Israeli Independence And Libertarian Blindness


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Israeli Independence And Libertarian Blindness

By Edward Hudgins

May 6, 2014 — When Israel declared its independence 66 years ago, pursuant to a UN resolution, David Ben Gurion promised the new state “will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture.”

The next day five Arab countries attacked it with the goal of killing all the Jews or driving them into the sea. To the world’s amazement, the fledgling state won and has continued to build a modern, free society.

Today, some American libertarians and friends of freedom, who rightly criticize certain Israeli policies, seem blind to the full context of that country’s struggle and the fundamental principles of its founding.

Israel for individuals


Modern Israel started in the 1880s with Jews immigrating to Ottoman-ruled Palestine. Jews from Western Europe, many secular, came because, in spite of the Enlightenment revolution, they were still subject to ethnic hate. Jews from Eastern Europe and Russia came because they were subject to ghettoization and murderous pogroms.

They purchased land, worked hard, and made the desert bloom, sharing many modern agricultural techniques with local Arab peasants, most living in conditions unchanged for a millennium. They were building a modernist, democratic and open society in the Middle East.

When the war of independence came, the government announced that Arab villages that did not take up arms against the new state would be left alone, but the inhabitants of those that did side with the invaders would be sent into exile. The invading armies urged Arabs to flee so they wouldn’t be in the way of the planned destructions of the Jews.

Today, Arabs and Muslims are among the citizens of Israel and are regularly elected to the Knesset.

Orthodoxy and statism vs. securalism and freedom


As a state founded by Jews, Israel has faced its own problems squaring its modernist principles with its religious ones. Its greatest internal threat comes not from its Muslim or Arab citizens but, rather, from the ultra-orthodox Haredi. They live off government handouts and push their Taliban-like rules on more traditional and secular Jews.

The most contentious issue that concerns friends of freedom in America and other countries is the Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Arab inhabitants find their ability to travel freely curtailed because of the way the boundaries of settlements are drawn. Arab farmers find it difficult to access resources. Other rights are curtailed as well.

And there is the deeper problem. Haredim and other elements in Israel contend that what they call “Judea and Samaria” should simply be part of modern Israel because it was part of the ancient kingdom of Israel. In this respect, Israel now looks less like a state upholding the ideals articulated by Ben Gurion and more like an imperial power intent on ruling, never mind about the rights of the Arabs who share that territory.

But after years of occupation Israel did pull all of its settlements out of Gaza. This did not result in the inhabitants diving into the enterprises of peace, such as educating their children and building their economy. Rather, they elected Hamas leaders, authoritarian thugs bent on the destruction of Israel, who regularly fire rockets into Israel and who kill any Palestinian advocating peace and coexistence with Israel.

So libertarians and friends of freedom must appreciate that while Israel engages in some policies that might be politically foolish and not in keeping with the Enlightenment principles, there is no comparison between it and its current neighbors. We see Egypt and other Arab and Muslims countries still struggling to come to grips with a culture of modernity and principles of an open, tolerant society.

Today’s anti-Semitism


Today we see anti-Semitism on the rise throughout the world. In Europe we see it in part because of the influence of Muslim immigrants who are not instilled with or initiated into the Enlightenment values that created modern Europe. We see it on American campuses with “boycott Israel” movements. And as Russia moves into Ukraine, we see reports that Jews are being ordered to “register” and that Jews in Odessa are considering an emergency evacuation.

Israel appealed to the highest standards at its founding 66 years ago. It should be held to those principles. But friends of freedom must avoid a double standard and realize that the real challenge is for Israel’s neighbors to truly become part of the modern world. Israel, for all its faults, remains a free country.
---
Hudgins is director of advocacy and a senior scholar at The Atlas Society.

For further information

*Edward Hudgins, “Egypt Revolts Against Islamists and Obama.” July 3, 2013.

*Edward Hudgins, “Israel Vs. Palestinian Moral Smuggling.” June 10, 2010.

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The above is one long self-deceiving fairytale.

The Zionist Ben Gurion, in the 1920s an admirer of Lenin and Stalin, will never make a good poster boy for individualism. By 1962 he had moderated his views. Here he is looking 25 years into the bright future (Look magazine quoting his statement):

... in 1987 ... the rising political importance of men of science, may transform the United States into a welfare state with a planned economy.

Western and Eastern Europe will become a federation of autonomous states having a Socialist and democratic regime. With the exception of the USSR ... ail other continents will become united in a world alliance, at whose disposal will be an international police force. ...

In Jerusalem, ... (a truly United Nations) will build a Shrine of the Prophets to serve the federated union of all continents; this will be the seat of the Supreme Court of Mankind, to settle all controversies among the federated continents, as prophesied by Isaiah. Higher education will be the right of every person in the world. ...

Free, and paid for, I suppose, by an enlightened global tax. Ed Hudgins wrote:

Today, Arabs and Muslims are among the citizens of Israel and are regularly elected to the Knesset.

Why not come right out and say that the Israeli government treats Arabs and Jews equally? Because the discrepancy with reality would be too blatant. (Israel can’t treat Arabs and Jews equally if it is to remain a Jewish state.)

... while Israel engages in some policies that might be politically foolish and not in keeping with the Enlightenment principles ...

might be --> are

some --> many

... there is no comparison between it and its current neighbors.

Egypt is the standard of human rights by which anything better is deemed all right – neocons in the U.S. make the same argument to justify state institutionalized torture.

Today we see anti-Semitism on the rise throughout the world. ... We see it on American campuses with "boycott Israel" movements. And as Russia moves into Ukraine, we see reports that Jews are being ordered to "register" ... .

That’s disingenuous. If someone distributed pamphlets ordering Jews to register, and the local newspaper reported it, then people would see reports that Jews are being ordered to register. That’s exactly what happened in the Ukraine. Though Ukrainians are suspicious of Jews because of the history of the early Soviet Union (Kaganovich et al) – the children starve to death first, the parents watch them waste away and hear them whimpering for food – the registration story was exposed as a hoax almost immediately, which was weeks before Hudgins wrote his article.

Israel is less free than Sweden and at least the Swedes neither receive nor demand foreign aid.

Poor put upon Israel, if only people would leave them alone. I wish they and their fifth column would leave us alone!

Yaron Brook made some of the same points as Hudgins in a recent talk, which I review here:

"Anti-Capitalism and Anti-Semitism."

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Israeli Independence And Libertarian Blindness

By Edward Hudgins

May 6, 2014 — When Israel declared its independence 66 years ago, pursuant to a UN resolution, David Ben Gurion promised the new state “will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture.”

The next day five Arab countries attacked it with the goal of killing all the Jews or driving them into the sea. To the world’s amazement, the fledgling state won and has continued to build a modern, free society.

That's not quite right.

First of all, there are no "Arab" countries. Countries in the Middle East are as divergent in their interests and culture as anywhere else. The issue is that you're framing this as a racial issue when it is really an international conflict among nation states.

Secondly, the goal of the Arab countries was not to "kill all the Jews and drive them into the sea". Prior to the establishment of Israel, the UN proposed a two-state partition, an Israeli state and a Palestinian state. However, after the declaration of Israeli independence, both the US and USSR supported a single Israeli state.

The Palestinians rejected this immediately because they saw it as outright conquest by the Israelis and the superpowers.

The other Arab states also supported the two-state partition, though what they really wanted was to annex Palestine, so they declared war based on that.

They purchased land, worked hard, and made the desert bloom, sharing many modern agricultural techniques with local Arab peasants, most living in conditions unchanged for a millennium. They were building a modernist, democratic and open society in the Middle East.

If by "working hard" you mean accepting hundreds of millions in foreign aid from the US, then sure.

But after years of occupation Israel did pull all of its settlements out of Gaza. This did not result in the inhabitants diving into the enterprises of peace, such as educating their children and building their economy. Rather, they elected Hamas leaders, authoritarian thugs bent on the destruction of Israel, who regularly fire rockets into Israel and who kill any Palestinian advocating peace and coexistence with Israel.

Israel immediately resumed the program, however. Also, it continued to enforce economic embargoes against the Palestinians, leaving millions without access to adequate food, water, or medical care. How are the Palestinians supposed to be "educating their children and building their economy" when they're pretty much starving to death?

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Ed,

I used to think I knew what the driver of anti-Semitism was and I would think of it as an extension of collectivism.

But from what I have seen so far, when the Jew-hate bug bites a person, there is no more reasoning with that person about the issue. I recognize this when I see it because it's the same as the racism I grew up with. Many of my folks backed off their views in public, but they went to their graves with hatred of blacks in their hearts.

I wonder what it is about the human psyche that causes this...

To me, it goes beyond bad premises and anything resembling reason. And I'm certainly not satisfied in calling this irrational and grouping it with benign irrationalities.

I know I've gotten tired of trying to discuss it with those who are committed to hatred. Like the saying goes, haters gonna' hate.

That's the premise.

Like the frog and the scorpion, who stings the frog even though the scorpion dies in the process, I'm beginning to think the haters do what they do because they can't not do it.

Michael

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Israeli Independence And Libertarian Blindness

By Edward Hudgins

May 6, 2014 — When Israel declared its independence 66 years ago, pursuant to a UN resolution, David Ben Gurion promised the new state “will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture.”

The next day five Arab countries attacked it with the goal of killing all the Jews or driving them into the sea. To the world’s amazement, the fledgling state won and has continued to build a modern, free society.

That's not quite right.

First of all, there are no "Arab" countries. Countries in the Middle East are as divergent in their interests and culture as anywhere else. The issue is that you're framing this as a racial issue when it is really an international conflict among nation states.

Secondly, the goal of the Arab countries was not to "kill all the Jews and drive them into the sea". Prior to the establishment of Israel, the UN proposed a two-state partition, an Israeli state and a Palestinian state. However, after the declaration of Israeli independence, both the US and USSR supported a single Israeli state.

The Palestinians rejected this immediately because they saw it as outright conquest by the Israelis and the superpowers.

The other Arab states also supported the two-state partition, though what they really wanted was to annex Palestine, so they declared war based on that.

So low-life which is it?

There are Arab states, or, there aren't Arab states?

There are Arab countries and no Arab states?

Have you heard of the Maghreb?

The term maghrib is in origin an Arabic word for "west, occident", denoting the westernmost territories that fell to the Islamic conquests of the 7th century.[2] Today, it is used as a proper noun denoting the Maghreb, also known as المغرب العربي al-maghrib al-ʻarabīy "the Arab Maghreb" or المغرب الكبير al-maghrib al-kabīr "the great Maghreb" in Arabic. The definite form al-maghrib is used for the country of Morocco in particular. The Berber language's alternative term for the region, Tamazgha (meaning: land of the Berbers),[3] has been popularized by Berber activists since the second half of the 20th century.

Before the establishment of modern nation states in the region during the mid-20th century, Maghreb most-commonly referred to a smaller area between the Atlas Mountains in the south and the Mediterranean Sea, often also including eastern Libya, but not modern Mauritania. As recently as the late 19th century it was used to refer to the Western Mediterranean region of coastal North Africa in general, and to Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia in particular.[2]

Partially isolated from the rest of the continent by the Atlas Mountains and the Sahara desert, inhabitants of the northern parts of the Maghreb have long had commercial and cultural ties to the inhabitants of the Mediterranean countries of Southern Europe and Western Asia, going back at least to the Phoenicians in the 1st millennium BC (the Phoenician colony of Carthage having been founded, according to tradition, in what is now Tunisia circa 800 BC).

Why do you hate Jews?

A...

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Michael –

One possible motive of leftists for hating Israel is the same motive for hating America: hatred of success and achievement by the envious.

But as I indicate in my piece, in the case of some libertarians there is the problem of dropping all context.

For example, many of Israel’s secular founders were socialists. But the old-time types did have the correct central value of economic progress and prosperity. They wanted to build in Palestine a state modeled after those advanced countries in Western Europe, though by methods with which we disagree. (They founded Tel Aviv as modern city, not a religious shrine.) This was in sharp contrast to the value hierarchies of the various Arab and Muslim leaders in the region, who tended to be tribalists—more so than the Jews—bent on their own power. Local peasants in Palestine were certainly the victims of those leaders, but they were also still in the medieval mindset. There was a major clash of cultures then as there is now between the pre-modern and the modern.

So here is a deep, fundamental contrast in values that some libertarians miss by dropping context and focusing only on the aspects of socialism with which we rightly disagree.

Or consider how they made the desert bloom, usually on the worst land, which was the only land Arab landlords would sell Jewish settlers. The kibbutzim were little socialist communes. But membership was voluntary; indeed, the members must accept applicants to be part of their community. And member can leave.

Further, there were variations of this model. The moshavim were settlements that allowed members to farm their own plots of land and benefit directly from their own efforts, while core infrastructure was still collectively owned.

And given the nature of the initial settlement of Palestine by Jews, even libertarian-minded individuals might opt at the start for this sort of social system. Few would-be settlers at that time had the personal capital with which to purchase land; land was purchased by groups or fraternal organizations.

Some libertarians seem to get this fluke in their brains about Israel. They see faults—as do I—and let them grow to strangle their ability to judge in context.

I wrote my first piece on Israel 30 years ago this month, about the planned U.S.-Israel free trade area. At that time their GDP was $23 billion, their government spending $23 billion, and their national debt $23 billion. I was very critical of the country’s socialistic economy. My criticisms were meant to be constructive and Israel has improved much since then.

The point of my piece was to urge libertarians not drop context and to understand the fundamentals.

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In 2005 I wrote a piece entitled "The Means and Ends of Islamists" which, among other things, looked at Hamas, which now rules Gaza, and the culture from which that collection of authoritarian thugs grew. At this point I am discussing a book by by Robert Pape entitled "Dying to Win":

[Concerning] Saeed Hotari, a Palestinian Hamas member who killed 21 Israelis in a 2001 suicide bombing in a disco. Pape explains that for Hamas, a supposedly “political” group, “Mosques are a common recruitment ground.” When Hamas members spot potential candidates, their “leaders initiate a discussion of dying for Allah with small groups of young people and invite those who seem particularly interested to join a special Hamas-led class on Islamic study.” These classes identify potential suicide volunteers, who are further indoctrinated in the Hamas version of Islam. Inevitably, some volunteer to die for the cause. As part of their preparation, recruits are taken to cemeteries, where they are told “to prepare for death by lying between grave sites for hours and to wear a white, hooded shroud normally used to cover bodies for burial.” Later they might be returned to the cemetery, “spending a dozen or more hours in a grave while reciting passages of the Koran.”

Later I wrote this which, along with rockets fired from Gaza at Israel to kill Jewish civilians, helps explain why it is so difficult for Israel to follow policies that will empower Hamas:

The ultimate value of these fanatics was expressed quite bluntly in 1996 by Osama bin Laden, when he said of his terrorists, “These youth love death as you love life.” Death, in fact, is their ultimate value. They are death worshipers—literally.
Consider what many Palestinians think of their sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, friends and relatives who kill themselves in order to murder Jews. The father of suicide bomber Saeed Hotari threw a party to celebrate his son’s act, proclaiming, “I am very happy and proud of what my son did.” Family, friends, and neighbors joined the festivities. From all reports, that seems a fairly typical reaction to such suicides. It reveals the true nature and values not only of the bombers but of the community from which they arise.
Some might argue that such actions and attitudes are appropriate because of the injustices visited on the Palestinians. Certainly some Israeli policies depart radically from the principles of individualism, justice, and freedom that should guide a civilized country. But while Israeli policies may have imposed injustices and hardships on many Palestinians, the anti-life values prevalent in Palestinian areas have constituted a far greater impediment to securing their happiness and success.
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Michael –

One possible motive of leftists for hating Israel is the same motive for hating America: hatred of success and achievement by the envious.

Ed,

As that is one of Rand's insights, I used to give it a lot more weight than I now do.

I do believe envy of the good (achievement and success kind of good, i.e. secular good based on reason) is a motive in a small degree in our species, but after observing things over my life--looking for how this works as a driving psychological motor and trying to explain large questions in my mind with this observation--I just haven't found it to be as universal for explaining social hatred as I once did.

I notice you said "motive of leftists." I come from hillbillies where the terms left and right doesn't even mean anything. I grew up listening to stories about "beady-eyed Jews" and the entire litany of stereotypical things said by bigots. I can assure you that anti-Semitism is alive an well outside of the left. It may be obvious, but it bears repeating. You will find anti-Semitism strong in segments of the Islamic world, the white Christian world, black organizations, the left, economists, college students of all stripes, country clubs, factories, you name it. There's even a widespread concept called the New Antisemitism.

All this goes way beyond hating success and achievement out of sheer envy.

It's like racism. I actually tested this in Brazil without even realizing it. I was once in love with a black woman and we lived together for almost a year. The flack I caught from all different directions really opened my mind on the difference between what people say about something like bigotry (EVERYBODY's against it, they often grandstand about it) and what they do when it is staring them in the face (rationalizations galore about why this or that particular case of ignoring race is unwise, not to mention how they behave).

Because of that experience, I see the same damn thing when people talk about Jews (or hide that behind saying things like they are against "Zionism," not Jews, and that kind of crap).

This is an ugly topic because there is an ugly weakness in human nature that far too many people let flourish in their souls. I agree and believe that philosophies like Objectivism offer a good way to contain the human weakness toward bigotry (all bigotry, not just anti-Semitism), but I don't agree with Rand's identification of the root cause. However, I find her comments about collectivism and bigotry pertinent and insightful, so I'm not saying she was wrong. Just incomplete.

Also, I agree with the criticisms out there that some Objectivists use Rand's work and the Objectivist movement as a cover for promoting Israel at all costs. I, also, promote Israel. I don't do it that way, though. The ends do not justify the means in my thinking. I want my means to be consistent with my ends.

In other words, I don't believe the best way to fight deceptive propaganda is with different deceptive propaganda. You fight it with the truth and learn how to sell that.

The funny part about this issue is how it almost always trivializes fundamentals once a discussion gets underway. I'm talking about discussing this with haters, not discussing it with people like you and me. When hatred is present, it almost forces the hater into the epistemological process of what I call "normative before cognitive."

I hold the best way to use reason is to identify something correctly before judging it ("cognitive before normative"). In the "normative before cognitive" approach, the evaluation leads and the only thing the person is trying to do is accumulate arguments and evidence that supports his judgment while blanking out the rest. That's what hatred does and why I have grown tired of talking to haters. They ignore more than they argue.

Is storytelling the answer to cut through the noise with them? I believe it is, and I'm not being flip when I say that. It's great to frame an issue in terms of logical consequences, but only to people who don't blank out facts. A story, however, can frame an issue in terms of concretes that carry ideas past established hatred in their minds. Not everybody, but some. And their kids :smile: (but that's another issue). This is why I believe Rand's fiction consistently outsells her nonfiction and why it won't go away. She could tell a damn fine story.

So the best way, in my current form of thinking, of discussing anti-Semitism with haters is to let them rant, then tell them a good story. Seriously. When reason doesn't work, you gotta do something unless you just want to shoot them. :smile: I haven't really thought of accumulating and/or creating a body of stories for bigotry, but that might be a good idea.

Michael

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In 2005 I wrote a piece entitled "The Means and Ends of Islamists" which, among other things, looked at Hamas, which now rules Gaza, and the culture from which that collection of authoritarian thugs grew. At this point I am discussing a book by by Robert Pape entitled "Dying to Win":

[Concerning] Saeed Hotari, a Palestinian Hamas member who killed 21 Israelis in a 2001 suicide bombing in a disco. Pape explains that for Hamas, a supposedly “political” group, “Mosques are a common recruitment ground.” When Hamas members spot potential candidates, their “leaders initiate a discussion of dying for Allah with small groups of young people and invite those who seem particularly interested to join a special Hamas-led class on Islamic study.” These classes identify potential suicide volunteers, who are further indoctrinated in the Hamas version of Islam. Inevitably, some volunteer to die for the cause. As part of their preparation, recruits are taken to cemeteries, where they are told “to prepare for death by lying between grave sites for hours and to wear a white, hooded shroud normally used to cover bodies for burial.” Later they might be returned to the cemetery, “spending a dozen or more hours in a grave while reciting passages of the Koran.”

Later I wrote this which, along with rockets fired from Gaza at Israel to kill Jewish civilians, helps explain why it is so difficult for Israel to follow policies that will empower Hamas:

The ultimate value of these fanatics was expressed quite bluntly in 1996 by Osama bin Laden, when he said of his terrorists, “These youth love death as you love life.” Death, in fact, is their ultimate value. They are death worshipers—literally.
Consider what many Palestinians think of their sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, friends and relatives who kill themselves in order to murder Jews. The father of suicide bomber Saeed Hotari threw a party to celebrate his son’s act, proclaiming, “I am very happy and proud of what my son did.” Family, friends, and neighbors joined the festivities. From all reports, that seems a fairly typical reaction to such suicides. It reveals the true nature and values not only of the bombers but of the community from which they arise.
Some might argue that such actions and attitudes are appropriate because of the injustices visited on the Palestinians. Certainly some Israeli policies depart radically from the principles of individualism, justice, and freedom that should guide a civilized country. But while Israeli policies may have imposed injustices and hardships on many Palestinians, the anti-life values prevalent in Palestinian areas have constituted a far greater impediment to securing their happiness and success.

Let's be clear here. The Israel-Palestine issue is not about the causes of Palestinian hardships. It is about the morality of Israeli policies towards the Palestinians.

You seem to agree that Israel does engage in policies that are unjust and wrong, but your article simply presents a long list of excuses. Specifically, that Israel's founding values are consistent with Enlightenment values, that the Jews were persecuted by Arabs and Europeans, that the country was attacked by its neighbors, that its human rights record is comparatively better than Egypt's, that it is economically prosperous, that anti-semitism is on the rise etc. Not one of these things justifies Israel's unjust treatment of Palestinians.

Supposedly, you were providing relevant context. However, when you pointed to injustices committed against Israel by its neighbors, you did not provide a similar context. Instead, you simply said that their actions are due to their anti-life values. You also ignored relevant facts in light of which their actions make a lot more sense, as I pointed out in the previous post. This is the opposite of providing context. Which brings us to this:

But friends of freedom must avoid a double standard and realize that the real challenge is for Israel’s neighbors to truly become part of the modern world. Israel, for all its faults, remains a free country.

The only person here guilty of using a double standard is you. You admitted that Israeli polices are unjust. But apparently, according to you, if someone merely says that they are for freedom, then they are fundamentally for freedom regardless of what their actions might indicate.

May I remind you that morality is about actions and choices, not beliefs and words.

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Let's be clear here. The Israel-Palestine issue is not about the causes of Palestinian hardships. It is about the morality of Israeli policies towards the Palestinians.

But not about the morality of Palestinian policies toward Israel.

Right.

What a blank out.

This is exactly what I was talking about.

The only person here guilty of using a double standard is you.

Heh.

Michael

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Let's be clear here. The Israel-Palestine issue is not about the causes of Palestinian hardships. It is about the morality of Israeli policies towards the Palestinians.

But not about the morality of Palestinian policies toward Israel.

Right.

What a blank out.

This is exactly what I was talking about.

The only person here guilty of using a double standard is you.

Heh.

Michael

It most certainly is, and the Palestinian leadership is guilty of many things. I readily admit that. Unlike supporters of Israel, I support individual rights unconditionally, and I don't make excuses for evil.

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Here.

Let's tell a story.

There was once a man who won a herd of camels in a card game. He was a very humanitarian man and had no experience with camels. The first thing he noticed about keeping them was the cost. They were expensive to feed and care for.

He also noticed they reproduced faster than he imagined, creating more camels and more cost. What to do?

A friend suggested he castrate the males, but he was against that because of the pain. So the friend asked why he did not advertise for a vet who could castrate camels without pain. And he did just that.

A vet answered the ad and gave him profuse guarantees that there would be no pain. The man asked, "May I observe you castrating the camels?

The vet said, "But of course."

So the vet washed his hands and carried his black case behind the first male camel. He sat the case on the ground, opened it and took out two sterilized bricks. He lined the bricks up alongside each of the camel's testicles and opened his arms wide.

The man yelled, "Wait!"

But it was too late. The vet slammed the bricks together hard on the camel's testicles. There was a dull thunk with a squishy noise as the camel stretched his neck straight out and sucked in air.

The man, visibly upset, asked, "Doesn't that hurt?"

The vet replied, "Only if you get your thumbs caught between the two bricks."

:smile:

Michael

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The only person here guilty of using a double standard is you. You admitted that Israeli polices are unjust. But apparently, according to you, if someone merely says that they are for freedom, then they are fundamentally for freedom regardless of what their actions might indicate.

May I remind you that morality is about actions and choices, not beliefs and words.

Sorta, slightly, rather untrue, actually.

Beliefs + words + choices + actions = morality.

For someone who wouldn't understand integrity and convictions if they bit her on the behind - it's advisable to not to use big words like "morality" and "freedom". They are concepts, you see, composed of and dependent on other concepts.

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Sorta, slightly, rather untrue, actually.

Beliefs + words + choices + actions = morality.

For someone who wouldn't understand integrity and convictions if they bit her on the behind - it's advisable to not to use big words like "morality" and "freedom". They are concepts, you see, composed of and dependent on other concepts.

From the Objectivist Ethics:

What is morality, or ethics? It is a code of values to guide man’s choices and actions—the choices and actions that determine the purpose and the course of his life. Ethics, as a science, deals with discovering and defining such a code.

Man must choose his actions, values and goals by the standard of that which is proper to man—in order to achieve, maintain, fulfill and enjoy that ultimate value, that end in itself, which is his own life.

From Galt's speech:

A moral code is a system of teleological measurement which grades the choices and actions open to man, according to the degree to which they achieve or frustrate the code’s standard of value. The standard is the end, to which man’s actions are the means.

A moral code is a set of abstract principles; to practice it, an individual must translate it into the appropriate concretes—he must choose the particular goals and values which he is to pursue. This requires that he define his particular hierarchy of values, in the order of their importance, and that he act accordingly.

Furthermore, I've never even once heard Rand even imply that believing the right things and saying the right words grants you immunity from morality, as Ed seems to argue is the case for Israel.

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"A moral code is a set of abstract principles..."

"It is a code of values to guide man's choices and actions..."

[AR]

Are you reading what you are quoting? "Code of values - Abstract principles..."

Do you even know what is "proper to man"?

Saying the "right words"? Believing the "right things"? I repeat, you have no understanding of morality, Objectivist, or other.

What means "right"?

Right for whom? By what standards? Do you know?

Everything implicit and explicit by Rand, counsels "conviction" in one's rational morality. To hold to that conviction is the most selfish action possible, and so -- the morality of rational selfishness.

To practise the Objectivist morality requires fully honoring the virtues of honesty and integrity - which means in word, choice and action.

Ed's basic argument comes down to:

one set of people believing, speaking, choosing and acting - largely- in their rational self-interest;

while otoh, another set of people does anything but.

If the majority in Palestine had had one day of truly self-interested "conviction" - where do you think they could be?

They would be, undoubtedly in a peaceful, advantageous position with their neighbor. But no, it seems they prefer to sacrifice themselves. It gets them the sympathy of idiots, and the support of Arab groups and countries who are enemies of Israel.

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"A moral code is a set of abstract principles..."

"It is a code of values to guide man's choices and actions..."

[AR]

Are you reading what you are quoting? "Code of values - Abstract principles..."

Do you even know what is "proper to man"?

Saying the "right words"? Believing the "right things"? I repeat, you have no understanding of morality, Objectivist, or other.

What means "right"?

Right for whom? By what standards? Do you know?

Everything implicit and explicit by Rand, counsels "conviction" in one's rational morality. To hold to that conviction is the most selfish action possible, and so -- the morality of rational selfishness.

To practise the Objectivist morality requires fully honoring the virtues of honesty and integrity - which means in word, choice and action.

Yes morality is expressed in a set of abstract principles, but those principles are about choices and actions. Morality does not compel us to believe anything. Beliefs are determined by reason and reality, but these are prior to ethics.

Ed's basic argument comes down to:

one set of people believing, speaking, choosing and acting - largely- in their rational self-interest;

while otoh, another set of people does anything but.

That's not an argument. You're just saying what you believe is true, but an argument requires you to justify those beliefs. I have not yet seen any argument that defends the morality of Israeli policies on here, probably because any such argument would be an absurdity, hence why Ed resorts to "providing context" instead.

If the majority in Palestine had had one day of truly self-interested "conviction" - where do you think they could be?

They would be, undoubtedly in a peaceful, advantageous position with their neighbor. But no, it seems they prefer to sacrifice themselves. It gets them the sympathy of idiots, and the support of Arab groups and countries who are enemies of Israel.

Suppose that I applied the same reasoning to the American Revolution.

"If the majority in the Colonies had had one day of truly self-interested "conviction" - where do you think they could be?

They would be, undoubtedly in a peaceful, advantageous position with their neighbor (Great Britain). But no, it seems they prefer to sacrifice themselves. It gets them the sympathy of idiots, and the support of groups and countries who are enemies of His Majesty the King."

Makes about as much sense...

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Again, your reasoning just don't work.

Your analogy is inept, simply because what America and Israel had or have very much in common, is the "conviction" (again) of freedom from tyranny. It so happens, in O'ism, that a so-called "sacrifice" of a lesser value to a higher one is not sacrifice, it's a gain. For liberty, people of conviction would risk their lives.

For the other stuff, go see with your own eyes: Israel has made something of itself out of nothing - completely, from rational self-interest. Gaza has languished out of self-lessness. My "argument" is based on self-evident, observable facts. Proof of the pudding is reality.

All along is this ideal you have of what Israel 'should' have done - some kind of 'perfectionism', that you have not applied at all - to Palestine. Ed has pointed out Israel is not perfect. Who is?

I see not just your double standards, but the confusing of two disparate moralities in your weak arguments.

But the basic fact is this - in defending themselves, Israel several times whipped their enemies. Not only did they subsequently give back conquered teritory, but they have also repeatedly and unilaterally sued for peace. However, the losers have refused on countless times, citing ludicrous and sacrificial measures Israel must take.

Where have you heard of this?

Since when, in history, have the winners of a war been beholden to the losers?!!

Not only has Israel the moral high ground, it has the economical high ground and the military high ground. Palestine will have nothing until they agree to peace.

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Again, your reasoning just don't work.

Your analogy is inept, simply because what America and Israel had or have very much in common, is the "conviction" (again) of freedom from tyranny. It so happens, in O'ism, that a so-called "sacrifice" of a lesser value to a higher one is not sacrifice, it's a gain. For liberty, people of conviction would risk their lives.

No, the analogy is entirely apt. Palestinians want to be free from tyranny just like anybody else. They don't give their lives because they worship death, they give their lives for the freedom of their countrymen, just as American soldiers did in the revolution.

For the other stuff, go see with your own eyes: Israel has made something of itself out of nothing - completely, from rational self-interest. Gaza has languished out of self-lessness. My "argument" is based on self-evident, observable facts. Proof of the pudding is reality.

That's good advice.

500px-US_aid_to_Israel.gif

Wow. More than $120 billion. I wonder what your "argument" has to say about that.

Meanwhile, Palestinians have endured a decades long blockade by Israel. But yeah, I'm pretty sure that the problem has to do with Palestinians being too self-sacrificing.

All along is this ideal you have of what Israel 'should' have done - some kind of 'perfectionism', that you have not applied at all - to Palestine. Ed has pointed out Israel is not perfect. Who is?

I see not just your double standards, but the confusing of two disparate moralities in your weak arguments.

Yes I have applied the same standard to Palestine, like in this post.

But the basic fact is this - in defending themselves, Israel several times whipped their enemies. Not only did they subsequently give back conquered teritory, but they have also repeatedly and unilaterally sued for peace. However, the losers have refused on countless times, citing ludicrous and sacrificial measures Israel must take.

Where have you heard of this?

Since when, in history, have the winners of a war been beholden to the losers?!!

Not only has Israel the moral high ground, it has the economical high ground and the military high ground. Palestine will have nothing until they agree to peace.

That's how peace settlements work. Total victories are rare.

Also, I would like to know what specific conflicts you're referring to.

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They [israel's founders] wanted to build in Palestine a state modeled after those advanced countries in Western Europe ...

Ben Gurion, mentioned by Ed Hudgins earlier, modeled Israel after Soviet Russia. "We are following a new path which contradicts developments in the whole world except Russia." More here.

It’s doubtful a terrorist such as Menachem Begin, whom the Israelis later elected prime minister, looked to England for a model. Ditto for the proto-Israelis who attempted to assassinate President Truman in 1947.

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Good reply SoMad. I'll put it so - when you pull up Objectivist morality to "prove" whatever you want it to prove, try to understand it first. If you don't know, ask someone. That I haven't ever seen you do that shows some sort of pseudo-egotism to me. You haven't the moral right to use principles which you obviously misunderstand or deliberately misinterpret, or possibly oppose. This is disingenuous or downright deceitful.

Your views on the M.E. are prejudiced by what other people have told you. You've added nothing new, except make clear your prejudice.

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Good reply SoMad. I'll put it so - when you pull up Objectivist morality to "prove" whatever you want it to prove, try to understand it first. If you don't know, ask someone. That I haven't ever seen you do that shows some sort of pseudo-egotism to me. You haven't the moral right to use principles which you obviously misunderstand or deliberately misinterpret, or possibly oppose. This is disingenuous or downright deceitful.

Your views on the M.E. are prejudiced by what other people have told you. You've added nothing new, except make clear your prejudice.

Maybe I'll take your recommendations seriously when you stop believing nonsense that is in blatant contradiction with the facts.

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Maybe I'll take your recommendations seriously when you stop believing nonsense that is in blatant contradiction with the facts.

Naomi,

No you won't.

You're still in the stage where you want to teach others what you don't know.

I don't think you would ever take his recommendation.

Michael

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