Friday, December 07, 2012

Bell Ringing: Quoting David P. Goldman

Daily Bell: As a religious Jew, you write "from a Judeo-Christian perspective and often focus on demographic and economic factors in [your] analyses." What are some of these?

David P. Goldman: (... I came to accept the biblical God through the Jewish religion...) There are two big ways in which religion affects politics. The first is demographic: People of faith tend to have more children than secular people. That is not a controversial conclusion; secular sociologists observe this as keenly as religiously-oriented analysts. Demographics become a decisive factor when countries fail to raise sufficient children to maintain their economic and military position. That is a key issue for most of the industrial world. The second way involves apparent irrationality. A people that ceases to believe in its future ceases to have a rational self-interest in the ordinary sense of the word. Countries that foresee the end of their way of life, or their culture, or their national existence may undertake acts of desperation...

...Daily Bell: You seem fairly antagonistic to Islam. Is that fair?

David P. Goldman: I do not think Islam is at all likely to make the transition to the modern world, in the way that at least some parts of Christianity and Judaism have made the transition. Franz Rosenzweig described Allah as the whole colorful panoply of the pagan pantheon wrapped up into a single god, a monistic paganism as it were, and I find his analysis persuasive. And I am also persuaded by the research of Prof. Sven Muhammed Kalisch of the University of M√ľnster that the historical Mohammed never existed, not, in any event, as he is described by the Hadith. Utterly absent in Islam is the Jewish idea that the Creator of the world would limit himself by making a covenant with humans, not to speak of the Christian belief that the Creator would take human form and suffer for the salvation of humankind. In Judaism and Christianity, sacrifice is vicarious: the ram in place of Isaac, Jesus of Nazareth in place of humanity. Sacrifice removes the shadow of death from the individual. Islam has no concept of vicarious sacrifice (the slaughter of a lamb on the Feast of Eid is a custom, not a Pillar of Islam). There is only the requirement for self-sacrifice, namely through Jihad, the only religious act that ensures a place in Paradise for the Muslim. For those reasons I find the religion as it is practiced in all its mainstream variants unappealing...

... The State Department and CIA are convinced that the Muslim Brotherhood is the wave of the future, and they are trying to stabilize the new Egyptian government and to promote a Muslim Brotherhood government in Syria. That is not only futile but antithetical to American interests, and leads to colossal blunders, as at Benghazi.


...Daily Bell: Was Israel a mistake?

David P. Goldman: No. Israel is the second most successful country founded in modern times, after the United States. It is a pocket superpower in the sciences, the arts, technology and business. It also has the soundest demographics of any industrial country, with a total fertility rate of about three children per female. By any measure it is one of the world's happiest countries. And it is a thriving democracy, as well as America's only reliable ally in the region....Israel produces a very large number of utterly astonishing people.

Daily Bell: Should Jerusalem be the capital of Israel?

David P. Goldman: Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, as well as a flourishing city of nearly a million people. It has had a Jewish majority since the 1840s, when religious emigrants came to outnumber the few thousand Arabs and Christians who lived there. Under Muslim rule it was a neglected backwater...Israeli Arabs have many complaints but few would want to live under an Arab government. An undivided Jerusalem as Israel's capital is in the best interests of Jews, Christians, Israeli Arabs and the world community in general.

Daily Bell: What is the future for Israel? Does it need to go to war with Iran? Will its leaders make war? ... Is it justified?

David P. Goldman: I believe (and have published) that an Israeli pre-emptive strike on Iran's nuclear weapons program is likely, if the United States fails to do the job (and I think the United States should). Our Arab allies, most emphatically the Saudis, have urged us to do so, or at least to encourage the Israelis to do so. Iran is a rogue state that must be declawed. More broadly, I have compared Israel to the Dutch Republic during the Thirty Years War...I expect more wars but I believe Israel will prevail.

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