Thursday, July 27, 2017

Hating Success

I've moved on from The Strange Death of Europe to The Ottoman Empire. It's a series of lectures from a long-time Tulane University professor. He's a total Turkophile, but it's not hard to filter out his bias as he tries hard to be factual. I recommend it. It's the first of the Great Courses series I've tried and now I can't wait to tackle the other two I've got waiting for me on my phone.

We're all supposed to hate the imperialist Europeans. Whatever the white patriarchy can possibly suffer, it should because it's so imperialy and patriarchy-y. Also, they're really, super slavery-y. So let's hate them and move on, OK?

Not so fast. One of the questions raised in Strange Death was, why are the Europeans uniquely guilty when everyone else did the same thing? The Ottoman Empire is a good example. I don't see Erdogan making an apology tour for the conquest and enslavement of Europeans perpetrated by the Ottomans. Dittos for the descendants of the Mongols.

For example, in 1243, the Mongols asked the Turks why they weren't paying tribute to the Khan. The Turks replied that they didn't feel like it. At the Battle of Köse Dağ, they held a peaceful, open-minded dialog and resolved that the Turks did indeed have to pay tribute.

Köse Dağ provides an excellent example of how the Turks and Mongols were different from the icky, warlike, imperialist Europeans.
I'd suggest that instead of hating slavery, racism and imperialism, we hate success. To borrow this tidbit again from Hilaire Belloc,
Whatever happens we have got
The Maxim Gun, and they have not.
It's hard to imagine that the Turks, the Mongols or even the peaceful, living-in-harmony-with-nature Apache would have eschewed the use of the Maxim Gun if they'd had access to them.

Instead of getting wound up about one warlike empire among many, we might want to ask ourselves why the Europeans developed the technologies they did. And no, "Because slavery!" isn't the answer. Everyone had slaves, but only the Christian, white, Europeans developed almost all of the technologies we use today.

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