Professor Paul Eidelberg has written several books that deal with and expose the philosophical fallacies and pernicious consequences of relativism: see Chapter 9 of JERUSALEM VERSUS ATHENS, Chapter 2 of BEYOND THE SECULAR MIND, and Chapter 1 of DEMOPHRENIA. The following is a political article which also discusses moral relativism.
HAS ISRAEL BEEN AMERICANIZED?
BY Professor Paul Eidelberg
Various Jews deplore what they term the Americanization of Israel.
They see the influence of America in the hedonism of many Israeli
youth. The invasion of Israel by American pop-culture is painfully
obvious. Nevertheless, rather than say Israel has been Americanized, it
would be far more correct to say Israel has been Germanized and
The image of America abroad is a partial and
superficial one: Madonna
and Michael Jackson, pizza and Coca Cola, sex and violence. This aspect
of America obscures what is profoundly American: freedom and unlimited
opportunity, tolerance and religiosity, friendliness and generosity.
Add, too, the wisdom of Americas founding fathers manifested in
Americas political institutions. Open to this wisdom, so well
elucidated in THE FEDERALIST PAPERS, Israel could correct some of the
basic flaws in her own political institutions.
Contemporary America is of course a far throw from
the austere George
Washington. Today, Americans, so long as they are prosperous, admire
charming rogues, even if one should happen to be their president.
Cheating and cynicism are widespread, especially on American campuses.
Americas greed-infected and drug-infested metropolitan centers and
overcrowded prisons complete this dismal picture of a nation that has
not only provided a haven for countless impoverished immigrants, but
saved mankind from German barbarism and Communist tyranny.
What needs to be emphasized, however, is that sleaze, sex, and violence
gleefully preoccupy the news and entertainment media. The latter, like
most universities, are dominated by liberal-leftists more or less
alienated from the American tradition. These products of a morally
neutral education scorn what they call bourgeois morality--really the
family values derived from the Bible of Israel. They champion gay
rights, abortion verging on infanticide, euthanasia--lifestyles
suggestive of paganism. This decadence, however, was exported to
America by Germany.
Although America conquered Germany on the battlefield
in World War I,
German social science conquered American universities. The most
influential sociologist of the 20th century was the German Max Weber
whose moral relativism still permeates education in the United States.
Germany (with Freuds assistance), spawned sexology, the reduction of
love to sex, which contributed to the legalization of homosexuality.
Sexual perversion was the staple of German entertainment.
Germany produced Martin Heidegger, regarded by many as the greatest
philosopher of this century. Heidegger fathered (via Jean-Paul Sartre)
the existentialism and nihilism that modulates American higher
education. Heidegger, by the way, was a Nazi.
But I have not mentioned the German Karl Marx, whose
American social science (and on Israeli politicians) is second to none.
Marxs contempt for religion and bourgeois values is well-known. In
their place Marx offered scientific socialism. Economic prosperity
through scientific technology was to solve the human problem and
relegate war to the dust heap of history. (Oslo, or the Peres-Beilin
solution to the Arab-Israel conflict, should be viewed in this light.)
Less well known about Marx is the vicious anti-Semitism propagated by
his essay On the Jewish Question. I mention this because the leading
architects of modern Israel were Marxists, and this, more than any other
single factor, explains the alienation and decadence of so many of
Israels secular youth. Marx was also a cultural relativist.
Relativism, which permeates Israels secular
universities, has made
Israels left-wing politicians and intellectuals blind-deaf-mutes: they
see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil about the Evil Empire
committed to Israels destruction.
When Dedi Zucker of the left-wing Meretz party was
asked why he devoted
all his energies to peace with Arabs and none to peace with religious
Jews, he replied: Look, the bottom line is I don't want peace with
those people; I would rather live with Arabs than with those Jews.
Actually, Zucker despises all believers. His nihilism and
anti-Semitism, however, were imported not from America, but from Europe,
Nihilism thrives in Europe, as does anti-Semitism
disguised as support
for the Arab Palestinians. The same may be said of England, where a
1995 survey indicated that 75% of the population between the ages of 15
and 30 do not believe there is such a thing as right and wrong. Lets
take another look at America.
A University of Chicago study indicates that 85% of
American women are
faithful to their husbands, while 75% of American men are faithful to
their wives. This data contrasts starkly with the sexuality glamorized
by the entertainment media. (Apropos of the preceding, see Judith A.
Reismans KINSEY, CRIMES, & CONSEQUENCES. Dr. Reisman CONTENDS that Alfred C. Kinseys SEXUAL BEHAVIOR OF THE HUMAN MALE (1948) and its female equivalent (1953) were carefully crafted scientific frauds, that they reflected the sexual attitude and behavior of their author rather
than the sexual mores of ordinary Americans.)
Contrary to the self-serving statements of
industry, Hollywood is not a reflection, so much as a corruption, of
American values. A selective Americanization of Israel could be a
Jews who deplore the Americanization of Israel have a distorted
understanding of America. They identify America with the neo-paganism
propagated by the entertainment industry, exported to the Israel, and
legitimized by Israels Supreme Court. True, the courts president,
Judge Aaron Barrack, apes the judicial activism (read indiscriminate
egalitarianism and libertarianism) of various U.S. Supreme Court
justices, such as the late William O. Douglas. But ultra-secularists
like Barrack constitute a small and diminishing minority in Israel. Like
mules, these anti-traditional liberals cant reproduce.
The greatest enemy of liberty are
liberals ensconced in power.
Jonathan Rosenblum writes: Any intrepid soul who criticizes the
judicial activism of the Barrack court subjects himself to an immediate
and fierce chorus of obloquy.... Legal commentator Moshe Neg. calls for
the closure of a paper for sharply criticizing Barracks judicial activism
as anti-democratic. MK Dally Itzik (Labor) files a criminal complaint
for incitement against the paper, and MK Eli Goldschmidt (Labor)
introduces legislation making criticism of the court a crime. Quite
foreign to America.
Consider Israeli television journalists. Professor
Herman Braver, a
Russian immigrant, recently remarked that whereas Soviet journalists
fabricated lies FOR the government, TV journalists in Israel fabricate
lies to UNDERMINE the government! And whereas the Soviet media never
disparaged the Russian tradition, Israels leftist media exult in
disparaging the Jewish tradition!
Despite the liberal-left leanings of most American TV
wouldnt dare imitate the blatant, anti-religious posturing of their
Israeli counterparts. And let us not forget that American radio has
countless stations run by Christians and political conservatives. The
Americanization of Israel is grossly exaggerated.
Besides, if Israel were Americanized, its government
would not include
politicians like Shimon Peres and Yael Dayan who denigrate the heritage
of their own people. If Israel were Americanized, its government would
not surrender an inch of Israels heartland to Arab despots. If Israel
were Americanized, its politicians would not ignore Jewish public
opinion between elections. In fact, if Israel were Americanized, it
would have a Constitution rooted in principles derived from the Torah!
America was born in a revolution whose slogan was no taxation without
representation. Taxation without representation dominates Israel, and
the taxation is astronomical. The Jews of Israel have no
representatives of their own choosing to uphold their interests.
Contrast FEDERALIST 52, where James Madison discusses the House of
Representatives: As it is essential to liberty that the government in
general should have a common interest with the people, so it is
particularly essential that the branch of it under consideration should
have an IMMEDIATE dependence on, and intimate sympathy with, the people
(my emphasis). In other words, direct popular election of the
legislature (in multi-district elections), is essential to liberty.
Nothing like this exists in Israel. The people vote for party lists,
whose members are dependent on party leaders, not on the people.
If Israel were Americanized, its government or cabinet would not be
fragmented by a multiplicity of parties each with its own agenda.
Israel has, in effect, a plural executive, the bane of good government.
With Israel in mind, ponder these words of Alexander Hamilton in
FEDERALIST 70: Energy in the Executive is a leading character in the
definition of good government. It is essential to the community against
foreign attacks; it is not less essential to the steady administration
of the laws [and] ... to the security of liberty against the ...
enterprises and assaults of ambition, of faction, and of anarchy.
Hamilton states that unity is one of the most important ingredients
which constitute energy in the Executive. Unity is essential to
decision, activity, secrecy, and dispatch. This unity can be
destroyed ... by vesting it ostensibly in one man, subject, in whole or
in part, to the control and cooperation of others, in the capacity of
counselors to him. This describes Israels government, whose prime
minister is dependent on the cooperation of a cabinet, some of whose
members lead rival parties. Hamilton continues: Whenever two or more persons are engaged in ... a public trust or office ... there is [bound to be differences of opinion and] peculiar danger in personal emulation and even animosity... Whenever these [dissensions] happen, they lessen the respectability,
weaken the authority, and distract the plans and operation of those whom
they divide. If they should unfortunately assail the supreme executive
magistracy of a country, consisting of a plurality of persons, they
might impede or frustrate the most important measures of the government,
in the most critical emergencies of the state. And what is still worse,
they might split the community into the most violent and irreconcilable
factions, adhering to different individuals who composed the
magistracy. Clearly, Hamiltons criticism of a plural executive
applies a hundred-fold to Israels system of coalition cabinet
If Israel were wisely Americanized, if it had
and electoral laws comparable to those prescribed in the American
Constitution, the people of this country could look forward to the 21st
century with confidence instead of confusion. This is why the present
author has designed a Constitution for Israel, one that borrows from the
wisdom of Americas founding fathers insofar as that wisdom is derived
from, or consistent with, the heritage of the Jewish people.
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