Skip to content
Who's in the Video
Alan Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at the Harvard Law School. In addition to his teaching, Dershowitz is a prolific author who makes frequent media and public[…]

The volatile mix of poverty and fundamentalism.

Question: What is America's greatest challenge? 

Alan Dershowitz: I think fundamentalism born of poverty is one of the great challenges that the United States faces.

Look, the United States has its own problem of fundamentalism. We are the most religious western nation in the world. More Americans believe that there are angels hovering above them than believe in evolution.

The difference is our fundamentalists generally are happy with their lives. And our fundamentalism also eschews and makes a sin out of suicide. So we don’t have a lot of suicide bombers in the United States growing out of fundamentalist movements.

But if you combine a life of misery and poverty – often inflicted by their religious leaders themselves with a promise of paradise and a claim that suicide is in the interest of religion – then you’ve got a combination that's awfully hard for western society to combat.


Recorded On: June 12, 2007