Sunday, March 15, 2009

Alternative Procedures

Trying to get the bad taste of wingnuts out of my mouth, I dropped in at the Anarchist Bookfair, a yearly gathering of left-wing extremists in San Francisco that always feels to me like it's trying to make the worst stereotypes of the right come true. A few years ago Ward Churchill was there. I feel out of place and try to pretend I'm not a capitalist sellout. What the hell in anarchism to me, these days? I have a family and a house and I want a society that works, that is capable of acting sanely, that is capable of solving the many small and large collective action problems that modern industrial civilization requires. Sad to say, I don't much like the state but where's your alternative? I can't see hierarchy-free collectives that operate by consensus as capable of scaling up much past groups of 20 or so people.

Anarchism seems like an excusable folly in the young, but not the old. Nevertheless the most appealing thing about this gathering is the old-timers, people who've been doing this for fifty years and have conncetions back to the original Wobblies or Sacco and Vanzetti. There's something about being connected to an tiny, obscure, yet vibrant thread of history. I can't abide the young punk anarchists for the most part, but the geezers I like. I bought a copy of The Match, an anarchist journal that has been publishing since 1969 and still looks like it's pasted up by hand like old underground newspaper (ah yes, it says "No computers are ever used in this production" -- guess I won't be linking to their website, but they are in Wikipedia). Much to my non-surprise, anarchists seem to spend a good deal of effort arguing with each other -- the guy who publishes The Match, for instance, has no truck with the sort of anarchists who disrupted the WTO in Seattle.

So it's an exercise in fake nostalgia for me, not a serious political movement that I'm going to support. Yet on the same day Mark Danner has a piece in the NYT and a longer version in the NYRB detailing some new torture revelations that have come to light. Essentially, the Bush administration allowed the International Committee of the Red Cross to interview some of its detainees in order to produce:
The result is a document -- labeled "confidential" and clearly intended only for the eyes of those senior American officials to whom the CIA's Mr. Rizzo would show it -- ”that tells a certain kind of story, a narrative of what happened at "the black sites" and a detailed description, by those on whom they were practiced, of what the President of the United States described to Americans as an "alternative set of procedures." It is a document for its time, literally "impossible to put down," from its opening page:”

1. Main Elements of the CIA Detention Program
1.1 Arrest and Transfer
1.2 Continuous Solitary Confinement and Incommunicado Detention
1.3 Other Methods of Ill-treatment
1.3.1 Suffocation by water
1.3.2 Prolonged Stress Standing
1.3.3 Beatings by use of a collar
1.3.4 Beating and kicking
1.3.5 Confinement in a box
1.3.6 Prolonged nudity
1.3.7 Sleep deprivation and use of loud music
1.3.8 Exposure to cold temperature/cold water
1.3.9 Prolonged use of handcuffs and shackles
1.3.10 Threats
1.3.11 Forced shaving
1.3.12 Deprivation/restricted provision of solid food
1.4 Further elements of the detention regime....

-- to its stark and unmistakable conclusion:

The allegations of ill-treatment of the detainees indicate that, in many cases, the ill-treatment to which they were subjected while held in the CIA program, either singly or in combination, constituted torture. In addition, many other elements of the ill-treatment, either singly or in combination, constituted cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

Such unflinching clarity, from the body legally charged with overseeing compliance with the Geneva Conventions in which the terms "torture" and "cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment" are accorded a strictly defined legal meaning, ”couldn't be more significant, or indeed more welcome after years in which the President of the United States relied on the power of his office either to redefine or to obfuscate what are relatively simple words.
So, this is what states do. Sadly, the transition to a new and presumably more enlightened administration is not going to solve the problem. Anyone for anarchy?


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the invitation to join this conversion Mr. MTRaven. I expect that I can add a bit of value for your readers. As background I'm a former radical left-wing activist.

Over at Gagdad Bob's webpage we conducted an exchange as follows in part:

MTRaven said:
That is moronic. States are inherently coercive; any political philosophy save anarchism is "violent" by that definition.


Mike O'Malley said
Hmmm, that is interesting observation MTRaven because I think you are wrong about anarchism and violence. Late 19th and early 20th century Anarchists were quite violent. Even in the USA the Haymarket Bombing (Chicago 5/4/1886) and the assassination of Pres. McKinley were deeds of anarchists. Anarchy was a state of social disorganization that our pre-modern ancestors most feared. Anarchy is likely the most violent state of human social (dis)organization. It seems to be the place were near hallucinogenic levels of unlimited retaliatory interpersonal cruelty and violence occur. Paleo-religion, myth, culture and ritual all arise from a reaction to the horrors of primordial conditions of anarchy. Perhaps it would be best to say that the human inclination to intra-species violence is one of our defining features as a species?


mtraven said...
Coincidentally (or note) I just wrote about anarchism and torture on my own blog (linked to this web location

Mike O'Malley said:
BTW: I visited your linked website to find you romanticizing elderly anarchists... each to his own fetish I guess... however, even illiterate Greek Pagans of Antiquity would know these men for the fools they are. You would do well to revisit my post about Anarchism and violence above.

Anonymous said...

The follow is quoted from Lesson 18 of the al Qaeda manual.

The al Qaeda manual presented here was made available by the FBI which distributed the manual on their website:
The object of bin Laden is to establish a "Caliphate according to the prophet’s path." To accomplish this objective he must induce others to engage in acts and would bring about a world economic collapse and social upheaval that would bring about the deaths of hundreds of millions. To contain this mad man the best weapon is the truth. The Disaster Center
Lesson Eighteen


1 . At the beginning of the trial, once more the brothers must insist on proving that torture was inflicted on them by State Security [investigators ]before the judge.

2. Complain [to the court] of mistreatment while in prison.

3. Make arrangements for the brother’s defense with the attorney, whether he was retained by the brother’s family or court-appointed.

4. The brother has to do his best to know the names of the state security officers, who participated in his torture and mention their names to the judge.[These names may be obtained from brothers who had to deal with those officers in previous cases.]

5. Some brothers may tell and may be lured by the state security investigators to testify against the brothers [i.e. affirmation witness ], either by not keeping them together in the same prison during the trials, or by letting them talk to the media. In this case, they have to be treated gently, and should be offered good advice, good treatment, and pray that God may guide them.

6. During the trial, the court has to be notified of any mistreatment of the brothers inside the prison.

7. It is possible to resort to a hunger strike, but i t is a tactic that can either succeed or fail.

These captured Jihadists will make false claims of torture and mistreatment as a matter of course. They hate and have utterly no respect for you and your family because you are kaffir. They wish for you the most grievous harm. They have been instructed to make false charges of torture because any such claim undermines the morale and moral legitimacy of defense against genocidal jihad.

Moreover, captured jihadists will use team work to coordinate these propoganda messages. Lesson 18 goes on to say:

8. Take advantage of visits to communicate with brothers outside prison and exchange information that may be helpful to them in their work outside prison [according to what occurred during the investigations]. The importance of mastering the art of hiding messages is self evident here.

-When the brothers are transported from and to the prison [on their way to the court] they should shout Islamic slogans out loud from inside the prison cars to impress upon the people and their family the need to support Islam.

-Inside the prison, the brother should not accept any work that may belittle or demean him or his brothers, such as the cleaning of the prison bathrooms or hallways.

-The brothers should create an Islamic program for themselves inside the prison, as well as recreational and educational ones, etc.

-The brother in prison should be a role model in selflessness. Brothers should also pay attention to each others needs and should help each other and unite vis a vis the prison officers.

-The brothers must take advantage of their presence in prison for obeying and worshipping [God] and memorizing the Qora ’an, etc. This is in addition to all guidelines and procedures that were contained in the lesson on interrogation and investigation. Lastly, each of us has to understand that we don ’t achieve victory against our enemies through these actions and security procedures. Rather, victory is achieved by obeying Almighty and Glorious God and because of their many sins. Every brother has to be careful so as not to commit sins and everyone of us has to do his best in obeying Almighty God, Who said in his Holy Book: “We will, without doubt. help Our messengers and those who believe (both)in this world ’s life and the one Day when the Witnesses will stand forth.” May God guide us...


1 .Team work is the only translation of God’s command, as well as that of the prophet, to unite and not to disunite. Almighty God says, “And hold fast, all together, by the Rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves.” In “Sahih Muslim,” it was reported by Abu Horairah, may Allah look kindly upon him, that the prophet, may Allah’s peace and greetings be upon him, said: “Allah approves three [things] for you and disapproves three [things]: He approves that you worship him, that you do not disbelieve in Him, and that you hold fast, all together, by the Rope which Allah, and be not divided among yourselves. He disapproves of three: gossip, asking too much [for help], and squandering money.”

2. Abandoning “team work ”for individual and haphazard work means disobeying that orders of God and the prophet and falling victim to disunity.

3. Team work is-conducive to cooperation in righteousness and piety.

4. Upholding religion, which God has ordered us by His saying, “Uphold religion,” will necessarily require an all out confrontation against all our enemies, who want to recreate darkness. In addition, it is imperative to stand against darkness in all arenas: the media, education, [religious] guidance, and counseling, as well as others. This will make it necessary for us to move on numerous fields so as to enable the Islamic movement to confront ignorance and achieve victory against it in the battle to uphold religion. All these vital goals can not be adequately achieved without organized team work. Therefore, team work becomes a necessity, in accordance with the fundamental rule, “Duty cannot be accomplished without it, and it is a requirement.” This way, team work is achieved through mustering and organizing the ranks, while putting the Amir (the Prince) before them, and the right man in the right place, making plans for action, organizing work, and obtaining facets of power......

mtraven said...

As background I'm a former radical left-wing activist.
I don't really understand all these left-wing activists who become right-wing fanatics. I'm guessing they were True Believers when on the left and have merely switched the object of their attachment. Me, I'm more of a skeptic and not much of a joiner (and hence, not much of an activist).

I think you are wrong about anarchism and violence.
I was brief. Obviously there was violence from some factions of the anarchist movement. The point is that only anarcho-pacifists are in a position to completely abjure violence.

Anarchism is, in whatever form, a romantic, idealistic, and somewhat silly idea. Nonetheless: there are two types of people in politics, the realists (who actually gain power) and the idealists. Anarchism is the apotheosis of a certain form of idealism, which is why it is interesting to me, although I am unlikely to be marching under the black flag.

Re: torture: al Qaeda manual or not, the US use of torture has been amply documented, most recently by the ICRC, which has legal authority to enforce the Geneva Conventions. To pretend it didn't happen at this point is the worst sort of bad faith.

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing they were True Believers when on the left and have merely switched the object of their attachment.

That perhaps is one of your intellectual failings. You guess and then you presume...


I was brief. Obviously there was violence from some factions of the anarchist movement. The point is that only anarcho-pacifists are in a position to completely abjure violence.

Yes, we both need to be brief. When all hierarchies, all social differentiation and all social prohibitions collapse we enter a state of reciprocal retaliatory cruelty and violence. This is Anarchy, a state of social disorganization that our pre-modern ancestors most feared. Anarchy is likely the most violent state of human social (dis)organization. It seems to be the place were near hallucinogenic levels of unlimited retaliatory interpersonal cruelty and violence occur. Paleo-religion, myth, culture and ritual all arise from a reaction to the horrors of primordial conditions of anarchy. So-called anarcho-pacifists are in NO a position to abjure violence because they do no recognize its source and how traditional morality may inhibit violence at this source. Ultimately anarcho-pacifists is but a chimera. Even illiterate Greek Pagans of Antiquity understood this.

Perhaps it would be best to say that the human inclination to intra-species violence is one of our defining features as a species?

mtraven said...

Humans are indeed an unusually violent species. However, we have succeeded in creating a large variety of social systems which allow us to live more-or-less peacefully (or, on occasion, engage in even larger-scale violence). There is no particular reason to think that the evolution of human social systems has stopped, just as there is no reason to think that the evolution of human biology has stopped. So the creation of new forms of organization that dispense with the state is not inconceivable.

Historially, anarcho-pacifism resulted from a blending of political anarchism with Christianity (and other religions). It was the philosophy of Tolstoy and through him, Gandhi. Perhaps these gentlemen were mere fools, but maybe you can agree that they had an impact on the world that was not wholly negative?

I am neither a Christian or a pacifist, but it is easy to see how those go together -- Jesus himself advocated turning the other cheek, after all. What I do not understand are professed Christians who are the opposite of pacifistic -- those who celebrate the power and violence of the state, up to and including torture.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, yes we are violent indeed. I was discussing human violence just this weekend with a NYC attorney who is also a low level NYC Democrat Party official. He offered that in primitive prehistoric societies the homicide rate by way of warfare was 30% for adult males. I counter that the internal and external homicide for adult males in such a group was 80% or 90%. We appear to be unique as a species. We have no Darwinian brake on homicidal violence. In non-human species a rival male instinctively will not kill a defeated male rival who has submitted after defeat in personal combat. This is Darwinian in that it tends to preserve the species. We have no such Darwinian brake... this is an ominous Darwinian flaw in our species.

I have no beef with Tolstoy. Don't romanticize Gandhi. Gandhi was spiteful, vindictive, arbitrary and passive-aggressive. He regularly employed an implied threat of violence and it was his practice to bring his “non-violent” social-political action to the brink of violence and then back away at the brink. His political opponent could never be sure of Gandhi's non-violent intent nor could he be sure that Gandhi's control was sufficient not to let things get out of hand and descend into massive violence. An implied threat of violence was almost always there. And of course the Nazi's would have turn Gandhi into soap as quick as they could say “arbeit macht frei”. No Gandhi is not the way. BTW: Gandhi's model for non-violent social action forerunner was Dónal Ó Conaill. Dónal Ó Conaill ran non-violent democratic protest actions called “Monster Meetings” in early 19th Century Ireland.

Regarding you closing charge against Christians, one has to wonder to what degree you resent Christian support for the state, Christian support for civil/social order or Christian moral order. In my experience, complaints about the first often to cloaked complaints about the third. I haven't seen enough of your writings to guess. However, based upon my observation to date, I doubt you are adequately informed about Christianity to come to any fair assessment of Christian practice. BWT you can't presume that Christianity should ascent to your personal view of the optimum social order.

Are you acquainted with Christian Just War Theory?

TGGP said...

The Bay Area anarchists believe in no free speech for Maoists.

mtraven said...

M-o-M: I would advise you to stop slinging around the term "Darwinian" until you learn some of the basics of evolution (ie, that selection is never for the good of the species). Do you have any evidence for the homicide rates you cite?

I'm not sure Gandhi's personal failings or political strategems are relevant. I was just pointing out that anarcho-pacifism is not merely the idle bleating of alienated hipsters, but has had an appreciable effect on the world.

I am not especially knowledgeable about Christianity, and I have no intention of making "a fair assessment of Christian practices". There are obviously divergent political interpretations of Christianity, from right-wing (Moral Majority types, and the even more extreme theocrats like Rushdoony) to left (Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day, Quakers, liberation theologists, and (arguably) Tolstoy). It seems to me that Christianity started out as a very radical movement, more radical even than anarchism (with a "left" flavor, if that term has any meaning projected 2000 years into the past) whch was shortly co-opted by the Roman Empire where it morphed into hierarchical and arch-conservative institution that we know today. The history of Christianity is considerably more complex than that, of course, but that's my potted version.

TGGP: lo and behold, anarchism does not equate to "anybody can do whatever they want, wherever and whenever they want".

But the failure of the anarchists to converge to a solution on this relatively minor matter doesn't bode well for running anything larger than a book fair along these principles.

Anonymous said...

MTRaven answered: M-o-M: I would advise you to stop slinging around the term "Darwinian" until you learn some of the basics of evolution (ie, that selection is never for the good of the species). Do you have any evidence for the homicide rates you cite?

There you go again MTRaven, being presumptuous! :-)

I came across those estimate numerous times over the years. Some years ago Scientific American published material on this topic (that was before SciAm began its spiraling descent into PC) and the now defunct “The Sciences” published by the New York Academy of the Sciences... I'll try to recall or find a citation for you. Time is limited and I'm not likely to hang around your blog forever but I'll try to bring value to the table for you and your readers.

I think you are wrong about Gandhi. Gandhi was not benign, nor was he a pacifist. Gandhi approved of Islamic terror and genocide against Jews. Gandhi's pacifism was a mask with which to manipulate and defeat the Brits. You would do better to check out Dónal Ó Conaill (Daniel O'Connell) “The Liberator”.

You are quite right about Christianity starting out as radical movement. I'll try to find some time later on today to make a recommendation for you of an apostate and former Catholic priest in this regard. I'll have to carefully articulate my concerns about this very accomplished and worthy Bible scholar. Reading this guy is treacherous if you don't know the ropes, so to speak. He plays a gnostic confessional (as in denominational) angle and he plays “games” to get there but when it comes to the radical challenge that early Christianity posed to the Roman Empire he is real real good.


BTW: I concur with your response to TGGP. On those two occasions when I was subjected to an attack with some kind of homemade poison gas during demonstrations at which I was a volunteer non-violent leftist “peace marshal” .... it was Maoists who used poison gas on me both times.

Anonymous said...

If early Christianity was 'radical' in the sense of differing from the established beliefs of its time at the most basic level - at the roots - then we have no disagreement. However, to portray it as political radicalism, and Jesus as some sort of first-century Saul Alinsky, requires us to disregard all of the supernatural events recounted in the Gospels, from the Annunciation to the Ascension, as well as the belief that His followers held, from the very start, that He was in fact the only-begotten Son of God. The word "Christ" comes from the Greek "ho Christos," meaning "the anointed one," and is a translation of the Hebrew Messiah. Christians are thus by definition believers that Jesus was the Messiah - and the Messiah is not a mere politician.

Christianity was never about the reorganization of society - it was and is about personal salvation. In the first place, Christians had no influence over the government under which they lived for the first three centuries of their faith's existence. In this they took consolation that it was of no great importance to Christ, bearing in mind that when the devil took Him up into "an exceeding high mountain" and showed him "all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilth fall down and worship me: Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan" (Matt. v:8-10); and when He was interrogated by Pontius Pilate, Jesus said "My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence" (John xviij:36).

That Jesus taught due respect for the authority of civil magistrate is seen in one of the instances of His life recounted by all the synoptic Gospels, at Matt. xxij:17, Mark xiij:14, and Luke xx:22. Hoping to entangle him, the Pharisees asked him, "Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar, or no? But he perceived their craftiness, and said unto them, Why tempt ye me? Shew me a penny. Whose image and superscription hath it? They answered, and said, Caesar's. And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and unto God the things which be God's."

This particular episode illustrates indirectly the reason for the challenge that Christianity posed to the Roman empire, or more properly, why the Roman empire perceived it as a challenge. It was a variant of the difficulty the Roman empire had with the Jews.

The Roman empire was not unwelcoming to foreign religions. It accommodated all of them but Judaism and Christianity. Gibbon indeed refers to "the religious harmony of the ancient world, and the facility with which the most different and even hostile nations embraced, or at least respected, each other's supersitions."

The Roman state religion had begun by adding to the primitive devotion of the earliest Roman to the gods of hearth and home - the lares and penates, the cult of Vesta - an identification of some of the Roman gods with those of Greece. Thus Poseidon was equated with Neptune, Hephaestus with Vulcan, Athene with Minerva, Hera with Juno, and Zeus with Jupiter or Jove. By the first century, Rome had come into contact with religious cults that had no parallel with their own: with that of the Egyptian Isis and Osiris, with Persian Mithaism, and with the worship of Cybele, from Asia Minor. These strange beliefs were not seen to pose a threat, because they were themselves polytheistic.

Again, as Gibbon writes, "the polite Augustus condescended to give orders that sacrifices should be offered for his prosperity in the temple of Jerusalem; while the meanest of the posterity of Abraham, who should haqve paid the same homage to the Jupiter of the Capitol, would have been an object of abhorrence to himself and to his brethren. But the moderation of the conquerors was insufficient to appease the jealous prejudices of their subjects, who were alarmed and scandalised at the ensigns of paganism, which necessarily introduced themselves into a Roman province."

These included not only the Roman pantheon, but in particular the Imperial cult, whereby deceased emperors, and in some cases members of their families, were deified and worshipped. To make at least a perfunctory observance of the Imperial cult was understood by the Romans as a duty of citizenship, and those who failed to do so were seen as in some respect disloyal.

Jesus's words about the tribute money have to be understood in the context of the Second Cammandment's prohibition of graven images. The Pharisees desired to entrap Jesus into either counselling defiance of the tribute, which would enable them to "take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the [Roman] governor" (Luke xx:20); or into its opposite, not only commending payment of the tribute, but seeming to endorse paying homage to the Imperial cult. By making a distinction between a mere obedience to the civil law - rendering unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's - and obedience to divine law - rendering unto God the things that are God's - Jesus defeated the trickery of his questioners, "and they marvelled at his answer, and held their peace."

Yet, as distinct as Jesus made the difference between civil and religious duty to his Pharisaical interlocutors, it did not seem as clear to Roman rulers during the next couple of centuries; and if we examine their response to Christianity, we find that the same concerns about failure to pay homage to the Imperial cult arose in respect to Christians as did in respect to Jews. The monotheism of both was not compatible with it; and the Roman response in both cases was intermittent persecution. The martyrdom of many Christians was a direct consequence of their refusal to pay what the Romans deemed a proper homage to the Empire, which not only included paying its tribute, but making an annual sacrifice at the temple of the Imperial cult. Jewish refusal to make such homage led to the sacking of Jerusalem under the famously clement Titus, and later its nearly complete destruction under the humane and literate Hadrian, who re-named it Aelia Capitolina.

Considerable intellectual gymnastics are required to draw any similarity between early Christians who went calmly to their deaths for refusing to worship a dead Roman emperor, confident of their reward in Heaven, and modern-day utopians who, disbelieving in any sort of afterlife, want to make Heaven here on earth. The latter may have an intellectual lineage that traces back to heterodox Christians of the post-Reformation period, but it's not easily possible to connect this with the Christianity of the catacombs.

Anonymous said...

Well yes ... and no, Michael. There was a political context as there is an eschatological context in addition to personal salvation. Yeshua was no Calvinist. Christian salvation, like Jewish salvation has a strong communal component.

The political challenge is certainly evident in Yeshua's Palm Sunday entrance into Jerusalem through the Crucifixion. What is so very interesting is Yeshua's refusal to engage in "revolutionary" action. Yeshua's refusal to engage in violent struggle with Rome is what sent Judas "over the edge" and on his way to his fateful meeting with the High Priest. Judas wanted a political, indeed a revolutionary, solution much like that of Judas Maccabeus and bar Kokhba. Instead Yeshua exposed the "Victimage Mechanism" thus beginning the revelation of all things hidden since the foundation of the world. There is a delicate but unbelievably powerful interplay between eschatology and nonviolent challenge to the power and foundation of Roman authority in the New Testament. Indeed the Gospels did unwind power of Rome as founded and we are now in position to anthropologically understand the homicidal foundation of Roman authority. These Gospels continue to unmask the foundations of all human cultures, myths and power. In time we will be exposed to ourselves for at the foundation of every human culture, unity and political authority there is a scapegoat, a homicide, a lynching, as it was in the beginning with Cain and Able, as it will be in the end ...

It is interesting, Michael how those who prefer view early Christianity as a radical social movement in fail to valorize or even acknowledge Early Christianity's strong and persistent witness against abortion, infanticide and human sacrifice of children...

Anonymous said...

Mr. O'Malley, thanks for your comment. I don't deny that there was and is a communal component to the Christian idea of salvation. However it is of a spiritual community - the "Mystical Body of Christ" - and (perforce) had nothing to do with the State for the first three centuries of Christianity.

We now know that the Donation of Constantine was a forgery, and - in view of much European history - we must conclude that the close connection of Church with State was detrimental to the faith. This poses a paradox worthy of Chesterton.

Thomas Jefferson, in arguing for his Statute of Religious Liberty in Virginia, made the telling point that the clergy of the established (Anglican) church were "more concerned with their emoluments than with their duties." It is hard today to imagine quite what a venal mechanism of political patronage the Church of England was during the eighteenth century, especially in the North American colonies. No bishops were consecrated for North America, because the colonies fell under the diocesan jurisdiction of London, and its bishops (e.g., Terrick, to whom Randolph of Roanoke referred scathingly) did not want to give up the revenues they enjoyed from them. As a consequence Anglicans could not be confirmed or take holy orders without travelling to England. This, not surprisingly, resulted in the loss of communicants to other churches that did not receive state subsidy - and their members resented being taxed to support a state church to which they did not belong. They favored Jefferson's statute, and it passed.

The clergy of non-established churches have to pay attention to their duties, since it is by doing them - and only by doing them - that they are supported by their congregations. As a consequence of non-establishment and free exercise of religion, the United States is today a far more religious country than is England.

There, the Anglican churches are maintained, and their clergy paid, by the taxpayer, as they were in eighteenth-century Virginia. And they are largely empty. An old Wykehamist friend of mine, who sang in the cathedral choir when a schoolboy, and later went to Magdalen College Oxford on a music scholarship, remarked to me that the difference between the Church of England and the Episcopal Church of the U.S.A. was that here one might hear beautiful choral singing at the main Sunday morning service at a prosperous church like St. Thomas on Fifth Avenue, and the pews would be relatively full; whereas in England, one could hear music of the same quality at Wednesday-night evensong, with a congregation consisting of three or four old ladies.

So here is the paradox: Secularists who want to destroy organized religion should cause it to be supported by taxing the public. Soon the churches will be as dead as they are in England or Scandinavia. Religious people should seek only what the Constitution already guarantees - freedom from government intervention, whether it supports or it represses. As my old friend Mel Bradford once said, the job of the state is to discourage wrongdoing rather than to compel righteousness. In respect of the latter, we need only ask that it not dissuade or prevent us from making the right moral choices.

Anonymous said...

Michael wrote: We now know that the Donation of Constantine a forgery

“We” meaning 15th Century Catholic scholars? “We” today now know that Donation of Constantine was a social construct .

Michael wrote: and - in view of much European history - we must conclude that the close connection of Church with State was detrimental to the faith.

Except that the Donation of Constantine buttressed the long developing tradition of Western Separation of Church and State by memorializing and perpetuating the institutional independence of the Western Patriarchy from subordination to the authority of the state. Such independence of the Western Patriarchy has vexed no few king, prince and emperor from Justinian I to Adolf Hitler. It also established the principle in Western Tradition that there was a moral authority that was superior to the authority of the state. Such institutional and ideological independence of afforded an usually fruitful environment for the development of a practical independence of the Church from the State. In fact it afforded the necessary “space” for the development of democracy in the West. It was been said among modern scholars that Western democracy was born in the back of innumerable Medieval Catholic churches were the local peasants had their only legitimate place to confer, to debate and to decide how they would collectively address the power of their feudal lords. Moreover, throughout the history of Western Europe there is a distinctive comparative independence of the Catholic Church in its “partnership” with the state, an independence which rivaled the state and at times and places became an alternative and/or substitute for the secular state. No it is not until the Reformation that no few prince in Western Europe, jealous and resentful of the independence of the Church, backed the Reformation in order to enhance the power of the state at the expense of the Church. Here we find systemic subordination of the independence of the Church to the authority of the prince and the origin of the now derelict state-church establishment, the dieing puppet churches of Western Europe.

It is hard to see how such Western independence was detrimental to the faith. Nor is it clear how the more subordinated relationship of the Eastern Church to the Byzantine state was detrimental to the faith.


Michael, I've been pondering how to draft my promised response to M.Traven. Having read that tripe about “human capital” and rent control, I fear that my promised answer would be akin to handing an loaded handgun to a rude eight year old... and so it might not be forth coming.


We however seem to have areas of broad agreement. Although ...

Anonymous said...

Mr. O'Malley, you and I are viewing the Donation from two perspectives. You point out the independence the Church enjoyed from the secular power under the mediæval European arrangement, whereas I emphasize the commingling of the Church's moral authority with the State's compulsive power. Both are valid perceptions.

It is, however, a mistake to view the Reformation as the first instance of successful incursion upon the Church's independence on the parts of secular princes. Magna Charta's guarantees of ecclesiastical independence (c. 1) were after all a reaction to the largely successful usurpations of Henry II under the Constitutions of Clarendon, and the strife that led to the murder of Thomas à Becket. Nor was Magna Charta secure after 1215; subsequent kings resisted it and it was subject to several revisions, taking its final form only in 1297.

The translation of the papacy to Avignon, temp. Clement V, was the result of its subjection to the king of France; Clement, who was a creature of Philip the Fair, obliginly modified the bulls Unam sanctam and Clericis laicos to remove those of their provisions that were objectionable to the king.

The lengthy conflict between Guelph and Ghibelline in Italy originated in dispute over the respective authority of the papacy and the Holy Roman Empire. The ultimate consequences of that conflict were not played out until 1904, when St. Pius X eliminated the Imperial veto - which had, interestingly enough, been cast against cardinal Rampolla in 1903 and resulted in Pius's election.

In most Catholic countries, the right of presentation to bishoprics was vested in the civil ruler, which Rosmini numbered as one of the Five Wounds of the Church. This circumstance long antedated the Reformation. Indeed, St. Athanasius complained that the emperor Constans "set up a new way of appointing bishops. He sends bishops, escorted by soldiers, from as far as fifty days' journey away. The people do not want these foreigners who, instead of being welcomed by them, have to go to the local magistrates with letters and threats" (Epis. ad solitarian vitam agentes).

As to the detriment to the faith from the "more subordinated relationship of the Eastern Church to the Byzantine state" - it is interesting to speculate how the vibrant Christianity of Asia Minor during the first few centuries A.D., which we see reflected in the epistles of St. Paul, and of which we get a glimpse through pagan eyes in the despatches of Pliny the Younger, when he was governor of Bithynia, to the emperor Trajan, had by the fourteenth century become so attenuated that Christian populations on the mainland of Turkey put up little or no resistance to conquest by the Muslim Ottomans. One historian of this period writes of this period that "in Constantinople itself sedition and profligacy were rampant, the emperors were tools of faction and cared but little for the interests of their subjects, whose lot was one of hopeless misery and depravity." The venality and exploitiveness of the Orthodox clergy was much like that of the Anglican church in the eighteenth century, and so the common folk could not be rallied to the defense of Christendom. I think we can agree that the Ottoman conquest was detrimental to the faith.

Anonymous said...

Which historian are you referring to in your last paragraph of your most recent post? It's not Edward Gibbon is it? Because it sounds like polemic of the English Enlightenment. Any suggestion that "the vibrant Christianity of Asia Minor ... by the fourteenth century become so attenuated that Christian populations on the mainland of Turkey put up little or no resistance to conquest by the Muslim Ottomans" is beyond preposterous, it would seem a cruel and offensive mockery.

Anonymous said...

Mr. O'Malley, after the battle of Manzikert in 1071 between the Byzantines and the Seljuk Turks (predecessors of the Ottomans), there was little resistance to the Muslim conquest of almost all Anatolia (the Asian part of Turkey). Indeed, even before the time of Othman, the Turks took the immediate outposts of Constantinople and established a capital at Nicæa, where 1000 years earlier the great Council was held that formulated the Credo had been held.

The fourteenth century was marked by intrigues at the Byzantine court, in which the mayor of the Imperial palace, Cantacuzenus, actually appealed to the Ottoman Orkhan for support in a coup-d'état against the child-emperor John Palaeologus, son of Andronicus III. As an inducement Cantacuzenus gave his daughter Theodora in marriage to Orkhan. Orkhan gave the desired assistance, sending his son Suleyman Pasha to cross into Europe, where he destroyed Cantacuzenus's enemies and returned home with huge amounts of plunder. It was during this adventure that the Ottomans learnt the weaknesses of the Greeks.

After the death of Cantacuzenus, Orkhan's successor Murad I kept up a façade of friendliness with the now-restored John Palaeologus, even as he took one after another of his cities. John gave one of his daughters in marriage to Murad, and two others respectively to his sons Bajazet and Yacub Chelebi. Murad's youngest son Sauji Bey plotted with Andronicus, the son of John Palaeologus, to dethrone their respective fathers. Andronicus was blinded by his father's orders, while Sauji was put to death by his. Even after this, the young Andronicus offered Bajazet, who had by then succeeded Murad and murdered his brother Yacub, 30,000 ducats to dethrone his father John and make him emperor. Bajazet obligingly did so, but when John offered him a comparable sum and 12,000 men-at-arms as well, he dethroned Andronicus and restored John Palaeologus. John's other son, Manuel Palaeologus, actually served in the Turkish army. In none of this history do we see a spirited defense of Christendom. The impression it gives is that Byzantium was more thoroughly cowed and dominated by the Ottomans than Finland was by the Soviet Union for much of the twentieth century.

By the time Manuel succeeded as emperor, Bajazet laid siege to Constantinople, and was persuaded to lift it only by bribes and the promise to allow the building of a mosque in Constantinople (the parallel to the Muslim intimidation of present-day European powers, and the sprouting of mosques in Rome, Paris, Brussels, London, etc., is wotth considering).

During this period about the only resistance to the Turks came not from the Byzantines but from the Serbs and other Balkan peoples, and from armies sent by the Pope. While it is true that the Byzantines put up strong resistance to the siege of Constantinople by Mehmet II. in 1453, and the last emperor lost his life in its defense, by then the effort was too little and too late.

All of this can be found in any standard reference on the history of Turkey, e.g., the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Whether or not the accounts reflect "English enlightenment" views I don't know; but the facts and dates are in any event not matters of opinion. They certainly do not reflect much sense on the part of the Byzantines that they were defending a vital and irreplaceable bastion of the Christian wold.

It is much to be regretted that the Fourth Crusade deepened the breach between western (Catholic) and eastern (Orthodox) Christianity to the point that one of the two branches often found the Turk preferable to the other. For example, in 1563 the Orthodox Cypriots contacted the Ottomans asking them to put the island under their care, preferring them to the Catholic Venetians. The troubled history of the former Yugoslavia brings this story to the present day.

Anonymous said...

So it is derived from Edward Gibbon?

I'm sorry I don't buy it Britannica or not. I took a course on the history of Byzantium given by Dr. Kenneth Harl and it just doesn't jive. After centuries of razia and outright jihad, dhimmitude and genocide ... organized resistance tends to become a little thin. It's a morale thing. Its a manpower thing and its a resources thing. Eight centuries of barbaric jihad will take a toll.

Thanks for the reply.

Michael said...

Not particularly from Gibbon.

There's a new history of the period by James J. O'Donnell, for example, called "The Ruin of the Roman Empire," of which I just read a review in the most recent issue of the Spectator. I haven't seen the book itself, but the review made much the same points as I have.

Remember that there had not been 'centuries' of jihad and dhimmitude by the time the Turks began encroaching on the easterm Empire. However, there had been centuries of Christian disputation, for example between homoousians and homoiousians, homoians and heteroousians, monophysites, Nestorians, etc., such that by the seventh century the hierarchy had become parsers of words rather than proclaimers of the Word, and lost pastoral touch with the ordinary laypeople over whose heads these controversies raged. All along the secular rulers had been involved in the kinds of intrigues and plots going back to the time of Constantine and Constans themselves. Look into the Anecdota of Procopius for a glimpse of the reign of Justinian, for example. Several hundred years of this type of destructive infighting left Byzantium in the condition of an overripe apple, ready to drop into the hands of Mehmet II.

The condition of Greek Christianity can be judged by its representatives in the fifteenth century - Gemistus Pletho, who though consulted by the Byzantine emperor about reunification of the Greek and Latin churches, was at heart a pagan, and his pupil Cardinal Bessarion, who was at the least a Neoplatonist, and a significant figure in the history of what Joscelyn Godwin has called "the pagan dream of the Renaissance."

Nor was the West eager to redeem Constantinople from Muslim hands - the crusade preached by Nicholas V. went nowhere. Western Europe, and in particular the Italian city-states, were more concerned with their grievances against each other than they were about the threat of Islam. They didn't really awaken to it until the next century.

Mike O'Malley said...

For example, in 1563 the Orthodox Cypriots contacted the Ottomans asking them to put the island under their care, preferring them to the Catholic Venetians.

Hmmm ... I'm ill acquainted with Cypriot history but this sounds somewhat insubstantial, moreover it seems to be a standard practice of Islamic apologists to claim that their non-Muslim victims invited and welcomed Muslim jihadists into their country to rescue them from an oppressive local ruler and everyone lived happily ever after.

From a Greek Cypriot writing in Wikipedia:

“In 1539 the Turkish fleet attacked and destroyed Limassol. Fearing the ever-expanding Ottoman Empire, the Venetians had fortified Famagusta, Nicosia, and Kyrenia, but most other cities were easy prey.

In the summer of 1570, the Turks struck again, but this time with a full-scale invasion rather than a raid. About 60,000 troops, including cavalry and artillery, under the command of Lala Mustafa Pasha landed unopposed near Limassol on July 2, 1570, and laid siege to Nicosia. In an orgy of victory on the day that the city fell--September 9, 1570--20,000 Nicosians Greeks were put to death, and every church, public building, and palace was looted. Word of the massacre spread, and a few days later Mustafa took Kyrenia without having to fire a shot. Famagusta, however, resisted and put up a heroic defense that lasted from September 1570 until August 1571.

The fall of Famagusta marked the beginning of the Ottoman period in Cyprus. Two months later, the naval forces of the Holy League, composed mainly of Venetian, Spanish, and Papal ships under the command of Don John of Austria, defeated the Turkish fleet at the Battle of Lepanto in one of the decisive battles of world history. The victory over the Turks, however, came too late to help Cyprus, and the island remained under Ottoman rule for the next three centuries.

In 1570, the Turks first occupied Cyprus, and Lala Mustafa Pasha became the first Turkish Governor of Cyprus, challenging the claims of Venice. Simultaneously, the Pope formed a coalition between the Papal States, Malta, Spain, Venice and several other Italian states, with no real result. In 1573 the Venetians left, removing the influence of the Roman Catholic Church...

The occupation brought Cyprus directly under Ottoman despotism. The heavy taxes and the abuses against the population on the part of the Ottoman conquerors in the early years after the Ottoman occupation gave rise to opposition, following which the Sultan, by order addressed to the Governor, the "Kadi" and the Treasurer, prohibited the oppression of his subjects and commanded the officers to govern with justice[citation needed]. While the Sultan's orders (lip service- ed M. O'Malley) indicated his goodwill towards the local population, the Ottoman local administration proved indifferent, arbitrary and often corrupt, taking no measures whatsoever for the benefit of the people and the situation was aggravated by the heavy burden of taxes. Those collecting the taxes were trying by all means to extract as much money as they could by exploiting the local population.

Following the Ottoman conquest, many Greek Cypriots and Latins, in order to escape heavy taxation converted to Islam. Many Greek Cypriots who had been converted to Islam remained actually Christians in secret. They were normally called "linobambaki". According to a view expressed for the first time in 1863 AD, and then adopted in the following years, this word was taken metaphorically from a cloth woven with linen and cotton and which had two different sides corresponding thus to the two aspects of their faith. The "linobambaki" turned up during daytime as Muslims, and in the evenings they appeared as Christians, keeping to the Christian religion, its customs and its habits.

The inhabitants of Cyprus, disappointed at the mismanagement of home affairs by the Ottoman governors, soon turned to Europe in search for help for liberation. Very characteristic is the appeal by Archbishop Timotheos to the King of Spain Philip II for liberation of the island, in which, among other things, the following is stated:

"There have recently been repeated cases of abuse on the part of the organs of the conqueror; in a greedy manner they attempt to confiscate and seize the property of the inhabitants; Christian houses are broken into and domiciles violated, and all sorts of dishonest acts against wives and daughters are committed. Twice until now churches and monasteries have been plundered, multiple and heavy taxes have been imposed whose collection is pursued by systematic persecutions, threats and tortures, which lead many persons to the ranks of Islam, while at the same time the male children of Cypriot families are seized (in order to form the brigades of "Jannissaries"). This most hard practice is the worst of the sufferings to which the people of Cyprus is subjected by the Ottoman administration".

Between 1572 and 1668 AD about 28 bloody uprisings took place on the island and in many of these both Greeks and Turks (poor Turks were also exploited by the ruling class) took part. But all of them ended in failure.”

Michael said...

I certainly didn't say anyone lived happily ever after! The fate of Orthodox Cypriots under Turkish rule was no happier than it had been under the Catholic Venetians, who treated them as serfs. The point to be made here is that the antipathies of the Orthodox and Catholic Christians towards each other were no less virulent than those of Christians and Muslims towards each other.

This has remained the case right up until recent times, when the prospect of a Papal visit to Greece was enough to stir social unrest, and in the former Yugoslavia, where Catholic Croats, Orthodox Serbs, and Muslim Bosnians were all eager to let the others' blood.

Your mention that all the Cypriots' revolts ended in failure also demonstrates my point - western Christendom didn't really care enough about them to send any help. Western Europe was awakened to the threat of militant Islam only by direct attacks on it, e.g., the siege of Valletta, the battle of Lepanto, etc.

Mike O'Malley said...

Thank you Michael.

I ran across a review of James J. O'Donnell's, "The Ruin of the Roman Empire," in the New York Post where my impression was favorable.

Allow me to make a couple of quick points. If you are a fan of JRR Tolkien you will you will find that Tolkien used the division between the Eastern and Western Churches and the Eastern and Western Roman Empires as the model for the division between Gondor and Arnor. The remnants and kingship of Arnor were rejected and ignored as rustic rubes by the Byzantine Gondor. The Eastern Empire was in for several shocks when the West answered the call of the Greek Emperor and the Latin Pope. The first was that half the armed might of Western Europe arrived at Byzantium's doorstep. The Emperor had hoped for only some thousands of knights. The second shock was that the Crusaders were semi-barbarians. The general male literacy rate in the Byzantium was around 70%. Female literacy was notable, indeed the Imperial family on occasion sported women who were world class scholars. The were high levels of literacy among the Western clergy however literacy extended only to the males in the Western royal and high noble families. Women in these families and the rest of the population in general was quite illiterate. The was the basis of a culture shock which has persisted for the better part of a millennium. After the fall of Constantinople the Greek Church was headed by a dhimmi Patriarch and dhimmi councils who were beholden to Sultan and Caliph. It was in the Sultan's and Caliph's interests to magnify and perpetuate the divisions between the Eastern and Western Churches.

John Palaeologu son, Manuel Palaeologus, was a hostage and forced under penalty of death to serve in the Turkish army in its jihad campaign in Anatolia. This was not uncommon practice to use non-Muslim manpower in Jihad. Consider the Turkish fleet at Lapanto and the Islamic armies in Islamic Spain. Patrica Crone addresses the Islamic reliance on enslaved armies in “Slaves on Horses”. Indeed during the 20th century the Turks conscripted all Armenian males between 16 and 48 for service in the Turkish Army and then some weeks after conscription kill every single on of those conscripted Armenians.

Between 1572 and 1668 AD?
The Reformation &
The Thirty Years' War (1618–1648)
Protestant Europe ignored, mocked and dismissed calls from Catholic Europe for unity against Jihad and thereby greatly weakening the defense of Christian victims of jihad. (Special mention should be made of the French in this regard but time is too short) :-(

Michael said...

Mr. O'Malley, re the Thirty Years' War, it is not sufficient to consider it simply as a Protestant/Catholic conflict. Cardinal Richelieu, though a prince of the Church, subsidized the Lutheran Gustavus Adolphus in his attack on the Catholic Habsburgs. He was less concerned about supporting Catholicism than about weakening the Habsburgs, whose territories in Germany and Spain bordered France.

Apropos of the division between the Easrern and Western churches, an interesting attempt to heal the breech was made by the high church party in England, particularly Sir Henry Savile and Archbishop Laud. Cyril Lucaris, the partiarch of Alexandria and later of Constantinople, maintained a correspondence with Laud; the Codex Alexandrinus of the Greek bible now in the British Museum was one of the gifts he sent to Charles I. Gabriel Severos, archbishop of Philadelphia (in Asia Minor) assisted Savile with his 8-volume edition of St. John Chrysostom. Lucaris was hardly a "dhimmi Patriarch beholden to the Sultan" - indeed, he was deposed, then restored, several times, at last being deposed and strangled by the Sultan's order, and his body thrown into the Sea of Marmara. Lucaris's Romanizing enemies had persuaded the Sublime Porte that he, in collusion with the Tsar, had organized the capture of the fort of Asad on the sea of Azov by the Don Cossacks.

One survival of the 17th-c. alliance between Orthodoxy and Anglicanism is that, like the Orthodox Eucharist service, the Episcopalian Prayer Book contains an epiclesis in its Holy Communion ("...vouchsafe to bless and sanctify, with thy Word and Holy Spirit, these thy gifts and creatures of bread and wine; that we, receiving them according to thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ's holy institution, in remembrance of his death and passion, may be partakers of his most blessed Body and Blood"). This is absent from the earliest English prayer books, but was added by Laud to the service provided for the episcopal Church of Scotland. It is in the American prayer book because the first American Episcopalian bishop (Seabury) was consecrated, after the American revolution, by nonjuring Scottish bishops.

Mike O'alley said...

"Lucaris's Romanizing enemies"

Now here is a peculiar terminology that narrows our search of polemical genre, Michael. ;-)


I'm surprised that you did not pick up on my allusion to the French above. Given my limited time for posting I find it difficult provide discussion of historic French foreign policy in this regard which is both civil and succinct. Perhaps the French ought not to fret about "perfidious Albion" in the light of historic French obstruction of the defense against jihad.

Steven Runciman, writing in "The Great Church in Captivity" described Lucaris as an "eccentric case" in the context of the Eastern Church and its relation with the West. (page 441) Lucaris seems to have run afoul of the Council of Jassy (page 341).


Nonetheless, If one wishes to understand the relationship between the Eastern and Western Churches it seems that other points should be considered.

The Greek Church focuses its hostility upon the "Franks" (sigh ? see above) however one would do well to focus on the dhimmi relationship to understand why.

From Saber Point:

Dhimmitude is a condition of subservience granted to "people of the book" (POB) (Christians and Jews) who are conquered by Muslim armies. The POB are required to sign a contract by which they may continue to draw breath in their own conquered homeland. If they fail to live up to the contract, jihad may resume and the dhimmis (people living under dhimmitude) may be put to death or sold into slavery.

The dhimmi contract generally included the following:
1. Dhimmis live in a second class condition within the society they inhabit.
2. Dhimmis are not allowed to vote or hold public office.
3. Dhimmis must pay a steep tax, called the Jihza, and do so under humiliating conditions: they must pay the tax in person where they are either spit on or slapped. The tax is a heavy financial burden, but if you can't pay it, you're dead. Some dhimmis who couldn't pay were forced to turn over their children as payment. The children were then raised as Muslims.
4. Dhimmis must dress differently than Muslims, e.g. with broad cloth belts, shoes of different color on opposite feet, or no shoes at all, and must shear their forelocks (the front part of their hair) so their dhimmi status is obvious.
5. Dhimmis must give way to Muslims on the sidewalk or street.
6. Dhimmis must give up their seat in any public place if a Muslim wishes to sit.
7. Dhimmis cannot build a house that is higher than Muslim houses in his neighborhood.
8. Dhimmis can only work in menial jobs like street sweeping or manual labor.
9. Dhimmis cannot renovate their churches or synagogues, so when they fall into disrepair they continue to deteriorate.
10. Dhimmis cannot display any symbol of their religion in public, like a cross, nor ring church bells or sing too loudly in their churches or synagogues lest they offend Muslims.
11. Dhimmis must house and feed any Muslim who passes their door for three days.
12. Dhimmis cannot prevent any of their family members from converting to Islam.
13. Dhimmis cannot attempt to convert any Muslim to their religion.
14. Dhimmi men cannot marry Muslim women, but Muslim men can marry Dhimmi women.
15. Dhimmis cannot be witnesses in court against Muslims.
16. Dhimmis cannot own or carry any weapons.
17. Dhimmis cannot fight with or injure any Muslim, even in self defense, under penalty of death.
18. Dhimmis are subject to execution for apostasy against the Prophet or the Qur'an. (This provision was often abused. When a Muslim wanted a dhimmi's land or house, he simply had to state the dhimmi had insulted the Prophet. Since a Muslim's word was always accepted over that of a dhimmi, the dhimmi's unjust execution or imprisonment was assured.)
19. In many cases, dhimmi children are not allowed to attend state schools or universities.
20. Dhimmis cannot criticize Islam, the Qur'an or Muhammad, under penalty of death or imprisonment (and annihilation of the dhimmi community- edit - M. O'Malley)
(21. Dhimmis cannot appeal to non-Muslims in Dar al-Harb "house of war" for help, under penalty of brutal rape and annihilation of the dhimmi community- edit - M. O'Malley)

Once the dhimmi community fails to abide by these rules (note in particular numbers 20 and 21 - edit - M. O'Malley), they are subject to death, banishment or enslavement. The Armenian genocide in the early 20th century began after Armenians appealed to England to help ease their dhimmi status. The Turkish government considered this a breach of their dhimmi contract and proceeded to slaughter them (about 1.5 million Armenian dhimmis died.)

Through the ages dhimmis have often been murdered in mass by Muslim riots, or had their homes burned. Their existence has been fraught with high anxiety due to their status as social outcasts and their subjection to sudden violence or other oppression.

What this means that dhimmis are forced to live a lie, to internalize the denial their own brutal mistreatment under Islam. We should expect that memory of the horrors of life under Islam should re-emerge but in a way which does not threaten the dhimmi community. Enforced dishonest praise of non-existent Islamic beneficence and psychological displacement directed at a third party target (a target acceptable to Islam) would seem to be the order of the day, the week, the month, the year, the decade, the century...

OK Michael this has taken us off topic however I think it has given me that opportunity offer you valuable perspective.

Have a good day. I've got to turn in.