Fjordman’s latest essay has been published at Tundra Tabloids. Some excerpts are below:
As I indicated in my previous essay Western Civilization and Socratic Dialogue, the Socratic spirit has been a hallmark of Western culture at its best for nearly 2500 years. Yet it has never been shared by Muslims; nor by Western totalitarians starting with Plato in Antiquity. Plato (ca. 428-348 BC) in his early career was closely associated with his teacher Socrates (ca. 469-399 BC), who was executed in Athens when Plato was around 29 or 30 years old.
The image of Socrates as a martyr who died for his beliefs might make sense to Christians, but less so to Muslims. This is because a Muslim shahid, a term often translated as martyr, is not a person who dies for his beliefs but rather one who murders others for their beliefs and himself dies in the process, for example by blowing up a bus full of unarmed non-Muslim civilians. According to such an Islamic worldview, Socrates was a weakling and a failure.
Despite their love of Aristotelian physics, Islam had an affinity for Plato. One historian has compared the Muslim political community with the organization of Plato s ideal city. The Law of God, page 117:
“One author whom one might not expect to meet in this context Nietzsche saw this similarity with an astonishing clarity. For Nietzsche, Muhammad is a Plato who succeeded. If the philosopher, necessarily a critic of the mores of the society in which he lives, does not manage to become the legislator of new mores, he leaves behind him the image of a dangerous dreamer. This was the case with Plato. But in his Syracusan adventure, Nietzsche continues, Plato thought he could do for all the Greeks what Muhammad did later for his Arabs, establishing both minor and more important customs, and especially regulating the daily life of every man. His ideas were quite practicable, just as certainly as those of Muhammad were practicable. A few hazards less and a few hazards more and the world would have witnessed the Platonization of Southern Europe. The philosophers of Islam seem to have seen in Muhammad the philosopher king that Plato had postulated, and to have seen the Muslim community as the realization of Plato s city. Did they sincerely believe this? Their practice shows, in any event, that they felt an affinity between Plato s political works and Islam.”
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Plato talked about the corrupting influences of art and argued for strict censorship of the kinds of music and poetry that should be allowed in his ideal state. He viewed the painter as a kind of trickster who seduces his audience by producing pale imitations of reality. Fortunately for the future evolution of European art and music, Aristotle had far greater sympathy with the artistic enterprise than did his teacher. Had Plato’s views on this prevailed, much of the incredible variety of later Western art and music, from the Hellenistic period to the Northern Renaissance, would have been impossible. In this regard, Plato was very clearly an ancient forerunner of modern totalitarian movements of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
It is instructive here to remember that while the Nazis and the Communists both wanted and practiced strict regulation and censorship of decadent art, even they didn’t go as far as to ban all works of pictorial art, European Classical music or ballet per se. Muslims, however, did do so. This means that mainstream Islam was even more totalitarian than the most totalitarian strains of Western thought, but it also means that the Platonic view of art and politics reflected by the Nazis and the Communists was more in line with Islamic thought than with the best and most creative elements of European culture. This again explains why a disproportionate number of Western converts to Islam today are either Marxists or neo-Nazis.
Read the rest at Tundra Tabloids.