Marx and Freud’s Illusions—and Their Debt to Judeo-Christian Civilization

Reviewing a new biography of Karl Marx and another one of Sigmund Freud, Daniel Johnson reflects on the impact these two larger-than-life figures had on the modern West. He concludes by commenting on their Jewish origins and respective attitudes toward religion:

Though they, like many other intellectuals, were Jewish, they eschewed anything religiously or culturally specific to Jews in favor of their own incorporation into the drama of the German spirit, Geistesgeschichte. Western civilization, flowering in their lifetimes as never since, had created a world stage that offered Freud and Marx more epoch-making roles than had ever been dreamt of in German philosophy—or in their beloved Shakespeare. . . .

But the vision of society that Marx bequeathed was an illusion—one that would prove lethal on an unimaginable scale. Freud was better at learning from his mistakes. Having denounced religion as an infantile neurosis in The Future of an Illusion, he belatedly understood the inability of science, psychoanalysis, or socialism to provide a substitute for God in conferring meaning on life. Unlike Marx, the dying Freud grasped the truth of the biblical injunction that man does not live on bread alone; in his last book, Moses and Monotheism, he returned to his Jewish roots. There is nothing illusory about the fact that the civilization of the West, without which neither Marx nor Freud could have existed, is at heart a Judeo-Christian one.

Read more at Standpoint

More about: German Jewry, History & Ideas, Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Western civilization

The IDF’s First Investigation of Its Conduct on October 7 Is Out

For several months, the Israel Defense Forces has been investigating its own actions on and preparedness for October 7, with an eye to understanding its failures. The first of what are expected to be many reports stemming from this investigation was released yesterday, and it showed a series of colossal strategic and tactical errors surrounding the battle at Kibbutz Be’eri, writes Emanuel Fabian. The probe, he reports, was led by Maj. Gen. (res.) Mickey Edelstein.

Edelstein and his team—none of whom had any involvement in the events themselves, according to the IDF—spent hundreds of hours investigating the onslaught and battle at Be’eri, reviewing every possible source of information, from residents’ WhatsApp messages to both Israeli and Hamas radio communications, as well as surveillance videos, aerial footage, interviews of survivors and those who fought, plus visits to the scene.

There will be a series of further reports issued this summer.

IDF chief Halevi in a statement issued alongside the probe said that while this was just the first investigation into the onslaught, which does not reflect the entire picture of October 7, it “clearly illustrates the magnitude of the failure and the dimensions of the disaster that befell the residents of the south who protected their families with their bodies for many hours, and the IDF was not there to protect them.” . . .

The IDF hopes to present all battle investigations by the end of August.

The IDF’s probes are strictly limited to its own conduct. For a broader look at what went wrong, Israel will have to wait for a formal state commission of inquiry to be appointed—which happens to be the subject of this month’s featured essay in Mosaic.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza War 2023, IDF, Israel & Zionism, October 7