By David P. Goldman - on-line columnist “Spengler”
Regnery Publishing, 2011
Reviewed by Emil Franzi
For all of you, like my dear radio colleague, Tom Danehy, who studiously avoided taking those “liberal arts” classes back when college students had the opportunity to go to real ones, “Spengler” refers to Oswald Spengler (1880-1936), a German historian/philosopher known best for his seminal 1922 book “The Decline of the West”. While Goldman discusses a similar topic, his ultimate conclusions will not be as satisfying for self-loathing and America hating leftists as they might wish. The misconceptions it destroys are mainly on the left, but some land on the center-right.
Goldman calls this book “an apology for conventional thinking” and it is basically a defense of the “orthodox currents of Judaism and Christianity”. He uses some fascinating numbers and studies, most indisputable and also mostly ignored or worse, misinterpreted. And he destroys many false assumptions about where the world is heading.
Goldman starts with a 14-page-introduction, “The Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse”, followed by three sections titled “The Decline of the East”, “Theopolitics”, and “Why It Won’t Be a Post-American World”.
We have heard much about the decline of Europe. Goldman tells us that “The birth rate of the whole developed world is well below replacement and a significant part of it has passed the demographic point of no return.” There simply will not be enough Europeans to pay the pension and health benefits promised their populations. It’s all a long ride on the Titanic; that many have realized. What we haven’t realized is that Arab countries and their populations that have moved to Europe have the same problem.
“As Muslim fertility shrinks at a rate demographers have never seen before, it is converging on Europe’s catastrophically low fertility as if in some time lapse photography…. The Islamic world will have the same proportion of dependent elderly as the industrial countries.” Worse, Goldman states “Imminent population collapse makes radical Islam more dangerous, not less so. For in their despair, radical Muslims who already taste the ruin of their culture believe that they have nothing to lose.”
“Note the suicidal attitude of Norway towards the mass killer who proudly murdered almost 80 people and only regrets he didn’t kill more. A 21-year sentence in a country club prison exemplifies a justice system that has collapsed. How about this explanation of an act occurring after Goldman described the syndrome producing it. “European apathy is the opposite side of the coin of Islamic extremism. Both…have lost their connection to the past and their confidence in the future.”
In the “Theopolitics” section, Goldman discusses which religions maintain a society and which don’t – and notes that secularism is a religion in itself. Certain branches of Christianity and Orthodox Judaism still work, others go through the motions. One small example is that Israel is not about to be overrun by the Arab hordes – even secular Israeli Jews have high birth rates. And this aside – if current birth rates hold, there will be more Jews in Israel in 2100 than there will be Germans in Germany.
The United States will once again prove if exceptionalism is the message of the final section. Evangelical Christians, Orthodox Jews, Mormons and some Catholics will continue to reproduce. Mainstream protestant sects are dying off and Catholicism in general has found many new converts – in Africa. Europe’s future is not to be over-run by Arab Muslims. Goldman shows us why we should bet on folks like Nigerian Catholics.