« Do they do the "perp walk" in Israel? | Main | HARPER: A REMINDER OF THE OBSCENE POWER OF THE ISRAEL LOBBY »

14 November 2017


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


I have always believed in dissent.

Babak Makkinejad

Thank you for your comments.

I disagree with the central thesis of your comments:

" that we narrow things down too much when we talk of the "centrality of religion" in the development of Northern European cultural norms".

One argument that you supply, that Christianity lacked a few specifics rules of conduct could be made also in Islam: in cases of adultery, consumption of alcohol, hijab, usury there are no - none, nada, zilch - rules in the Quran. All of those rules were adopted, it seems to me, from Judaism (which had itself adopted them from Din Behi).

In cases of prayers and fasting, there are exhortations in the Quran but they were extended and expanded based on the Sunna of the Prophet - as far as I understand the history. In fact, the 3 obligatory prayers, Morning, Noon, Evening, were also present in Christianity. And I think fasting, by both Christianity and Islam, has Judaic roots.

Furthermore, the custom of the circumcision of males comes not from the Quran - which is completely silent on it - but on the widespread custom of people in the Near East - it seems that even Ancient Egyptians practiced that. But, of course, now, circumcision - as a true sign of being a Muslim, is so entrenched that only another credible Revelation could remove it as an obligatory practice of being a male Muslim!

So this interpenetration of Custom and Religion has been going on in Islam as well - sometimes for the better, sometime for the worse - not exactly like Christianity but in an analogous manner.

Specifically about Northern Europe, I think it is very important to recall the civilizing labors of Carolingian Empire; just like in California or in Paraguay, the Crown and the Cross worked together to civilize the Heathen and to bring them into the Community of the Believers. It was in this manner that the Diocletian Line was moved East to include the areas inhabited by the Germanic Tribes - where it remains frozen to this day.

I would agree that the shallow - or non-existent - roots of the Classical Civilization in Northern Europe, in addition to their more recent conversion to Christianity, made it possible for more of their pre-Christian Heathen Culture (the way things are done) to enter their Christian Culture.

One such cultural trait was the idea of Personal Liberty - shared by tribal people of North America. Another one - related to that - was the status of women - I read that in what is now called Scandinavia women participated in tribal councils, at certain times and places they could even vote in the decisions.

But all of that, in my opinion, was subject to Christian doctrines and religion.

You may have seen the following report:


This can only be understood as a battle of cultures between Paganism and Christianity for as many of our neo-Pagan friends argue: "Government should not be in the business of upholding morality or legislating it." Or a more clever one: "What happens among consenting adults should not be a matter for Law."

This is not an argument that could be settled in the courts of law or through scholarship; it goes to the heart of what is the Purpose of human life and the aims thereof.

I would like to end by stating what seems to be obvious to me:

There is a religious battle over the disposition of Palestine. The Orthodox and the Catholic Churches are not taking sides in that war.


thanks Pat, helpful,

still struggling to understand (?) within my limited mental means.

English Outsider

Babak - agree. You point out that there is a two way influence - "So this interpenetration of Custom and Religion has been going on in Islam as well - sometimes for the better, sometime for the worse - not exactly like Christianity but in an analogous manner." It is because it is so difficult to evaluate this interpenetration that I believe it is safer to talk of the "cultural identity" of Northern Europeans rather than to ascribe Northern European characteristics solely or mainly to Christianity.

You also point out that there was more to conversion than transference to another belief system. It was a spread of a different type of culture - "Specifically about Northern Europe, I think it is very important to recall the civilizing labors of Carolingian Empire; just like in California or in Paraguay, the Crown and the Cross worked together to civilize the Heathen."

Exactly. The "cililizing labors", with the Irish and the English getting done earlier. I believe we may see one facet of the conversion of Northern Europe almost as akin to the modern process of technology transfer. But more than that. It was not so much transfer of agricultural and other techniques, though that inevitably followed. It was the transfer of administrative techniques, of a different way of organising a ruling structure.

This is seen most clearly by looking at the spread of the various monastic orders. At first the founding of a new monastery had to be done by means of physically transplanting personnel from the founding monastery to the new. Like starting up oil wells in Saudi you couldn't just tell the locals how to do it and hope it would work. You had to send experienced staff out to get the thing running and to supervise it. Later this changed. The ground had already been broken and Christianity was not so foreign. The rules for running a monastery were set out with more precision and it was then only necessary to send those rules, those blueprints, out. So instead of a monastic order slowly growing by transfer of personnel it was possible for one order to "seed" many more new outstations without needing so much to deplete its own trained staff. It's a fair speculation that it could only have been then that true conversion of the people could be taken in hand. Earlier I suspect it might have been more something the bosses got up to.

But that example is from later. Earlier, with the accounts of thousands of presumably puzzled pagans going to some river and being converted en masse under the sword, it's more that the rulers of those pagans were often eager for their realms to become Christianised. Those rulers may indeed have experienced what we would now recognise as a religious conversion. The Christian faith offers a route to the Transcendent that they may have explored gladly. But it's unlikely many of them felt that way, don't you think? What they were after was a better way of running their increasingly large kingdoms and maximising the output of the lands under their control. It wasn't just the literacy they were after, though it's obviously easier to run an estate if there's someone around to write the records down. It was the administrative structure they needed, and the senior Bishops and Abbots of those early times were the key men in those new administrative structures.

And like the "backward" countries of today, you'd better get up to speed pretty fast because if you hadn't the neighbour who had would come and grab your stuff. In the early Northern Crusades the Wends used to hang outsize flags with crosses on them on the town walls, to tell the marauding Crusaders "Don't attack us. We've already been done!" Didn't always work but the incentive to modernise and show you'd done so was as necessary to defence then as it is today.

So again we're looking at another area where non-religious motives and imported religious beliefs were mixed up in the process called conversion. It's because of that that we can't look at Northern Europe today, even with Church spires dotted around every few miles and us now only able to use the language of Christian teachings, and say that Christianity is central. It was never the sole centre. It came from outside and slowly interpenetrated with the local cultures and practices; and, because that process is, as I have said, open to so many different ways of looking at it it is safer to talk of culture as being central to Northern Europe rather than religion. Your Diocletian line, particularly since Christianity is losing its go around here, has to be regarded as a cultural rather than an exclusively religious marker.

You do realise, Babak, that had we been discussing this subject in any far-out Progressive European or American University we'd probably have got the sack? The idea that an entire set of people can possess a culture that is radically different from the culture of another set of people - so much so that it's a difference as marked and as enduring as any outward physical characteristics - may be obvious enough but it is so outlandish and heretical to the Progs that they'd probably hang, draw and quarter us after they'd fired us. "Cultural identity", "Diocletian line" (though I'm a little hazy about where it goes these days), those aren't terms that are going to earn us Brownie points with the Progs.



ABC News had a report on Ben Shapiro's speech at the University of Florida. They quote the organizer of the protest against that speech who says that even though UF is a public institution the Constitutional guarantees to free speech, - "I don't care. That isn't a relavant document right now". 4:20 into the video:

Mao's red guards in action.



Your anti-Christian bias is quite clear. All those men who wrote the Constitution knew precisely what the Ten Commandments were even if they did not quote them.

Eric Newhill


It is amazing what those devious Russian social media AI programs can get people to believe!

And the AI bots are so convincing that even college profs can overcome the effect to set the kids straight. Amazing!

Babak Makkinejad

Yes, the process you describe is exactly what happened under Fr. Junipero Serra in California; as the poet says:

"...to fulfil
This labour, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and thro' soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good."

Indeed it is often difficult to separate the Religious and the Profane: women procured for the Conquistadors in Mexico had to be baptized before fornication could begin - as protection against demonic spirits that possessed them.

The Diocletian Line could be placed either on the 17 or 18 longitude; if you chose 17th, almost all of Slovakia lies to its East.

I think it is not just progressives that would find all of this discussion offensive; all of those who have this forlorn hope to someday approximate Western Europe will be upset as well, this would include many among the thought-leaders of Russia, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Iran, the Arabs, Africans and many many others.



RIght now the bots are trying to convince me that the Democratic party will not be calling on Senator Al Franken to resign because his #metoo moment was just a joke and that makes it okay.

Eric Newhill

those busy little bees...I mean bots. They're convincing me to knock off work a little early and enjoy three fingers of top shelf Bourbon.....or maybe that's a thought from my own head....who knows anymore...bots are so sneaky and prevalent that they have infiltrated our every thought.....their worse than Illuminati ...or maybe the Illuminati are running the bots...only we don't know it because the Illuminati are programming the bots to tell us that there are no Illuminati...or bots....all I know is that I liked bourbon before there was an internet...so probably ok...but then how do I know when there was - or wasn't an internet....could be bots messing with my memories....wasn't there a movie or two having to do with inability to recall because of stuff the deep state did to one's mind....bots man...I hate 'em

Mark Logan


Not everyone attains the high art of preventing their emotions from affecting perception. Socrates, I believe, was perhaps the first guy in Western civilization to get on the right bus, his method was to question everything. A most annoying fellow, may he rest in peace.

It's most unfortunate this must include our own emotions. It's one thing to have that inner two year old nagging "WHY? to information and events, but quite another to have that applied on our basic natures. So few attain this divide and rule will remain a key tool in the herding our species for the foreseeable future.


Regarding Roy Moore, it appears that the "Yearbook" evidence may have been fabricated:



One of the benefits of old age is wisdom, but I guess that is a generalization that is not true in every case.



You forgot to mention the exploitation of men and boys. Kevin Spacey wasn't the first paedophile in Hollywood.


Hollywood, and Broadway prior to the former's incarnation had "casting couches"; completely unrelated to fashions in interior decor.

English Outsider

Just a footnote - I'm not sure about the Voelkerwanderungen. I could never believe that that much people transport was practicable. Certainly in England the older history books, with their talk of this tribe settling here and this there and physically displacing or killing all the natives, always looked unlikely. You need modern technology and modern means of transport to do population replacement and genocide the way we're used to it. DNA testing is beginning to sort out who went where and seems to indicate more continuity than was thought.

The Continentals neglected to provide themselves with a moat so things are a bit different there but even so, I do wonder whether it might be more realistic to think in terms of spread of technology, small bands of nobles with their retinues pushing the old bosses aside, and the occasional irruption from outside, still leaving most people where they were.

Babak and I have been happily bashing Progs up above so I don't want to get too political again here, but I do wonder whether the old scholars who set the scenario that the new ones still, I suspect, sometimes think in terms of, weren't too heavily influenced by German Romantic Nationalism with its emphasis on sharply delineated national identity. Also the only real hard evidence they had available then for analysis of people movements, apart from the ancient texts that were just as good at re-writing history as we are now, was language and dialect. They were extraordinarily good at that. I came across a grumpy remark from a late nineteenth century English scholar saying well they would be, wouldn't they. Seems the German universities of the time made much better provision for such studies. They were indeed good at it but language is one of the more fragile markers. A decent length of time and the presence of a foreign elite and a people can switch languages without that necessarily meaning that there was a substantial population shift.

So even in Continental Europe I think one might be justified in taking full-on Voelkerwanderungen with a pinch of salt.


You may have seen the following report:

amazing, Babak. You aren't kidding, are you?

you never fail to surprise ...

How exactly could that story be fitted into your two central theses? Signs on the horizon?


The Diocletian Line could be placed either on the 17 or 18 longitude

Ok, I see you may have adjusted/moved your "Diocletian line" slightly:



Problem is, I felt quite comfortable as barbarian outside your 'culture borders' so far. Partly, maybe based on nomen est omen. Who knows? ;)


The woman, not 24 year old girl, does not think he should resign. She stated she wanted an apology and feels Frankens apology was sincere. Moore has not admitted wrong doing and definitely has not apologized.



Moore did not grope a sleeping employee, photograph the event, and joke about it during and afterwards.


I meant 14 year old girl. Franken didn't do anything more than what Trump has been accused of. I think Moore, Franken and Trumps behaviors towards women are disgusting. However Moore's accuser was a child at the time, being a pedophile is another level of wrong.


Nancy K

Do you understand the difference between accused by hostile media and proven to be guilty? pl


Obviously not.



The evidence shows the accuser is 52 not 14. She claims the event occurred when she was 14. There is a difference. There is also a difference in media coverage. Has anyone other than the press and the democratic party adjudicated his guilt?

This man's accusser was 17 at the time. He spent 45 years in jail. "oops" sorry.

I'm sure there are others who suffered a similar miscarriage of justice.



Good for you. Perhaps you should double check your sources on who is doing that writing of revisionist history.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

January 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
Blog powered by Typepad