Sunday, December 11, 2005


[NYTIMES:] What do you think is the single worst idea in history?

[WATSON:] Without question, ethical monotheism. The idea of one true god. The idea that our life and ethical conduct on earth determines how we will go in the next world. This has been responsible for most of the wars and bigotry in history.
This is FALSE. Socialists during the 20th Century killed more people than religious people did in religious wars during the previous 20 centuries - whether they were monotheists or polytheists!

FACT: Marxist-Leninism; Stalinism (in Russia and North Korea and elsewhere); Nazism (which was a sub-sect of socialism, an anti-Marxist form); Maoism; Pol-Potism - and other assorted genocidal socialists, from Castro to Mugabe - killed at least 120 MILLION people, and tortured and wrongfully imprisoned (in gulags and concentration camps and "re-education camps") MILLIONS AND MILLIONS MORE! AND IMPOVERISHED AND STOLE FROM STILL EVEN MORE THAN THAT!

It's one of the GREAT BIG LIES of the Leftist dominated academy that religion has been the world's major source of war-mongering and death. In fact, it's been THE LEFT.


And they would NEVER EVER DARE to criticize the jihadoterrorists, or say that Islam has a problem (even though this was recently admitted to by King Abdullah II of Jordan). The Leftist academicians deny this fact - and castigate and berate as simpletons the few scholars who ARE BRAVE ENOUGH to argue this point -- scholars like Bernard Lewis and Samuel Huntington, who point out that nearly ALL the world's hot-spots are where Islam meets the non-Islam, or Sunni Islam meets the non-Sunni Islam.

In fact, these Leftist academicians are quicker to condemn Christians counter-attacking islamofascism and jihadoterrorism than they are to criticize ANY Islamic sects, (ESTEEMED academicians like Susan Sontag and Noam Chomsky and Edward Said). They do this because they are post-modernist multiculturalists who basically believe that Western Civilization is, and has always been, a scourge on the world. And one MAJOR way they claim the West had despoiled and ravaged and raped and pillaged the world is through its religious fervor - or with the "blessings" of religion. BAH HUMBUG. As I said: atheistic Lefties killed more people and committed more genocide in the last century than religion did in the previous 20!

Then again: many argue that Leftism is a religious CULT in ways: its adherents believe in it as a matter of faith, despite the fact that it has failed everywhere and everytime it has ever been employed anywhere in the world. NOW THAT'S FAITH! SURE: Most were slaugtered in the name of their chief prophet Marx (founder of internationalist communist socialism), but many in the name of their anti-christ Hitler (founder of nationalist/racist socialism and anti-Marxist). More HERE and HERE and HERE.

ADDENDUM: It must also be noted that some forms of POLYTHEISM - which the esteemed academician PETER WATSON seemingly let's off the hook, entirely - committed HUMAN SACRIFICE FOR EONS ALL OVER THE WORLD. In the New World, Aztecs slaughtered tens of thousands each year for their gods (PLURAL!), and one year reportedly murdered 80,000 to commemorate their capital Tenochtitlan, a city of 250,000 (and at the time THE BIGGEST CITY IN THE WORLD). WHAT'S MORE: The Aztecs often ATE THE REMAINS OF THEIR HUMAN SACRIFICES. YES: THEY WERE POLYTHEISTIC CANNIBALS! When the Conquistadors CONQUERED the Aztecs (with the help of many of the impoverished and ravaged tribes who were previously subjugated, and genocidally sacrificed, and ritually cannibalized by the Aztecs), they LIBERATED these "Mexicans" from an insasnely superstitious polytheistic genocidal creed, and embraced them into the RC Church. They were literally and figuratively "saved."

ALSO: This is a BLATANTLY anti-Western and simultaneoulsy thoroughly "Western-centric" opinon: It IGNORES the fact that many MANY wars were fought ENTIRELY OUTSIDE the West (within Asia, or within Africa, or within South America) and also by the East upon the West. These wars had NOTHING to do with either religion or monotheism. When Genghis Khan attacked the West he did not do it in the name of religion or monotheism. When Aztecs attacked other Meso-Amecian nations it was NOT due to monotheism. When Rwandan Hutsis and Tutsis warred, it was NOT because of monotheism - or monotheistic bigotry.

THEREFORE, Watson's charge is WRONG on this basis too - that it over-emphasizes intra-Western wars over all wars, and it wrongly assigns monotheism a central role in wars when in most wars - throughout history and across cultural boundaries - it was of no import at all.

[ONLY if you include socialism as a religion can his claim be made to seem true, and he clearly doesnt see socilaism as a religion, and even if he did, would it be monotheistic or polytheistic? After all Marxist-Leninism seems polytheistic to me, as does Marx-Engels worship and Marx-Trotsky worship and Marx-Mao worship!]

IN CONCLUSION: This Peter Watson guy is either a misinformed and gullible JERK, or deliberately lying to slander monotheists, or BRAINWASHED BY LEFTISM. The third option is the most logical.


Gandalin said...

When a self-proclaimed historian of ideas such as Peter Watson uses a term like "ethical monotheism," he must be aware that this term was used by the German-Jewish philosopher Hermann Cohen to express the defining genius of the Jewish religion, and to contrast it with the polytheisms of the ancients, whose gods did not demand ethical performance from mankind. "Ethical monotheism" is commonly used in the Reform Jewish movement to designate the particular innovation of the Jewish religion. "Ethical monotheism" is also used by many commentators to designate the Judeo-Christian tradition.

In short, Peter Watson's flip comment is really nothing more, and nothing less, than an anti-semitic slur with which he wishes to blame the Jews for everything he claims he doesn't like about the world.

He would ultimately blame the Jews for all of the killing during the Protestant vs Catholic wars, for all the killing of the Crusades, and even for the Jihad -- since Christianity and Islam derive their versions of "ethical monotheism" at least in part from the Jewish example.

As you correctly point out, removing Natural Law from the world of action, removing a transcendant standard of ethical behavior, leaves mankind in thrall to pure power as exercised by totalitarian tyrannies of unparalleled cruelty. Or worse.

Reliapundit said...

well said gandalin. as always.
i didn't realize that bit about "ethicl monotheism."

AND - of course you are right: as Judiasm is the bedrock of all monotheism, Watson is ESSENTIALLY critisizing Judaism.

and he is ALSO essentially promoting MUTLICUTLURALISM - which is basically the idea that whatever a majority at any time says is right, IS RIGHT. And whatever another culture says is right, IS RIGHT.Multiculturalism says you have to respect all cultures as equal, anfd that those who don't are bullies.

this is amoral at best. probably immoral is a better term. after all, in this "moral" framework, there is no moral basis for one nation or people to intervene to end slavery or genocide in another nation or culture. which is IMMORAL. which is PRECISELY why the UN is immoral and useless.

and also: without universal eternal transcendent standards the power of the state can be used for whatever the ruling class/politburo/mullahs says it can be used for.we know from histiory - and the newspapers - that this is often a BAD thing.

the advance of humankind the last few thosuand years is AMAZING when compared to the previous eons.

nearly ALL the advances came from montheistic civilization - WESTERN CIVILIZATION: nations of laws; the Enlightenment; science; trade; capitalism; industrialization - all Western. The West: Judeo-Christian.

Today, all successful societies are Western: japan, South Korea, India and China are each successful to the extent they are Westernized. Only their Western-ness has allowed them to achieve better lives for themselves.

Because Western-ness is UNIVERSAL it is available to all humans and every human society.

I mean: just as the "hollywood narratve style" can be used by any filmmaker anywhere, so too can Judeo-Christian ethics. and when they are used, they help eveyone.

watson ignores this fact. and ignores the fact that HIS (western) creed had actually hurt more people.

he is therefore DOUBLY mistaken. he is and his fellow leftist cultists are SCUM.

Gandalin said...

It is extremely significant that Peter Watson chose to castigate "ethical monotheism" rather than "religion" or even "monotheism." He is showing his colors.

The idea of "natural law," the idea, indeed, "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," is the biggest obstacle to the leftist/statist project. In order to assert the absolute validity of raw power without any mediating restraint, so that they can militarize the entire economy and reduce us all to ant-like robots in the service of "the common good," the leftists must dispense with civilization's conscience.

Meanwhile, the Abbas "government" has passed a law to pay the families of suicide/homicide bombers a stipend of at least $250 a month. This is actually putting money in Peter Watson's mouth, and subsidizing the mass murder of Jews.

By the way, remember when President Bush said that those who pay for terror would be treated just as justly as the terrorists themselves? When is he going to apply that principle to the Palestinian Authority?

Anonymous said...

The quote you posted does not support your argument. He claimed that ethical monotheism is responsible for the most wars, not the most deaths. This is possibly true in Europe. There were many wars fought for religion over the past 2000 years. It is probably not true for the entire world. It is also not very relevant, as all of those wars had complex causes, and were not just fought for religion. Even the crusades were not done for purely religious reasons.

As for death counts, it isn't entirely fair to compare 20th century death totals to 1st century death totals. More people were killed in the Holocaust then had ever been born prior to about the 3rd or 4th century (I'm guessing about numbers, but that seems about right). Killing 6 million people 2000 years ago would have been impossible. It would be more fair to compare percentages of populations killed. I'm not sure if anyone has ever bothered to do this. I suspect that fascism and communism would rank high (in people killed) even on this more fair scale.

I disagree with Watson. Monotheism and the idea of one true God easily leads to problems, but is not a problem in itself. Ethical monotheism is certainly better than non-ethical monothesim. The idea that our life and ethical conduct on Earth determines how we will go in the next world has done almost no harm.

He is missing the point. Monothesim has done no harm. It is only intolerance of people who disagree that has caused problems. This is something that often follows monotheism, but arises independantly of it. The idea that people should be killed if they do not completely agree with you and pledge loyalty to your cause has probably killed more people and started more wars than any other idea. It is the only reason for religious wars between ethical religions. It is the reason fascists and communists killed (and still kill) anyone that disagreed with them. It is the reason that freedom of speech and religion are considered such essential rights. Because once you aren't allowed to disagree publicly, it is only a matter of time before anyone that disagrees will be killed.


Gandalin said...


I'm not sure to whom you are addressing your comments, or which quote you feel does not support whose argument.

But I think you raise some good points.

The origins of religious intolerance, and the appearance of the concept of religious tolerance in the West, are of great interest.

Freedom of conscience is one the essential hallmarks of a free society. As Ralph Peters has argued, without freedom of conscience and religious tolerance, a society is inevitably condemned to poverty, tyranny, and war.