Sunday, January 05, 2014

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How Civilizations Die

I just read a review of “How Civilizations Die”, which includes a variety of statistical proofs that the West is in this cycle.

My starting point was from the observation that major countries of the west (are) disappearing. I then began investigating why that should be the case. During the last few years, some really authoritative research showed the relations between religion and fertility. I don't think that this is so much a religious issue but a sense of confidence in the future. Religious faith is one expression of confidence in the future.

…the norm for peoples (cultures, nations) is to disappear. And most peoples disappear because they lose the will to live. That is typical of history. To survive is atypical. …I attempt to call attention to the facts that most peoples die because they lose the will to live; not because… some genius did not come up with a solution to their problems.

It has been known for some time that Europe is sinking demographically, but that this should be extended to the Muslims, too?

…Muslim birthrates are falling even in Europe. The single factor that best explains fertility across the whole Muslim world is literacy.  (Another is simply knowledge and access to birth control.) Just on a purely statistical basis one can explain 60 percent of the variations of fertility on the base of literacy. And where you have detailed data, for example in Iran or Turkey, you can show a very strong differential in fertility between women with an elementary school education, a high school education and a college education. This is also exactly what is happening in Israel, and in Judea and Samaria (assumedly he means among the Israeli Arabs and Arabs of the West Bank)…

What do you have to say to the people of Israel, as a visitor to our country?

For all your problems, and Israel surely has many problems, by many standards you are the most successful society in the world. Certainly demographically Israel is the most successful society in the industrial world. (Meaning Israeli’s, particularly Israeli Jews and religiously observant Jews in Israel, are having children.  Families of 3 or 4 or even 5 [or more] are not the least bit unusual.)

Also in terms of technological and cultural achievement. Israel should think very deeply about what makes it so successful and cultivate those qualities, and not take to heart the criticism of the rest of the world -- I would attribute a great deal of that to jealousy. Be proud of what you have accomplished and stick to your own identity, it is the source of your accomplishments.

Worth reading the whole thing, here at IsraelHaYom.

1 comment:

  1. I'm surprised to find this book on Mystical Paths, but delighted to see it here. This was one of the best secular, current event books I've read in the past year. Well researched, with an overall optimistic outlook.

    You may also want to check out his article:
    Was the Conservative Decline Inevitable?

    Was the Conservative Decline Inevitable? A Baal Teshuva’s Perspective


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