‘Good vs. Evil’ vs. ‘Weak vs. Strong’

 

As the fight rages between Israel and Hamas-led Gaza, those supporting Israel shake their heads at progressives around the world. How can a movement which boasts of its dedication to tolerance, feminism and LGBT equality endorse a terror state founded on thuggery and theocracy?

Israel is a modern, multicultural nation in a sea of medieval misery. Women can vote, gays can marry, and Arabs can serve in government. Just over the security fence, women are subjugated, gays are lynched, and there isn’t a Jew to be found (unless he has been kidnapped).

How can the Left be so enamored of the Palestinians? Are they simply immoral? Yes and no.

The Left has a morality, but it is different from that of most conservatives.

We on the Right tend to view struggles as “Good vs. Evil.” Our less religious allies might rephrase this as “Right vs. Wrong,” “Civilization vs. Barbarism,” or, more broadly, “Order vs. Chaos.” Nevertheless, when we see two sides duking it out, we tend to support the Good and the Civilized.

The Left mocks these tired notions of “good” and “evil.” And what is “civilization” but a Eurocentric justification for racism and colonialism? While it’s tempting to call progressives immoral — or at least amoral — the Left has replaced traditional morality with a morality of their own invention.

Progressives have dropped “Good vs. Evil” for “Weak vs. Strong.” The oppressor in any conflict is considered, for lack of a better term, “bad,” while the oppressed victim is an underdog who is worthy of support.

By viewing conflicts through this lens, progressives make several bizarre alliances. They will root for a gun-wielding murderer if the object of his crime was a cop. They will pat the back of a Yippie bomber if his quarry was the Pentagon. And they will support violently homophobic theocrats in Hamas over pluralistic secularists in Israel.

A substitute morality of “weak vs. strong” has a facile appeal since most of us enjoy cheering on the underdog. But if your morality is based on this paradigm, you’ll soon find yourself rooting for a genocidal Hamas over a truly liberal Israel.

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  1. iWc Coolidge
    iWc
    @iWe

    Son of Spengler: Most settlers I know would be willing to live in Jewish towns in a Palestinian state, just there are Arab villages in Israel. The problem is that mainstream Palestinians (not just some bad apples) insist that such a vision can never come to be–Palestine must be Judenrein.

     This is a very, very important point.

    I have advocated for secession of the Territories from Israel. People who live there should work out their own governance, freed from being mere chess pieces between nations. A Jewish-Arab kind of federation would suit me just fine.

    But most Arabs seem to insist on the elimination of Jews entirely (as in the departure from Gaza). THIS is the real ethnic cleansing.

    • #121
  2. Son of Spengler Contributor
    Son of Spengler
    @SonofSpengler

    Rachel Lu: None of that obliges you to agree with me, but it’s unfortunate that people accept Israeli testimony so gladly, but accuse me of unworthy motives, even though I’ve actually quite rarely been less self-interested in my writing.

     Rachel, I don’t know if you had me in mind when you say people accuse you of unworthy motives, but for the record, I’m not questioning your motives. I just think you got played. Just as American women bought the false “War on Women” narrative — one manufactured by decontextualizing truths, and stitching them together with half-truths — you’ve bought a manufactured “War on Palestinians” narrative.

    Separately, given that your experience was 14 years ago, its relevance needs to be discounted. A lot has happened since then. Your experience would mean more if you reconciled it to events in the interim, but you seem unaware of them, or unwilling to consider them.

    • #122
  3. Kay of MT Member
    Kay of MT
    @KayofMT

    Can you imagine a Jewish parent doing this to their children?

    http://pamelageller.com/2014/08/dateline-israel-update-friday-night-august-1-sunday-night-august-3.html/

    • #123
  4. Kay of MT Member
    Kay of MT
    @KayofMT

    Or teaching their child to do this?

    Posted by LDV on Sunday, August 3, 2014

    • #124
  5. Rachel Lu Contributor
    Rachel Lu
    @RachelLu

    Son of Spengler:

     

    Rachel, I don’t know if you had me in mind when you say people accuse you of unworthy motives, but for the record, I’m not questioning your motives. I just think you got played. 

    I think you need to go back, Spengler, and take note of the extreme modesty of my claims. I’ve specified many times that I believe the US should support Israel. That I am not per se criticizing the current military efforts, only mourning them as tragic. That I do not see this as a “contest of cultures” or as a tit-for-tat adding up of demerits on each side, but only contend that there is at least some room for criticism on each side. That the Palestinians have at least some claims of justice that deserve to be considered.

    Again, these claims are exceedingly modest. I’d be happy to discuss the scope of each one, and it’s genuinely interesting to me to hear, for example, how contemporary Israelis (or their close friends) interpret the very Zionist-sounding language of the Likud charter. I’d still like to know what measures people think would be acceptable in order for Israel to, as many have put it, “really win”. But it’s quite hard to have a reasonable discussion here because everyone wants this conflict to be, as Jon so aptly put it, “Good vs. Evil”.

    It seems I “got played” by failing to realize that the people among whom I was living were committed to their last breath to Jew-killing, and that they actually deserved to be living from birth under conditions of unfreedom that I, as a conservative, find inherently troubling. 

    As I mentioned a few screens back, I don’t wish to join in the “pile on” against Israel, which is why I posted my thoughts here, where I knew everyone would hate them, rather than in another forum, where people would love them. But I think the sort of reception they get here illustrates a deeper problem that I have: I can’t direct liberal friends to the conservative press for a more balanced view of the matter because they don’t seem to have one. Even I, with my admittedly incomplete knowledge of the situation, see politically tendentious claims and omissions everywhere, and the comments on many forums quickly devolve into hate-fests that are hard to read as anything but racist. It would obviously be counter-productive to send a liberal friend to anyplace like that.

    If we want to nuance our message so that others in the world might listen sympathetically, I think it would nice if a person like me (who is troubled by firsthand experiences of watching decent-seeming people get harassed by oppressive restrictions and bullying soldiers) could find more nuanced discussion of the moral complexities, and less unreasoned comments about how Arabs are terrorists and savages and so forth.

    • #125
  6. iWc Coolidge
    iWc
    @iWe

    Rachel Lu: firsthand experiences of watching decent-seeming people get harassed by oppressive restrictions and bullying soldiers

    Rachel, it may interest you to know that one of the primary reasons Israel left Gaza in the first place is because it was recognized that being a police force is dehumanizing. In other words, policing Gaza was clearly seen as bad for the souls of Israelis. It is not pleasant or good to have to treat people badly, yet the most efficient ways to address the problem of suicide bombers is indeed to treat everyone with suspicion.

    Please understand MY position: I AM nuanced and moderate. I want everyone to acknowledge that all people are made in the image of G-d, that their lives are due respect on that basis alone. If Palestinians could get to that point, then we could achieve peace. But the current rhetoric pegs me at somewhere between an ape and a pig.

    • #126
  7. iWc Coolidge
    iWc
    @iWe

    Rachel Lu: I can’t direct liberal friends to the conservative press for a more balanced view of the matter because they don’t seem to have one.

     Do you REALLY believe this? 

    Are all the people who point out that Syria is a bloodbath, that ISIS is murdering Christians by the bushel and mutilating women and girls, and who think that what is going on in Gaza should pale into insignificance by comparison by concerned liberals UNBALANCED? Is it unbalanced to point out that Hamas killed MORE CHILDREN directly by using them as slave labor in very dangerous tunnels, than Israel did indirectly?

    • #127
  8. Sandy Member
    Sandy
    @Sandy

    Rachel @ #125:  But it’s quite hard to have a reasonable discussion here because everyone wants this conflict to be… “Good vs. Evil”.

    There it is.  You argue, Rachel, that we should not look at this as good vs. evil, but in some more “balanced” way.  At best that amounts to arguing moral equivalence,  and at worst to elevating Hamas (which I think the moral equivalence argument does anyway).  No one here has been able to convince you that the two sides are not morally equivalent, and I don’t know that any more facts will do so, but truly I admire your persistence and willingness to engage.

    This evil is either plain or it is not.  In my opinion, Gazan suffering, and especially the suffering of children, is just another diabolical sacrifice that feeds the worldwide disinformation campaign.

    I hope that as you continue to ponder this issue, you will consider the wider war against the West, a war that, with all the West’s faults (which we Ricochetti know so well) is indeed a war of evil vs. good, because right now Israel is a useful enemy for these villains, but in the long run, a minor one.

    • #128
  9. Kay of MT Member
    Kay of MT
    @KayofMT

    Rachel, you might be interested in this manual found in Gaza by the IDF. Please read the article and see if you still cannot see where the good and evil divide.

    http://www.idfblog.com/blog/2014/08/04/captured-hamas-combat-manual-explains-benefits-human-shields/

    • #129
  10. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    iWc:

    Is it unbalanced to point out that Hamas killed MORE CHILDREN directly by using them as slave labor in very dangerous tunnels, than Israel did indirectly?

     It does seem kind of unbalanced to call deaths caused by bombing Gaza indirect. 

    And note: I usually do appreciate your approach, and agree with you (I think?) that one State where Jews and Arabs both live as complete equals is a great idea – but if Hamas uses child slave labor to build tunnels, that’s worthy of criticism in and of itself.  The argument gains nothing from a comparison to children in Gaza killed by Israel’s bombings – in fact that detracts from the case by making it about Israel vs Hamas rather than about children being enslaved and forced to work in dangerous conditions. jmho.

    • #130
  11. iWc Coolidge
    iWc
    @iWe

    Zafar:  It does seem kind of unbalanced to call deaths caused by bombing Gaza indirect. 

     To steal from Dunphy: If I launch rockets at my neighbor’s house and he retaliates by blowing mine up – then who caused the death of the people in my home?

    According to the King of Saudi Arabia, Hamas is directly responsible for each and every death in Gaza. He does not blame Israel at all.

    • #131
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