NASA’s New Mission: Increasing Muslim Self Esteem

By: Craig Chamberlain

Rather than bringing back the space shuttle program, going to the moon again, or being the first people to Reach Mars, President Obama has a new mission for NASA: tell the Muslim world how great they are. You see rather than come up with something of real scientific importance our dear leader feels that telling a bunch of third world barbarians how smart they are will improve our image, and therefore, our relations with them.

Being friendly to the Muslim world has been just about the one constant of this administration. His first major speeches as President were to the Muslim world, to Al-Arabiya tv, at Al- Azhar university in Cairo and a speech in Ankara. The premise of these speeches were all to denounce the western world as uncivilized and crude, while telling the Muslim world what a bunch of civilized geniuses they are. We’ve thrown Israel under the bus, we’ve bent over backwards to accommodate Muslim nations, and have the most pro Muslim administration in the history of the United States. Leaving aside the political futility of this position, it’s pure fantasy and not based in historical fact or reality.

A common narrative in the politically correct propaganda that gets passed off as history goes something like this: in the middle ages there was the Catholic West, the Orthodox Byzantine Empire(which gets passed over, for the most part) and the Muslim Caliphate. The Christian world was dirty, disease ridden, and filled with squalid little towns and villages filled with ignorant, illiterate, and superstitious people. The Muslim world, on the other hand, was filled with big cities, that were clean, and well cared for, the people of the Muslim world were friendly, tolerant, educated, and spent their days in the pursuit of beauty, and intellectual advancement. Then the evil Christians, for no reason at all, viciously attacked the good peaceful Muslims, and that’s why the Muslim world today is backwater, and filled with people who hate us and want us dead.

As history it’s plain wrong and as political propaganda it’s downright seditious. First of all let’s address the wealth issue. The Muslim world was rich because of conquest, plunder, and exploitation. Since leftist intellectuals condemn the western world for using these methods, they can’t praise the Muslim world for it. So they pass over it and just tell us that the Muslim world was wealthy. And by medieval standards it was. But that wealth was attained by war. The Byzantine empire was badly wounded by Islam’s initial onslaught, the Persian empire was completely wiped out, the civilizations of the Indian subcontinent were attacked and virtually destroyed by the Islamic invaders. In the west North Africa fell, the good civilized people of Islam burned the great library of Alexandria, committed cultural genocide by wiping out Christianity in the region, and then swept up into Spain. As long as the armies of Islam faced off against opponents who were weaker, and they could return home with plunder, the Islamic world was wealthier. Once the Christian world was able to defend itself, and even reclaim lost territory like Sicily, and Parts of Spain in the west, and Byzantine success in the east the Muslim world began to lose economic strength. The entire Islamic economy was based on exploitation. They exploited non muslims in a ritualistic humiliation, and would constantly raid their neighbors to bring back precious metals, and most of all slaves.

That’s something the apologists never mention, the Islamic economy was built not only on war, but on slaves. The Islamic world wasn’t one of innovation, but one of terror. And once they ran out of victims, they ran out of money. The western world was able to take a region with fewer natural resources, a position far from traditional trade routes, and through economic innovation, that eventually became capitalism were able to establish an economic dominance that continues to this day. Was serfdom and slavery part of that? Absolutely, but the west fought amongst itself to end both institutions and continued to grow wealthier.

Now, as to the intellectual contributions of the Islamic word, and the image that the left loves to paint, there isn’t as much there as your typical high school history text book would have you believe. Here again, the Muslim world didn’t so much innovate as they copied. There role was more of a librarian than a thinker. Their philosophy was taken from the Greeks(to the point that most Muslim philosophers simply put a Muslim twist on the writings of Aristotle.) their astronomy was taken, mostly, from the Assyrians and Babylonians, and their mathematics were taken from the Hindu’s of India.

We’re supposed to believe that without the brilliance of the Muslim world we would still be in the dark ages, burning animal droppings for fuel, and thinking that the arrival of comets meant the end of the world. But it wasn’t their brilliance. Instead of telling them what great scientists they were maybe we should tell them what great thieves they were. Take mathematics for example, and area in which Muslims were supposed to have excelled. The so called “arabic numerals” were invented in India around 500 BC. So perhaps they should be called Indian numerals? The concept of zero and algebra itself were invented in India, and not by Muslims.

This is not to say that the Islamic world didn’t have some intellects of its own. There was the astronomer Yaqub-Ibn-Tariq(died in 796 AD) then there was the “father of Algebra”(which only shows that Muslims were good at PR) Abu Abdullah Ibn Musa al-khwarizimi,(780-850) and scientists like Avicenna(980-1037) Intelligent men to be sure, but they were simply copying what previous thinkers had come up with. And if you look at the great thinkers of the Muslim world they’ve all been dead for the better part of a thousand years. Clearly it’s not a religion or culture that values science of philosophy if they haven’t been able to produce anything of their own, or allowed an intellectual the freedom to think in a millennium.

Let’s be honest, the Muslim world didn’t contribute as much as they, and their apologists, would have us believe and they haven’t contributed anything to science for a long time. Instead of pandering to them, President Obama needs to confront the totalitarian movements, the nihilism,and the totalitarian ideologies that pervade the Muslim world and that can’t be accomplished by kissing up to them. That’s only going to be accomplished by confronting them and bringing them into the modern world, kicking and screaming if need be.

There are more important uses for NASA than making the Muslim world feel good about itself, first of all it’s not going to make them like us or change the political and foreign policy realities we’re facing, and their intellectual contributions were greatly exaggerated. President Obama needs to remember that NASA is a scientific organization, and it should be treated as such. If the Muslim world wants to feel better let them do something on their own for a change.

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