I came to Israel in 1967 following my two-year service in the American Army. I made a rule not to vote in American elections even though as a citizen with an honorable discharge I had every legal and moral right to do so. I thought it improper to vote for representatives and polices of a country I was not living in. In 2012 – after 45 years – I broke that rule. Why?
Pre-modern, modern and postmodern societies existing concurrently in dynamic interaction have created a global situation of cultural tension and conflict. This has resulted in clashes between modernists and anti-modernists and has become a major global change agent. All the major religions are pre-modern in origin but not all have adapted to modernity to the same extent and none have done so completely. This is concurrent with the rise of the non-Western World (Asia, Africa, Latin America) as a dominant global religious force. The unevenness of accommodating to modern life constitutes part of the religious/cultural tension within and between faith traditions. This requires constructing future visions that can unite a pluralistic civilization around common goals.
Even though there are no statistics on the economics of religion, we might reasonably assume that if we calculated the aggregate turnover and cash flow of all the religions and religious activities globally – their aggregate buying power and the goods and services they produce and consume – that we are talking about one of the biggest business sectors in the world, if not the biggest. The global economics of organized religion, New Age religiosity and various other ‘spiritual’ practices might run into the trillions of dollars.
Despite fashionable twaddle about American decline, America’s cultural influence has never been as dominant as it is now. Indeed, the 21st century promises to be the American Century to an even greater extent than the 20th. The American attitude to life – The American Idea – is now reflected in the universal aspirations of all humanity.
I am not politically correct. I do not think the death penalty is intrinsically immoral or contrary to basic human rights. I believe organized society, like individuals, has a right to self-defense and that this right is an unconditional absolute that includes the societal prerogative to deprive a human being of his or her life for particular crimes adjudicated according to due process. I am not, therefore, opposed to the death penalty in principle. I am, however, opposed to it in practice.
The 19th century was the European century; the 20th century was the American century and the 21st century could be the women’s century. This is a conclusion drawn from a combination of several factors: the nature of the global economy, the particular qualities of women and the requirements of world development.
The embryonic revolution in material science now taking place—specifically “smart materials” and superlight materials—offers strong evidence that there are no limits to growth.