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Spengler

Hamas Is the Norm, Israel Is the Exception

July 15th, 2014 - 4:42 am

It’s like the old joke: Why do Jewish men die before their wives? Because they want to. Civilizations for the most part die because they no longer want to live. That is the nub of my 2011 book How Civilizations Die (and Why Islam Is Dying, Too). They cease to believe in their own future and distract themselves from the prospect of extinction as best they can. Hellenistic Greece was the first universal demographic disaster; it gave us prototypes of the steam engine and the computer (via Hero of Alexandria) as well as the modern literary forms. But even wealthy men exposed their daughters and the population imploded. When Aristotle taught that men naturally seek the good, the overwhelming preponderance of evidence had already turned against him. Most men seek nothingness. Soon the last surviving remnants of the classical world will disappear. In another generation, more people will speak Hebrew than Greek.

Hamas wants to die, obviously and visibly. That thought horrifies Westerners. As a number of Israeli commentators observe, Hamas doesn’t particularly care about having a Palestinian State. It wants to destroy the Jewish State and is willing to die in the process. It wants to die in such a way that Israel will die, too. There is something utterly surreal to Hamas crowding civilians around military targets, and Israeli pilots declining to attack them. It recalls the joke about the sadist and the masochist. The masochist says, “Beat me!,” and the sadist says, No…suffer.”

Hamas, to be sure, proposes to die in an accelerated time frame and a particularly disgusting fashion, but it should be kept in mind that self-willed extinction is the norm. West of the Indus, Israel is the only survivor among the thousands of little nations that flourished between 10,000 BC and 600 AD. To be sure, there have been plenty of small tribes that wanted to live but were trampled by conquering hordes. The rule, however, is that civilizations die of their own disgust with life. Most of the industrial nations are dying, some very quickly. Most of the Muslim world would rather die than accommodate modernity (although some of it may choose to cease to be Islamic).

I do not mean to sound cruel, but the best thing you can do for victims of a dying culture is: Don’t be one of them. Individuals who want to live have the option of changing cultures. I do not mean that Israel (or anyone else) should go about killing off enemies in order to satisfy their death wish. God forbid: life is still sacred to us even if it is repugnant to them. Neither do we have to commit suicide in order to accommodate our crazy neighbor’s death-wish. We might try to talk him down from the roof, but we are entitled to step aside when he jumps. It is not in our power to persuade suicidal civilizations to carry on living. Ultimately it is our job to contain the damage to ourselves. We cannot help but accept some civilian deaths while engaging an enemy that seeks the maximum number of civilian casualties.

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Top Rated Comments   
Socialism takes the meaning out of life. One is no longer actively pursuing life, creating one's sustenance, and insuring one's survival. It's all taken care of. You're merely on life support. Have another beer and watch reality TV, since you don't have a life. Socialism is the trivialization of life.

Islam is the hatred of life.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
QUOTE
Anti-semitism is the vicious grudge that death harbors against life.
END QUOTE

As it is written:

Proverbs 8:36
"...all they that hate me love death"




22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Common through cultures is that the death wish goes along with the collectivist mentality.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (88)
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This disgusting victim-blaming assumes that Hamas wants to die for no reason at all, and this has nothing to do with the genocidal Zionazi occupation that will exterminate them for daring to take a stand for the plight of the Palestinians! The crushed, demoralized People of Color under the jack boots of the genocidal corparchy of Israel want to die because they have nothing to live for! The oppressed have given up.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
When science figures a way for women to have children without danger, more will be born. this is from a woman who nearly died in childbirth along with her 9lb son. Both our hearts nearly gave out during a very long, hard labor. No, this is not about pain, but about near death for both of us. This was Ridgecrest and my Loma Linda OB/GYN complained about the physician not conducting a C section. Men have no idea!
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Females in America have had longer life expectancies than men for several generations now. But true to form, females want more. Feminists call that 'equality'.
20 weeks ago
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21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
It is always true that a civilization can only survive if it's men are willing to risk dying for it.

Hamas is showing that as are the Israelis.

The war is far from over.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Neither do we have to commit suicide in order to accommodate our crazy neighbor’s death-wish. We might try to talk him down from the roof, but we are entitled to step aside when he jumps."

I once heard it pointed out that, when a person studies to become a lifeguard, the first lesson taught is: SWIM AWAY from a drowning man who is trying to pull you under.

Israel does not owe Hamas, or even Gaza, a thing. Not one single thing. They would be perfectly justified in building a 20-foot concrete wall along the Israel-Gaza border, closing all the gates, and telling the Gazans that anyone who crosses that border dies. Period. Let them work out their economy for themselves, and get help from the Arab world... if they can.

Israel, in the meantime, has been sending Gaza truck convoy after truck convoy of food, clothing, and medical supplies... and providing Gaza electricity... while continuing to absorb rocket attacks from Gaza. This Israel does because of its obligations to itself, and to its own conscience. but Gaza is owed nothing.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Civilizations for the most part die because they no longer want to live....Most men seek nothingness.
...............................
Freud’s theory of drives evolved throughout his life and work. He initially described a class of drives known as the life instincts and believed that these drives were responsible for much of behavior. Eventually, he came to believe that these life instincts alone could not explain all human behavior. Freud determined that all instincts fall into one of two major classes: the life instincts or the death instincts.

Sometimes referred to as sexual instincts, the life instincts are those that deal with basic survival, pleasure, and reproduction. These instincts are important for sustaining the life of the individual as well as the continuation of the species. While they are often called sexual instincts, these drives also include such things as thirst, hunger, and pain avoidance. The energy created by the life instincts is known as libido.

Behaviors commonly associated with the life instinct include love, cooperation, and other prosocial actions.
Death Intincts (Thanatos)
Initially described in his book Beyond the Pleasure Principle, Freud proposed that “the goal of all life is death” (1920). He noted that after people experience a traumatic event (such as war), they often reenact the experience. He concluded that people hold an unconscious desire to die, but that this wish is largely tempered by the life instincts.

In Freud’s view, self-destructive behavior is an expression of the energy created by the death instincts. When this energy is directed outward onto others, it is expressed as aggression and violence.

http://psychology.about.com/od/sigmundfreud/a/instincts.htm
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Its helpful to understand that the sort of organizations in the west that support Hamas also want to die.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Great read and a lot to consider. Always look forward to your insight on present issues that concern all of us.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
David--a brilliant piece and synthesis of your most important ideas over the years. Yes, nothingness is the fondly held dream of most people in most times, but for some reason, Jews always refuse to get with the program. As Clint Eastwood put it to some Soviet Jews in "Firefox" (1982), “Don't you Jews ever get tired of fighting City Hall?”
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Chesterton, Belloc and everything they tried to protect are all gone

What does this mean? What was the "everything" they tried to protect?
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Chesterton, Belloc and everything they tried to protect are all gone

There is probably a few sides to this.

I think Spengler primarily means that Chesterton and Belloc represented an intellectual vibrancy which has largely disappeared. The view that Catholic ideas mattered and had a place and influence in the affairs of government and educated men.

This view has largely passed and Catholic ideas are completely sidelined now. Any Catholic institution which seeks assistance from gov. must adopt the pluralistic ideas of secularism. These are often in opposition to traditional Catholic teaching. So what you say, the church should change.

Well it is not so easy! After all Catholic teaching sees the church as founded by God much as the Judiasm was. In the Catholic view, all the religions of the world are products of "man's search for God" and may contain some truth but are largely the opinions of men. THe Catholic and Jewish religions are different, they are the result of God reaching out to man, or "God's search for man" as I have heard it being put. This means that Judaism and Catholicism are truth. If they are truth how does one change that truth to accomodate secularism which must be untrue.

Everything in Catholicism hinges on its claim of truth, that it is directly inspired by God.

If you are a Protestant or atheist I suspect your are rolling your eyes. And so you should because it was largely Protestantism which founded the pluralistic secularism we have now. The many Protestant churches simply agreed to disagree with their truth claims, and this in turn has fueled scepticism over the centuries. And of course the authority of those churches has tended to rest on the power of the secular state rather than claims of truth.

Well the Catholic church continues to sail on of course, and I for one think secular intellectuals are worse off without it, after all the intellectuals we have over the last decades have literally descended into madness, advocating killing the unborn and elderly and supporting every evil you can think of.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Look back at pre-Vatican II Catholicism, the sublimie Latin Mass, expanding membership, healthy number of priests and nuns, orthodoxy safe and rationality supreme. With Pope Francis, as Roberto de Mattei (Italian expert on the Vatican) notes, there exists now anti-dogmatism, hostility towards reason (feelings preferred >> Pentecostal type liturgy), dogmas aside for a "world church" with (liberal) Evangelicals, harsh repression of traditionalists and massive decline in the number of Catholics in the West. Goldman was correct in a previous article on the Pope, after The Pope's cynosure-act in the Holy Land and the show-off iact .n a Vatican garden, with the thesis that Pope Francis is not so interested in saving souls (here we have Belloc and Chsterton) as in saving the world (and in worldly terms)
22 weeks ago
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Goldman's approach, which is to view current events in the sweep of history, should help us heed Santayana's warning that those who refuse to learn from history are condemned to repeat it. That being said, this idea of cultures having a death wish raises a big question for western culture, not from a moral perspective but scientific: Why is gay marriage being celebrated across the globe? And homosexuality is the "new normal"? Are we just collectively less courageous in accepting this scientific outcome and keep ourselves comfortable and on a drip while we die? The moral question is this: When we point a finger at Islam, are we forgetting the three that point back at us? Hypocrisy never wears well.

Am I being too narrowly focused on homosexuality here? Let's see, on the issues of homosexuality, pornography, premarital and extramarital sex, the commercialization of sex in general, which culture has pretty much lifted all restraints - western or Islamic? Easy answer: western culture. But this article is about life and death so what's my point? Again, back to science: Sex is the vehicle for creating human life. Taking a moral tone, Goldman describes this life as sacred. The western world has thoroughly trashed and treated with disregard the process of creating life. Looking at the broad sweep of history, we are reaping what we are sowing, and that's a moral perspective.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
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