Three weeks ago I did a post about the writer "Spengler," showing how he used two bylines. Under the byline "Shushon" he was dispensing Christian Zionism at the snooty religious journal First Things, saying that Jews are divinely ordained to rule Jerusalem, and Christians need them to do so. Meantime on his own forum, as a popular columnist for Asia Times online, "Spengler" gave in to racist rants. Saying Islam is a dying religion, he called for "more war, more barbed wire, more killing, please!" for Arabs.
Now let's take this Three faces of Eve story another step. I believe that Spengler, and Shushon, are pseudonyms used by David P. Goldman, a Jewish harpsichordist who works in the financial industry in New York, and has a past as an economist for Lyndon LaRouche, the conspiratorial economist/cultist. I've looked into this at the impetus of Mark, a religious correspondent of mine who marshalled the evidence for both these posts (and who says the Goldman=Spengler connection is widely made on the internet).
Why do we think Goldman=Spengler? And what does it matter anyway? Hey, lots of writers use pseudonyms.
The second question is easy. This case is creepy. A theological writer who markets Zionism to Catholics ought to tell his readers he attends the Park Avenue Synagogue (where Goldman worshiped not long ago).
And any writer who calls for more killing and barbed wire for Arabs shouldn’t be able to hide from those views behind fancy pseudonyms–not when he writes for a religious journal, or when he goes on the Kudlow show on CNBC, or writes for Forbes, as David Goldman has done in his capacity as financial analyst.
As to the main question, all my evidence is textual/circumstantial. Goldman has not responded to numerous overtures. I left a few messages for him at his latest financial sock, Paris-based Asteri Capital. And I sent a letter to him at his address in NYC saying what I was about to say here. No answer. Last week I met Pepe Escobar of Asia Times online and asked him if Spengler is Goldman. He said, “I can’t tell you. I know him and he’s a nice guy.”
So let’s go to that circumstantial evidence.
Mark started me with four articles. Two were signed by Goldman several years ago in the online journal Jewish-Christian Relations. This one in 1999, “Has Franz Rosenzweig’s Time Come?” and this one in 2000 on liturgical music. Then fast forward to this 2007 article signed by Spengler in First Things on “Franz Rosenzweig and the Abrahamic Religions,” and this one lately by Shushon on “Zionism for Christians.” (Mark’s persuasive case that Spengler=Shushon is in my last post on this matter.)
The greatest similarity is in themes. The 1999 Goldman article “presents in embryonic form most of the themes that are now
familiar to readers of Spengler, especially and obviously the reliance
upon Rosenzweig and Joseph Ratzinger (now Benedict XVI),” says Mark. For all three authors–Goldman, Shushon and Spengler– Franz Rosenzweig
is a hugely important figure in religious history, especially his
thoughts on the relations of Christians and Jews.
And Mark says that Spengler’s style is unmistakably that of Goldman’s. That’s where I put my dime. Words like the
“living” Jewish community pop up in both Goldman and Spengler eight years apart. The
phrase “stands surety” is used by both Goldman and Spengler in the same
context, the importance of the Jewish people to the Christian world. The
idea that the Jews are “divinely” commanded to be a nation is embraced
by both Goldman and Spengler. Both writers use a word most writers eschew: “eschew.”
But here is the calling card. Both Spengler and Goldman write endlessly about paganism. Look thru Goldman on Rosenzweig: Pagan empires. Pagan anti-Semitism. Crypto pagans. Falling
back into paganism. Slip back into paganism. Nietzsche’s paganism. Pagan
faultlines of Europe. The residual pagan in
every Christian. Inner pagan. The pagan
character of Europe. Pagan nationalism. Pagan
failure of Europe. Resurgent paganism. Pagan
elements. Pagan mythology. Pagan elements. Pagan elements.
Now read Spengler on Rosenzweig, and it is the same feast of paganism. I’m not even going to count them all up. The giveaway are three phrases: “residual paganism” and “inner pagan” and “crypto-pagan,” all used by Spengler and Goldman too. How many other writers use such phrases?
Another morsel is an agricultural fable that repeats itself in Goldman and Spengler.
Mark turned up a column by David Goldman, in Forbes:
an old joke about the farmer who wanted to train his mule to work on
less and less food. Eventually he got the animal trained to where it
would work with no food at all—but then, by a rotten stroke of luck,
the animal dropped dead.”
Now from Spengler’s post, Life and Death in the Bible:
“Modern materialism has weaned the industrial world off spiritual food,
like the thrifty farmer who trained his donkey to eat less by reducing
its rations each day. “Just when I got I had him trained to live on
nothing,” the farmer complained, “the donkey had to die!” Like the
donkey, the modern world has died when its spiritual rations were cut
Who is Goldman? Mark refers to the bio at the JCR website:
P. Goldman has written on the subject of music and religion in the
Rivista Internazionale di Musica Sacra, The Musical Quarterly, and other scholarly journals. He taught history of music theory at the
Mannes College of Music in New York City, and music appreciation at
Queens College of New York. As a choral accompanist and harpsichordist,
he has performed numerous works of Christian music. He is
professionally active as an investment banker in New York, and writeull
[sic] column for the global edition of Forbes magazine. Mr. Goldman
attends Park Avenue Synagogue in New York.
Mark says that Goldman worked for Cantor, Fitzgerald, and before that was the chief economist for Lyndon Larouche. This is from economist Jude Wanniski’s site (watch out on the link here):
“partnership” with Lyndon LaRouche was only a loose contact with his
chief economist at the time, David Goldman. All contact with LaRouche
ended when Goldman became chief economist at my firm, since leaving
Polyconomics to run an investment bank.
And critics of LaRouche have posted an article
written by Goldman and another man accusing Wall Street Zionists of
giving nuclear secrets to Israel. From that site:
The LaRouche organization’s ultimate propaganda attack on Israel
(1978). Uwe Henke von Parpart and David Goldman claim that a “nest” of
Wall Street “traitors” using their “Zionist credentials” stole the
secret of the H-bomb and gave it to Mossad, thus giving Israel the
means to “destroy the United States.”
Mark says: “If you rummage around the internet with Google,
you’ll find that the Larouche/Goldman parting was acrimonious, with
Larouche accusing Goldman of financial misconduct and of going over to
the neocons…. Basically, Spengler IS a neocon… The difference is this: Spengler says that the neocon idea of
spreading democracy in the Middle East is unrealistic and misguided
(and he may well be right about that); for Spengler the proper response
to the Muslim world is to kill lots of people.”
I asked Mark why he thinks Goldman doesn’t use his real name. “I think 9/11 led him to put
some thought into the identity he wanted to present on the internet
when he went for the big time,” Mark says. “He’s undergone a conversion from his
earlier days, to say the least.” Then he speculated about Goldman’s motivations: “Spengler has said a lot of controversial things, and that might not go
down too well with the high profile employers he’s had… He
may have wanted to sidestep his Larouchie past, and his rants against
Wall Street Zionists. He may also have wished to portray himself as an
Olympian intellect, above it all and all knowing, and downplay his
Jewish background….His new-found Jewish identity–contrasting
sharply with Larouche’s virulent anti-Zionism, bordering on
anti-Semitism–would have been inconvenient for purposes of the
Spengler persona he wished to present. Notice, in his pre-Spengler days
at JCR, writing occasional articles for a little known site, Goldman
had no problem with his Jewish identity.”
Mark and I are both irritated here by Spengler’s putting himself forward as a Zionist salesman to Christians.
Mark: “If you look at his Rosenzweig article at JCR, you’ll notice that
already in 1999 he was quoting then Cardinal Ratzinger extensively. However, the early Spengler was definitely focused on
evangelicals, many of whom are well known for their support of
Israel. When Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI Spengler
appeared to shift his focus to Catholics. He has for years mistakenly
believed that Ratzinger supports his (Spengler/Goldman’s) own views on
Christian-Jewish relations… I don’t say that Spengler exactly
has pretended he wasn’t Jewish, but that he was perhaps deliberately
ambiguous about his background, affecting a familiarity with things
Christian that might convince those with only a nodding acquaintance.”
Mark also points out the narrowness of Spengler’s field of reference.
“He’s a good writer and has some interesting
ideas. What’s noticeable after a while is that he has a very limited
background, sometimes quite idiosyncratic when you scratch the surface. His knowledge of Christianity is largely derived from Kierkegaard and
of Judaism from Rosenzweig and Wyschogrod–none necessarily mainstream
thinkers. In other words, he does the best he can with limited
resources, but like most fanatics he tries to use those limited
resources to construct global theories….
“Another example: his
ideas about biblical historicity are largely derived from a small
number of older thinkers influenced by Albright which now tends toward
a type of neo-fundamentalism–and not by mainstream scholarship, whether Christian or Israeli. When confronted [on his forum], he just digs in his heels
and sticks with the people that say the things he wants to hear: there
seem to be some echoes of the bronze age in the bible, ergo, God
entered into a foreskin-for-real-estate swap with Abraham for ever and ever, led the children of Israel through the Red Sea, handed stone
tablets to Moses on top of a mountain, etc., etc. Don’t bother asking
how all that follows with such specificity from the vaguest of
connections to disputed Bronze Age allusions. To me, this is typical of
the Larouchie approach to the world. And more than that, it shows
that his conclusions are predetermined, rather than being the result of
an actual weighing of evidence.”
The key word in that analysis is fanaticism. First Things,
a legit journal of theology, is running the work of a
fanatic, without saying who he really is. But then FT is in bed with the neocons. It is edited by Richard
John Neuhaus, a Catholic priest and neocon. On its boards are Midge Decter, neocon matriarch, and the ever more neoconnish Jean Bethke Elshtain. Its features editor, R.R. Reno, is a writer I have come to admire for a great piece about manual labor in Commentary. I bet he is appalled by this imposture. What say you R.R.?
Says Mark, “FT regularly runs articles by Avery Cardinal Dulles,
certainly one of the most eminent American Catholic theologians. The
aim is to be highbrow, an ecumenical kind of Commentary, perhaps. So FT
has given Spengler/Shushon a forum to try to recruit Catholics to the
Zionist cause. “Shushon” presents Zionism in a theological way for the
intellectuals… He conceals what may be entailed for those who are deluded
into believing that support of the state of Israel is a matter of
fundamental theology for Catholics: once on board with that concept,
they may (if Spengler has his way) be called upon to support “more war,
more barbed wire, more killing, please!” (which is actually a rip-off of Michael
Ledeen.) After all, if support of the Zionist cause is written into the
Creed, so to speak, there’s no backing away from the implications: the
end will justify the means at that point. For that reason, I think
Neuhaus owes it to his readers to reveal who the author Shushon really
is, so they will be aware that his true agenda is not academic theology
but power politics.”
I may be wrong. If I am, I urge Goldman to get in touch with me. My readers know I am happy to correct my mistakes.
But I don’t think I am wrong. And Goldman’s deceptions get at one of my main problems with Zionism.
Fearful of abandonment, it has marketed itself to non-Jewish westerners again and again in unstraightforward
ways. Zionism–always in America’s best interest! Zionism–an
essential part of Catholic teaching! When actually if you go to AIPAC,
you find that the passion for Zionism is pretty straightforward: a lot
of (generally older) Jews care very deeply about Zionism for very
Jewish reasons, having to do with anti-Semitism, assimilation, and
religious election. These issues have bedeviled our foreign policy. The
least the fanatics could do for us is to be straightforward about where
they’re coming from.