Howard Steven Friedman

Howard Steven Friedman
New York, New York, USA
June 10
Howard Steven Friedman works as a statistician and health economist for the United Nations. He has been a lead modeler on a number of key United Nations projects including the ICPD @ 15 Costing, High Level Task Force on Innovative Financing, and the Adding It Up reports. He is credited with being the lead developer of the tool used for costing the health-related Millennium Development Goals. He is also an adjunct professor at School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. Prior to joining the United Nations, Howard ran Analytic Solutions LLC, which provides consulting services in designing, developing and modeling data. This work also included teaching data mining and modeling techniques for major international corporations and foreign governments. Prior to that, he was a Director at Capital One, where he led teams of statisticians, analysts and programmers in operations and marketing. Howard is the author of over 35 scientific articles and book chapters in areas of applied statistics, health economics with recent publications in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, Current Medical Research & Opinion, Clinical Therapeutics, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy, Clinical Drug Investigation and Value in Health. Howard Friedman received his BS from Binghamton University in Applied Physics and a Masters in Statistics, along with a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University. Please note that all comments on this blog reflect the opinions of the author and not those of the United Nations or Columbia University

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FEBRUARY 10, 2013 6:34PM

America Not Truly a Religious Country

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Surveys repeatedly show that Americans are more religious than other developed countries. We are an anomaly compared to other wealthy democracies in our comparatively high rate church/synagogue/mosque attendance. Moreover, America is the only wealthy democracy where there active debates as to whether evolution should be taught in school or how prominently God and the Ten Commandments can appear in our public systems. We imbed our foreign policy with an American Exceptionalism mythology that reinforces the common American belief that it is God's will for the United States to expand its reach across the entire world and inflates American self confidence that we are always a force of good. (Of course, our belief that there is some divine support for America to be a force of good onto the world is not unique. Nearly every dominant power in history, from 19th century Britain to mid 20th century Japan and Germany made a similar justification for their actions).

Yes, Americans certainly think of themselves as a more righteous people than the rest of the developed world. But are we? Attending a religious service or repeating a religious doctrine is one thing, but the more important question is how does America behave? Does America follow the Golden Rule found in nearly all religions of "do onto others as you would have them do to you" and the corresponding "do not do onto other as you would not have them do to you"?

There is no question that we ignore the Golden Rule daily in nearly every interaction we have with other countries.

• We insist that some other countries shouldn't have nuclear weapons yet we have massive stockpiles and are only country to ever use them in war.

• From Nicaragua to Chile to Venezuela to countless other countries, we have supported the violent overthrow of democratically-elected governments around the world. At the same time, the slightest whiff of a foreign power trying to support an overthrow of the American government would result in a massive American assault.

• Whether we talk about Canada to Mexico to Panama to Vietnam to Cambodia to Laos to Iraq to Afghanistan or many other countries around the world, America has invaded for our own gain not for our self-defense.

• We tell countries that they should have "free trade" yet ignore the fact that we protected our nascent industries with government subsidies and high tariffs for decades.

• We claim to support democracy around the world yet we have installed dictators throughout Latin America and the Middle East to act as our client states.

• We point fingers at China declaring it a currency manipulator yet the U.S. Federal Reserve performs its own version of currency manipulation as a primary function.

• We tell other countries that they should follow international laws yet we violate those laws regularly ourselves and, moreover, refuse to be subject to international courts.

• We mourn the thousands of America lives lost on September 11th but ignore the hundreds of thousands of non-Americans that have been killed since that day due to America's military response.

We are not truly religious -- rather we ignore the Golden Rule daily. We treat other nations and their people in a manner that we would never want them to do to us. Rather than the follow the Golden Rule, we follow the more savage rule of "might makes right" with the violence and hypocrisy of a schoolyard bully who falsely believes that he will always be the biggest and strongest kid.

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umm, might makes right is the golden rule, everywhere. religion has only ever been for internal use, to bind together 'us,' in battle with 'them.'