REASON AND THE SWORD
By Prof. Paul EidelbergFaith in reason is the cornerstone of Jeffersonian democracy: "Fix reason firmly in her seat and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion," including those of religion. Jefferson's faith in reason coincided with his faith in the common man, provided he was literate and self-supporting, in which case he would not be readily deceived by demagogues. Of course, television did not exist in Jefferson's time, when Americans read the Bible and many could quote Shakespeare.A product of the "Enlightenment"--which was nothing if not egalitarian and secular--Jefferson believed that reason, through science, would eventually triumph over force and usher in a New World Order of peace, prosperity, and democracy.Contrast the 19th century social democrat Ferdinand Lassalle, whose faith in reason is armed with a sword. In his drama “Franz von Sickengen,’ there occurs a dialogue between a Lutheran chaplain, a pacifist, and Ulrick von Hutten, the great 16th century humanist. To the pacifist's contention that reason as opposed to force is the driving principle of history, von Hutten replies: "My worthy Sir! You are ill-acquainted with history. Reason is its content but its form is ever force."Recalling that it was the sword that saved Greece from Xerxes, and liberated Jerusalem from the Saracens; that it was the sword that David, Samson, and Gideon labored with, von Hutten concludes: "Thus, long ago as well as since, the sword achieved the glories told by history; and all that is great, as yet to be achieved, owes, in the end, its triumph to the sword."In the last century, the sword saved Europe from the tyranny of Nazi Germany. Yet, was not Germany the pinnacle of science and philosophy, hence of human reason? Was it not human reason that designed the crematoria that reduced Jews to ashes? Was it not human reason that produced the A-bomb that incinerated 20,000 men, women, and children in Hiroshima?Although the sword liberated Europe and preserved democracy and humanism, did reason emerge triumphant? And is democracy the repository of reason? Is not anti-Semitism again flourishing in Europe? Have not the democratic capitals of Europe supported a despot like Yasser Arafat over against the Jewish state of Israel?While countless democrats in the West worship not Reason but Sports, Arab despots are preparing to reduce Israel to ashes.And what of the people of Israel? Duped and betrayed by their political elites, they wait in virtual silence for Armageddon. The people who gave mankind Truth, Reason, and Justice are now steeped in a politics of mendacity, insanity, and criminality.Louis Rene Beres, a renowned political scientist, writes: "All politics is delinquency, challenging and besmirching life with the eternally smug babble of criminals, fools and ... above all, the gibberish of the ordinary. All politics is infantile, a silly but nonetheless lethal game of Eros and Thanatos, of Sex and War."Reason is not the stuff of international politics, certainly not in the Middle East, where the sword is the symbol, and JIHAD the duty, of Islam.Yet, despite the almost daily slaughter of Jews in Israel, many still believe that reason in the form of diplomacy supplemented by territorial gifts and economic rewards can appease the sword-bearers of the Arab-Islamic world. What an insult! As if Arabs are prostitutes who can be bought!Unlike self-effacing and assimilated Jews, Arabs are proud. They are proud of their religious and cultural heritage. They despise Western culture, its secularism, its facade of democratic elections, whose outcome, they know, is determined by money, deceit, and half-educated pundits in the media.Hence the Arabs, aided by Israel’s inane policy of “territory for peace,” are preparing to destroy the Jewish state, the one outpost of western decadence in the Middle East. No proud Arab can abide in peace with Jewish democrats devoid of national pride and honor.Witness the “gibberish of the ordinary” called the Kinneret Covenant signed by Israeli left-wingers and “right-wingers,” secularists and religionists. In seeking a common denominator of the various groups composing this country, the authors of Kinneret Covenant have made a mockery of the Sinai Covenant. Pleasing generalities—to attract the unwary—replace Jewish particularity. Like Christianity, which jettisoned Jewish law and life, this anemic document offers us an Israel without a cultural profile. While the Arab sword drips with Jewish blood, Jewish reason vacations near the receding waters of the Kinneret.
© Professor Paul Eidelberg
Professor Paul Eidelberg a Political scientist, author and lecturer is the co-founder and president of The Foundation For Constitutional Democracy with offices in Jerusalem and Washington, DC.Professor Eidelberg was born in Brooklyn, New York. From high school he enlisted in the United States Air Force where he held the rank of first lieutenant. He received his doctoral degree in political science at the University of Chicago. While studying at the University, he designed and constructed the electronics system for the first brain scanner used at the Argonne Cancer Research Hospital.Professor Eidelberg wrote a trilogy on the statesmanship of America'sfounding fathers: On the Silence of the Declaration of Independence; The Philosophy of the American Constitution, and A Discourse on Statesmanship.Eidelberg joined Israel's Bar-Ilan University faculty in 1976. He haswritten several books on the Arab-Israel conflict and on Judaism:Demophrenia provides a psychological analysis of Israel's foreign policy. Jerusalem versus Athens and Beyond the Secular Mind apply Jewish concepts for an understanding of modern problems. Judaic Man develops concepts for a Jewish psychology. His most recent book, Jewish Statesmanship: Lest Israel Fall, provides the philosophical and institutional foundations for reconstructing the State of Israel. It has also been published in Hebrew and in Russian.Professor Eidelberg is on the Editorial Board of Israel's premier journalNativ, as well as on the Advisory Council of the Ariel Center for PolicyResearch. He has written more than 800 articles for newspapers andscholarly journals in the United States and Israel.Eidelberg has lectured before Israel's Foreign Office and has writtenpolicy papers for various Knesset Members. He chaired a panel discussion on the topic "Why Israel Needs a Constitution" at the 1997 American Political Science Association conference in Washington, DC. He has drafted a Constitution for Israel which has been published in Hebrew and Russian.During the past two years, Professor Eidelberg has been conducting seminars on constitutions, diverse parliamentary electoral systems, Jewish law, and related topics at the Jerusalem center of the Foundation for Constitutional Democracy.
Address:P.O. Box 23702Jerusalem 91236 IsraelE-Mail: [email protected]