Monday, June 9, 2008

Group Identity--Can we Roust Ourselves to Use It to Survive?

Despite being born an Arab in what is present-day Tunisia, Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406) lived for a number of years in the city of Granada in Muslim Spain. In his master work, al Muqaddimah,(written in 1377) Khaldun describes the nature of the desert Arab in, what to us, would seem to be extremely uncomplimentary terms. Despite this, Arabs, generally speaking, identify strongly and proudly with the uncompromising “black and white” absolutist Bedouin outlook. This hard-line attitude of the desert was spread with the expansion of Islam. An Arabocentric emphasis with its seventh century Arabian values eventually came to be superimposed on the more contemplative religious, and tolerant cultural traditions of Asia.

Khaldun also suggests, and history appears to support him, that an advanced civilisation steadily loses its asabiyya, i.e. its group identity, filiations and cohesion, through leading a soft, sedentary lifestyle. The citizens no longer need to be constantly fending off invaders in order to survive, the over indulgent society, having lost its martial skills, then degenerates to a point where it becomes unable to defend itself from a determined attacker or “Trojan horse” insurgents. Civilisations then tend to become vulnerable, their group-identity becomes diluted and weakened and finally non-existent. The challengers succeed by retaining the wild-animal hunting pack ethos; they still have that most primeval sense of belonging to a common and cohesive identity, their asabiyyah, complete with a single-minded determination to further the self-interests of their tribe, and their tribe only. I would suggest that the Muslim world, despite its manifold schismatic divisions, is far more conscious of its asabiyya than we, in the West, are of ours. With indistinct, blurred, and polarised populations coupled with subversive and seditious fifth columnists, we no longer know what we believe in. Our common heritage and history are no longer taught in schools for fear of offending those late arrivers who do not share that heritage.

To what extent are we prepared to abandon and sacrifice those values that made us what we are, on the altar of inimical interlopers? The West will only recover its lost asabiyyah when nations recognise that whilst they can certainly prosper as multi-racial societies, an original core majority culture must be the dominant identifying factor and the divisive policy of multiculturalism will need to be abandoned as a flawed concept and failed experiment based entirely on how some utopian, well-meaning “progressives”, would prefer Western society to be, rather than accept, and more importantly, support and celebrate how it is in reality.

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NOTE: All emphasis--italics and color--mine

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