Monday, July 13, 2009

The Best of Spengler

Recently, I discovered a treasure trove of social commentary by David R. Goldman - a former musician and financial analyst who now serves as the Associate Editor of First Things, a thoughtful (and highly-recommended) religious magazine.

Goldman (who formerly wrote under the pen name "Spengler") has a vast library of knowledge on history, geopolitics, and - as it pertains to The Mustard Seed - the influence of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam on the modern world.

I don't agree with all of his conclusions (for example, I don't share his optimism about the spread of Christianity in China), but even when I disagree with him, I remain impressed by his rational (yet passionate) arguments.

I've posted links to some of his best articles below. A full list of his writings can be found here, here, and here.

Death by Secularism: Some statistical evidence (8/2/05): "
My analysis, preliminary as it is, supports the conclusion that religious belief strongly influences fertility after controlling for wealth and education... Underlying the demographic crisis of the industrial world, I believe, is a spiritual crisis."

Why Radical Islam Might Defeat the West (7/8/03): "Not a single Western strategist has proposed an ideological response to the religious challenge of Islam. On the contrary: the Vatican, the guardian-of-last-resort of the Western heritage, has placed itself squarely in the camp of appeasement. Except for a few born-again Christians in the United States, no Western voice is raised in criticism of Islam itself. The trouble is that Islam believes in its divine mission, while the United States has only a fuzzy recollection of what it once believed, and therefore has neither the aptitude nor the inclination for ideological warfare."

Christianity Finds a Fulcrum in Asia (8/7/07): "China may be for the 21st century what Europe was during the 8th-11th centuries, and America has been during the past 200 years: the natural ground for mass evangelization. If this occurs, the world will change beyond our capacity to recognize it. Islam might defeat the western Europeans, simply by replacing their diminishing numbers with immigrants, but it will crumble beneath the challenge from the East."

Mideast: Lessons from Classical Warfare (11/7/06): "Islam cannot withstand the final dissolution of traditional society that comes with the triumph of globalization. Its entire raison d'etre is a stubborn refusal to adapt, in the fashion that the Chinese have adapted, to a new world with new ground rules. To intervene in the Islamic world is to hasten the dissolution of traditional society and with it the world of Islam."

Ayatollah al-Sistani and the End of Islam (9/8/06): "Islam is the focal point of the civilizational crisis, precisely because the sudden leap into the modern world puts the severest test to Islamic faith. Christianity barely survived the end of traditional society in the industrial world, flourishing as a religion of personal conscience only in the United States. Yet Christians had half a millennium to prepare for the transition. Islam's prospects for survival outside of traditional society are poor. It is a fallacy to imagine that a deeply religious Muslim world confronts a secular West. On the contrary, Islamic radicalism is a response to a deep - I believe fatal - crisis of faith in the Muslim world."

Lessons for Islam from Quebec (8/30/05): "Should the Islamists fail in this generation as badly as the Arab nationalists failed during the generation of Gamel Abdul Nasser, it is quite possible that the Islamic world will sink into demoralization as its population growth falls...Islamist sentiment has surged in face of the threat of a sharp decline a generation hence. That is why the first half of the 21st century may be the time of maximum danger for confrontation between Islam and the West."

Harry Potter and the Decline of the West (7/20/05): "Harry (like young Skywalker) draws his superhuman powers out of the well of his 'inner feelings'...The spiritual tradition of the West, which begins with classic tragedy and continues through St Augustine's Confessions, tells us just the contrary, namely, that one's inner feelings are the problem, not the solution. The West is a construct, the result of a millennium of war against the inner feelings of the barbarian invaders whom Christianity turned into Europeans...Western tradition demands that the individual must draw upon something better than one's inner feelings. Narcissism where one's innermost feelings are concerned therefore is the supreme hallmark of decadence."

They Made a Democracy and Called it Peace (3/08/05): "For today's Europeans, there is no consolation, neither the old pagan continuity of national culture, nor the Christian continuity into the hereafter...Europe will offer no resistance to Islam, which will triumph in that continent no later than 2100...I do not believe that the Islamic world will abandon its long-developed sense of collective identity in favor of US-style democracy without tragic consequences."

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