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David P. Goldman

"Spengler," Asia Times' anonymous essayist until he stepped out of the shadows in 2008, is the most improbable success story of Internet journalism: an unknown writer for an obscure website writing about politics from the vantage point of theology and high culture, who became one of the most widely read voices on the Web.

Spengler hit a nerve after 9/11 with the startling assertion that cultural suicide is more the rule than the exception. Human beings cannot stand their own mortality without the hope of immortality, and a culture that exceeds its best-used-by-date is prone to destroy itself—Islam most prominently in the modern world. What made Spengler an unlikely star of Internet journalism is his unique ability to step out of the fishbowl and look at the strategic problems of the West from the vantage point of theology, culture, history and economics. All that secular rationalism has achieved, Spengler argues, is to persuade us that life is not worth living. This explains a great extinction of the peoples in which 90% of the world's six thousand languages will disappear within the next century or two, including most of the nations of Western Europe. What is it about Western culture that impels us to destroy ourselves? Most Western nations won't survive the next century. By 2100 the population of a dozen countries will fall by more than half, including Japan, Russia, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Ukraine and Poland. What destroys us, Spengler argues, is a loss of faith, and a loss of the culture that used to sustain faith.

In 2008 readers learned that "Spengler" is David P. Goldman, a Renaissance man whose career includes important contributions to economics and finance, as well as music theory, theology, mathematics and literary criticism. He consulted for National Security Council during the Reagan administration, advised the post-Communist governments of Russia and Nicaragua, and ran major research groups at several Wall Street firms. As a senior editor at the premier American intellectual monthly First Things, Goldman expanded his "Spengler" essays into a tour d'horizon of cultural decline.

David Goldman on his "Spengler" column at Asia Times Online: "During the too-brief run of the print edition of the Asia Times in the 1990s, the newspaper asked me to write a humor column, and I chose the name Spengler, as a joke—a columnist for an Asian daily using the name of the author of The Decline of the West. Barely a dozen “Spengler” items appeared before the print edition went down in the 1997 Asian financial crisis."

Spengler went on providing columns. Starting in 1999, they featured on the online edition of Asia Times:

"The three hundred or so essays that I have published in this space ... all proceeded from the theme formulated by Rosenzweig: the mortality of nations and its causes, Western secularism, Asian anomie, and inadaptable Islam. Why raise these issues under a pseudonym? There is a simple answer, and a less simple one. To inform a culture that it is going to die does not necessarily win friends, and what I needed to say would be hurtful to many readers. I needed to tell the Europeans that their post-national, secular dystopia was a death trap whence no one would get out alive. I needed to tell the Muslims that nothing would alleviate the unbearable sense of humiliation and loss that globalization inflicted on a civilization that once had pretensions to world dominance. I needed to tell Asians that materialism leads only to despair."