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It's Not the End of the World, It's Just the End of You: The Great Extinction of the Nations Paperback – September 19, 2011
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"David P. Goldman's 'Spengler' columns provide more insight than the CIA, MI6, and the Mossad combined. -- Herbert E. Meyer, Special Assistant to the CIA Director and as Vice Chairman of the CIA's National Intelligence Council, Reagan Administration
About the Author
David P. Goldman (Spengler) is an American-born polymath-music theorist, financial analyst, literary critic, historian, and geopolitical strategist-and the author of one of the most widely read columns on the Internet.
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This Spenglerian worldview will invariably explain the who, what, where, how and why of world geopolitics and the pluses and minuses of American geostrategy with regard to the big, bad world out there on almost any issue of world affairs and current events.
Very few analysts have the breadth, depth and real-world experience of David P. Goldman aka Spengler. Spengler gives you deep analysis, meta-analysis that is extremely hard to come by on all sides of the political spectrum. He delivers this analysis in a compelling sui generis style, laced with his unique sense of humor.
Beware, Spengler is no low-brow or middle-brow essayist. He is very high-brow, both stylistically and content-wise. I often have to read and re-read his essays several times to wrap my mind around his editorial output. But it has been worth it. Spengler knows his history, economics (he is a trained economist), foreign cultures (he speaks some half dozen languages fluently), religion and theology (he did a stint as an editor of the prestigious religous journal First Things), not to mention philosophy (he is no fan)--he is a true polymath in our brave new world increasingly dominated by pols and pundits who are soi-dissant experts, the definition of which, by the way, is one who knows more and more about less and less until he knows everything about nothing.
If you are not used to Goldman's characteristic mix of geopolitical analysis and cultural history (and even if you are) the book may seem uneven -- because it is. Since Goldman has only a few interrelated big ideas that appear in all his writing, a collection like this seems less like a collection of essays and more like a book that ought to be organized under a single thesis. However, in the absence of a single, overarching thesis, the book seems disorganized and in need of a heavy-handed editor. The minority presence of cultural history essays makes them seem most out of place, but they are also the best material.
Goldman is capable of an occasional bravura performance as an outstanding amateur historian of European cultural and religious history. He is most qualified as a musicologist, and his piece on Wagner is in my view the best thing he's ever written. (It likely benefited from other editorial staff at First Things, where it first appeared.) Unfortunately this essay stands out as an oddity in this book because there is so little else like it.
Goldman's main avocation and voice remains that of the self-taught international intelligence analyst who became a financial expert on long-term investment. In the essays written in that voice, facts and data are mustered to support broad claims that blossom into polemics against Islam and Islamic cultures that lay the basis for Goldman's personal foreign policy agenda for the US and Israel. All of this is based on Goldman's picking of future winners and losers based on birth rates and the religious ethos of different nations. Goldman preaches this gospel with such certainty he seems like a historical determinist. He comes across as prophet who has perceived the will of God in history, and God's will is doom for those who follow other gods.
Goldman's other book -- How Civilizations Die -- released the same time as this one, offers the most updated, reworked, and unified presentation of his geopolitical forecasts. Yet in both books Goldman seems better at hindsight than foresight; he is at least more dispassionate when looking back on history. When surveying the present and future, an emotional and reactionary tone emerges that is insistent, certain, dogmatic, and finally unpersuasive. He may have some worthwhile points to offer, but he is so hell-bent on selling his full program -- which gets into areas beyond his competence and usual subjects -- that he comes off seeming a bit unhinged. Readerly skepticism is aroused.
He would be the lunatic of one idea
In a world of ideas, who would have all the people
Live, work, suffer, and die in that idea
In a world of ideas. He would not be aware of the clouds,
Lighting the martyrs of logic with white fire.
His extreme of logic would be illogical.
--Wallace Stevens, "Esthétique du Mal"
The author consciously follows Huntington in trying to explain the modern world's continuities with the past, and builds on where Huntington left off--specifically in Goldman's writing on the religious dimension in civilizations past, present, and future.
His essays on economics, written in conjuntion with Reuven Brenner, are also a strong point of the book. The explanation of how Keynesian economics and prescriptions were suited for a specific time and place, with significant differences from today's industrial economies, has been made in other places. But the treatment here is very clear, and the argument about today's different demographics and globalized capital markets is persuasive.
Unlike any other collection of essays on the current market, and indispensable for explaining our current situation and thus is a building block for the best way forward.