“Reciprocate with your neighbor as you would have your neighbor reciprocate with you.”
The Anonymous Prayer of Blessing
Imagine an American Christian is sitting in a small restaurant having a cup of coffee with his friend, an Arab Muslim. (Yes, such relationships do exist, all over the world actually.)
Looking out the window they see an old woman, in a scarf and overcoat, slowly walking down the sidewalk, her steps short and unsteady, her hands shaking, clear signs of a prior stroke. And no one to assist her. She is struggling alone. The two notice her simultaneously, and both have a reflexive reaction; the Christian nodding quietly, “God bless her”, to which, if you are an American, no interpretation is required. The Arab matter-of-factly says, “Masha’allah”, “God wills it.”.
The anonymous prayer of blessing lasts no more than a second, the dismissive shrug of indifference, no longer.
But the difference between these two knee-jerk gestures does require some interpretation, especially since both are knee-jerk from deep inside their cultural conscience. Arabs you see, and to a great extent the entire Muslim faith, have a fatalism embedded in their religion, both about things that have already occurred, (“Masha’allah”) and things that may occur tomorrow, (“Insha’Allah”, if God wills it). An indifference to the misery and plight of others not of the family, the clan or of the Faith, is embedded in their religious code.
And they say “Masha’allah” without sentiment or regret.”This is not for me to bother my mind with.” There is more “tough toenails” than “There but for the grace of God go I” in the way it is spoken. In the years I have heard it expressed, I have yet to see even a glimmer of empathy.
Now, before you get self-satisfied this indifference is not exclusive to Islam or the Middle East. Every cultural group that has come to America, Christian and otherwise, have generally held to this sort of “Then and Us” outlook about other groups, early Asians a perfect example…making the miracle of America all the more wondrous, for each group had to overcome this one thing in order to join in the American Dream for the longer haul.
As I have said many time, the Three Generation Rule in America is part of our grand design, and its purpose is to change these attitudes of immigrants over those three generations, and forge by assimilation a new national character. If you think God had no hand in this, this Rule is found exclusively in a specific teaching of Christ, Luke 6:31, the Golden Rule, “Do unto to others as you would have them do unto to you”. Along with “Love thy neighbor as thyself” (Mk 12:31) it is the first time in history any sort of love for strangers has ever been mentioned in any literature or philosophy.
In constitutional nation-building-speak this Rule is restated “Reciprocate with your neighbor as you would have your neighbor reciprocate with you” and is the To-Be-American Golden Rule.
Reciprocity is part of the Constitutional blueprint as a fundamental building block. It is the key element of building one’s own House, owning it, and passing it onto future generations, i.e, the “pursuit of life liberty and happiness”. Only by men and women building reciprocal relationships with each other can this type of broad-based freedom, this Republic, endure.
Clearly, the Prophet Mohammed did not get this memo on love, as he made no mention of it five hundred years later.
It has always been my contention that Man is not hard-wired to seek power over his neighbors. Just the strongest and most avaricious do. Peace and harmony (or “wa”, my favorite Japanese word) are the masses’ preferred way to go through life, although you would never know it to look at the Middle East. They have been under the thumb of caliphs, satraps, sultans, emirs and military despots since the time of Mohammed…whose preferred method of conversion to Islam was by swinging a long knife over the heads of infidels, to be either”saved”…or despatched by that same knife if they refused. After 1500 years of conditioning they are inhospitable to everything America stands for in terms of individual freedom and reciprocity with their neighbors.
Still, by generation three, this has all changed for many. It has been my experience that the further one gets away from Mecca and the wild-hare Arab version of Islam, the more diluted that thirst for kings becomes. See Indonesia or Malaysia. England has had a sizeable number of British converts to Islam, not to mention Yusef Islam (Cat Stevens), for over a hundred years. I still have my old college translation of the Koran “The Meaning of the Glorious Koran” by Sir Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall, (1938).
Muslims have been in America for a long time, many over three generations, and they seem fully assimilated to reciprocity with their American kinsmen-infidels, witness the Christian and Muslim talking about the Warriors win streak over coffee, when a wobbly old woman walks by. It seems that people with the opportunity to really build that House, and the profit from the reciprocal arrangements necessary to do it, tend to accept the rules that secure the path to do it. They tend to bury the darker aspects of their original exclusivist nature, knowing that none of these benefits can their faith provide when under the power of caliphs. Even the self-righteous Pilgrims figured this out.
Today many Muslims fear being forced to drag those old shibboleths out of the place they stored them in. They are being overwhelmed. And in America, considering the Source of our rule of reciprocity, long before this new jihadism came ashore, there have been great pressures to dissolve the Three Generation Rule in America and the whole notion of assimilation, and whole ideal of “Being-American”. We’ve seen this in a racial context, and in public education, pity the poor victims, millennials who are aware of only their own navels, and know nothing of this notion of reciprocity as one of the shoulders thay stand (lounge) on.
Enemies of every stripe have a hatred for assimilation and “becoming American” for a variety of reasons, and are doing a pretty good job of driving people away by first separating them into groups. (See TnJim’s recent article on political correctness and jihadism.)
Europe can make little claim of assimilation of Muslims. The North Africans in France have been there since the 50s, but have mostly lived in segregated communities, their No-Go zones suddenly exposed. French Muslims are now entering their third generation, yet seem worse off in the assimilation process than they were when they first came ashore. Turks have been in Germany since the 60s, as laborers, but they come and go, as do many Latinos in America, staying only long enough to build a stash and then move back home where they will be wealthy. This most recent Middle Eastern invasion into Europe seems to have another purpose other than jobs or assimilation. Before the recent invasion of “refugees” (arguably) from Syria (supposedly) recent waves of Middle Easterners to Scandinavia, Benelux and the Low Countries, are still in their first generation, those countries making no real effort to assimilate them. And they are multiplying like rabbits….especially as long as the state will pay for their hutches. The prospects of assimilation with these people are between nil and none. Something else is afoot, and the last-to-know Euro-bureaucrats only now realize the danger.
CAN MUSLIMS BE GOOD AMERICANS?
There’s been an email chain letter going around (click on link above) for almost ten years now…before Obama, before the Iraq surrender, before Arab Spring, before ISIS and Libya. Much pooh-poohed then, even by me, you should reread it in light of current events about the current fate of Islam, Europe and the moving forward of the idea of a Caliphate. In 2006 the usual suspects of the Left made mock of it, and the usual suspects on the Right believed it without the least bit of critical thinking.
I got this copy only yesterday, so it’s still out there, making the rounds. And deserves some critical thinking.