Truth Over Tyranny: Biblical wisdom for defeating the Technocrats.
These are my insights for defeating the Transhumanist Technocracy movement, based on the teachings of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, of blessed memory, on the weekly Bible portion.
Is America failing? We keep hearing that “we have lost our country, and must get it back.” Has the transhumanist technocracy really taken such a forceful hold of our country, it is inevitable we will fall under their New World Order?
Is America destined to fall, as must all once-great civilizations? Or do we have something going for us that gives us an edge; that could enable us to persevere when other civilizations could not?
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks helps us answer this question in his commentary on Parashat Eikev called “Why Civilisations Fail.”
He starts out by referencing the speech Moses gave to the Israelites before they entered the Promised Land. The Jewish leader stressed what it takes to maintain a free society — namely, overcoming the traps of material affluence, and meeting spiritual challenges:
“Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God… Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery… You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’… Deut. 8:11-19”
Rabbi Sacks summarizes the words of Moses this way:
“What Moses was saying to the new generation was this: You thought that the forty years of wandering in the wilderness were the real challenge, and that once you conquer and settle the land, your problems will be over. The truth is that it is then that the real challenge will begin. It will be precisely when all your physical needs are met – when you have land and sovereignty and rich harvests and safe homes – that your spiritual trial will commence.”
Moses was articulating a law of history that many post-Biblical scholars have acknowledged:
“The real challenge is not poverty but affluence, not insecurity but security, not slavery but freedom. Moses, for the first time in history, was hinting at a law of history. Many centuries later it was articulated by the great 14th century Islamic thinker, Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406), by the Italian political philosopher Giambattista Vico (1668-1744), and most recently by the Harvard historian Niall Ferguson. Moses was giving an account of the decline and fall of civilisations.”
A society starts unravelling if it loses its moral compass:
“… If you assume – (Moses) tells the next generation – that you yourselves won the land and the freedom you enjoy, you will grow complacent and self-satisfied. That is the beginning of the end of any civilisation. In an earlier chapter Moses uses the graphic word venoshantem, ‘you will grow old’ (Deut. 4:25), meaning that you will no longer have the moral and mental energy to make the sacrifices necessary for the defence of freedom.
“Inequalities will grow. The rich will become self-indulgent. The poor will feel excluded. There will be social divisions, resentments and injustices. Society will no longer cohere. People will not feel bound to one another by a bond of collective responsibility. Individualism will prevail. Trust will decline. Social capital will wane.”
This was a vital lesson to learn for the fledging Jewish nation:
“This has happened, sooner or later, to all civilisations, however great. To the Israelites – a small people surrounded by large empires – it would be disastrous. As Moses makes clear towards the end of the book, in the long account of the curses that would overcome the people if they lost their spiritual bearings, Israel would find itself defeated and devastated.
Only against this background can we understand the momentous project the book of Devarim is proposing: the creation of a society capable of defeating the normal laws of the growth-and-decline of civilisations. This is an astonishing idea.
“How is it to be done? By each person bearing and sharing responsibility for the society as a whole. By each knowing the history of his or her people. By each individual studying and understanding the laws that govern all. By teaching their children so that they too become literate and articulate in their identity.”
Rabbis Sacks distilled from Moses’ speech, three basic rules for a society to follow, to ensure its freedom:
“Rule 1: Never forget where you came from.
“… you sustain freedom by establishing courts, the rule of law and the implementation of justice. By caring for the poor. By ensuring that everyone has the basic requirements of dignity. By including the lonely in the people’s celebrations. By remembering the covenant daily, weekly, annually in ritual, and renewing it at a national assembly every seven years. By making sure there are always Prophets to remind the people of their destiny and expose the corruptions of power.
“Rule 2: Never drift from your foundational principles and ideals.
“Above all it is achieved by recognising a power greater than ourselves. This is Moses’ most insistent point. Societies start growing old when they lose faith in the transcendent. They then lose faith in an objective moral order and end by losing faith in themselves.
“Rule 3: A society is as strong as its faith.
“Only faith in God can lead us to honour the needs of others as well as ourselves. Only faith in God can motivate us to act for the benefit of a future we will not live to see. Only faith in God can stop us from wrongdoing when we believe that no other human will ever find out. Only faith in God can give us the humility that alone has the power to defeat the arrogance of success and the self-belief that leads, as Paul Kennedy argued in The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers (1987), to military overstretch and national defeat.”
Referencing historian Niall Ferguson, Rabbi Sacks points to the Judeo-Christian ethic as the key to the growth — and preservation — of Western civilization:
“Towards the end of his book Civilisation, Niall Ferguson quotes a member of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, part of a team tasked with the challenge of discovering why it was that Europe, having lagged behind China until the 17th century, overtook it, rising to prominence and dominance.
“At first, he said, we thought it was your guns. You had better weapons than we did. Then we delved deeper and thought it was your political system. Then we searched deeper still, and concluded that it was your economic system.
“But for the past 20 years we have realised that it was in fact your religion. It was the (Judeo-Christian) foundation of social and cultural life in Europe that made possible the emergence first of capitalism, then of democratic politics.”
It is faith that prevents the fall of a society:
“Only faith can save a society from decline and fall. That was one of Moses’ greatest insights, and it has never ceased to be true.”
I will add this:
Based on these insights by Rabbi Sacks into the teachings of Moses to the new Jewish nation, I do not believe America will fail.
We know where we came from – our Biblical heritage.
We know our foundational principles and ideals.
And we have faith in the Almighty.
No, it is the technocracy that will fail.
They engage in wrongdoing they believe no other human will find out.
They have the arrogance of success and the self-belief that leads to military overstretch and national defeat.
And they are the ones who claim, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.”
People like them, who play god, should remember what Moses warned the Jews on behalf of the Almighty:
“If you ever forget the Lord your God… I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed.”