Today I want to draw parallels between Wahabbi Islam and America. This connection between Wahhabis and the West is something I have mentioned before in the journal some time back, but recently I have been reading some histories of the Saudi state as well as copious works on the development of the concept of sovereignty, so it is something which I have come back to.
Contrary to the position of many right wingers the phenomena of Islam as we see it in the modern world is not old. The Saudi state itself is not old either despite the usual nonsense that gets trotted out about it being medieval. In fact, the Saudi state is astonishingly modern. Or rather, the three Saudi states that have existed so far were astonishingly modern, suspiciously so.
The first Saudi state, the Emirate of Diriyah was the result of the alliance of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (from whose name Wahhabism comes) and Muhammad bid Saud. Wahhab did not actually first ally with the Sauds, he first allied with another ruler, Uthman ibn Mu’ammar, ruler of Uyayna, but was expelled due to threats from another ruler. The point I am trying to draw attention to is that Wahhab and his thought had a number of patrons and so the question turns to why these patrons were so eager to ally with Wahhab. The answer lies in what Wahhab was offering.
Wahhab’s doctrine of monotheism was extremely amenable to a centralisation of political order. This is something which all historical accounts I have read so far have stressed. His thought was premised on very simple premises which will be familiar to my readers. There is the relation between God and the individual with all other intermediaries denounced. There is also adherence to the ruler held as an all encompassing duty. Wahhabism also had its own quirks, such as the Zakat which became a mandatory centralized tax, as well as the call to Jihad which facilitated the creation of a specialized fighting force. In general, the pattern of Wahhabism and Protestantism is sufficiently close for us to be suspicious of where Wahhab’s ideas came from. His innovations, and Wahhabism like Protestantism in spite of their conceits to recreating an earlier purer existence of belief were innovations, came after Protestantism. Wahhab was a product of 17th century central Asia and it is not inconceivable that he had exposure to western thought. It may also be the case that he happened upon similar conclusions as a result of political structures and technological developments in the region. Maybe both. I am not sure, I have been unable to locate much on this angle as not much has been recorded of his early life.
The failure of this first state due to military defeat by the Ottomans led to a second short lived state in the 18th Century, which again was defeated and then we finally have the new state we see today in the 20th Century. A state created with the assistance and protection of the British Empire. The fate of the Ikwhani demonstrates this well. First developed as a means by which the House of Saud could have its own dependable fighting force, the leaders of the Ikwhani seem to have gotten ambitious and demanded significant governing roles along the lines of the old triabal structure of authority. They wanted to be semi-autonomous emirs. This would not do in the Saudi state and the House of Saud was able to bring in the British air force to end this issue. The Saudis used outsiders (British) as a means to end an internal threat to their independence (the Ikwhani) which they had previously created as a means to remove their dependence of the tribal leaders. At each step it is a management of intermediaries using Jouvenelian techniques.
This brings us to the USA and the issue of sovereignty. As those of you who have read Moldbug will know the history of the USA is a mess of lies and error, like the Constitution for example. The US Constitution is a silly document that has been turned into a sacred text meaning the the earlier Articles of Confederation have been consigned to the memory hole. This is unsurprising because it is generally accepted that the Articles of Confederation was not a constitution but was in fact an international treaty between sovereign states. Just like the EU is an international organisation between sovereign states. The wording of the articles makes this clear throughout.
By the time we get the US Constitution the reference to state sovereignty…vanishes…and in its place we have in big, big lettering WE THE PEOPLE. So what happened in the intervening eight years between the documents in question? And where did these “people” come from? Well according to Edmund Burke in Inventing the People James Maddison…invented a people, the American people. This is no doubt familiar to my readers. A centralizing center of power in the act of centralizing then atomizes everything beneath it to undermine the centers of power in its way, in this case the existence of state centers of power. Political expediency led to theoretical fabrication in a way which was arguably more egregious and squalid than the House of Sauds alignment with Wahhabism. In both cases the creation of a new identity around an individualizing and equalizing thought system is aligned with a centralizing power. In Wahhabism it is God in relation to man, with America it is the people, an agglomeration of individuals, as a sovereign body.
Given the path that American centralizing took in inventing a mass of individuals, it would be interesting to see how the recreation of this dynamic in Europe has gone, courtesy of Steve Sailor:
Norway’s foreign minister, Halvard M. Lange, compared Europe at that moment to the early American colonies: separate blocs that, in time, would cast off their autonomy and identities to form a unified nation. Much as Virginians and Pennsylvanians had become Americans, Germans and Frenchmen would become Europeans — if they could be persuaded.
“The keen feeling of national identity must be considered a real barrier to European integration,” Mr. Lange wrote in an essay that became a foundational European Union text.
So they are inventing a new people by importing masses of foreigners, promoting multiculturalism, and denigrating European indigenous culture to undermine the nation states to create a centralized structure? Quelle surprise. This means that all of these progressive ideologies are being grasped by centralizing power for reasons of power, and are not liable to be intrinsically true, doesn’t it?