. He speaks the words “Deus Vult,” which I am sure most of my readers understand well enough.

The implication was, of course, that the boy, who had converted to Islam under duress, suffered less than the priest nailed to the cross. And, naturally, he should not renounce his faith for such if the priest could keep his under such circumstances.

Contrary to the beliefs of Leftists, being Christian has, historically, meant accepting a great deal of persecution. The followers of Christ, not unlike the Jews, have suffered under great persecution from other faiths. The Romans killed them (until converting). Then the Muslims came, and did likewise.

But the day came when Christianity was ascendant and unchallenged in the West. And so it is easy to forget that, as a Christian, persecution is not so far away as we often think it is. We’ve suffered comparatively little in recent years. The worst we’ve had to deal with lately is militant atheists with their smug, Jon Stewart liberal grins and airs of superiority. Easy enough to suffer that.

The killing of the priest, during Mass, tells us that a new round of persecution may be beginning. I honestly didn’t think I’d see that in my lifetime. But, here it is. In a sense, it is worse than the other terror killings. Not in number of bodies, of course, but in the brazenness of the act, and in the specificity of the target. Where you could theoretically lump other Islamic terror attacks in the West into some kind of general malaise, and excuse it by some sort of twisted Left-wing, secular reasoning, this attack smacks more obviously of religious war.

I feel a sadness for it, and wonder if the priest thought similarly as he died. And I wonder, also, if the militant fire which had been extinguished long ago in Christianity will now begin to resurface. I mourn this greatly, for the end of goodwill between faiths fast approaches.

If it must be religious war, then let it be as they say, even if this is a terrifying thing. If the cross falls to you, take it up. If it falls to me, then I will take it, also. I implore the Islamists to remember this, however: we truly wanted peace, with all of our hearts, and you could not leave well enough alone.

Deus Vult!

General Mattis put it succinctly, once: “I come in peace. I didn’t bring artillery. But I’m pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you fuck with me, I’ll kill you all.”

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