Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Theodore Dalrymple Essay

Recounting the experiences of Jews in Algeria under Muslim and under French rule:
But what is the moral of this history, if there is one? It is certainly not one of the immemorial goodness and tolerance of the western tradition and the immemorial wickedness and intolerance of the Islamic one. I suppose a Martian, on reading this story, might come to the conclusion that human beings were a bad lot, and that he had better leave Earth as soon as possible.
In other words, the moral of Professor Stora’s book is that Islam, whatever its past glories, achievements, strengths and even tolerance by comparison with extremely low standards prevailing at different times elsewhere, has no means as yet of dealing with the modern world in a constructive fashion, and perhaps (though here it is impossible to be dogmatic) never can have such a means without falling apart entirely. I leave it to the experts to decide.