As we know, these fundamental assumptions of Weberian modernity are being challenged today as events unfold on the world stage. Take China and India, both once dominated by Europeans. Both have surged ahead in economic terms, outpacing European societies and even posing a threat to the preeminent position of the United States. Confucian and Hindu work ethics have done very well for their societies. India in particular has shown that a traditional society can allow its ancient religion and culture to flourish while at the same time being part of a thriving process of globalization. Besides, even a cursory reading of the literature available on ancient Chinese and Indian societies would confirm that Weber misread the nature of those societies as otherworldly. Descriptions in the celebrated Kama Sutra, a text that titillates pleasure seekers even today, confirm a society fully appreciative of the sensual life, and the Arthashastra describes political machinations, intrigues, and skullduggery on a scale that would bring a blush to the cheeks of Machiavelli. Similarly, early Chinese history confirms the importance of military power and wealth in informing political and social life. It is significant that Confucius emphasized stability, order, and the good life, not withdrawal from and rejection of the world. As for Weberian modernity, the European state had too easily compromised the essential features of Weber’s definition of a rationally and neutrally administered bureaucratic state. The reality was that Weber’s modern state could be unjust, unfair, and irrational in violating the basic norms of human society both during Weber’s lifetime and after his passing. Germany, Italy, and other European countries in the 1930s and 1940s, with the rise of the Nazis, provide examples of compromised Weberian modernity. Just as modern European states are failing to deal with their Muslim minority fairly and justly today, thus failing the test of modernity, they failed then to treat their Jewish and other minorities fairly and justly, leading directly to the horrors of the concentration camps and the decimation of the Jewish people in the Holocaust. The core principles of modernity in both Europe and the Muslim world were challenged after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington on September 11, 2001. In Europe, the challenge came as local economies faltered, unemployment rose, and disillusionment grew following the arrival of asylum seekers. People began to fall back swiftly and unambiguously to their imagined core identities. It was not long before people became aggressive in promoting their own identity. With that, some of the fundamental precepts of modernity — in particular, the core beliefs that all are equal before the law regardless of race and religion and that human rights are to be upheld at all costs — were challenged. There was even talk of mass deportation and worse as far as the minorities were concerned.In the Muslim world, not long after gaining independence in the decades following the Second World War, Muslim rulers inexorably moved to becoming dictators. They fell back on tribal support to prop up their regimes. Under Saddam Hussein in Iraq, the Assads in Syria, or Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, the pattern was the same: brutal regimes depending on their tribal base and promoting the cult of the dictator using torture and repression. The compromises and challenges to modernity were more complex in Europe, the birthplace of modernity, than in the Muslim world, which, steeped in tribal culture, was still struggling with the concept. But the end result was the same. A new form of analysis had to be located. Modernity in Europe was also struggling, as I found during my recent fieldwork in Europe, to maintain its Weberian character. Consequently, we see the reassertion of traditional European identity with its emphasis on blood, lineage, and the group cohesion of the “native” people.Weber had pointed out the nature of traditional and charismatic authority—what we call “tribal” — that defined pre-modern societies. As was common at the time, he saw a linear progression in the trajectory of societies moving toward modernity. There were clearly demarcated stages of evolution in discrete categories as societies moved from “primitive” communities to modern ones based in large cities that reflected their industrial and economic development. It was widely agreed that modern societies had left primitive societies behind in economic, political, military, and intellectual ways. Yet today, as the European state begins to compromise on Weberian notions of modernity, we see the reemergence of older forms of identity. This is where we move from Weberian to Khaldunian territory. The reality was that Weber’s modern state could be unjust, unfair, and irrational in violating the basic norms of human society both during Weber’s lifetime and after his passing. Germany, Italy, and other European countries in the 1930s and 1940s, with the rise of the Nazis, provide examples of compromised Weberian modernityWeber may have been hard put to explain the Muslims running amok in the heart of Paris and the million migrants turning up in his homeland, but to Ibn Khaldun it would have been clear in the context of his theories: the movement of communities in search of better lives from one part of the world to another, which was often accompanied by violence and dislocation. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), for Ibn Khaldun, would be nothing more than a product of the disintegration of asabiyyah and thus a collapse of tribal leadership and tribal law. The results were the worst excesses of human behavior. The absence of justice and compassion, for Ibn Khaldun, would indicate a return to the age of jahiliyyah, or ignorance. The tribal societies in which ISIS operated were thus in the throes of a bitter and violent battle to re-create asabiyyah. Without understanding what was going on in those societies, it became difficult to effectively vanquish ISIS, as we saw in spite of so many different countries, Muslim and non-Muslim, joining together to combat it. The Weberian take on ISIS would be that modernity, with its emphasis on rationalism, genuine democracy, accountability, human rights, and the rule of law, had come to a juddering halt in the Middle East.For Weber, the emphasis on racial identity that became prevalent in German society in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and is now reemerging represents an abandonment of modernity and a reversal of the forward trajectory of progress. Society is thus moving backward away from rational bureaucratic forms toward those of traditional and tribal ones. The Germanic notions of the Volk or the people, the fatherland, purity of the bloodline, and the idea of the nation itself all fed into an extreme form of ethnic identity that drove Germany into two world wars and the horrors of the Holocaust. Today, many Germans are reacting to the sudden arrival of a million migrants from distant lands as a threat to their cultural and social mores — that is, to the internal cohesion of asabiyyah. Once again, blood and culture are acting as discrete factors to separate the natives from the migrants. Similar developments are taking place in other European countries. When I look at Europe, therefore, I do not see the discussion in terms of Ibn Khaldun versus Max Weber but rather Ibn Khaldun and Max Weber — we cannot understand European society today without putting the two together. While Ibn Khaldun gives us a tribal frame to look at societies, Weber places them in the context of modern states. There is more use to Ibn Khaldun in European society than the advocates of Weber would care to admit, and in Journey into Europe I explored the reemergence of a European identity emphasizing blood and lineage keeping that in mind. It is only by understanding this powerful and historical identity which is now being revived that we may recommend ways to create a truly pluralistic Europe which also has a history in Europe, as I have done in the book.The writer is the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies, School of International Service, American University, Washington, DC, and author of Journey into Europe: Islam, Immigration, and IdentityPublished in Daily Times, December 16th2018.