Thursday, February 21, 2008

On NeoNazis in the Paul Campaign

Perhaps the World's deviates are attracted to libertarianism because we won't punish them.

November 1971 Society for Iindividual Liberty Conference Columbia University School of Law, NYC. Everyone who was anyone in libertarianism was there. In a restaurant on Broadway after a session I'm sitting across the table from one of the giants of this young movement (you've all heard his name). He is telling me all about how the Holocaust didn't happen.

It didn't bother me then or now. When you're part of a movement that wants to abolish the State, disputes on WWII history are pretty minor.

You Never Expect the Islamic Inquisition

So I'm browsing blogs and read this post on Volokh on Spanish philosophical debates on the justification for conquest of the New World; which leads to this bibliography on the literature of justification; when I'm brought up short by an exerpt from this book:

Patricia Seed. Ceremonies of Possession: Europe’s Conquest of the New World, 1492-1640. Cambridge, England, and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995. xviii + 199 pp. Illustrations, maps, bibliographical references, and index. $49.95 (cloth), ISBN 0-521-49748-5; $19.95 (paper), ISBN 0-521-49757-4.

Chapter 3 ("The Requirement: A Protocol for Conquest") examines a legacy of conquest unique to Spain. The requerimiento was a written statement that all Spanish adventurers and colonists were obligated to read aloud (usually without benefit of translators) before subjugating indigenous peoples. Composed in 1512 by the legal scholar Juan Lopez Palacios Rubios, the requirement has long been known to students of Spanish-American history not only for being a basic source on Spanish notions of conquest as "just war," but also for its abundance of textual inconsistencies, which occasionally border on the absurd. To cite one example, the text of the requirement states: "[W]e will not compel you to turn Christians. But if you do not ... I will enter forcefully against you, and I will make war everywhere and however I can, and I will subject you to the yoke ... of authority of...." (p. 69). Thus, besides its status as a canonical historical source, the requirement is also one of history’s enduring conundrums. In this chapter, Seed seeks to provide a satisfactory solution.

Notable for its etymological plumbs into key legal, martial, and political concepts, and for its rigorously cited synthesis of extant scholarship on Christian and Islamic Spain, Seed’s "archaeological" inquiry into the the origins of the requirement concludes that the text was influenced by Islamic and Jewish intellectual traditions to a far greater extent than previously realized. The perplexing features of the document--which was
regarded in its day by some Spaniards as "ludicrously and tragically naive (Gibson, Spain in America, 1966), utilized later by Protestant commentators as evidence of the depravity of the Spanish soul, and today recognized by us as idiosyncratic, if not paradoxical--are, in fact, the product of a hybridization of cultural logics alien to the main trunk-line of Western intellectual thought.[4] Seed demonstrates how the concept of jihad, a term meaning "fighting according to the proper legal principles" (p. 72), approximates the requirement’s notion of "just war," and how one of those "proper legal principles," the da a or "double summons" preceding a battle, was an Islamic precursor for the later Spanish practice of reading a formal speech prior to subjugating native Americans. Furthermore, Seed effectively maps out several plausible pathways whereby these Islamic concepts--as well as important institutions
like tribute-collecting ( jizya ) (pp. 78-83), censustaking (p. 83, n. 57), and ethnically segregated townships ( ahl al-dhimma ) (pp. 84-88)--reemerged in the sixteenth century as important colonial practices and policies in Spanish America.

Although the Muslim "core" of the requirement was seriously challenged by Las Casas in his debates with Sepulveda in 1550, it was not until 1573 that significant changes of wording severed the document from its Moorish moorings.

In other words: The harshness of the Spanish Conquests was caused by the adoption of Islamic traditions from the 700 years of Islamic control in Spain.