The Sins of Greeley

 Posted by on 13 July 2006 at 7:30 am  Uncategorized
Jul 132006

For those of you at OCON who heard Dr. Brook’s excellent lecture course on “The Rise of Totalitarian Islam,” you might be interested to know that Sayyid Qutb, the intellectual father of the more violent branch of Islamic totalitarianism, learned to despise the decadence, greed, and sexuality of America in none other than Greeley, Colorado. I kid you not. (Thanks to Glenn Friedman for the link.)

Qutb pointed out many things Americans take for granted as examples of the nation’s culture of greed — for example, the green lawns in front of homes in Greeley.

Ironically, Greeley in the middle of the 20th century was a very conservative town, where alcohol was illegal. It was a planned community, founded by Utopian idealists looking to make a garden out of the dry plains north of Denver using irrigation. The founding fathers of Greeley were by all reports temperate, religious and peaceful people.

I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that Greeley has a reputation for being the most boring town in Colorado, even today.

His particular complaints against American culture are chilling:

Qutb wrote about Greeley in his book, The America I Have Seen. He offered a distorted chronology of American history: “He informed his Arab readers that it began with bloody wars against the Indians, which he claimed were still underway in 1949,” Siegel says. “He wrote that before independence, American colonists pushed Latinos south toward Central America — even though the American colonists themselves had not yet pushed west of the Mississippi… Then came the Revolution, which he called ‘a destructive war led by George Washington.’”

When it came to culture, Qutb denounced the primitive jazz music and loud clothing, the obsession with body image and perfection, and the bald sexuality. The American female was naturally a temptress, acting her part in a sexual system Qutb described as “biological”:

“The American girl is well acquainted with her body’s seductive capacity. She knows it lies in the face, and in expressive eyes, and thirsty lips. She knows seductiveness lies in the round breasts, the full buttocks, and in the shapely thighs, sleek legs — and she shows all this and does not hide it.”

Even an innocent dance in a church basement is proof of animalistic American sexuality:

“They danced to the tunes of the gramophone, and the dance floor was replete with tapping feet, enticing legs, arms wrapped around waists, lips pressed to lips, and chests pressed to chests. The atmosphere was full of desire…”

To Qutb, women were vixens, and men were sports-obsessed brutes: “This primitiveness can be seen in the spectacle of the fans as they follow a game of football… or watch boxing matches or bloody, monstrous wrestling matches… This spectacle leaves no room for doubt as to the primitiveness of the feelings of those who are enamored with muscular strength and desire it.”


Just so folks know, Dr. Brook’s earlier course A Brief History of the Middle East is excellent, particularly as prelude to his new course. If you want to understand the state of the Islamic world today, these two sources will be invaluable to you. (They certainly have been for me!)

Also, I should mention that ARI does not make its lectures from OCON available right away, but debuts them throughout the year. You can receive announcements of new materials (and sales) by subscribing to the e-mail list. The form is on the right-side bar of the Ayn Rand Bookstore web site. (I have no idea when Dr. Brook’s latest course will be available.)

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