Monday, November 14, 2005
religious rebellion - it's been done
I've ranted on here before about pundits and their idiocies. I am still not sure who my least favorite it. Is it Michelle Malkin who lacks the discriminatory powers of a poodle, but is aggresively entertaining to her pandering fans, or is it Bill Bennett with slightly greater thinking abilities, but the most boring radio persona you've ever heard. But I won't go into that again. Instead, I am going to tackle the classic "lefties just wanna send terrorists to psycho-therapy, while we understand their is evil in the world" crap. So way way way back in 1994 I did my senior thesis on "Millenarian Rebellion in China." It covered three separate uprisings - the Wang Lun uprising of 1774, the Eight Trigrams Rebellion of 1813, and the Taiping Rebellion, which lasted several years. The commonality is that each one had some sort of religious background, where generally, they thought the world was at an end. That's where the term "millenarian" comes from. Millenarian rebellions are a phenomena that occur around the world in all societies and religious traditions. In my case, the first two are Buddhist in origin, while in the Taiping, the leader thought he was Jesus' brother I think. Now only Chinese historians have ever heard of the first two. That's because they were small events. The Wang Lun rebellion occured in a couple towns in Shandong province, I believe. In the Eight Trigrams rebellion, some believers were in the Forbidden City and they occupied it for a bit. But soon it was done and over. Then you have the Taiping Rebellion. It lasted several years and covered multiple provinces. It was perhaps the biggest event of the 19th century in Chinese history. A virtual separate state existed for some time and hundreds of thousands of people lost their lives. What was the difference? The Taiping occurred at the time of vast flooding, starvation, economic recession, government corruption, etc. So for two rebellions you have this religiously motivated small group of people who cause some limited trouble. In the third rebellion, the religious motivations hooked into a vast array of other social, economic, and political concerns and ended up causing severe devastation. How does this all hook up with many people's inability to make basic judgements? There will always be people who, for various reasons, wish to cause damage. These people must be contained and stopped. One way to contain their effect is to make sure their actions do not occur simultaneously with larger economic and social issues. So when someone says that we should be addressing "root causes" of the current Islamic-tinged trouble, they are really saying that we need to make this a Wang Lun uprising, and not a Taiping.