‘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.

Members have made 131 comments.

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  1. Profile photo of doc molloy Inactive

     

    Palestine Makes You Dumb

    A reasonable person might conclude from this that Hamas, which started the war, wants it to continue, and that it relies on Israel’s moral scruples not to destroy civilian sites that it cynically uses for military purposes. But then there is the Palestine Effect. ….. Hamas only initiated the fighting because Israel refused to countenance the creation of a Palestinian coalition that included Hamas, and because Israel further objected to helping pay the salaries of Hamas’s civil servants in Gaza.

    Let’s get this one straight. Israel is culpable because (a) it won’t accept a Palestinian government that includes a terrorist organization sworn to the Jewish state’s destruction; (b) it won’t help that organization out of its financial jam; and (c) it won’t ease a quasi-blockade—jointly imposed with Egypt—on a territory whose central economic activity appears to be building rocket factories and pouring imported concrete into terrorist tunnels.

    This is either bald moral idiocy or thinly veiled bigotry. It mistakes effect for cause, treats self-respect as arrogance and self-defense as aggression, and makes demands of the Jewish state that would be dismissed out of hand anywhere else.

    • #1
    • July 29, 2014 at 2:10 pm
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  2. Profile photo of Old Bathos Member

    I think that “Weak v. Strong” is only a partial diagnosis. Recall that it was OK to condemn apartheid (no threat to USA) but not Soviet Communism (strong threat) even though both were violative of human rights. The root of that inconsistency is narcissism. It is fine to be the judge of both sides (see, Mega-Narcissist John Kerry’s pathetic need to find moral equivalence in re Gaza). The danger for the narcissist is any position that may drag one back down into mere membership in church, country, tradition etc. The desperate need to find fault with the USA is the narcissist’s inoculation against duties imposed by patriotism, to preserve the illusion of moral transcendence.

    To reject Israel’s right to self-defense is projection on a major scale. A powerful moral obligation to a fellow democracy that is also the cradle of our spiritual heritage is a personal threat needs to be fended off because that way lies the clutches of patriotism and moral imposition. It is the familiar pathology that defended Pol Pot and Castro to in order to preserve a non serviam, an illusory moral autonomy.

    • #2
    • July 29, 2014 at 3:00 pm
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  3. Profile photo of Roberto Member

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    By viewing conflicts through this lens, progressives make several bizarre alliances.

    More than bizarre, downright suicidal alliances:

    Thousands gather at Rabin Square to call for return to dialog, but disperse early as Gaza rocket-fire resumes

    A “morality” that compels you to stick your own head eagerly into the lion’s mouth is beyond irrational.

    • #3
    • July 29, 2014 at 3:06 pm
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  4. Profile photo of Mark Wilson Member

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: 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.

    I see your point, but you should probably not use the term “oppressor” because it begs the question in your opponents’ favor.

    • #4
    • July 29, 2014 at 3:32 pm
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  5. Profile photo of EJHill Member

    Cross Muslims and Gays and what do you get? Lynchings

    Cross Jews and Gays and what do you get? Show tunes.

    • #5
    • July 29, 2014 at 4:11 pm
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  6. Profile photo of Kay of MT Member

    Obama has declared himself on the side of evil. Unless someone objects then all his administration is with him.

    http://www.jpost.com/LandedPages/PrintArticle.aspx?id=369338

    • #6
    • July 29, 2014 at 4:36 pm
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  7. Profile photo of Jon Gabriel, Ed. Chief
    Jon Gabriel, Ed. Post author

    Mark Wilson: I see your point, but you should probably not use the term “oppressor” because it begs the question in your opponents’ favor.

    I probably should have clarified that more. The Left calls the stronger party the oppressor and the weaker party the oppressed. Even if the stronger party is “the white hat” in a fight, the fact that they are stronger makes them “the black hat.”

    • #7
    • July 29, 2014 at 4:56 pm
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  8. Profile photo of Zafar Member

    Mark Wilson:

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: 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.

    I see your point, but you should probably not use the term “oppressor” because it begs the question in your opponents’ favor.

     Oppression is bad, so make sure your definitions flatter the side you support? Surely not!

    The thing is, stealing from a murderer is still theft, and killing a thief is still murder. Trying to justify either theft or murder because of who the victim is seems to edge into junkie logic.

    • #8
    • July 29, 2014 at 5:50 pm
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  9. Profile photo of doc molloy Inactive

    EJHill:

    Cross Muslims and Gays and what do you get? Lynchings

    Cross Jews and Gays and what do you get? Show tunes.

     Correct EJ. There can be no Broadway Rodgers and Hammerstein ( both of German Jewish origin) version of Getting to Know You as in old Siam and the King and I.
    ‘Going to Kill You’ would be moor like it.. can’t see a long run on Broadway.

    • #9
    • July 29, 2014 at 6:02 pm
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  10. Profile photo of Son of Spengler Contributor

    It’s true that might does not make right. But that doesn’t mean might automatically makes wrong.

    • #10
    • July 29, 2014 at 7:08 pm
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  11. Profile photo of Man With the Axe Member

    To the press and the other usual suspects who seem able to understand some of Israel’s rationale for its operation in Gaza, but who nevertheless see Israel as the bad guy in this fight because of the “disproportionate” number of Palestinian civilian deaths:

    Here’s my suggestion. Pretend for the moment that these dead civilians are actually Syrians. Suddenly, you find that you don’t care about these 1,000 dead Arabs, just as you don’t care about the other 170,000 dead Syrians. That’s because they are being killed by other Arabs. You probably haven’t given them a moment’s thought for months. 

    This mental exercise will help you to realize that you don’t actually care about dead Arabs. You only care about finding a reason to criticize Israel.

    • #11
    • July 29, 2014 at 7:21 pm
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  12. Profile photo of ctlaw Thatcher

    Put yourself in the place of the subconscious of the leftist.

    Your job is to concoct a narrative that, with cognitive dissonance, makes the leftist feel the best about himself.

    The leftist can see the savagery of Hamas and feel himself superior. However, he sees the heroics of the Israeli, making the desert bloom while defending against the savages and exercising the greatest amount of humanity ever engaged in by a combatant. Compared to that, the leftist pales.

    The solution is that you concoct a narrative where the Israeli is evil. His achievements are theft. He is immoral. He does not exercise restraint. With that false narrative, the leftist is his superior. The leftist, however still feels superior to the Hamas savage; even moreso by condescending to the savage.

    • #12
    • July 29, 2014 at 7:22 pm
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  13. Profile photo of Roberto Member

    Zafar:

    The thing is, stealing from a murderer is still theft, and killing a thief is still murder.

     This logic is not easy to follow. You almost appear to arguing against the concept of self-defense, perhaps you could elaborate.

    • #13
    • July 29, 2014 at 9:01 pm
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  14. Profile photo of The Question Inactive

    That is one explanation for the odd sympathies the Left has. If you support same-sex marriage you’re progressive. If you execute homosexuals in a soccer field you’re an oppressed minority. But if you don’t want gay marriage or gay executions you’re just bourgeois.

    • #14
    • July 29, 2014 at 9:19 pm
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  15. Profile photo of Zafar Member

    I’m good with self defense, but when you defend yourself against an attack does it matter if the person attacking you is a thief or a murderer or neither of these things? How is that relevant to your right to self defense?

    Alternatively, do you think people can randomly attack thieves and murderers and the thieves and murderers have no right to defend themselves?

    • #15
    • July 29, 2014 at 9:19 pm
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  16. Profile photo of The Question Inactive

    The Left will be sympathetic to you if you’re on the ground, bleeding and helpless. But the moment you stand up to fight back they will hate you again. Look at how they looked at America right after the 911 attacks and then changed after we started to fight back. The Jews in the concentration camps were good. The Jews working hard to prevent another Holocaust are bad.

    The Left likes people that are helpless and pitiful. That explains why they don’t like defense and also why they don’t like free markets as well.

    • #16
    • July 29, 2014 at 9:27 pm
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  17. Profile photo of Zafar Member

    Michael Sanregret:

    The Left will be sympathetic to you if you’re on the ground, bleeding and helpless. But the moment you stand up to fight back they will hate you again. 

    So how do they feel about Hamas?

    • #17
    • July 29, 2014 at 9:30 pm
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  18. Profile photo of The Question Inactive

    ctlaw:

    The solution is that you concoct a narrative where the Israeli is evil. His achievements are theft. He is immoral. He does not exercise restraint. With that false narrative, the leftist is his superior. The leftist, however still feels superior to the Hamas savage; even moreso by condescending to the savage.

    That’s a great point. Kids fantasize about being Superman. They don’t fantasize about being Jimmy Olson.

    After the 911 attacks, it became clear to me that the military was doing things that were more important than what I was doing. I was Jimmy Olson. It also occurred to me that if I adopted the Michael Moore Fahrenheit 911 point of view, I could be the hero. I could go to an anti-war protest and demand an end to the war that was needlessly killing those poor, hapless soldiers that got caught up in something they didn’t understand. I could be Superman, and they would be Jimmy Olson.

    For someone gullible enough to believe that, it’s a seductive idea.

    • #18
    • July 29, 2014 at 9:36 pm
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  19. Profile photo of The Question Inactive

    Zafar:

    Michael Sanregret:

    The Left will be sympathetic to you if you’re on the ground, bleeding and helpless. But the moment you stand up to fight back they will hate you again.

    So how do they feel about Hamas?

     Hamas is much weaker than Israel. If the Iron Dome failed to be so effective, and Israel started taking more casualties, I suspect that would probably get the Left to condemn Hamas, but only in proportion to the relative death tolls. If Israel had 10% the casualties of the Palestinians, my guess is the Left would give Hamas about 10% of the criticism it’s directing to Israel. The Left has no love for Israel because they’re too good at not being victims.

    • #19
    • July 29, 2014 at 9:46 pm
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  20. Profile photo of Zafar Member

    Would you say that this makes the PA (or Fatah, say) relatively more popular than Hamas?

    To some extent in the ‘PR Blizt’ both ‘sides’ (Israel and the Palestinians) focus on presenting themselves as righteous victims.

    • #20
    • July 29, 2014 at 10:13 pm
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  21. Profile photo of ctlaw Thatcher


    Zafar
    : I’m good with self defense, but when you defend yourself against an attack does it matter if the person attacking you is a thief or a murderer or neither of these things? How is that relevant to your right to self defense?

    Zafar: Alternatively, do you think people can randomly attack thieves and murderers and the thieves and murderers have no right to defend themselves?

    Regarding the first personal self defense analogy, you make several errors. You have the right to defend against an unjustified attacker. That said person is also a murderer and thief is probative of several issues. It tends to prove that you were subject to an unjustified attack. If your defense is that you woke up and found this stranger trying to strangle you, it is quite probative that your defense was proper if evidence shows he is a serial burglar/strangler (and not some random guy who erroneously walked into your house as the deranged leftist prosecutor argues). This is relevant not merely to the need to defend yourself at all, but to the need to make that defense lethal.

    Regarding the second, you make several more errors. What is random? In self defense doctrine there is a question of immediacy that is not at play in the same way here. Even in Florida, if I see a killer on the street, I can’t shoot him if I have time to call police before he kills me. Israel does not have that availability of calling in assistance. As has been shown, the international authorities will only help Hamas kill Israelis. Thus, the threat is immediate, because nothing will reasonably intervene between now and when that killer will kill again. Also, sovereigns have rights individuals do not. Under common law, a cop can shoot a fleeing felon whereas an individual can’t.

    • #21
    • July 30, 2014 at 3:26 am
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  22. Profile photo of ctlaw Thatcher

    Michael Sanregret: If the Iron Dome failed to be so effective, and Israel started taking more casualties, I suspect that would probably get the Left to condemn Hamas, but only in proportion to the relative death tolls.

    I disagree with your conclusion, but think you hit the right dynamic. The purpose of Iron Dome is to protect Hamas, not Israel.

    Iron Dome would have no effect against a barrage. The rockets Hamas uses were meant to be fired in a concentrated barrage, but Hamas is firing only a few at a time. What Iron Dome does is it lets Hamas get its jollies and fire a few missiles at a time with reduced chance of creating a single mass casualty event (e.g., a hit on downtown Tel Aviv) that would have provoked a massive response. Iron dome gave Hamas license to kill or wound one or two Israelis at a time while holding millions of others in terror.

    • #22
    • July 30, 2014 at 5:52 am
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  23. Profile photo of Zafar Member

    ctlaw:

    You have the right to defend against an unjustified attacker. That said person is also a murderer and thief…tends to prove that you were subject to an unjustified attack.

    Conjecture. Being attacked is relevant, whether the attacker is a thief (or not) is not.


    In self defense doctrine there is a question of immediacy that is not at play in the same way here. Even in Florida, if I see a killer on the street, I can’t shoot him if I have time to call police before he kills me. Israel does not have that availability of calling in assistance. As has been shown, the international authorities will only help Hamas kill Israelis.

    Well I think Congress would be very disappointed to see you dismissing the US funding the Iron Dome so flippantly.

    But in this case – Hamas fires rockets at Israel – which is an attack. (No conjecture.) And Israel defends itself from rockets (using the Iron Dome) – which is justified – and then bombs and blockades Gaza to get rid of Hamas (because they shoot rockets among other things) – so Hamas fires rockets at Israel to protect Gaza – and so it goes on.

    • #23
    • July 30, 2014 at 6:40 am
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  24. Profile photo of Zafar Member

    ctlaw:

    The purpose of Iron Dome is to protect Hamas, not Israel.

     

    Who is protecting Hamas – just enough to let them shoot a few rockets but not enough to stop Gaza from being bombed and destroyed by economic blockade – and why?

    • #24
    • July 30, 2014 at 6:43 am
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  25. Profile photo of ctlaw Thatcher

    Zafar:

    ctlaw:

    The purpose of Iron Dome is to protect Hamas, not Israel.

    Who is protecting Hamas – just enough to let them shoot a few rockets but not enough to stop Gaza from being bombed and destroyed by economic blockade – and why?

    Israel imposed a military blockade not an economic one. Israel went out of its way to promote economic activity. The Hamas savages are the ones who do not want to see economic activity. If Hamas put half the effort into maintaining the economic infrastructure left by the Israelis that they put into kidnap tunnels, things would be much better in Gaza.

    Imagine what a real Israeli bombing campaign would do to Gaza.

    • #25
    • July 30, 2014 at 7:01 am
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  26. Profile photo of ctlaw Thatcher

    Zafar: But in this case – Hamas fires rockets at Israel – which is an attack. (No conjecture.) And Israel defends itself from rockets (using the Iron Dome) – which is justified – and then bombs and blockades Gaza to get rid of Hamas (because they shoot rockets among other things) – so Hamas fires rockets at Israel to protect Gaza – and so it goes on.

    You have Israel as the only entity in the world limited to passive defense.

    Hamas firing rockets has nothing to do with protecting Gaza. Again, with your personal self defense analogy, the aggressor has no right of self defense against lawful self defense by the victim.

    • #26
    • July 30, 2014 at 7:06 am
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  27. Profile photo of ctlaw Thatcher

    Zafar: Conjecture. Being attacked is relevant, whether the attacker is a thief (or not) is not.

     I note you conveniently left out the word “murderer” which was in your hypothetical to which I responded. The relevance is clear and not a conjecture.

    • #27
    • July 30, 2014 at 7:09 am
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  28. Profile photo of Marion Evans Member

    “Israel is a modern, multicultural nation”.

    Terrific! Let’s make it even more multicultural: one-state solution.
    …or is it only multicultural up to a certain point?

    • #28
    • July 30, 2014 at 7:26 am
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  29. Profile photo of Bob Wainwright Member

    The irony of the left’s tendency to side with the weak even when the weaker party is evil or morally wrong is that the belief that supporting the weak is a virtue arose out of the Judeo-Christian inversion of ethics. “Good” was roughly synonymous with “strong” or “useful” and “Bad” with “weak” or “poor”. Until Christianity changed all that. What must it be like when a leftist realizes that the source of his morality is a superstition?

    • #29
    • July 30, 2014 at 7:36 am
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  30. Profile photo of Zafar Member

    ctlaw:

    Zafar: Conjecture. Being attacked is relevant, whether the attacker is a thief (or not) is not.

    I note you conveniently left out the word “murderer” which was in your hypothetical to which I responded. The relevance is clear and not a conjecture.

    If someone is attacking you their other past crimes are notionally interesting, but would you really modify your response at the moment? I wouldn’t.

    Wrt murderers and ‘moral relativism’ – let’s say a murderer lived in the house next door to you. Would you feel justified in stealing from them, or would stealing from them still be wrong? Stealing isn’t self defence (which got the discussion off on a segue), it’s an unrelated wrong in its own right. If you stole from a murderer would it be less wrong than if you stole from a non-violent vegetarian?

    The thing is – I’m very uncomfortable with the idea that the morality of our own actions is dependant on whom we act against rather than on what we do. When we use the victim’s nature, or history, to justify crimes we commit against them that makes morality transactional or relative. iow imho immoral : – (

    • #30
    • July 30, 2014 at 8:00 am
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