Better to Be Feared

 

“One death is a tragedy, a million deaths a statistic. ” — Stalin

Painfully, Stalin had a point. It occurs to me that if Israel has to kill 15,000 or 115,000 Palestinians, it wouldn’t change the opinions of almost anyone. The actual number won’t be relevant to most people. Oddly, I suspect that killing more Palestinians would make Israel more amenable to Saudi Arabia.

As Machiavelli said, “it is much safer to be feared than loved because …love is preserved by the link of obligation which, owing to the baseness of men, is broken at every opportunity for their advantage; but fear preserves you by a dread of punishment which never fails.”

If Israel wins, there is a shot that Saudi Arabia will make peace with Israel. I doubt that the deaths of Palestinians will matter much in Riyadh. It is power and will that ensures survival. Not humanitarian reverence for life.

I suspect Douglas Murray agrees with me.

.

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  1. BDB Inactive
    BDB
    @BDB

    Henry Castaigne: One death is a tragedy, a million deaths a statistic. 

    15,000 sounds about right.

    • #1
  2. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Henry Castaigne: if Israel has to kill 15,000 or 115,000 Palestinians it wouldn’t change the opinions of almost anyone

    I hadn’t thought of it in quite that way.  But you may be right.  

    If that thought has occurred to the Israelis, then the Palestinians have a very serious problem.

    After the 6 Day War, perhaps this concept has occurred to the Israelis. 

    • #2
  3. BDB Inactive
    BDB
    @BDB

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne: if Israel has to kill 15,000 or 115,000 Palestinians it wouldn’t change the opinions of almost anyone

    I hadn’t thought of it in quite that way. But you may be right.

    If that thought has occurred to the Israelis, then the Palestinians have a very serious problem.

    After the 6 Day War, perhaps this concept has occurred to the Israelis.

    Indeedy.  I’m totally there — been there.  This is why speed is success, and delay is failure, and explains why the Biden administration pushes for delay.  They say in public that they support Israel etc, but behind the scenes, the US is undercutting Israel’s position.

    • #3
  4. BDB Inactive
    BDB
    @BDB

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):
    After the 6 Day War, perhaps this concept has occurred to the Israelis.

    Michael Oren’s “Six Days of War” is a life-changing book.

    Up there with Paul Johnson’s definitive “A History of The Jews,” which I read after reading Oren.

    • #4
  5. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne: if Israel has to kill 15,000 or 115,000 Palestinians it wouldn’t change the opinions of almost anyone

    I hadn’t thought of it in quite that way. But you may be right.

    If that thought has occurred to the Israelis, then the Palestinians have a very serious problem.

    After the 6 Day War, perhaps this concept has occurred to the Israelis.

    I think it would be better for the Palestinians to suffer serious casualties in this war and then lose the war completely. That way they might have to accept Israel and make peace with it. Both psychologically and literally.

    Germany and Japan were forced to reject Nazism and Imperialism because they were bombed nearly into oblivion. The light touch that Israel usually uses will only be seen as weakness by the Palestinians. I don’t see another way out of it.

    • #5
  6. MikeMcCarthy Coolidge
    MikeMcCarthy
    @MikeMcCarthy

    Sadly there are many more than 15,000 Hamas members.

    This is going to be very bad.

    • #6
  7. BDB Inactive
    BDB
    @BDB

    MikeMcCarthy (View Comment):

    Sadly there are many more than 15,000 Hamas members.

    This is going to be very bad.

    Only if they get fewer than 15,000.

    • #7
  8. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Henry Castaigne: As Machievelli has said, “it is much safer to be feared than loved because …love is preserved by the link of obligation which, owing to the baseness of men, is broken at every opportunity for their advantage; but fear preserves you by a dread of punishment which never fails.”

    Israel is already feared by its neighbours.  But after Hamas’ actions (managing to break out, killing civilians in Israel, taking 200 hostages) it might be feared a little less.  And they will need to re-establish that fear which is one of their protections.  I think that is one strategic goal will drive their actions.

    That’s what these strikes in Lebanon are about.  It’s to remind the Lebanese of how Israel has clashed with them in the past and inviting them to consider whether they really want some more?  It could work, when it comes to substantive engagement.  I don’t think Lebanon wants to be bombed yet again, and that’s inevitable if they get involved. (I also don’t know that Hezbollah’s interests align exactly with Lebanon’s, but there is a huge overlap.)

    What is less clear is if it will work in Gaza.  There’s a history of Gazans being repeatedly brutalised by Israeli military actions, why aren’t they too frightened to act yet?

    • #8
  9. BDB Inactive
    BDB
    @BDB

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne: As Machievelli has said, “it is much safer to be feared than loved because …love is preserved by the link of obligation which, owing to the baseness of men, is broken at every opportunity for their advantage; but fear preserves you by a dread of punishment which never fails.”

    Israel is already feared by its neighbours. But after Hamas’ actions (managing to break out, killing civilians in Israel, taking 200 hostages) it might be feared a little less. And they will need to re-establish that fear which is one of their protections. I think that is one strategic goal will drive their actions.

    That’s what these strikes in Lebanon are about. It’s to remind the Lebanese of how Israel has clashed with them in the past and inviting them to consider whether they really want some more? It could work, when it comes to substantive engagement. I don’t think Lebanon wants to be bombed yet again, and that’s inevitable if they get involved. (I also don’t know that Hezbollah’s interests align exactly with Lebanon’s, but there is a huge overlap.)

    What is less clear is if it will work in Gaza. There’s a history of Gazans being repeatedly brutalised by Israeli military actions, why aren’t they too frightened to act yet?

    [shouting]  Maybe you missed the part where Israel was hit by missiles from Lebanon despite that being a VERY VERY BAD IDEA right now.

    • #9
  10. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne: if Israel has to kill 15,000 or 115,000 Palestinians it wouldn’t change the opinions of almost anyone

    I hadn’t thought of it in quite that way. But you may be right.

    Opinions do change, however.  Not immediately or all at once, but:

    The polling outfit Gallup found in March 2023 that 49% of Democratic Party supporters were more sympathetic toward the Palestinian people – a high for the 21st century – while 38% sided with Israelis. Millennials polled in that same survey also became more supportive of Palestinians than Israelis for the first time this century. And while a majority of all Americans surveyed by Gallup still sympathized more with Israelis, the percentage support for Palestinians grew for the fifth consecutive year, up to 31% in 2023.

    My guess is that the parts I bolded above are due to seeing the results of Israel’s actions, war after war after war.  After a while – fairly or unfairly – it makes a difference.

    If that thought has occurred to the Israelis, then the Palestinians have a very serious problem.

    After the 6 Day War, perhaps this concept has occurred to the Israelis.

    Did Hamas think they were going to take Jerusalem and liberate Palestine? No.

    From Britannica:

    Terrorism, the calculated use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular political objective.

    Did Hamas think this would mean that Israel, Europe and North America would recognise Palestine? No.

    Did Hamas think this would stop the ongoing settlement of East Jerusalem and the West Bank?  I doubt it.

    Did Hamas think this would result in an immense and punitive response from Israel which harmed many civilians?  It’s a certainty.

    Did Hamas think this would put some pressure on the Abraham Accords? Of course.

    And have an impact on long term public opinion about Israel/Palestine in the West?  I think so.

     

    • #10
  11. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    BDB (View Comment):
    [shouting]. Maybe you missed the part where Israel was hit by missiles from Lebanon despite that being a VERY VERY BAD IDEA right now.

    They’re warning each other. 

    • #11
  12. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    @zafar

    Young people were taught Woke ideology so they should side with Palestinians against Western Civilization. It has nothing to do with the moral conduct of either party.

     

    • #12
  13. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    @ zafar

    Young people were taught Woke ideology so they should side with Palestinians against Western Civilization.  It has nothing to do with the moral conduct of either party.

    You don’t think it has anything to do with what they see on television, and then cable, and now on their X feed?

    • #13
  14. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    @ zafar

    Young people were taught Woke ideology so they should side with Palestinians against Western Civilization. It has nothing to do with the moral conduct of either party.

    You don’t think it has anything to do with what they see on television, and then cable, and now on their X feed?

    Clearly not. You and I have the same information sources but we don’t agree on jack. That is incredibly common by the way. People interpret the exact same words and the exact same situations in completely different ways 

    I wrote an essay that I think is pretty good about how people in similar circumstances think differently about things. 

    https://ricochet.com/653369/who-is-patriotic-and-who-isnt-patriotic-is-weird/

    Ideology matters at least as much as what physically happens to us.

    • #14
  15. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    @ zafar

    Young people were taught Woke ideology so they should side with Palestinians against Western Civilization. It has nothing to do with the moral conduct of either party.

    You don’t think it has anything to do with what they see on television, and then cable, and now on their X feed?

    Clearly not. You and I have the same information sources but we don’t agree on jack. That is incredibly common by the way. People interpret the exact same words and the exact same situations in completely different ways

    I wrote an essay that I think is pretty good about how people in similar circumstances think differently about things.

    https://ricochet.com/653369/who-is-patriotic-and-who-isnt-patriotic-is-weird/

    Ideology matters at least as much as what physically happens to us.

    I somehow missed that the first time around.

    Great essay, Henry. 

    • #15
  16. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    @ zafar

    Young people were taught Woke ideology so they should side with Palestinians against Western Civilization. It has nothing to do with the moral conduct of either party.

    You don’t think it has anything to do with what they see on television, and then cable, and now on their X feed?

    Clearly not. You and I have the same information sources but we don’t agree on jack. That is incredibly common by the way. People interpret the exact same words and the exact same situations in completely different ways

    I wrote an essay that I think is pretty good about how people in similar circumstances think differently about things.

    https://ricochet.com/653369/who-is-patriotic-and-who-isnt-patriotic-is-weird/

    Ideology matters at least as much as what physically happens to us.

    I somehow missed that the first time around.

    Great essay, Henry.

    I think my title was garbage but the essay was pretty good. I reread and I liked what I wrote. The comments where more interesting than my essay but that is Ricochet for you.

    • #16
  17. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    @ zafar

    Young people were taught Woke ideology so they should side with Palestinians against Western Civilization. It has nothing to do with the moral conduct of either party.

    You don’t think it has anything to do with what they see on television, and then cable, and now on their X feed?

    Clearly not. You and I have the same information sources but we don’t agree on jack.

    We might select different sources?  Certainly our feeds are probably different. Done in by the algorithm. 

     

    • #17
  18. Old Bathos Member
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Reminded me of this old nugget from Noel Coward.

    • #18
  19. lowtech redneck Coolidge
    lowtech redneck
    @lowtech redneck

    It wouldn’t make much difference for people who oppose Israeli actions against Hamas, they simply believe that Israel should not be allowed to defend itself (or exist, for that matter).  Everything ultimately comes back to that.

    • #19
  20. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    After a century* of brutalization at the hands of their Muslim neighbors, the Jews of Israel have a moral right to do whatever is necessary to defeat and destroy those enemies.

    * Actually, many centuries.

    • #20
  21. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    After a century* of brutalization at the hands of their Muslim neighbors, the Jews of Israel have a moral right to do whatever is necessary to defeat and destroy those enemies.

    * Actually, many centuries.

    Could it actually be a couple millennia by now?

    • #21
  22. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    After a century* of brutalization at the hands of their Muslim neighbors, the Jews of Israel have a moral right to do whatever is necessary to defeat and destroy those enemies.

    * Actually, many centuries.

    Could it actually be a couple millennia by now?

    One and a half millennia, to be a little more precise.

    Of course through all those centuries the peace-loving Muslims were killing and oppressing Christians, too.

    And should we ponder Islam’s attitude towards other religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism? Living as oppressed subject people is only offered to Christians and Jews; everyone else must either convert to Islam or be murdered.

    • #22
  23. Macho Grande' Coolidge
    Macho Grande'
    @ChrisCampion

    BDB (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):
    After the 6 Day War, perhaps this concept has occurred to the Israelis.

    Michael Oren’s “Six Days of War” is a life-changing book.

    Up there with Paul Johnson’s definitive “A History of The Jews,” which I read after reading Oren.

    Thanks, I’m ordering it now.

    • #23
  24. db25db Inactive
    db25db
    @db25db

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    @ zafar

    Young people were taught Woke ideology so they should side with Palestinians against Western Civilization. It has nothing to do with the moral conduct of either party.

    You don’t think it has anything to do with what they see on television, and then cable, and now on their X feed?

    Clearly not. You and I have the same information sources but we don’t agree on jack.

    We might select different sources? Certainly our feeds are probably different. Done in by the algorithm.

     

    if you’ve attended college over the last 20 years, as over half of younger people have, then you’ve heard plenty of anti-western thought (decolonization and such).  Most have no idea where civilization came from or how it was forged.  I grew up with disproportionate body counts in that conflict (I would point out all Palestinian casualty numbers everyone seems to take as truth are seriously inflated and not verified by credible sources) but it wasn’t hard to see who are the monsters in this fight.  But then again, I dont hate western civilization. 

    • #24
  25. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    db25db (View Comment):

    Most have no idea where civilization came from

    India.  You’re welcome.

    • #25
  26. BDB Inactive
    BDB
    @BDB

    Zafar (View Comment):

    db25db (View Comment):

    Most have no idea where civilization came from

    India. You’re welcome.

    All we got from India was a big fat zero.

    • #26
  27. lowtech redneck Coolidge
    lowtech redneck
    @lowtech redneck

    BDB (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    db25db (View Comment):

    Most have no idea where civilization came from

    India. You’re welcome.

    All we got from India was a big fat zero.

    ISWYDT.

    • #27
  28. lowtech redneck Coolidge
    lowtech redneck
    @lowtech redneck

    Zafar (View Comment):

    db25db (View Comment):

    Most have no idea where civilization came from

    India. You’re welcome.

    Sumeria, though the Indus valley was extremely impressive in its own right.

    Modern civilization is more complicated, as industrialization in the West was largely based on borrowed discoveries from other places, filtered through classical liberal concepts (and contemporaneous developments in social organization) that were able to advance those discoveries beyond what their originators could achieve (much like the Romans did with Greek and Etruscan concepts and inventions).  Classical liberalism, in turn, was based on an amalgamation of Christian and ancient Greek influences that probably could not develop (at least not beyond repressed academic circles) within Islamic, Hindu, or Confucian societies, yet the West relied on Islamic societies for the preservation of crucial knowledge during its own growing pains, where such information was ignored or even destroyed.  And even with all that, there is a bit of a chicken and egg debate regarding classical liberalism (and other Western institutions) and the exploitation of borrowed technology….

    All that said, modern education in the West (not just in academia, but primary school as well) truly is dominated by people who actually hate their own civilization and heritage.

    • #28
  29. BDB Inactive
    BDB
    @BDB

    I don’t know about India…

    but India’s Mom has got it going on!

    • #29
  30. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    lowtech redneck (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    db25db (View Comment):

    Most have no idea where civilization came from

    India. You’re welcome.

    Sumeria, though the Indus valley was extremely impressive in its own right.

    Oh, fine!

    All that said, modern education in the West (not just in academia, but primary school as well) truly is dominated by people who actually hate their own civilization and heritage.

    Hate, or are critical of?  Being critical of oneself is a mark of the truly civilised, imho. (India is failing at this right now, so there’s also that.)

    • #30
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