October 11, 2007

America's Destiny: Apocalypse or Planetary Archonship?

American politicians and federal officials are still trying to get straight in their heads that confusing Shia vs. Sunni thingie, but it turns out that the Middle East has a whole bunch of living religions that aren't exactly part of Islam, Christianity, or Judaism.

Sure, we've all heard of the Samaritans in Israel, the mysterious and pugnacious Druze of Lebanon, the heretical Alawites who rule Syria, the Lucifer-worshipping Yezidis of Kurdistan, the millions of angel-worshipping Alevi of Turkey, and the Donme, the crypto-Jewish followers of the False Messiah who wield much influence in modern Istanbul.

But according to this NYT oped "Save the Gnostics," in 2003 there were also 50,000 Gnostics, known as Mandaeans, who lived in Southern Iraq. They revere Adam, Noah and John the Baptist, and reject Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad. Wikipedia informs us, "While they agree with other gnostic sects that the world is a prison governed by the planetary archons, they do not view it as a cruel and inhospitable one." So, they've got that going for them, which is nice...

Wait a minute, did that just say "planetary archons?"

A planetary archon, it appears, is a demiurge, in-between humans and God, who created and rules the world, and does a pretty bad job of it. (It's basically the same idea as John Tierney's recent NYT article hypothesizing that our universe is just a simulation game, like World of Warcraft, being played by some superintelligent computer geek somewhere.) The point of the Gnosis or secret knowledge is to get around the layers of bureaucracy in the middle and talk directly to God.

But now thanks to America spreading democracy to Iraq, the Gnostics are being persecuted by the Shia Muslims and are fleeing to Syria. Whether they blame their fate on America or on a planetary archon is not specified. (Better not mention this term to Bill Kristol or he'll make it the basis of his whole political platform and worldview. The Weekly Standard will run cover stories on "America's Destiny: Apocalypse or Planetary Archonship? We Must Choose Now!")

Meanwhile, at GNXP, Razib chips in with "Obscure Middle Eastern religious cults - part n," in which he unveils the million or so people in Iran who are called various names: Yarsan/Yaresan, Kakeyi, Ahl-e Haqq or Ahl-i Haqq. They believe in reincarnation.

In the comments on GNXP, tommy asks about the Shabak near Mosul, who appear to be sort of like the Yazidis, but also like kind of Muslims, except they drink alcohol and have their own sacred book, written in Turkoman. The Sunnis are beheading them in large numbers.

Are we totally sure we knew what we were getting into over there?

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

14 comments:

dearieme said...

Sadly, it became clear years ago that on a subject that I know next-to-nothing about, the Middle East, I still have more useful knowledge than the US President, Vice-President and Secretary of Defense. Silly but true.

Anonymous said...

Are we sure we're know what we're getting into over here? There's a proposal by the Ahmadi community to buy a large farm for meetings of around 10,000 people in a rural town near Frederick, Maryland. From what I understand, the Ahmadi are considered a heretical sect by other Muslims. http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2007-09-30-muslims_N.htm

Anonymous said...

Despite the 1000+yr history of anti-Western, tribalism, first cousin marriage, numerous archaic religions, authoritative social structures at all levels (home, tribe, religion, gov’t), female oppression the neocons know one thing. Deep down all these people really desire is for America to liberate their inner pro-western, individualistic, secular, democratic, feminist child within.

Unzipping that escape hatch will transform these Arabs from Israel-haters into their biggest fans. Anyone voicing any concerns or objections over the logic here must be an cryptic anti-semite motivated by the soft bigotry of low expectations against Arabs and should be mischaracterized, ridiculed, vilified and ignored.

ash said...

One of your smarter posts once recommended that someone pay Victor Davis Hanson to write, but place a limit on how many words per year he writes.

This post brings that to mind. You have used this point at least twice before. (At least this time you found a couple different religions to bring up.)

Duh. Of course Iraq has a lot of religions, and, as is typical of religions, they seem strange to those not familiar with them.

The U.S. has a lot of weird religions, too. In Appalachia, they have people that hold snakes and dance around.

Are we sure we really want to be involved with West Virginia?

Bill said...

Planetary archons...

Kind of reminds me of Tolkien's Ainur.

As for the World of Warcraft comparison, it might make sense, because I often feel that my life is being controlled by a 12 year-old noob. I mean, where's my epic armor set? Where's my flying mount? Why does my profession seem to require useless, repetitive tasks that make insufficient gold?

Anonymous said...

The situation Sailer describes must be true. Its to crazy to make all that up. E-gad.

tommy said...

I also posted this over at GNXP in response to your question about the Mandaean-Gnostic connection:

Perhaps [they are Gnostics], though some theorize the Mandaeans - who also go by the name Nasoreans (Nazarenes) - might actually be the descendants of the Essenes or the Qumran community (or both if the hypothesis that the two are one and the same are correct) who fled ancient Judea for southern Iraq. They are rather secretive but are said to consider St. John the Baptist the founder of their sect and describe Jesus as a former leader who betrayed their cause.

Wikipedia's description of them as "revering Jesus" might be going too far. Though it's like Razib said:

Many of these groups are secretive about their beliefs and consultation of 10 different sources will produce 10 different answers as to their theologies, customs and provenance.

tommy said...

Sorry, I misread that. They do mention they reject Jesus. Need to get some sleep.

red wine said...

Are we totally sure we knew what we were getting into over there?

Neo-Conservatives are sure. We have always been sure. It's only the dull Paleos who don't get it.

The fundamental difficulty in American foreign policy today is Liberal and Paleo interference and their inability to recognize the nature of progress and, as a result, who exactly are our true friends in the world.

Our true friends are the nations that have fought with us shoulder to shoulder in the past and can be depended upon in the future. Our true friends are the nations that share are core values of anti-racism, tolerance, multiculturalism, universal human rights, minority rights and democracy.

Our true friends are Israel, Turkey, Mexico and, yes, China.

Very soon the government of Iraq will join that list. Also, France is coming into the fold thanks to its visionary new leader Sarkozy. His vision on Iran regime change and the issue of Turkey joining the EU, is of course, our vision.

Within five years we will have created a tolerant minority coalition government in Iran similar to Iraq. A Middle Eastern Union integrated with the EU is not that far off.

The multi-racial, multi-religious re-engineering of Europe is a reality. Our reality. Good relations with old paradigm allies Britain, Canada and Australia, will be maintained contingent upon those societies rejecting monoculturalism, homogeneity and intolerance.

The final obstacles are Russia and Serbia. Progress in Poland, Ukraine and, by the way, the American South has been substantial. The North American Union is just over the horizon. Reactionary nationalist states are withering away.

On geopolitical issues, Steve demonstrates embarrassing xenophobia. In the Middle East, just as everywhere else, the diverse minority groups are to be embraced and empowered. The Paleo obsession with the majority's well-being which comes at the expense of minorities is a non-starter (no matter how large the majority may be). That type of thinking has no place at the top levels of government.

Integration with the Middle East, not subjugation, as with the entire globe, is the future. We are creating that reality.

Anonymous said...

Steve -- without any involvement by the US, Iran is persecuting the Zoroastrians and the Bahai (who ironically are tolerated only in Israel in the ME). Or Egypt killing/persecuting the Copts. Or Pakistan killing and persecuting Christians. Or Saudi refusing to allow any Jews enter the magic Kingdom at all, and persecuting their labor force much of which is Filipino Christians. No American involvement needed for chaos.

If anything, "stability" where hostile, transnational forces (Hezbollah, Hamas, AQ, JAM, Abu Sayyaf, etc) hide and plot with impunity are bad for America.

As long as the US remains relatively open and not a Hermit Kingdom like NK, we have interests in stopping plots before planes slam into buildings. If nothing else, getting rid of Saddam lets us manage only one headache: a nuclear Iran, rather than two: nuclear Saddam plus nuclear Iran.

Nuclear tech is more than sixty years old. ICBMS that can reach America are more than forty. Terrorist cut-outs are deniable proxies, particularly as the following nations in reaction to Iran's nuclear program (with no come-back) have announced their own nuclear program: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, UAE, Oman, and Kuwait. With all those nukes floating around in 5-10 years it will be hard to know who is to blame when say LA and NYC go up in a mushroom cloud.

America has limited control over events. What leverage we do have is made by soldiers on the ground who form alliances (of convenience) with local forces. Welcome to the real world.

We are unlikely to see another Iraq invasion, but very likely IMHO to see more SF doing liason-training-logistics because they act as human early warning systems for various plots. With 12 declared-goal nuclear nations plus Iran and Pakistan and North Korea, I'd say that's a small price to pay to preserve NYC or LA. All those nukes means it's almost impossible to pin the blame on any one country in the future.

[All these weird, small religions hang on in marginal areas and are generally detested/oppressed/killed by the Muslim majority who vastly outnumber them. Yeah the US had the Heaven's Gate eunuchs. Those guys were no more representative of the US than the Yazidis of Iraq.]

SFG said...

Come on. You could so say so many silly things about a religion involving a guy who comes back from the dead and turns his body into bread and wine for the benefit of his worshippers... I'm sure the other commenters can come up with nasty things to say about Judaism, and Islam...where do we start?

Granted their religion hasn't spread across the globe and they haven't accomplished as much as Christians, but reading it into the religion itself is probably a bit much. History plays a role, too. What if Constantine hadn't accepted Christ?

SFG said...

I'd say that's a small price to pay to preserve NYC or LA.

For those of you ruralites who would like to see NYC (or LA, or Cambridge, MA) go up in a mushroom cloud, think about it: how much blood is the US going to have to spill to prove we're not weak if they nuke New York?

David Davenport said...

I'd say that's a small price to pay to preserve NYC or LA.

For those of you ruralites who would like to see NYC (or LA, or Cambridge, MA) go up in a mushroom cloud, think about it: how much blood is the US going to have to spill to prove we're not weak if they nuke New York?


Oh, we nook 'em back after they clean out NYC, Cambridge, etc., and sotto voice and privately, we thank our enemies for helping to improve America.

Anonymous said...

sfg wrote: You could so say so many silly things about a religion...

Mr. Connolly: He discovered that children have things called marlocks in their bodies. [a graphic of kid bodies appears, and bright dots dapple them and move around] And when an adult has sex with a child, the marlocks implode, feeding the adult receptive cavity with energy that causes immortality, so saith the ruler of Bethos. [a blue monster alien with a bright red crown. Next shot, Phinehas in the gondola of a hot-air balloon with several boys] Phinehas traveled the world, loving many, many children, and he lived for eternity. Until he was hit by a train in 1892. [a shot of Phinehas' body on the train's bumper]
Kyle: ...Do you realize how retarded that sounds?
Mr. Connolly: Is it any more retarded than the idea of God sending his son to die for our sins? Is it any more retarded than Buddha sitting beneath a tree for twenty years?
Stan: Yeah, it's way, way more retarded.