The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Greed and Envy

As the conflict between Israel and Hamas continues, the sanctimonious hypocrisy of most of the MSM, the UN (of course), and much of Western Europe drones on. In a cacophony of delusional, even deranged rhetoric, writers and politicians misstate current facts on the ground, warp history to fit their ridiculous claims, and condemn a nation that is properly defending itself from murderous thugs by claiming “disproportionality,” or in the most deranged rants—"genocide."

The delusional and deranged seem to think that cease-fire is the goal, that stopping the Israelis is paramount even if it provides a respite for Hamas to rearm and continue the killing of Israelis. Only Israel is to blame and to be condemned. Like Lebanon in 2006, the terrorists are portrayed as the aggrieved party and a western liberal democracy is condemned for defending its borders. "Negotiate," the delusional and deranged cry.

David Gelernter warns against negotiation with murderous thugs who want you dead, and uses a wonderful metaphor to help those who aren’t delusional and deranged understand the underlying cause of the Arabs' claims against Israel:
The dispute has many causes, but one root cause. If I own an old junker Buick that's worthless to me, and a stranger offers me $10,000 for it, naturally I'll take the money. But at the same time I might grow suspicious (or at least thoughtful): Maybe the thing is valuable after all. Maybe I could have got more for it.

And suppose the new owner proceeds to enthuse rapturously over the old car, and repairs and rebuilds it and makes it shine, makes it better than new, and starts exhibiting it at car fairs and winning big prizes. Under those circumstances, I'm even more likely to feel aggrieved, cheated, angry, and (especially) stupid--if I'm the kind of person who dwells on old hurts and imagined grievances. And my friends can make matters worse by egging me on. (Everyone loves a fight, especially if he can watch from the sidelines.)

Now, every human being on earth who cares about facts and can tell a lie from a truth knows that there was no such thing as "Palestinian nationalism" until modern Zionism created it out of whole cloth, by placing enormous value on a piece of land that used to seem as precious to its landlords as a rat-ridden empty lot in a burnt-out neighborhood in the middle of nowhere, in the suburbs of nothing. The Jews gradually got possession of an arid stony wasteland (where the sun beats, / And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief / And the dry stone no sound of water)--complete with the odd picturesque, crumbling, dirty town; and they loved it. They turned it into a gleaming, thriving modern nation, not only a military but an intellectual powerhouse. And so it is only natural that the former owners' descendants want it back, and remember how much their ancestors loved it, and how the new owners only got possession by wickedness and deceit. Such memories have the strange property of growing clearer instead of cloudier every day.

Only one thing can restore the former owners' peace of mind. They must be kicked firmly in the pants and told "stop whining and get lost" so many times that they finally move on to another grievance.

Any competent psychologist will agree: When someone is mooning over a thing he can't have because it belongs to someone else, the responsible and humane course of treatment is not temporizing sweet-talk but a blunt lesson in the facts of life.

Greed and envy. With those two words, Gelertner cuts through all the diplomatic vapor and exposes the raw truth of it all.

Think about it. Would you “negotiate" with a thug who fathered your legally adopted child but then abused and abandoned it. Now he sees the beauty of the child and claims it as his own. Would you allow him parental rights because he threatens violence or whines to some international lost children’s association, or pleads that he is now childless and lonely. Would you relent because he attacks you physically. I. Don't. Think. So.

You’d do what you have to do to be sure that greed and envy—two of the seven deadly sins, by the way—do not prevail. That is, unless you're the Media, the UN or Western Europe. In that case, you’d split the child into pieces, and feeling quite Solomon-like, give part to the thug while preening in the moral certitude that you’re defending the “oppressed.”