Saturday, April 25, 2009

Those Angry Young Men

The laws of primogeniture and the First Crusade

What in the world, you might well ask, could the First Crusade and some rather obscure Medieval "laws of primogeniture" have to do with our current civilizational crises? Perhaps quite a bit. First, what exactly is "primogeniture"?
Primogeniture is the common law right of the firstborn son to inherit the entire estate, to the exclusion of younger siblings. It is the tradition brought by the Normans to England in 1066. According to the Norman tradition, the firstborn son inherited the entirety of a parent's wealth, estate, title or office. In the absence of children, inheritance passed to the collateral relatives, in order of seniority of the collateral line.

The effects of these laws on the noble warrior class -- and on the poor commoners as well -- were enormous. Those sons born second in line were often highly trained and well-equipped combatants instilled with a strong warrior ethos -- but with no appreciable income. A dangerous situation, highly trained warriors with nothing to do. All too often these disenfranchised, less-than-glorious knights resorted to internecine fighting or common brigandage. But what could be done about them?

In March 1095 at the Council of Piacenza, ambassadors sent by Byzantine Emperor Alexius I called for help with defending his empire against the Seljuk Turks. Later that year, at the Council of Clermont, Pope Urban II called upon all Christians to join a war against the Turks, promising those who died in the endeavor would receive immediate remission of their sins.

There has long been conjecture among medieval scholars that a major part of Pope Urban II's calling for the Crusades (just thirty years after the introduction of the primogeniture laws) was that it presented a perfect opportunity to gainfully employ these troublesome errant knights and give Europe a well-deserved respite from the wanton violence.

Perhaps it shouldn't come as too great a shock to realize that this poor old wounded world of ours has all too often been ruled by men just out of their adolescence. More than one teenager ascended to the Imperial Roman throne (among them the notorious Caligula). Here's some interesting statistics.

The world
Population: 6,602,224,175 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 27.4% (male 931,551,498/female 875,646,416)
15-64 years: 65.1% (male 2,174,605,518/female 2,124,494,703)
65 years and over: 7.5% (male 217,451,123/female 278,474,917) (2007 est.)
Median age: total: 28 years
male: 27.4 years
female: 28.7 years (2007 est.)

Life expectancy in Imperial Rome:
Tombstones show that the life expectancy of women was 34 years as contrasted with 46 years for men because women often died in childbirth.
Resource: Encarta
Or as low as this:
[Roman] life expectancy at birth [was]in the range of 20–25 or less (Macchiarelli et al., 1998)
CIA World Fact Book
So, somewhere between 20 and 46 years life expectancy.

Angry young men. To see them in action just watch a world cup soccer match in South America or Brussels. Or more to the point, take a closer look at those inflamed Arab streets. What do you see? Angry young men with nothing to do. Angry young men, overflowing with testosterone, just itching for a fight. And of course a notable absence of women. Here's some more interesting statistics.

Gaza Strip
1,551,859 (July 2009 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 44.4% (male 353,489/female 334,770)
15-64 years: 53% (male 420,618/female 402,297)
65 years and over: 2.6% (male 16,483/female 24,202) (2009 est.)
Median age:
total: 17.4 years
male: 17.2 years
female: 17.5 years (2008 est.)
Resource: CIA World Fact Book

And this --

The median age of the Israeli Arab is 14 and just entering his reproductive years... anxious to make BOTH Love and War! Another way of looking at this is that half of all Israeli-Arabs are under the age of 14!
Resource: Masada 2000

So the angry young men are still with us, and they are still angry. Our world is replete with them. And nowhere is this more evident than in the Arab world. That volatile hyper-masculine, often adolescent, world of generational revenge, brutality and violence, that self-destructive warrior culture which the good pope tried, somewhat successfully, to ameliorate. But this time it's the angry young Muslim men who are on a Crusade, a worldwide jihad against the West. Perhaps we can learn from the lessons of history. Perhaps we can better recognize our foes, and realize that they are predominantly angry adolescents. Unfortunately, the cynical, hate-filled mullahs have, it appears, successfully harnessed all that testosterone. It is aflame on the Arab street. Can we somehow find a way to extinguish this terrible flame before it engulfs our world?

An important postscript: I have been faulted by email by a good friend and compatriot -- perhaps with some justification -- for focusing too much on these angry adolescents filled with testosterone, and not clearly enough identifying the main evil behind it all, which is of course Islam. I should perhaps have made the point that, from birth, these empty vessels have been indoctrinated into that hate-filled cult of violence and revenge, and we are living with the results. For most young men, since childhood, the only education they have received has been the relentless, all-consuming study and memorization of the Koran, augmented by virulent and unwavering anti-Israeli, anti-Western dogma. In this sense, they never had a chance. As I stated in the article, the cynical hate-filled mullahs have successfully harnessed all this rampant testosterone for their own ignoble imperialist ends. And this fact give the conflict much of its adolescent, anarchic, and ultimately self-destructive character. Nonetheless -- and here my friendly critic has a valid point -- We can never forget that the source of this evil force that we are fighting all over this world is Islam itself. And our enemies, whether they be adolescents or even children, regardless of the facts of their having little choice in their molding, are indeed the enemy, an enemy who must be conquered, converted, or destroyed. They are in many ways a modern day Islamic version of the Hitler Youth with whom they share many of the same ideologies, just as thoroughly indoctrinated and just as threatening.

Anyone who has read my writings on this subject knows my adamant position on the horrors of Islam. My somewhat qualified sympathy for these murderous young men, based upon the facts of their radical propagandised upbringing, is totally subsumed by my deep visceral hatred of their evil cause: Islam, bloody Islam. - rg


  1. Can we somehow find a way to extinguish this terrible flame before it engulfs our world?That my friend is the $64,000 question. Unfortunately I do not have an answer to it. I don't believe any one does. On one hand we cannot afford to ignore this problem. It will bite us on the ass if we do. On the other hand, Western governments are reluctant to clamp down on these thugs for fear of being called racists by the liberal elites.

    Thus a dilemma. Damned if you do, and damned if you don't.

    I suggest caution on the side of safety. Crack down hard on these thugs, and damn the backlash from the PC Cops.

  2. Roger, what a fascinating look at the demographics. Angry young men with nothing to do. Absolutely.

    We have the ability to do something about it, as well as thumb our nose at every country that doesn't go along with us. What we do not have is the guts to do it.

    Our strength, especially since WWII, has been the knowledge that we will protect this country - at all costs, and if it takes a bomb, we'll do that too.

    We've lost the edge and so those who have no memory and no education will have to suffer along with the rest us until they pull their head out of the sand.

  3. Please check my article for an important postscript.- rg

  4. It is more than the doctrines of Moe's Murder Cult.

    It is more than idle adolescents pumped full of hatred & inspired by visions of lush gardens flowing with wine; full of low lying cherries, always in season, without pits.

    It is more than avaricious tyrants with a death grip on temporal & spiritual power.

    It is more than Mosques, Madrassas and media constantly inculcating hatred & inciting violence.

    It is an entire tribal culture which dominated the region around Mekkah. A culture born of hard scrabble existence on dry, sandy soil with sparse vegetation suitable only for goats & camels.

    The tribe comes first, the family second and the individual last. Honor, similar to the Japanese concept of face, dominates everything. Grievances, great or small, petty or life threatening are cherished and nourished; passed down from generation to generation for millenia.

    We are dealing with a complex stew of human sewage which must be viewed as a whole, not as its parts nor the sum thereof.

    The combination of tribal pride & passion, when dissolved in the solvent of situational scripture, produces a venom of the most awful potency.

    There is no single, simple antidote to that venom. The serpent is not killed by cutting off its head and the bite of the decapitated head remains lethal

    The combination of enraged tribal pride at the loss of conquered land, coupled with belief in Allah's promise of eventual triumph maintains the motivation propelling resurgent irredentism

    Throwing Israel to the jackals won't sate their blood lust. Neither will mountains of dog food nor boatloads of camel steaks.

  5. To Ben - As sweeping as your indictments may be, as radical and controversial as they may appear to some, once again I find myself in complete agreement with you.

  6. It ain't racism,Roger, nor is it cultural chauvinism. It is only inadequate analysis & expression of an extremely complex & intense situation with existential implications.

    This is sort of like the group of sightless persons examining an elephant.