Beyond the Cusp

May 2, 2019

Lessons Israel can Teach the World


The Western World of the past century, and more recently the main centers of the globe, has adopted the philosophy of Secular Humanism allowing it to replace its former reliance on Christianity to provide its moral underpinnings. The theory was that mankind can define for itself the morality required to produce a just, ethical, decent and just societal framework. They mostly forgave the concept of a Creator and replaced this Creator with their presumed best of the best, the most progressive and socialist elites. The philosophers and secularists from the ivory towers of academia were the ones sought out to set the moral tone for the society. These were the people along with all too many self-appointed political leaders believed themselves fully capable of providing all the leadership that their world could ever require and the concept of a higher source providing the laws under which the society was to live was simply foolish. Friedrich Nietzsche, a German philosopher from the second half of the nineteenth century, was famous for an outtake of one of his quotes where people simply used the first few words which read, “G0d is dead.” (the entire quote is at the end of the article) But Nietzsche went much further in his questioning the existence of the Almighty in numerous quotes, we decided to share this one in the article, “Is man one of God’s blunders? Or is God one of man’s blunders?” Needless to say, Friedrich Nietzsche is one of the gospels of our modern Western society even if many are not aware of this fact.


There may be another little factoid, OK, a major factoid of which many are not aware. This idea of humanity as the ultimate source of wisdom and morality where it is man against the elements and all other forces with man the main reason in basing the society has been attempted before. Yes, there was a difference in that this society had their gods but they saw them as capricious, immoral in their habits and an interference in human society more than anything else. The societies which tried this before were the Greeks followed immediately thereafter by the Romans. Defining mankind as the definers of all that was acceptable and what was not inevitably led to raucous debauchery. Along with such came a society which was self-serving which brought on the exact thing which plagues Europe currently, the lack of childbearing leading to a declining population which was unable of providing for its own defense. In the case of Rome, this led to their hiring mercenaries from the Germanic tribes on their borders who, surprisingly, allowed their tribes to attack Rome along its borders contributing to their downfall.


The resonating response to this argument is that people today are far more advanced and more intelligent and this time they will get it right. This is the identical argument given by leaders in nation after nation for becoming a more caring, kinder, gentler society which takes care of all its members, namely socialism. The unfortunate reality is that this time their efforts may be able to last longer, but the inevitable end will be another human tragedy ending in disaster. The trend in the Western civilizations is towards this human based system where mankind is fully capable of forming a just society where human whims end up becoming the morality of the times. One of the best examples of where this is leading comes from a combination of the statistics proving that the population has become unsustainable due to a lack of childbearing and the fact that the difference between reaching a balance where the population is sustainable and the current crash can be defined by looking at the number of abortions. The unfortunate reality is that man is not a suitable replacement for a divinely ordered set of morals which are beyond being changed and altered to fit the most recent concepts of the ideal civilization. The unvarnished truth is that people are incapable of setting a moral code and not playing with their set morals making them more adapted to their best feelings of the moment. Once we set ourselves as the arbiters of morality, the morality will be subject to being molded to fit those acts and activities which we desire instead of a set and unchangeable code set by a Supreme Being.


Most of the current and historical arguments against the definite definitions such as are relayed in the Bible are not arguments so much that the codes by which we live are wrong but that the sciences have proven that there is no Supreme Being who designed the cosmos and thus even the Biblical moral code was just some manmade morality. What this argument misses is that even were it a human made morality, the fact is it is not immutable nor resistant to the whims and desires of mere mortals. The idea and morals of Secular Humanism were originally very close, if not identical, to the morality of Judeo-Christian ethics. Despite the atheists claim that these rules were independently arrived at, the reality is that the starting point for Secular Humanism was the acceptance of the prevailing moral ethics as defined under Judeo-Christianity. They even kept to these moral codes for over a decade or two and then slowly but inevitably they began to alter them to permit things which were claimed their time had come to be accepted. Contrary to accusations that, as an example, the LGBTQ individuals were scorned and despised by the morals of Judeo-Christianity, the truth is they were to be accepted and loved just as anybody else. The difficulty was not as much the person as it was the practice of acts which were considered immoral. We could argue this point for years and we would get nowhere for one simple reason, both sides believe they have the correct system and are not about to change camps. What is important is which group makes up the majority of the culture.


There are those who argue that progress can only be made in modernity under a system which is not mired in millennia old mores and insisting on the standards and societal standards as put forth in the Bible. That is strange as Israel is moving towards being a more religious society under those exact moral codes and also one of the leading nations making new discoveries and inventions and even garnered the nickname, “The Startup Nation.” One sector of this high tech environment consists of religious women who have found their niches in this modern environment. Another fact is that Israel is the only Western nation which has a positive replacement rate of reproduction thus having sufficient numbers of children, comfortably, such that the population grows. Replacement rate is considered, due to modern medicine and high survivability of infants to adulthood, to be just over two children per married women. We found a graph which depicts the average of OECD nations including Israel which we have included below which tracks live births per woman from 1970 through 2015. The reality is that births in Israel are on the rise largely due to increasing fertility rates amongst the religious Jews which has outpaced the declining birth rate amongst Israeli Arab women. Here is a link to a map of fertility rates the world over in case you are curious. As we referenced earlier, one of the contributing factors to the Roman Empire collapse was a falling fertility rate along with fewer Roman citizens entering into the Roman military. We are witnessing a similar set of circumstances throughout the Western World everywhere except Israel where birth rates remain steadily above replacement rate and many experts expect the rate to slowly climb with religious Jews leading the increase making up for the lower rate by other than Jewish women and the non-religious Jewish women who, just as the rest of the population, are just below replacement rates.


Graph OECD Births per Woman compared with Israel

Graph OECD Births per Woman compared with Israel


The one term we often hear when referring to trends in Israel which appear to run counter to the rest of the world, specifically the developed world, is that Israel is an outlier. Well, if Israel is an outlier, then we are glad to be residing in a place which bucks current trends as in our best estimate, the current trends away from Judeo-Christianity and the Biblical religious observance as the mainstay of the population at large is the road to ruin and eventually to perdition. Israel has many areas where she has difficulties which require addressing, but name a nation which does not. Further, Israel lives in one of the more volatile and dangerous regions of the world, but this piece of land has always been fought over explaining much of Jewish early history. But from all we can discern, she has struck a balance between the technological future and the Biblical roots of the faith. Both are valued and treasured and both are finding a form of comfort with one another. But throughout Jewish history, specifically the years of Israel united during the early years after the Exodus through Kings David and Solomon, Israel has been an unusual place. When the Jews resided here, and especially when we ruled ourselves, the land was productive and the people flourished along with the land and when the Jews were absent, the land became barren and refused to give up her bounty. Since the return of the Jews to our homelands, the land has bloomed, but so have the people which is evidenced by the fact that most of the leading tech companies have opened R&D centers here in Israel as well as our Start-up Nation status. All of this is without surrendering to the temptation of taking morality into human hands and following the trend towards Secular Humanism and a socialist governance. Israel had a socialist governance and economy for the first thirty years and then started slowly but inexorably faster towards a capitalist governance and economy. That too makes Israel an outlier as the trend in the developed world has been to drift into socialism, declining birth rates, and an inevitable collapse staring many of these nations in the face. But this should not be depressing as the developing world and even the third world are all suffering collapsing birth rates which will soon also fall below replacement rates. This has proven true even for many Islamic nations such as Iran where their reproductive rate per woman in 2018 was a mere 1.61 children per woman as the fertility rate of Iran has fallen gradually from 1.69 children per woman in 2015 to where it is today. We better come up with those robotic units which are supposed to replace people in many tedious, repetitive, dangerous and other undesired positions as well as service industry positions as we will soon not have sufficient people to support the aging populations, well, except here in Israel, or as we like to call her, a bit of Heaven on Earth.


Beyond the Cusp


“God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. Yet his shadow still looms. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives; who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves?”    Friedrich Nietzsche


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