The economic nature of Islamic conquest

I just had to share with you Mark Steyn’s brilliant insight into the economic nature of Islamic conquest:

The jizya is the poll tax paid by non-Muslims to their Muslim betters. One cause of the lack of economic innovation in the Islamic world is that they’ve always placed the main funding burden of society on infidels. This goes back to Mohammed’s day. If you take a bunch of warring Arab tribes and unite them as one umma under Allah, one drawback is that you close off a prime source of revenue — fighting each other and then stealing each other’s stuff. That’s why the Prophet, while hardly in a position to deny Islam to those who wished to sign up, was relatively relaxed about the presence of non-Muslim peoples within Muslim lands: they were a revenue stream. If one looks at the comparative dissemination patterns, Christianity spread by acquiring believers and then land; Islam spread by acquiring land and then believers. When Islam conquered infidel territory, it set in motion a massive transfer of wealth, enacting punitive taxation to transfer money from non-believers to Muslims — or from the productive part of the economy to the non-productive. It was, in its way, a prototype welfare society. When admirers talk up Islam and the great innovations and rich culture of its heyday, they forget that even at its height Muslims were never more than a minority of the Muslim world, and they were in large part living off the energy of others. That’s still a useful rule of thumb: if you take the least worst Muslim societies, the reason for the dynamism often lies with whichever group they share the turf with — the Chinese in Malaysia, for example.

Mark Steyn, America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It, p. 164.

Of course, Steyn doesn’t end with that factual observation.  There are a few things that flow from it:  first, the minions paing jizya wise up and either leave Arab countries or themselves convert to Islam, leaving the economy utterly lifeless.  Second, it creates in Islam an endless craving for conquest, because that’s the only way to revitalize a moribund economy.  And, third, Steyn also points out that the endless subsidies flowing into Muslim countries from the West (whether Western, including Israeli, payments to the Palestinians; or weapons subsidies to Saudis and Egyptians) are all seen as the Muslims’ due and, in their collective minds, are converted into appropriate payments of subservient religions to the master race.

6 Responses

  1. I remember a Kuwaiti student-friend of mine complaining that her fellow Kuwaitis had lost the ability to work.

    I believe that the word we Westerners employ for Mark Steyn’s description of “jizya” is “parasitism”.

    The challenge I like to throw out is for anyone to explain what exactly Islam’s historical accomplishments and innovations are supposed to have been. Can anyone answer that? And, please, don’t respond with “algebra”, which was largely developed by Hindu and Buddhist India).

  2. Islam accomplished the historical unification of Arab tribes, acquiring Persian lands through conquest and expansion. Arabs, as people have seen, are notoriously difficult to unify. In fact the Persians paid Arab tribes as a sort of proxy border guards to ensure that the southern border was solid.

  3. In any theocracy, the People Of That Book (whichever Book it might be) will be legally superior to the Others that they dominate.

    Islam is particularly… um… shall we say, RIGOROUS, in its domination of the Others. Jizya is merely one of the many, many codified ways in which Islam represses and destroys the identity and worth of all Others under its theocratic repressive domination.

    I am, as a result, furiously opposed to anything that even hints at dhimmitude.

    This is why the impulse to exalt all Eastern mysticisms, while simultaneously heaping scorn upon all Western religions – an impulse that flowered in the 60’s and remains prevalent today within the ACLU and many other groups – is so dangerous to me. It gives Islamic theocracy the upper hand.

    Another case in point:
    Bishop Martinus Muskens of Breda in The Netherlands has called upon Christians to begin calling God “Allah”. Bishop Muskens is confident this will promote better relations with Muslims and, after all, “God doesn’t really care how we address Him.”
    See: http://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/blog.cfm?id=161

    This is disingenous. If he were calling for Christians to call God “Allah” while *simultaneously* calling for all Muslims to call Allah “God”, I might even consider his point. But he is NOT calling for that. What he has done is promote the eradication of our own Western word(s) for the deity in preference to the Islamic word. This is dhimmitude in its clearest form: An attitude, among the vanquished, of surrender and fawning servility towards the Muslim overlord.

  4. I guess I should be clear about the “Muslim overlord” comment, lest I be accused of Islamophobia. I am not speaking of Muslims who peacefully coexist with people of other religions; nor am I speaking of Muslims who simply believe themselves to be culturally superior to others.

    I am speaking of those Muslims who intend or prefer the imposition of sharia law, or demand special treatment and rights by law that others are not to be allowed. And of their self-hating Western enablers: the dhimmis among us.

  5. […] make that “children” — believe exists within Islam.  Mark Steyn, as usual, has the most pithy summary of Islamic disdain for all other religions.  A religion must be understood, not only by its words […]

  6. What’s up, I just found your blog – thank you for writing. Just wanted to let you know that it’s not showing up properly on the BlackBerry Browser (I have a Bold). Anyway, I’m now on your RSS feed on my laptop, so thanks!

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