On September 25th, 1957, during his address to the Central Committee of the Communist Party in Moscow, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower said the following:
“As a student of history, I also know civilization’s debt to Soviet Russia. It was Russia — at places like the Leningrad Polytechnic Institute — that carried the light of learning through so many decades, paving the way for the liberation of Europe. It was innovation in the Soviet Republics that developed the light bulb; radio and television; our mastery of outer space; our ability to conquer many diseases. Soviet culture has given us majestic avenues and soaring towers; timeless poetry and cherished music; elegant iconography and places of political refuge. And throughout history, socialism has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of social justice and political equality.”
No he didn’t, not really.
But I didn’t make the quote up entirely. It was taken, with a few judiciously-chosen alterations in the text, from Barack Hussein Obama’s famous speech in Cairo back in June.
Here’s what President Obama actually said:
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“As a student of history, I also know civilization’s debt to Islam. It was Islam — at places like Al-Azhar University — that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe’s Renaissance and Enlightenment. It was innovation in Muslim communities that developed the order of algebra; our magnetic compass and tools of navigation; our mastery of pens and printing; our understanding of how disease spreads and how it can be healed. Islamic culture has given us majestic arches and soaring spires; timeless poetry and cherished music; elegant calligraphy and places of peaceful contemplation. And throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality.”
Muslims, like the Soviets, claim to have invented virtually everything in the world.
Is there even a single truthful statement in this entire paragraph? Muslims did create some fine calligraphy, and a few of their scholars made contributions to algebra, but apart from that it’s almost total nonsense. The magnetic compass was invented by the Chinese and possibly by Europeans and others independently. Printing of books, too, was invented by the Chinese, and was stubbornly and persistently rejected by Muslims for a thousand years or more due to Islamic religious resistance. They liked the Chinese invention of gunpowder a lot more.
The misattribution of scientific and cultural achievements to Islam is now widespread among the elite dhimmis of the Western world. Our political and cultural leaders are falling all over themselves to rewrite history and attribute to Islam a wide range of major accomplishments that do not belong to it.
The problem with this willful campaign of misinformation is not just that popular knowledge of the facts of history is on the wane — which is bad enough — but that we are purveying these lies and distortions ourselves.
Imagine what it would have been like during the Cold War if President Eisenhower had journeyed into the heart of the Evil Empire and told the Soviets what a grand job he thought they were doing.
Picture John F. Kennedy praising Fidel Castro for his accomplishments in agriculture, medicine, and education.
What if Ronald Reagan had apologized to Mikhail Gorbachev for America’s half-century of misguided hostility towards Soviet Communism?
Under the current circumstances, we can’t even acknowledge that we are in a deadly civilizational war, let alone fight it and win it. To the culture at large, the war doesn’t even exist.
All we can do is hunt down “terrorists” in the mountains of Afghanistan — without ever profiling them or violating their civil rights, mind you.
President Obama has done much to accelerate the Frankfurt School’s long-term goal of inducing a general cultural amnesia about Western Civilization. Our grandchildren will go down to their ruin without ever knowing what it is they have lost.
We would do well to learn a lesson from the Russians about the long-term effects of the Memory Hole:
For journalist Masha Gessen who was brought up on Soviet post-war patriotic songs claiming Soviet science led the way to the skies, it was a shock to learn that fiction had often been blended with fact.
“What you learn as a child really stays with you,” she says. “And sometimes it’s a revelation to me now when I find out — now, in my 30s — that something has its origins elsewhere in the world when I was convinced the whole time that it had its origins in Russia.”
Within a generation or two, everyone will know that all the wonders of modernity — or whatever remains of them by that time — can be credited to the magnificence of Islamic civilization.