“Spengler” on the Scandal of the Secular Mind

by Crocker on October 17, 2011, 8:07 am

in Culture,History,Politics

“Spengler” in this case is the renowned David Goldman, until recently senior editor of First Things. His columns in the Asia Times became a must-read for people interested in historical trends informed by conservative religious belief and demographic and cultural trends. I saluted him when he “came out” in April 2009.

His latest essay comments on John Kagan’s comments on a book by Jurimi Suri on nation building. The discussion is interesting, but what sets Goldman’s comments apart from other commentators is his ability as a biblically-minded man to come to the point:

Some of my conservative colleagues think me a renegade. The fact is that the conservative intellectual elite is sadly out of touch with the conservative base, and especially the evangelical Christians who comprise just over a quarter of American voters. During the past couple of weeks I have spent a good twenty hours on the air talking about my new book, How Civilizations Die (and why Islam Is Dying, Too), mostly on self-described Christian stations. And I’ve been talking to a lot of Orthodox Jews as well, my home audience.

Talking to religious conservatives is like breathing pure intellectual oxygen. They know that there is a basic difference between a nation committed to the biblical concept of individual sanctity, and one based on mere submission. They may or may not not know Thucydides, but they know the Bible, which is a far better source-book for statecraft. In short, the religious have a better education in political philosophy than their secular counterparts. They get the joke right off, while the secular types waste the declining days of their careers trying to defend the indefensible.

Yes, indeed, it is like pure oxygen, because religious conservatives – both Jewish and Christian – instinctively get the point: that history has a beginning and an end and that the realpolitik contained in the pages of the Bible is far more accurate than the meandering stuff spouted in university seminars. And that is why a thorough grasp of the Bible can lead one to an instinctive – and correct – grasp of people, history and power.

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