Fjordman: Was Medieval China Superior to Europe in the Sciences?

Fjordman’s latest essay has been published at Tundra Tabloids. Some excerpts are below:

It has often been stated that the Chinese during the Middle Ages were superior to Europeans in “science and technology.” A problem with this claim is that science and technology were traditionally completely separate disciplines. They only started merging after the Scientific Revolution, and then only in the Western world. East Asians did well in applied technology with a limited theoretical basis, yes, but they were not equally good in the physical sciences.

The great Temple of Heaven was constructed in fifteenth century Beijing. Symptomatically, the Earth was represented by a flat square and Heaven by a circle, which accurately reflects the fact that the Earth was widely held to be flat in Chinese cosmology well into modern times. By contrast, it was common in medieval Europe to see a cross-bearing orb on royal regalia, symbolizing Christ’s dominion over the world. One striking aspect of this is that the Earth was here represented as a spherical object. This was for instance the case with the Orb, Scepter and Crown insignia of the Holy Roman Empire, possibly dating back to the tenth century AD. At this time, Europe was barely recovering from the collapse of urban civilization, while China, with the world’s largest and most sophisticated economy, went from the Tang to the Song Dynasty and was in the middle of one of the most technologically creative phases in its history. Another way of saying this is that Europeans had a more scientifically correct understanding of the shape and size of the Earth in a period when urban civilization barely existed there than the Chinese had while performing at their very best.

The consensus among Chinese scholars until around 1600 AD, more than two thousand years after Greek thinkers had demonstrated that the Earth is spherical, was that the Earth is flat. This basic error wasn’t corrected until they encountered modern European astronomers.

People of European origins are constantly accused of harboring prejudice against members of other cultures, but the more I read of European history, the more I realize that some of the worst prejudice actually targets our own ancestors. Many Westerners too readily believe that medieval Europeans were primitive simpletons who thought that the Earth was flat while the Chinese were scientifically sophisticated. As we have just seen, reality is just the opposite.

Read the rest at Tundra Tabloids.

The Undead London Mega-Mosque

Mega-Mosque, LondonA few months ago it seemed that the local council in Newham had managed to kill the plans for London’s Mega-Mosque. However, government higher-ups have now overruled common sense and breathed new life into Tablighi Jamaat’s mega-project.

Alan Craig of Newham Concern just issued this press release about the newly-revenant mosque:

Tablighi Jamaat Islamists “may continue on Olympic mega-mosque site” rules government Planning Inspector

Successful appeal by fundamentalist sect “ominous, unjust and divisive” says opposition campaign

Today’s decision by a government Planning Inspector that separatist Islamic sect Tablighi Jamaat may continue to use the current temporary mosque on the site of their proposed Olympic mega-mosque at West Ham has been roundly condemned by local opposition group Newham Concern who say that the decision will provide succour to Islamic radicals and will further boost the capital’s reputation as “Londonistan”.

“For years Tablighi Jamaat have deliberately flouted building regulations and planning laws,” said Alan Craig, Newham Concern’s campaign director and former leader of the Opposition on Newham Council. “After much delay and procrastination Newham Council at last took the right action and told them to move off site. But the Planning Inspector has overturned this and apparently decided that illegality pays and they can stay on site with temporary planning permission for a further two years.

“This is ominous for the future development of this key site. It is unjust, as the rest of us are expected to act within the law of the land or we get penalised,” said Alan Craig. “And it is divisive as it puts Tablighi Jamaat in a privileged protected position.

“Nonetheless our campaign will continue and we will up our opposition. East London is a great place to live and for the sake of our tolerant diverse east London communities, we cannot allow their massive monument to separatism, bigotry and misogyny to be constructed.”


Alan Craig
Campaign Director of Newham Concern
07939 547198

The Farce Continues

Geert Wilders as Galileo

Geert Wilders took a bit of a vacation earlier this month, visiting Canada and Tennessee. Now everything has returned to normal, and he’s back in the dock in the Netherlands.

The Amsterdam court that is trying Mr. Wilders is engaged in a surgical operation for political purposes under the mandate of the Dutch ruling class. Its task is to excise the PVV leader from the Dutch body politic and restore the multicultural state to its previous dominance.

If there were ever any doubt that this is a kangaroo court, and that the verdict was determined well in advance, the following brief article would lay it to rest. Many thanks to our Dutch correspondent H. Numan for this translation from De Telegraaf:

Court: Wilders trial continues

AMSTERDAM – the court of Amsterdam decided on Monday the trial against PVV leader Geert Wilders will continue. At the beginning of this month, Wilders’ lawyer Bram Moszkowicz stated his client isn’t getting a fair trial and the case must be declared inadmissible by the prosecution.

The unfair trial was caused by amongst others Tom Schalken, councillor of the court, and in that position responsible for issuing the order for the prosecution to continue the trial against Wilders. The politician is on trial for sowing hatred and discrimination and insulting a group.

The order to continue the trial is according to Moszkowicz a conviction. Also, Schalken had tried to influence the expert-witness Hans Jansen, Arabist. Other influential magistrates had influenced the trial, by publicly voicing their own personal opinions.

The court rejected the arguments of the lawyer.

Gates of Vienna News Feed 5/22/2011

Gates of Vienna News Feed 5/22/2011The Russian foreign minister will meet tomorrow in Moscow with the leaders of Hamas and Fatah. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss Russian recognition of a Palestinian state under the unity government of the two major Palestinian political groups.

In other news, financial analysts now believe that it is only a matter of time before Greece defaults on its debts. Greece, however, say that Fitch has treated it unfairly by relying on stories in the press and downgrading its bonds without looking at the larger picture. Meanwhile, a recent poll shows that 62% of the Greek public opposes last year’s Memorandum of Understanding with the EU that imposed the current regime of austerity on Greece.

To see the headlines and the articles, open the full news post.

Thanks to AA, AC, C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

Commenters are advised to leave their comments at this post (rather than with the news articles) so that they are more easily accessible.

Caveat: Articles in the news feed are posted “as is”. Gates of Vienna cannot vouch for the authenticity or accuracy of the contents of any individual item posted here. We check each entry to make sure it is relatively interesting, not patently offensive, and at least superficially plausible. The link to the original is included with each item’s title. Further research and verification are left to the reader.

Rage or Sorrow?

Laying a Wreath at the Wailing Wall

2011 Spring Quarterly Fundraiser, Day 8

Yesterday was “too much gardening”-itis. My pain levels prevented me from getting to the computer, much less sitting in front of it.

The reasons for this sudden rise in pain are several, but the main one is not the amount of yard work I did. The underlying reason may well be physical work combined with how much tension I’ve been holding since I read Obama’s death threat to Israel the other day.

Yeah, now he’s trying to walk that one back, but I don’t believe him. He may be the least credible politician in recent memory, and given the sad list of mediocrities amongst our Political Class, that’s saying something. However, what it says isn’t anything one could repeat on a PG-13 blog.

Weeping WomanI wrote a thank you note to one of our donors in Israel. Her donation had come in well before our Death Dealer issued his notorious “bring back the 1967 borders” command, but by the time I reached her name, he’d done gone and opened his mouth.

As those of you who donate know well, my acknowledgements often tend to be free-associations. Kind of whatever is going through my mind when I sit down to say thank you. In this case my gratitude turned into a rant. It has gotten to the point that if I don’t stay angry I will be reduced to impotent sorrow. I’d rather remain furious than permit this man’s wrong-headed ideas about our domestic and foreign policies to sink in fully. He could well leave America destitute and/or make of the Middle East a smoking ruin.

Our donor sent back this response (and I later got her permission to use it):

Hi Dymphna,

The “rant “is quite understandable, really…I am carried away too when I speak about things I am passionate about.

Frankly, I would not be able to say anything in a polite way about Obama. I have no idea how Netanyahu manages to be polite to this openly hostile man.

Right now I am being very afraid. I thought times are bad for Israel, but it looks like I was too optimistic.

My daughter is to be drafted next year into the army — she will be 18 and it is the law of the land. Most likely she will serve her country when the next war breaks. I am terrified of losing her. I am torn between my principles — stay and defend — and the basic instinct of protecting my child from the imminent danger.

I do thank you for your kind words, I know that you are with me, though very far away.

Yes, I am indeed with her, and with all the other Israeli mothers who face her awful choice. So many of them must be asking themselves the same question that haunts her:

Tip jarShould I save my child by running, or must I answer a higher calling to stay and defend my country with the life of my child? The former ‘choice’ is a hardwired feature of parenthood; there is no escaping that intense, animal desire. However, sentient beings can override their instincts to make hard decisions which answer to the perennial question: will my people survive?

Mothers of soldiers do this all the time. Nor is the choice ever laid conclusively to rest. Either way one questions the wisdom of her choosing over and over again. For those who take a deep breath and let their children go, each morning along with her waking routines a mother wonders again if she has done the right thing. And she will continue to question herself until her child returns safely home.

With those who choose shelter and safety over valor, I have no quarrel. Ultimately it must be the child’s choice but mothers can influence those choices to some extent and those who manage to override their son’s or daughter’s courage must then live with themselves. For them, it is never over; the questions that come “in the deep dark night of the soul when it is always three o’clock in the morning” will follow them for the remainder of their lives.

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That is why Obama’s sacrifice of Israel to the demands of the so-called Palestinians — a political travesty if there ever was one — seems so cruel and senseless to this questioning mother. When is it enough?

With her, I am glad Prime Minister Netanyahu stood up to Obama. It was a proud moment for Israel. As this kabuki theatre plays itself out, we can only stand and wait. The Baron reminds me that Israel is not entirely alone but as he says, the ranks of her defenders are thinning. Of those who remain how many can be of practical help? Australia is pro-Israel; Canada’s Harper is also, though the permanent bureaucracy in our northern neighbor’s government is not; Denmark would stand with her, but how much practical help will that buy? Italy has never been particularly anti-Semitic, but it has to dance with the Arabs for the foreseeable future.

I hate this. Yes, I know all the arguments about dealing with reality, about Israel having to play the cards it was dealt, etc., etc. but that doesn’t help in coming to terms with a tragedy. With Rachel, I will continue to weep for her children — at least when I’m not throwing darts at images of O.

A good day for donations!


California, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Tennessee

Far Abroad:

Italy and Norway… and Norway… and Norway. Hmm. Norwegians may lose their reputation for being like the Scots. How will we be able to tease Fjordman?

The tip jar in the text above is just for decoration. To donate, click the tin cup on our sidebar, or the donate button. If you prefer a monthly subscription, click the “subscribe” button.

Infectious Behavior

I have two computers, both of them antiquated. One is really old — say, an 1893 Duryea — while the other is merely obsolescent, maybe a 1918 Model A.

Bacteriophage #2One of the reasons I’ve been out of action most of the day today is that my newer computer picked up a social disease from the internet last night. The virus — I believe it’s called a “trojan horse” — was first launched on May 13, and is currently listed in Microsoft’s virus library, but the MS security on my machine somehow let one copy of it through, while catching and removing two additional copies.

The demon virus immediately disabled all virus protection on the machine, hijacked XP’s security software, and began masquerading as a virus warning, as if it were the XP anti-virus program. I’ve heard of these evil bugs, so I knew immediately what had happened, but I had no idea how to get rid of it.

Fortunately the future Baron has been through the same ordeal himself, and knew exactly what had to be done. It took about an hour of phone consultation this morning to go through the intitial steps: I had to download a couple of pieces of software using my Duryea, and then reboot the Model A in safe mode to execute them. After that came about seven hours of scanning and cleaning, and now the old girl is cranked up and chugging away just like new.

It wasn’t all that difficult, but it certainly was tedious and time-consuming. Hence my absence from normalcy all day.

As a matter of interest, I’m pretty sure I picked up the bug while I was looking for photos using a Google image search. That can be a risky activity, because if I see the sort of image I want — these days, often a “Camp of the Saints” photo — I have to open a page with the target website in a frame along with the thumbnail. Sometimes these sites are places that I would not normally visit, and act as malware distributors. This can happen even to geezers like me who are looking for relatively innocuous images, and not pr0n or Michael Jackson.

I search for new images several times a day, so all this is just a hazard of the trade. Next time, at least, I’ll know in advance how to correct this type of infection — thanks to the future Baron, whose college education has served him well.

An Honor Killing in Tampa?

An anti-Islamization activist in the Tampa Bay area believes that he has uncovered an Islamic “honor killing” in an upscale suburb of Tampa. The victim, Fatima Abdallah, supposedly threw herself headfirst onto a coffee table in a fit of anger, causing a brain hemorrhage. The coroner ruled it an accidental death.

However, Ms. Abdallah had been divorced because of her inability to have children, and afterwards was forced to stay in her family’s house in virtual purdah. The only witness to her death — her mother — has returned to Pakistan.

Many thanks to Vlad Tepes for YouTubing this Fox News report:

Gates of Vienna News Feed 5/21/2011

Gates of Vienna News Feed 5/21/2011A suicide bomber blew himself up in a military hospital in Afghanistan, killing six people and wounding another twenty-six. The Taliban claimed credit for the bombing, saying that it was in retaliation for the killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.

In other news, the controversial proposed mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee has received a building permit, and construction on it will begin soon. Meanwhile, both houses of the Tennessee legislature have passed a bill that increases penalties for supporting a terrorist organization, and places limits on the application of foreign law in the state. It now awaits the governor’s signature.

To see the headlines and the articles, open the full news post.

Thanks to 4symbols, AC, C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, Jerry Gordon, Nick, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

Commenters are advised to leave their comments at this post (rather than with the news articles) so that they are more easily accessible.

Caveat: Articles in the news feed are posted “as is”. Gates of Vienna cannot vouch for the authenticity or accuracy of the contents of any individual item posted here. We check each entry to make sure it is relatively interesting, not patently offensive, and at least superficially plausible. The link to the original is included with each item’s title. Further research and verification are left to the reader.

A Lull in the Action

Siege of Vienna

2011 Spring Quarterly Fundraiser, Day 7

Dymphna is under the weather tonight, so I’m having to fill in at the last minute. She has something significant planned for her bleg post tomorrow, assuming she’s back in action by then.

Tip jarWe’re in the midst of the weekend traffic lull, so not much has been happening today. We’re also in an economic lull — times have been tough for almost three years, and are getting tougher. So when you think about it, it’s amazing that anyone can spare enough cash to apply it to an enterprise like this one.

Especially in Michigan, which is experiencing some of the worst of the current recession. Yet we got two gifts today from Michiganders, so you never can tell. Our donors continue to surprise and delight us with their repeated generosity.

We started our Fund-a-thon last weekend, so we’ll push it all the way through the end of this weekend and have a wrap-up on Monday.

Here’s the roster of places that checked in today:


Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Massachusetts, and Michigan

Far Abroad:

Flanders, Ireland, and the UK

Many thanks to everyone who has contributed so far. You will all hear from Dymphna in the fullness of time.

The tip jar in the text above is just for decoration. To donate, click the tin cup on our sidebar, or the donate button. If you prefer a monthly subscription, click the “subscribe” button.

Camp of the Saints: Fleeing in All Directions

Lampedusa refugees #22

Three days of Mediterranean refugee stories have accumulated since the last time I did one of these posts. Today’s news item is the most interesting, for two reasons: rather than Lampedusa, the culture-enrichers arrived near Ragusa on the southeastern coast of Sicily, and all of the migrants plus their smugglers are Egyptian:

Boat of Migrants Lands Near Ragusa, 3 Traffickers Arrested

(AGI) Ragusa — 3 alleged smugglers have been arrested for a crime associated with the illegal arrival of 46 Egyptians yesterday. Police agents of the Ragusa-based Flying Squad Unit, the GdF agents based in Pozzallo and the Carabinieri of the Modica Company arrested Daouet Rachid Ali Mhammed, Muhammar Ahmed, and 25-year old Ateya Abu Zed, all Egyptian nationals.

They are accused of criminal conspiracy aimed at abetting illegal immigration.

The article doesn’t say whether the immigrants arrived directly from Egypt. A few weeks ago there were still thousands of Egyptian refugees in the Tunisian camps, so it’s possible that they set out from Tunisia.

Now for the “routine” arrivals, the humdrum daily roster of overloaded boats and drowned migrants from the waters off Lampedusa.

A large number of sub-Saharan African refugees arrived two days ago in Lampedusa:

(ANSAmed) — Palermo, May 20 — A barge carrying some 70 migrants, many of whom were minors, was intercepted off the coast of Sicily by local police. The “old wreck”, an old 15 metre fishing boat which was probably Egyptian, became stranded near the beach, enabling several passengers to swim to the shore and disappear. Up until now, 46 have been tracked down and taken to Pozzallo. Many of these were minors, aged 10-15. The remaining fugitives are being searched for. Another landing yesterday on the coast of Torretta Granitola, in the province of Trapani, ended tragically. Two smugglers ordered the passengers to jump 100 metres away from the shore; it was the middle of the night, the waves were high, the water freezing, and it was pitch black. Yet they were told to jump in and swim, that the shore was just a few strokes away. Seventeen Tunisians jumped. Three died less than 20 metres from shore. The survivors claim they come from Libya. Clearly, departures from Tunisia have begun again, with small vessels which escape the local army’s notice, and from Libya with old fishing boats whose value on the human trafficking market is much higher.

A vessel carrying 208 people reached Lampedusa the previous night, including 23 women and 3 children. Then another barge brimming with people was spotted some 20 miles to the southeast.

The local police rescued the passengers, who were then taken to the island. There were 500 of them, of whom 38 were women and 9 were children from several countries. Many of the passengers were African, but some were Asian, having left Libya on Tuesday after waiting for weeks. The echo of another barge sounded from Malta, a vessel carrying 320 people, also from Libya, having been rescued by the Maltese marine.

The numbers: 70 + 17 + 208 + 500 — 3 drowned = 792 arrivals covered in this report (not counting the 320 who were picked up by the Maltese).

Notice that the boats are sailing from Tunisia once again, despite the agreement between Italy and Tunisia — which was hailed last week as “working” — and despite the fancy new coast guard vessels provided to Tunisia by the Italians.

This is an earlier article about the party of 208 that was reported above:

(AGI) Lampedusa — During the night, a Libyan boat with 208 migrants landed at Lampedusa, reaching the harbor at about 1:00 AM. Among the migrants, tentatively identified as sub-Saharan natives, there are 23 women and 3 children. Their arrival, after a few days of truce, coincides with a break in the weather. Coast Guard and Guardia di Finanza continue to patrol the Sicilian channel by air and by sea.

And the next story seems to feature the same 500-strong contingent that arrived from Libya, so it won’t affect the overall total, either:

Boat Overloaded With Migrants Rescued at Lampedusa

(AGI) Agrigento — A boat carrying between 400 and 500 migrants was sighted this morning by a GdF helicopter 25 miles from Lampedusa. It was and reached this afternoon by six patrol boats and rescued. The boat was stricken and the passengers were transshipped in groups on Italian vessels, 3 of the Guardia di Finanza (GdF) and 3 of the Coast Guard. The first called in the port of Lampedusa at 4 pm. The immigrants all originate from Sub-Saharan African Countries and sailed from Libya.

As far as I can tell, the 300 arrivals covered in this report are not mentioned in the previous articles:

Boat Carrying 300 Immigrant Sighted Off Lampedusa

(AGI) Lampedusa — The vessel sighted at about 10.30 this morning by a Coast Guard helicopter, about 15 miles west of Lampedusa, is expected to dock by 4 p.m. Sources have reported that there are about 300 migrants on board, probably of sub-Saharan origin coming from Libya. This will be the second arrival today following the 208 immigrants, including 23 women and 3 children, who arrived in the night.

This brings the total to 1,092.

A report on the 300 that were rescued and taken to Malta, from The Maltese Times:

‘Many More’ Migrants to be Expected

Malta should expect many more migrants this year and possibly even in next year, Frontex said yesterday.

The EU’s border control agency has just carried out an in-depth analysis into the latest migration trends and developments on the economic and geopolitical front.

The report was released a few hours before a boat bearing more than 300 immigrants reached Malta last night.

As the ongoing crisis in North Africa, particularly in Libya, continues to unfold, the analysis shows that many involved in the conflict, including hundreds of thousands of sub-Saharan Afri­cans and even Libyans, would probably try to cross over to the EU in order to find new pastures.

The improving economic situation in the EU, with demand for labour increasing, is expected to act as a pull-factor.


Last year fewer than 100 illegal immigrants landed in Malta — the lowest figure in years.

However, as Libyan conflict started, the joint-patrol agreement between Italy and Libya fell by the wayside and the Libyan coastline is now almost a “free for all”.

That was the last of the articles that mentioned numbers of new culture-enrichers. It’s difficult to determine what the new running total should be, since it has never been clear whether the earlier totals included arrivals in Malta.

For the sake of simplicity, we’ll assume that the earlier year-to-date number of 35,000 to 37,000 was for arrivals on Italian territory only. We just added a little more than a thousand to that total, making the current baseline 36,000 to 38,000 since the Arab uprisings began in January.

The Italian foreign minister is still being a broken record about the inability of the European Union to deal with the refugee crisis in any meaningful way:

Frattini: EU’s Effort Weak and Ineffective

(AGI) Paris — Frattini said the EU’s effort to tackle the immigration emergency has so far been “weak and ineffective”.

Speaking at a round-table meeting organised in Paris by MEP Rachida Dati to discuss migration issues, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini criticised EU’s “weak and ineffective” effort to help tackle the immigration emergency triggered by popular revolts in several Arab countries and the Libyan conflict.

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On a different note, it’s worth remembering that not all of the displaced persons are fleeing northwards. During a civil war, refugees tend to flee in any direction, and some of the flow out of Libya is going south. In particular, some of the migrant workers who originally came from further south are attempting to return the way they came.

According to the Associated Press:

African Migrants Fleeing Libya in Distress

Benghazi, Libya — Thousands of migrant workers who fled fighting in Libya are stranded in a remote desert town in northern Chad, in what an international aid group warned Friday could become a humanitarian catastrophe.

More than 3,800 Chadians are stuck in Zouarke, a small town in Chad’s arid mountainous region near the border with Niger, after traveling for days through the extreme heat of the Sahara desert, the International Organization for Migration said. The migrants are said to include 310 women and children. Dozens are sick or injured, and at least four people have died after drinking water from contaminated wells.

“The situation in Zouarke could become a catastrophe,” IOM spokesman Jean-Philippe Chauzy told reporters in Geneva.

The Africans, who were working in Libya when the revolt against ruler Moammar Gadhafi erupted, had to endure a tortuous road journey via Niger, crammed onto overloaded trucks, hungry, thirsty, some injured. Two children are believed to have died from suffocation, and at least four people have died from contaminated water, the IOM said.

They are the latest among hundreds, probably thousands, who have died in desperate attempts to get away from the fighting — and escape charges that they were fighting for Gadhafi as foreign mercenaries.

Many of the 2.5 million foreign workers in Libya, including 1 million Egyptians, fled by air, road and sea in the first weeks after the Feb. 17 uprising against Gadhafi’s four-decade rule.

Soon flights were canceled, and then a no-fly zone imposed by the United Nations to prevent Gadhafi’s forces from bombing civilians halted the airlifts.

More than 10,000 who took to the seas in overcrowded vessels have arrived on islands off Italy, telling horror stories of hundreds who died along the way. Some said they were forced to board non-seaworthy vessels at gunpoint by Gadhafi’s soldiers.


Those who have fled, including Libyans, number about 339,000 in Tunisia, 262,000 in Egypt, 17,000 in Algeria and 61,200 in Niger, with smaller numbers in Italy, Malta and Sudan, the migration organization has said.


Chad shares a border with Libya, but land mines along the Aouzou strip, left over from a war in the 1970s, make it too dangerous to cross there. Instead, the migrants searching for safety are forced to travel a roundabout route through neighboring Niger.

Even though the “Camp of the Saints” crisis in southern Europe is unprecedented in severity, almost twenty times as many migrants in the Libyan exodus have ended up in other African countries.

Conditions there are undoubtedly far worse than in the Italian camps, so one may expect that many of the refugees are even now planning a getaway across the Med, if they can possibly manage it.

Hat tips: AC, C. Cantoni, and Insubria.

The Crisis of the West

The first book by Norman Berdichevsky that I read was The Danish-German Border Dispute, a fascinating history of Denmark’s relationship with Germany, and the politics of the Danish minority now resident in Schleswig. The arcana of history always interest me, and I read the book closely before passing it on to one of my Danish friends.

Dr. Berdichevsky writes on a variety of other topics. He has just published The Left Is Seldom Right, an analysis of the current political situation in the United States and the rest of the West. Early next month he will publish another book about Danish history and culture.

I had the good fortune to read several chapters of The Left Is Seldom Right in advance of publication, and recommend it strongly to our readers.

Earlier today Dr. Berdichevsky sent us the following account of the writing of these two books, and their relevance to the current crisis of the West:

Why I Wrote These Two Books
by Norman Berdichevsky

Norman Berdichevsky: 'The Left is Seldom Right'A few days ago, I returned from a trip to Denmark where I visited my son and his family. I also made the trip to publicize my new book, An Introduction to Danish Culture (McFarland Publishing) and was interviewed by Tim Anderson of, a weekly internet video program on different aspects of Life in Denmark. The 10 minute interview can be viewed on their website in early June. The book on Denmark will be available on July 5th. just a month after the publication here in the U.S. on June 10th by the New English Review Press of The Left Is Seldom Right.

Why are these two books appearing almost simultaneously and what do they share in common?

They are my answer to the moral crisis that grows ever more ominous and threatening with the conviction of distinguished Danish author Lars Hedegaard of the Danish Free Press Society for exercising the right of free speech in criticizing the reluctance of many Muslim immigrants in Denmark to meaningfully integrate in Danish society and accept responsible citizenship and President Obama’s call for Israel to return to the Auschwitz Cease-Fire lines of 1949-67 as if they qualified for what U.N. Resolution 242 explicitly called secure and defensible borders.

Both of these events are our 2011 equivalent of the appeasement agreement at Munich in 1938 that sealed the destruction of Czechoslovakia, the only democracy in Eastern Europe, a country compelled to bow before the all powerful ruse of “self-determination” for a recalcitrant and hostile German minority. Instead of referring to the minority as Germans, the preferred term in the Western press was the politically correct mantra of “Sudetens” as if they were not part of a powerful and aggressive German nationalism steered by Hitler, akin to the ocean of crocodile tears shed for the “Palestinians” anxious to dismember the State of Israel with the full backing of the Arab world and Muslim ummah.

The Danish philosopher Andreas Simonsen, remarked on the great respect most Jews feel towards the past, old friends and their parents as well as the long historical memory of nationhood and the many religious obligations and commemorative holidays. This is what he termed the Jewish ability “to carry their past with themselves and be nourished by it.” It is the best definition of Zionism, and an essential characteristic of pride and self respect that is now completely out of tune with most of contemporary culture and its anti-historical attitude.

According to Simonsen, “Jews live because they remember, anti-Semitism lives because people forget,” and ”the better people remember their past and are able to integrate it with their appreciation of life, the better they are able to develop their intellect, humanity and vitality.”

The Danes, as the oldest nation in Europe with the oldest flag, have been subject to a concerted campaign of Leftwing opinion and a multiculturalism that would erase much of their historical past and cultural values. For many of those on the political Left at the time of the Mohammad cartoon affair, Danish culture and society were reduced to the pale stereotypes and clichés of socialism, cradle to the grave security, football, pornography, Hamlet, pigs, dairy cattle, beer and the inevitable charges of “racism.”

Denmark’s contribution to science, engineering, seafaring, shipping, exploration, literature, philosophy, music, art, the theatre, the cinema, dance, sports, agriculture, architecture, its record on human rights, democratic institutions, and humanistic traditions deserve to be much more widely known, especially in the wake of the negative publicity spread by the international media following the Muhammad-Cartoon affair that presented a distorted view of Danish society and ignored its centuries-old respect for democracy and tolerance.

I am an American who lived in Aarhus, Denmark from 1980-1988, a stone’s throw away from the headquarters of the now world famous newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, and got to learn firsthand about the Danish folk character and the country’s long history. Denmark has more than once faced the dilemma of standing alone to uphold fundamental democratic and humanitarian principles against overwhelmingly powerful political, military and economic interests.

What was so shocking about the cartoon crisis was the general ignorance in the United States and even in Western Europe regarding Denmark. It was a bitter pill to swallow for many Danes who saw their country turned into a pariah state in 2006 by worldwide demonstrations and violence in Muslim countries over the cartoons just as Israel had been by the JIHAD GENIE that will continue to run amok (an old Danish expression) and needs to be put back in the bottle. Yesterday, Israel, Today, Denmark… tomorrow the World! Nevertheless, the full cost of the Muslim boycott of Danish goods and services was far less than first feared and more than made up by a spontaneous “Buy Danish” campaign that was wholly the initiative of individuals and owed nothing to any formal support or statement by Denmark’s “allies” in NATO and among Western heads of state.

The record needs to be set straight and proclaimed loudly and strongly. My familiarity and appreciation of Denmark, family connections, its people, culture, language, traditions and way of life were gained through first-hand knowledge of Danes I am proud to call my friends, many years residence in the country and a profound respect, admiration and sense of obligation to acquaint my fellow Americans and others with a realistic picture of what I learned. I also wrote the book as a personal testimonial to my deep sense of gratitude towards the Danish people for their conduct during World War II and especially for the aid and comfort they provided to their Jewish fellow citizens.

I had seen two Danish films at the old Thalia movie theater on Broadway and 95th Street and they had made an enormous impression on me — Dreyer’s “Ordet“ (The Word) based on the play by pastor and World War II resistance hero Kaj Munk and Ditte-Menneskebarn (Ditte-Child of Humanity) based on the book by the great proletarian writer Martin Andersen Nexø. They intrigued me — how did these writers — much like Hans Christian Andersen use the tiny canvas of their small country and “minor language” (about the same number of speakers as Hebrew) to paint such a great universal work?

Hans Christian Andersen wrote a tale in 1872 “The Most Incredible Thing” that was his response to a question that would torment other authors and intellectuals in his lifetime and during the 20th century — how to deal with the problem of evil and imminent threats to our civilization following the war of aggression against Denmark by Prussia and Austria in 1864 that was launched under the banner of “self-determination” for the Schleswig-Holsteiners (very much along the lines of the Sudetens and Palestinians). It is decidedly not a fairy tale.

Remarkably, the great Danish “fairy story teller” from ‘oh so peaceful and tranquil Denmark’ belongs to those writers who refused to be cowed by totalitarian oppression. His story, “The Most Incredible Thing,” turned out to be a prescient warning to future generations. It was taken up by the Danish Resistance Movement that had struggled during the early years of German occupation (1940-42) to rally support for active sabotage and an end to the government’s policy of appeasement. Opposing appeasement, a Danish resistance movement took shape. Among those active was a group of scholars who encouraged and helped publish new editions of “The Most Incredible Thing” with illustrations that were an open call to resist the occupation and vindicate Andersen’s belief that, in the face of pervasive, aggressive, violent evil, only eternal vigilance, armed preparedness and vigorous, unreserved military action are the only means to ensure the survival of civilization.

In the 1942 Danish publication of “The Most Incredible Thing,” the final picture portrays the watchman who strikes down the evil lout as a Jewish rabbi with hat and beard standing above the fallen semi-naked Aryan-looking “muscle man” who is pinned to the floor by the twin tables of the Ten Commandments inscribed with Hebrew letters and surrounded by a crowd of ordinary Danes in 1940s dress.

Andersen would undoubtedly have been pleased that his story about resistance to evil and the faith he had in the Judeo-Christian values of our civilization would inspire his countrymen in World War II at a time when opportunists and those who had favored a policy of appeasement for Denmark preached that resistance was hopeless. The moral of the story is just as true today and it has enabled both Denmark and Israel to survive and thrive. It is no accident these two nations are the favored targets of extremist Islamic hatred for their humanitarian societies.

Numerous complaints from the current leaders of Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan bemoan any unintentional civilian casualty that may possibly have been caused by our forces struggling to protect their regimes from wanton terrorism. At the close of World War II, one of the worst accidents of the Allied bombing campaign against the German occupation forces took place in Copenhagen at the “French School,” an orphanage and the surrounding residential quarter. The damage occurred as the result of one of the British bombers that crashed during the execution of a spectacular and successful RAF low level bombing missions — the destruction of Gestapo Headquarters in the Shell Building, allowing many Danish Resistance fighters who were imprisoned on the upper level of the building to escape.

On March 21, 1945 at noon, 46 Mosquito bombers and fighter aircraft attacked Shell House with precision bombing that destroyed the lower floors of the building. More than 100 Germans and Danish collaborators were killed in the attack. Leading members of the Resistance located on the roof level and on the two floors below managed to escape in the chaos. This magnificent action that lifted Danish morale across the country was marred by the unfortunate accident of “collateral damage.” One of the low flying British aircraft unfortunately struck a signal tower on the nearby railway line. The resulting fire was mistaken by other attacking aircraft as the target and they dropped their bombs on the school. 112 Danes were killed in the conflagration that engulfed the orphanage and surrounding residential buildings, among them more than 80 children.

In spite of the terrible tragedy, the attack had a galvanizing effect that signaled to the entire country that Denmark and the Danish Resistance were valued allies who were not forgotten. It also led to a significant and immediate drop in the number of collaborators who had been shown proof that the Allied cause was triumphant and could reach them in their most protected lair. This is what we in the U.S. and U.K. have forgotten — reliable allies are only those with whom we share fundamental values — in a nation with a thousand years of history behind it such as Denmark. It is also a dramatic example of why true allies understand that in spite of the grief, such accidents and incidents should not divide us and must not be the occasion for pathetic hand wringing and calls for “investigations” (that give aid and comfort to our mortal enemies) but accepted as part of the price for victory.

The Moral Confusion of the ‘Left’

Many in our generation no longer distinguish between right and wrong (see Tammy Bruce, The Death of Right and Wrong, Exposing the Left’s Assault on Our Culture and Values; Three Rivers Press, New York, 2003) and have accepted a totally false dichotomy in the reigning political equations favored portrayed by the media and many of our leading intellectuals and cultural gurus that that somehow Left is to be equated with “liberal” (i.e. tolerant and cosmopolitan) views and Right signifies reaction, intolerance, racism and antisemitism. I wrote “The Left is Seldom Right to express this hideous distortion of this Orwellian 1984 style world in which Two legs = bad, Four legs = good.

The political terms “Right” and” Left” have become banal and stale clichés which are often misleading guides that offer no clear indication about intentions, motivations and conflicting policy choices of political personalities and parties under changing circumstances. Both partisan political hacks and educated citizens who should know better use them as synonyms for the good guys and bad guys yet we know that “Politics makes strange bedfellows.” I wrote ‘The Left is Seldom Right’ to…

1. Document cases that a considerable segment of the American public is misled by the use of the terms “RIGHT vs. LEFT,” which are cliché ridden, and often erroneous in their presentation of the most essential relevant facts and the conclusions drawn. This certainly includes the prevailing Leftwing criticism of Israel’s right to defend itself and the right of free speech in Denmark and the demand that immigrants conform to the prevailing legal and moral codes of the country.
2. To demonstrate that it is primarily the Political Left that has a vested interest in the continued use of this terminology due to the considerable inroads made by the liberal media on public opinion. Many political pundits have drawn on the prestige of major writers and Hollywood celebrities whose work was shaped by a critical view of American culture as the epitome of alienation, hypocrisy and crass materialism in modern society. Their assumptions are that other cultures and societies are more authentic, “holistic,” integral and devoted to a sense of solidarity and community. These views have been reinforced in popular culture, especially in film and popular song.
3. To show that antisemitism was not inherently a part of many nationalist “right-wing” movements and that it is generated today overwhelmingly from the Far Left under the encouragement of the wealth and power of militant Islam.

Sixty years after its founding, Israel has become an outcast among the nations and the Jews a pariah people once again. How did this occur? From darling of the Left to pariah state, subject to continual venomous attacks coming from those who consider themselves “progressive” and “morally sensitive,” i.e. the mainline churches, university faculties clamoring to boycott and “disinvest” from Israeli owned companies, the media elite and those on the Left side of the political spectrum.

Whatever the differences between secular and religious Israelis, they pale before the monumental differences that separate life in the State of Israel with all its inherent promises, risks and dangers from the Diaspora’s ultra idealized concerns and sensibilities. What is so shocking when it comes to the issue of foreign policy affairs, is that hardly any “progressive” critic of Israel is ready to admit the impeccable credentials Israel earned in 1948 in a struggle against the most reactionary elements in the Arab world and endorsed by the entirety of what was then called “enlightened public opinion,” above all, by the political Left. *

They have been seduced by the onslaught of falsified and selective history that has been so frequently transmitted by the media. Some prominent American Jews, particularly among those who cannot escape the narcotic-like trance they have inherited as “progressives” and are essentially secular and ultra-critical of capitalism and American society with its underlying Christian values, have developed a new kind of psychological self-hatred to exhibit a disassociation from the State of Israel and their religious heritage. They are upset over the close Israeli-American friendship and wish to be absolved from the heinous charge that they once may have actually subscribed to a sense of Jewish solidarity when that meant only solidarity with victimhood — the Jews as eternal martyrs.

The anti-Israel mantra they hear on all sides from the political Left and their fellow “progressives” has become a substitute for historical truth. They are the organizers and members of the newly founded J-Street that accepts hook, line and sinker the Obama Party Line that people like the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas are peace partners, notwithstanding the fact that his Ph.D. dissertation denies the Holocaust and refuses to acknowledge that Israel can define itself as a Jewish State. J Street has called on the Treasury department to investigate any Jewish or Christian charity that in any way aids Jews who live in any part of “Palestine” across the Green Line Cease Fire Lines of 1949, all the while demanding a Judenrein Palestine.

Its two-faced approach is all the more grotesque given its concerns and hand-wringing over the lack of progress towards the creation of a 23rd independent Arab state while pooh-poohing an existential threat to Israel from Iran, its mullah thugocracy and its repeated vows to wipe the country off the face of the map. It has sparked the formation of Z-Street by those Jews who realize that J-Street are bagmen for the Democratic Party and that Obama has been a colossal fraud with the Jewish vote in his pocket.

Obama’s call to return to the Auschwitz Cease Fire Lines prior to June 5, 1967 and his delirious infatuation with the so called Arab Spring after refusing to lift a finger or express outrage during the mass demonstrations in Iran against the theocratic mullah state is the result of a common delusion in the West that everything must be done to placate ‘the Arab Street’ (i.e., mob rule in Muslim countries). This attitude confronts both Israel and Denmark that have had to face similar challenges in order to simply exist or maintain their democratic way of life and essential rights.

It is my fervent hope that many readers, including some who have accepted that “The Left is Always Right”, or who know little about Denmark, will have much to ponder.

* See ‘The Most Widely Believed Political Myth, What America Did for Israel in 1948 -NOTHING” New English Review, December, 2007).

The Never-Resting Mind

As regular readers know, Saturday is Poetry Day.

Today’s featured poet is Wallace Stevens (American, 1879-1955), my favorite modern poet. His best-known work is probably “Sunday Morning”, but he wrote many other fine poems. I quoted from the “The Poems of Our Climate” a while back, so it’s only fair to post the entire poem. Its three brief stanzas are admirable for their spareness and economy of diction.

For readers who are interested, other poems by Stevens that are worth examining include “The Idea of Order at Key West”, “The Lack of Repose”, and “Of Mere Being”.

Detail from 'Carnations' by Frances Walker

The Poems of Our Climate
by Wallace Stevens


Clear water in a brilliant bowl,
Pink and white carnations. The light
In the room more like a snowy air,
Reflecting snow. A newly-fallen snow
At the end of winter when afternoons return.
Pink and white carnations — one desires
So much more than that. The day itself
Is simplified: a bowl of white,
Cold, a cold porcelain, low and round,
With nothing more than the carnations there.


Say even that this complete simplicity
Stripped one of all one’s torments, concealed
The evilly compounded, vital I
And made it fresh in a world of white,
A world of clear water, brilliant-edged,
Still one would want more, one would need more,
More than a world of white and snowy scents.


There would still remain the never-resting mind,
So that one would want to escape, come back
To what had been so long composed.
The imperfect is our paradise.
Note that, in this bitterness, delight,
Since the imperfect is so hot in us,
Lies in flawed words and stubborn sounds.

Cracking Down on Street Prayers in Sofia

We’ve all seen the videos of street prayers by Muslims in Paris, who frequently shut down entire neighborhoods during their aggressive displays of public piety.

Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, has been experiencing a similar situation. Muslims make up between twelve and fifteen percent of the country’s population, so the Bulgarians actually have a somewhat greater problem on their hands than do the French.

As in other parts of Europe, a nationalist movement is growing in Bulgaria. In the video below, you can see members of the Ataka party break up public prayers outside the Grand Mosque in Sofia, burning prayer rugs and cutting up Muslim headgear.

The video report, which was aired by Iranian state TV, portrays Sofia’s Muslims as the victims. In a sense they are, since they are still a minority of the population, and are thus vulnerable to such attacks.

However, it’s important to remember the time-hallowed path followed by Muslims as they move towards domination of the infidels. The deputy mufti in the video says, “There will be no retaliation, in accordance with our beliefs.” He is telling the exact truth: according to the Koran and the hadith, Muslims must not retaliate against attacks — as long as they are in the minority, and cannot hope to win.

As soon as they are in the majority — or even somewhat less than that, if the circumstances are propitious — they will not only retaliate, they will institute attacks of their own against non-Muslims, burning their houses, businesses, and places of worship and massacring their inhabitants. To see what life is like for the infidel under a Muslim majority, all you have to do is read the horrifying news stories from Egypt, Pakistan, Indonesia, and other Muslim countries that still retain a Christian minority.

Vlad Tepes, who YouTubed this video, had this to say about it:

Bulgarians fight back. A great moment.

Before anyone rushes to judge me for this headline, allow me to state a few obvious things that see to go missing in the modern narrative.

1. Islam is a belief system and behaviour. It is no racist to oppose it any more than it is racist to oppose Republicans or any other voluntary group defined by beliefs etc.
2. Muslims world wide always without question discriminate against all other non-Muslim groups, and against women Muslim or not, once they have the population required to achieve enough force to do so, area by area, increment by increment. So opposing its growing power in a non-Muslim land is always a good thing for liberalism.
3. Wherever there are massive street prayers by Muslims laws are broken, people cannot access public property and even indeed their own till the Muslims are good and finished with their demonstration of strength. And that is what these are. Prayer in any sense we are familiar with can be done in the privacy of one’s own home or in a temple of some kind. It does not need to happen ‘en masse’ and at the expense of all other peoples and activities in the area. This is why it is a demonstration of Islamic power, and not a religious service.

The video of the PressTV news story is below. I have to admit that watching all those prayer rugs go up in flames is rather inspiring: