Bloody Shovel 3

We will drown and nobody shall save us


I've meant for a long while to write a post about iconoclasm. The Byzantine Empire had been suffering defeats to Muslims for centuries. They lost 2/3rds of the Empire, and almost lost the whole of it too. It's no wonder that some emperors thought that maybe Muslims were doing something right. They certainly seemed to have God's favor.

The conclusion they reached was that God liked the Muslims because they did not have human figures in their mosques. Byzantine churches being full of icons, paintings, mosaics of Jesus and the myriad saints. Most of them pretty lame, too. Byzantine icons tend to be plain, dull, and often just badly drawn. It probably was the work of an endogamic caste of icon-painters who promoted each other for personal reasons unrelated to skill at painting, and flayed at any criticism by laypeople. How dare you criticize our holy art? You are just ignorant of God's taste in painting. Kinda like the argument that progressive academics use when called out on their nonsensical "research".

Anyway, Iconoclasm was attempted. The Byzantine state burned every human figure from their churches, which became as bare as mosques. It didn't do much to help out in the war against the Muslims. What it did was provoke a century-long civil war. The icon-painter guild was *very* stubborn. And the Byzantine state was a mess who couldn't impose it's authority. So the change did more harm than good. Rhomania kept declining and rising again and then declining for good. And that was that. I guess there's a parable here about cultural continuity.

Still, whatever the real world results of Iconoclasm, I couldn't help feeling for Leo III when reading this piece of news. Man, these guys are doing something right.


Who is this lonely looking woman? It's the premier of the Canadian province of Ontario. She went to visit a mosque. See? All my multicultural subjects are my dear subjects citizens, I go around and they all worship me equally. That's an actual line by Yongzheng emperor when been asked by a Chinese minister about Muslim misbehavior, by the way. But I digress. The premier of Ontario goes to visit a mosque as part of her show of holiness, and what happens? The Imam tells her that the guys are praying, so she gotta wait. And out of the way, please. We guys are busy. Serious stuff. Oh, yeah, go sit over there in the corner. But don't you dare take off your veil. That's right, good girl. Now where were we guys? Allaaaaaahu akbar.

The funny thing is that the Ontario premier is a lesbian. "First openly gay blabla". A lesbian. A woman who wants to be a man. She probably wants to be there with the boys, praying to Allah. Dressing like a bro. But Allah won't have her. Look at that face again. Poor thing. All the power of her office is nothing against the rock-solid frame of the Imam. Damn, that must have felt good.


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  • War in Byzantine's time was based on morale and manpower. Manpower because the larger army won, and morale because defeats weren't material defeats for whatever reason. Malthusian considerations perhaps - death is a virtue? Winning was simply a matter of not giving up first. Rome expanded largely because when they lost an army, they would go home and raise another until the other side gave up. Islam had tons of manpower because they allow polygamy. Lots of unchained young men who aren't getting their dicks wet unless they find an infidel to rape. Hence, when they raised armies, they were enormous. My first guess at the morale would be the delta between very humane Islam and inhumane Christianity. Islam expects a few empty rituals and then you can more or less indulge all your impulses. Christianity expects literally impossible things from you, and even says so. In any case, Christians weren't willing to carry out West Roman style genocides which are required to make Islam sit down and shut up. So the Mohammedans would simply raise another army and zerg rush the thing again. In modern times, manpower is almost useless. Technology and technique are all important, especially together. Imagine what it must be like to think "We are the chosen of Allah," but simultaneously to know that Mecca's continued existence depends on the grace and mercy of the Great Satan, America. Among other, minor powers. Cognitive dissonance? Honey, you don't know anything about it.

    • Are you absolutely sure that manpower is useless now? ISIS appears to be doing remarkably well despite their lack of technology, and on the political field, the side that can gather the numbers to yell is remarkably effective.

      • We have the weaponry to wipe out the most muslims in days and mop up the rest within a year if we applied ourselves. But we lack the will to destroy our enemies and preserve our own people.

        • And if all our women rejected feminism, we would largely not be in this situation. It helps, I think, to be realistic about such situations and try to use their social technology to our advantage.

          • And that social technology starts with a healthy fear of eternal damnation. BTW, according to the Wager of Pascal, fearing eternal damnation is in itself very sensible.

        • Just to firm this up: Alrenous above said that manpower was irrelevant in current conflicts. Morale still very much isn't.

        • Also, Revenge is Sour. If the West had the will to wipe out Muslims, they wouldn't really count as an enemy and wiping them out would be unnecessary. " sure you want to do that?" and presto, they find that in fact they don't want to any more. Maybe a minimum of Darwinian selection would be necessary...

  • Icons are teaching devices for times when literacy rates were infinitesimal. They are intentionally rendered in an unrealistic style to avoid moving the passions rather than the rational mind. This is in contradistinction to the Western Church's later attempts to actively move the passions. An icon uses inverted perspective, things farther away get larger, because the infinite vanishing point is understood to be in the viewer's own heart. Your comments about the style of Byzantine icons is ill informed.

      • I was going to say that because I have read books about Russian culture. The problem of the Internet is that everybody can say anything about an area that he doesn't know anything. See the ignorant commentary of Alrenous above, for an example of the Dunning-Kruger effect

      • It's certainly a fancy excuse. "I can't draw for shit. What am I gonna say?" "Let's say we're not trying to excite the passions!" "Oh damn, nice one."

        • This is largely correct. I spent 10 years as an Orthodox monk (now Catholic). Huge amounts of Othodox lore and opinion have developed in the last few centuries as little more than anti-Latin revisionism and ex post facto rationalizations of the failure to understand and employ the continuing developments of Western Civilization. The Council of Florence proved that Byzantium had lost the capacity for this, and not that it was simply aloof and "too good" for this. That said, I will concede that the dawn of Modernism in the West did wreak an important impoverishment on the Western cultus: it led to an increasingly diminished sense of the supernatural, the loss of a peculiarly sacred (i.e., "set apart") form of art, and the bringing down of sacred barriers in the churches (chancel/rood screens, baldochin and tabernacle veils, etc. Similar things occurred in Othodox Churches, though aesthetical and anti-Latin animus are prompting a reversal.

          • >Huge amounts of Othodox lore and opinion have developed in the last few centuries as little more than anti-Latin revisionism and ex post facto rationalizations of the failure to understand and employ the continuing developments of Western Civilization. Yeah right, use 19th century Uniate propaganda in place of actual argument. People who are actually interested in the subject rather in grinding gears can easily read what ancient fathers wrote on the issues. But I suppose that it's easier to argue in good old "Latin" fashion: create a forgery and then accuse your enemies of being forgers Donatio Constantini style.

  • Islam is the solution we do not want, but will probably get. Maybe we can invent a Christianity that steals the best of Islam, while decorating it with some norse stuff in place of that middle eastern stuff.

    • Basically the religion I promote on my blog. Hell and damnation, heavenly rewards like torturing the enemies of God with your own hands for all eternity, polygyny (four wives is NOT enough!), patrilineality, but unlike Islam it allows for euthanasia, just like the Norse religion. If Christians brag about defeating Odinism, then state that it more or less rose from the dead recently. And nowadays too many people, both Christian and non-Christian, are aware that Christianity teaches you to turn the other cheek. The combination of hell and euthanasia makes it possible to maim your enemies, and then rub them in that their own religion forbids euthanasia, while ours allows it. Nevertheless, a solid knowledge of Arabic is still necessary for victory.

  • That’s an actual like by Yongzheng emperor when been asked by a Chinese minister about Muslim misbehavior, by the way.
    Did they have Facebook in ancient China?

  • "The icon-painter guild was *very* stubborn." Funnily enough, the Byzantine Empire is dead, while icon-painters in the traditional mode (complete with ritual purification before and after, use only of materials and modes approved by timeless Tradition, etc.) are still around. Proving that the Byzantines were wrong; God likes icons. More than he liked Byzantium. Apropos of your point, it is entirely correct. Western civilization will become healthy again if and only if men begin directing women in manly fashion. Which is why our current milieu spends so much time emasculating men, starting before they're born.

    • ♫ We don't need no petti-coating, We don't need no test- control, Feminism in the classroom, Hey, schoolmarm, leave those boys alone! All in all you're just another cuck in the wall. ♪

  • Modern West is highly Byzantine. The Byzantines survived largely by playing one enemy against another, to prevent them from ganging up, intentionally or by accident, on Byzantium. It is necessary for a continental power. The Left similarly plays one of its enemies against another. Currently, Islam vs. Conservatism. The difference being it plays against internal enemies instead of external ones. Or, more bluntly, sand ninjas and ninjas vs. responsible snow ninjas.

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