BERNARD LEWIS: A STAND-UP GUY WHO FELL DOWN….SEE NOTE PLEASE
Bernard Lewis: A Stand-Up Guy Who Fell Down
I HAVE GREAT REGARD FOR HIS ACUMEN AND KNOWLEDGE…HOWEVER, IT HIS HIS SUPPORT OF CAMP DAVID, OSLO, GAZA, WYE, ROAD MAP THAT IS SO DISTURBING AS WELL AS HIS PROMOTION OF THE MYTH OF AN ERA OF GREAT COMITY BETWEEN ARABS/MOSLEMS AND JEWS….THE ERA CONSISTED OF A FEW BURPS AND BUMPS IN HISTORY ALL PRECEDED AND FOLLOWED BY UNRELENTING HATRED OF JEWS SINCE THE TIME OF THE PROPHET…. IT WAS NOT ALWAYS SO WITH LEWIS….READ THIS SHORT ESSAY…..RSK
The unapologetic Lewis viewed Islam as unrelentingly autocratic, with a conception of freedom, “hurriyya,”—perfect slavery to an autocratic Allah and his sharia—antithetical to the uniquely Western notion of individual liberty. In short, for Lewis, Islam was a totalitarianism, analogous to Communism—a direct analogy he in fact made. Quoth Lewis, circa 1954:
I turn now from the accidental to the essential factors, to those deriving from the very nature of Islamic society, tradition, and thought. The first of these is the authoritarianism, perhaps we may even say the totalitarianism, of the Islamic political tradition….Many attempts have been made to show that Islam and democracy are identical-attempts usually based on a misunderstanding of Islam or democracy or both. This sort of argument expresses a need of the up- rooted Muslim intellectual who is no longer satisfied with or capable of understanding traditional Islamic values, and who tries to justify, or rather, re-state, his inherited faith in terms of the fashionable ideology of the day. It is an example of the romantic and apologetic presentation of Islam that is a recognized phase in the reaction of Muslim thought to the impact of the West….
Without ever offering any coherent intervening historical or doctrinal explanations, “The Islam is Autocratic Totalitarianism Lewis,” five decades later, Lewis suddenly morphs into to “The Evangelical Democratist Lewis,” epitomized by his rather unhinged essay, from 2006, “Bring Them Freedom Or They Destroy Us.”
As noted here,
Lewis then [in the 1950s] was both unapologetic and pellucid in identifying the intractable obstacle to such efforts at democratization—Islam itself. ..Lewis’s volte-face on the merits of experiments in “Islamic democracy,” has been accompanied by his equally troubling intellectual legacy regarding three other critical subject areas: the institution of jihad, the chronic impact of the Sharia (Islamic law) on non-Muslims vanquished by jihad, and sacralized Islamic Jew-hatred.
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