Consistency

Now that Rick Santorum has explained that the bad reputation of the Crusades is the result of a plot by leftists who hate Christendom, is he going to endorse the Inquisition next, and expose Voltaire as an undercover jihadist and proto-Marxist?

No doubt the Crusaders were, indeed, fighting for the “Judeo-Christian concept of the person,” and the massacre of Jews when the Crusaders took Jerusalem (and many other massacres and forced conversions of Jews by Crusdaders before and after that event) merely reflected an excess of Judeo-Christian zeal, or the fog of war, or something.

Yes, I know making fun of Santorum is too easy to be any real fun, and that he’s not going to be the Republican nominee. But his campaign remains as a monument to the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of the contemporary GOP. And you can bet your bottom dinar Mitt Romney won’t dare criticize Santorum’s praise of one of the most foolish and immoral movements in all of world history. What’s worse, no reporter will even dare ask Romney the question.

Comments

  1. Warren Terra says

    Judeo-Christianity is essentially defined by a willingness to massacre Jews – or, at the very least, to do so ideologically and rhetorically, deny Jews any agency or independent identity.

  2. Ed Whitney says

    “And that is what the perception is by the American left who hates Christendom.” Any American who thinks that Keynes got it right when it comes to the role of aggregate demand in the economy is a hater of Christianity and Western civilization. Elsewhere, he says that liberals want to destroy the family and that they are opposed to work and to ordinary morality.

    Santorum needs to read all of First Corinthians 6:9-10. He fixates on the part about “men who lie down with men,” but overlooked the part about “slanderers.” By his own words, he will not inherit the Kingdom of God either.

  3. Drew Robertson says

    I’m not here to argue for the Crusades but I’d like to hear more about why they were “one of the most foolish and immoral movements” in history. One of the ‘features’ of the Crusades was that they off-loaded much of feudal Europe’s surplus of fools. The consequences in Antioch, Edessa etc weren’t pleasant but for the people back home it worked. More seriously, whose morality was violated by the Crusades? Placed in the context of the Arab, Mongol and Spanish Conquests, the Christian Crusades were well within the bounds of contemporary morality.

  4. says

    The massacre was more equal opportunity than “admin” (presumably hiding our Esteemed Leader Mark?) makes out, as the Crusaders also killed most of the the Moslem inhabitants of Jerusalem. If it had “only” been the Jews, the Moslem rulers of the region might have been prepared to leave the Crusader kingdom alone.
    It is well known that when Saladin retook the city a century later, he magnanimously spared the Christians. Not so well known are the massacres when the Mamelukes later recaptured Acre and Antioch.
    The standard English-language history of the Crusades is Sir Steven Runciman’s fifty-year-old three-volumee opus. Runciman was a stuffy High Church Anglican Cambridge don, not some trendy revisionist. But the last sentence in the whole work makes a considered judgement that is even harsher and less qualified than Mark’s:

    High ideals were besmirched with cruelty and greed, enterprise and endurance by a blind and narrow self-righteousness; and the Holy War itself was nothing more than a long act of intolerance in the name of God, which is the sin against the Holy Ghost.

    • Mark Kleiman says

      Yes, it’s my post. I signed in as “admin” to do some housekeeping, and didn’t sign out before posting. The “author” field can’t be edited, and if I deleted we’d lose the comment thread, so I’ll leave it as is. In this case, that’s appropriate, since I’m merely channeling an RBC reader’s email.

      I just saw the story yesterday, when I got the email, and hadn’t realized it was old news. Like all of Santorum’s follies, it became relevant with his surge.

  5. Anderson says

    He fixates on the part about “men who lie down with men,”

    Yes, gay Christians should be diligent in having intercourse only in a standing position.

    • Ed Whitney says

      Not necessary. Leviticus clearly calls it an abomination when a man lies with a man “as with a woman.” This means that unless one guy is trying to get the other guy pregnant, the law does not apply. Unless they try to use birth control (which would be abominably stupid), they can simply be left alone.

  6. Fred Bush says

    Santorum is a lay member of the Knights of Malta, formerly known as the Knights Hospitaller. So he is an actual Crusader.

  7. Jamie Jacks says

    I don’t hate the Crusades but it is folly to link the Crusades to our war in Afghanistan. It only makes good copy for Taliban recruiters. It also makes good propaganda copy for the Mullahs and Revolutionary Guard of Iran. Senator Santorum obviously needs to read more medieval history and Rennaisance history. He is ignornant or just plain ignores the Spanish Reconquista which lasted from the 600s to 1492 and eventually led to the forced expulsion of the Muslims and Jews from Spain. He ignores the 4th Crusade in 1204 in which the Venetians and French Crusaders sacked Constantinople and destroyed the Byzantine Empire. He also ignores the Crusades led by the Tuetonic Knights in Latvia and Poland which had nothing to do with Islam. Wonderful article, thanks for letting me share. 30

  8. says

    This is one of the reasons why I cannot stand Santorum politically. He is such a DESPERATE PSEUDO-INTELLECTUAL. Santorum is like a clown who has read the old thinkers of the Judeo-Christian school (or experienced the great artists who have been their popularizers), decided (correctly) that there is more there than according to the liberal coloring book version, but then (incorrectly) decides that these are the exclusive answers for good individuals and good societies and (ridiculously) parades around as if he has discovered some great truth of the eleventh century unknown to the mere mortals who are stuck in the twenty-first century writing comments on blogs.

    It is true that the Crusades are better understood as TERRORISTIC medieval brutality in response to centuries of earlier war between Muslims and Christians than as some evil that is unique to Christianity. However, that has nothing to do with if the left is wrong to say that the world is a better place with Christendom playing a smaller social role compared to Enlightenment civilization.
    It is probably true that there is a Judeo-Christian idea of the person that is more intense than in other philosophies (probably including even the Enlightenment philosophies that have come out of Judeo-Christian philosophies) but that has nothing to do with whether or not Islamic governments and movements are some threat that need to be conquered by force now.

    A less self-serious pseudo-intellectual like Newt Gingrich politically and socially supports the Judeo-Christian tradition as a source of purpose and self-discovery (and most importantly salvation on a personal level- It is not at all clear that Christendom was wanted by Christ) for people within a society that is based on the Enlightenment (which, again, is probably based on the Judeo-Christian tradition). However, for somebody like Santorum the past 250 years of economic growth, scientific progress and sympathetic humanity is not only completely unrelated to the weakening of Christendom, but is actually threatened by the weakening of Christendom that has, by seemingly astonishing coincidence, accompanied that growth, progress and humanity.

    Man, I really went on a rant there. Sorry.

  9. Byomtov says

    Santorum:

    “The idea that the Crusades and the fight of Christendom against Islam is somehow an aggression on our part is absolutely anti-historical,”

    Someone buy that man a dictionary. By what standard were the Crusades not acts of aggression?

  10. SamChevre says

    By what standard were the Crusades not acts of aggression?

    The argument as I’ve seen it is that the Crusades were attempts to maintain Christianity’s historic position, not to extend them. Pre-Islam, the Middle East was as much part of Christendom as Europe was.

    • James Wimberley says

      After four centuries of Moslem rule?
      The usual story is that a less tolerant Moslem ruler than his predecessors reduced the longstanding access of Christian pilgrims to Jerusalem. Quite why this triggered an explosion of jihadist violence in remote NW Europe is unclear; but Tancred of Hauteville and Peter the Hermit were not thinking of legal claims. Nor did the Latin Crusaders amake any effort to return the conquered territories to the Byzantine Emperors, the clear legal successors of Heraclius.

  11. NCG says

    You know, it’s not clear to me from that piece what exactly Santorum was talking about. I’m not sure he meant that the actual Crusades weren’t aggression — seems to me, he’s talking about the last decade, really.

    And as a woman, I always find it amusing and notable when men say, “all men are created equal…” Especially from right wingy types, when it seems more Freudian. Can we *finally* have a re-write on that???

    I must say though, it would be nice if we had an actual discussion in this country about why we went into Afghanistan as far as we have. I do think ideas about equality are relevant (though I think the war against the Taliban was a mistake).

  12. LincolnKennedy says

    Anyone who attempts to take other cultures seriously has to be struck by the profound similarities between the medieval Christian idea of crusade and the Islamic concept of jihad. Until the word crusade recently fell out of favor, they both even had the same sort of meaning when used in a non-military concept.

    Because we all agree here that everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts, let’s make sure we get some facts straight: the Rashidun Caliphate attacked the Sassanid Empire in 633 and the Byzantine Empire in 634. Neither Empire had attacked or provoked the Rashidun Caliphate (they were two busy attacking each other). The Sassanid Empire was destroyed, and the Byzantine Empire lost all of its Syrian and African provinces, including three dioceses of the Pentarchy.

    The First Crusade began in 1096, as the response of Pope Urban II to a request for aid from Byzantine Emperor Alexios Komnenos, who was being attacked by Muslim armies. Interestingly one of the leaders of the First Crusade, Bohemond, was the son of one of the Normans who conquered Sicily from the Muslims (1061-1071). Despite the fact that the same sort of French knights were conquering Muslim lands in both campaigns (and in England and Ireland, [and the christian Byzantine Empire, actually] all at the same time), no one seems to think the Sicilian campaign was one of the most foolish and immoral movements in world history. So I guess if a conquest lasts for a couple hundred years, that determines whether it is immoral?

    Let’s also pause to think about the great world religion of Zoroastrianism, and how it fared all those years in its birthplace of Persia under those Muslim rulers. Almost non-existant today, and certainly in a different position than the Christian minorities in Egypt, the Levant and Iraq. It seems to reason that the presence of large Christian minorities in these Muslim lands today probably has some relationship to the fact that powerful Christian armies and states existed on the doorstep of the Dar al-Islam. The disappearance of the the Zoroastrians should give one pause before one blithely dismisses medieval Christendom, even from a Jewish perspective. At the time of the Crusades the Ashkenazim made up just 3 percent of the world’s Jewish population. By the 20th century they consisted of nearly 92 percent. It seems reasonable to say that Ashkenazim flourished post-crusades compared to the Mizrahim. So there are some facts one should consider if one wants to actually engage the topic.

    This whole debate is pretty stupid frankly. What does two civilizations duking it out 800 years ago have to do with the issues facing the United States of America in 2012? Nothing, at that is why liberals should avoid even addressing these sorts of comments. Talk about the horrible things Santorum wants to do to Medicare and Social Security. Old people vote; making fun of some silly ex-Senator who might actually know a little bit more about this snippet of history than you do because he actually cares about it is a pointless cul-de-sac where you can giggle with your friends rather than convince the persuadable.

Trackbacks