Prague Twin

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Moral Relativism

Those of us who believe that what both Israel and Hezbollah are doing is wrong are often accused of displaying "moral Relativism."


A theory, especially in ethics or aesthetics, that conceptions of truth and moral values are not absolute but are relative to the persons or groups holding them.

To a certain extent I think this is true. There are certain moral absolutes, but there are a lot of grey areas for most people. What most people try to do is get some basic rules going that are fairly easy to agree on. One thing (nearly) everyone agrees on is that taking civilian lives is bad.

Those of us who are generally anti-war have a hard time supporting any action that results in loss of life of innocents. We do not want to live in a world where people are declared evil and are simply "wiped off the map." Violence, in our view, usualy begets more violence until it reaches such catastrophic proportions that people turn away from it, sometimes for more than a generation but rarely. As the horrors of war fade, throughout history people have turned to it again and again to solve their problems. The effective warriors were so because of their uncomprimising stances.

As the Army's ability to wage war effectively (because of the constraints put on them by sensible people) wanes, the results are less and less dramatic. Lasting solutions are hard to comeby these days: witness Iraq.

War, when waged properly, works pretty well.

Take Ghengis Khan for example. What many people don't know is that he provided his subjects with immense wealth. During his reign, Outer Mongolia was filled with a collection of treasure perhaps never seen before or since. Why was he so effective? He had a simple philosophy, if the people wanted to be his subjects and not question him ever, they would enjoy the priveledges of being his subjects: trade (wealth) and security. If anyone put up a fight (insurgency) he killed everyone. Problem solved.

Due, however, to the "relativism" from us softy liberals (even though I'm not, but whatever I can't stand labels so they mean very little to me), war can no longer be waged effectively. Thank god for that at least. I'd hate to have Ghengis Khan come through my town. I don't care how much my 401k goes up, I'll pass.

The thing is, it is impossible to judge what is right and wrong every time. This is why us "relativists" depend on simple principles like killing is wrong.

I read the Krauthammer piece (that my fine reader suggested I do) and he makes a valid point in refuting all of those who say the whole problem in and around Israel is due to the 67 war and the occupation. That is a big problem but it is not everything. No, as Krauthammer rightly points out, this goes back further. However, he puts the date at 48. Well, I think you have to go further back to find the roots of this conflict. This goes back so far I think it is impossible to say who actually "started it."

It takes two to tango, and these two have been at it a while. I don't agree with either of their tactics and I will not condone Israels actions which continue to take civilian life at a rate of about 40 per day. I do not believe that this action will end the conflict. It will just be a setback of about 20 years for Lebabnon and the violence will continue. I also strongly disagree with the tactic of intentionally targeting civilians on the part of Hezbollah. I think that restrait should be shown on both sides.

Violence begets more violence. Where does it all end?

Some people say Ghengis Khan was a hero and we glorify all the great conquerers through the ages, while snickering about how ruthless they were. Khan was largely vilified by the Russians. The original Mongolian History looks quite favorably upon him, as you might well imagine. A perfect example of how hisory is written by the winners.

So yes, morality is different for different people, and indeed is different at different times. Things that were acceptable 1000 years ago are no longer so. But certain things are indeed universal.

Some of us think killing is usually wrong, and definatley wrong when we talk about killing innocents.

Some of you find it a good way to take care of problems. Some of you seem to enjoy it. The visceral thrill of it all whirling up out of your stomach, giving your head a quick spin as your heart swells with pride over the superiority of your country. It sure does feel good to have a kick-ass army out there kicking people's asses.

Well, I guess for some people it feels good. Not to us "relativists".


  • Why do liberals support abortion (a life 'on-deck') yet protest capitol punishment(against murderers and such) ???

    By Anonymous George Emson, at 12:53 AM  

  • Of course you did elect to inhabit one of those famous warrior trails, going back before good old Ghengis.
    On the topic of Israel, I would go back well before 48. For eg, Lawrence of Arabia (the real one) made deals on behalf of the Brits which were later denied.
    But it goes back into dark history in my book. The Israelis have rarely sat peacefully on that strip of land.
    I’m not sure whether the Canaanites just walked away, but I very much doubt it. Babylon moved them on for a time and Alexander and the Romans kept them under heel.
    The ill-considered crusades did nothing to help their historic fragility. Added to which they were not especially welcome anywhere else.
    My argument is that over the past 30 years they could have built a solid, peaceful oasis if they were willing to give and take. History says they are not willing.

    Why do people on the right claim the sanctity of life then support wholesale sestruction of same?

    By Blogger Cartledge, at 1:53 AM  

  • interesting. Nice work

    By Blogger GraemeAnfinson, at 6:32 AM  

  • George, your writing style is very similar to my good friend Arch Stanton. Coincidence?

    Pesonally I am grappling with that very issue. I'm not a big fan of abortion myself. My girlfriend in college had one and I can't say I ever really got over it 100%. I still support her right to have one, but it is not an absolute in my book. Personally, I think it should be limited to the first half of term, so I break with the liberals there.

    Having said that, If you want to know what would happen if those on the right got their wish, check out El Salvador where ALL abortion is now illegal. That means that even a doomed embryo stuck in the fellopian tubes must burst before the doctors can do anything.

    I agree with the president that partial-birth abortion is a brutal practice.

    There needs to be a middle ground.


    Thanks for backing me up on that one. LIke I said, this goes back a long time, and as you point out, it has been very hard for the Jews for a very long time. How this all got started is beyond me. I think it is quite sophomorish to believe that anyone really knows who started it.

    Thanks Graeme. Glad you liked it.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 7:48 AM  

  • I will give the theory of relativism some thought, however, let us take a look from the Israeli perspective.

    Currently, Israel is engaged in a war on 2 fronts. In Lebanon, the war is against an armed poltical movement that exists outside of a legitimate government. Hezbollah may particpate in the Lebanese government to some extent, but the attack on Israel by Hezbollah was not the act of the legitimate Lebanese government. Hezbollah is a political movemnet dedicated to the destruction of Israel. Tactically, Hezbollah's military wing lives and stores its weapons among the civilian population.

    All collateral death is regrettable but given Hezbollah's tactics and the inablity od the Lebanese government to control Hezbollah, such death is inevitable. At this juncture, a cessation of hostilities against what may politely be called a stateless military movement and just as accurately be called a terrorist movement does not appear to be in Israel's best interests.

    Any cessation of hostilities will merely provide Syria and Iran the opportunity to resupply Hezbollah.

    In Gaza, radical members of Hamas ( this is like describing infected animals as "rabid dogs who are also affilcted w/ distemper), tunneled into Israel, killed 2 soldiers on Israeli soil, and kidnapped a 3rd. Hamas is another organization that denies Israel's right to exist.

    I am having a difficult time understanding how relativism fits in here.

    I tend to consider myself a rational and reasonable person. A few days ago there was a discussion regarding WW III. In truth, I have concluded that we are already engaged in WWW III. In some ways it resemnbles the Cold War. In other ways it resembles Afghanistan, Lebanon, and Gaza. NB how I left Iraq out of the equation.

    We are engaged in a struggle against Islamic Jihadists who would destroy our civilization in an attempt to return to the Caliphate.

    We are engaged w/ irratuional theocrats whose religion has been subsumed in their tribalism.

    Lest anyone beleive that I am anti Muslim per se, we are certainly not engaged w/ Muslims like those who ruled parts of Spain for centuries and practiced tolerence toward Jews to a much gretaer degree than did most of medeival Europe.

    Our enemy is not rational therefore we cannot treat them as such. We can only treat them like snakes on a plane.

    By Anonymous Tony Sokolow, at 6:59 PM  

  • I'va always thought the Catholic Church's position on life was pretty consistent. Pope John Paul II believed both abortion and capital punishment are murder. Many pro-lifers, however, salivate over capital punishment laws while going out of their way to protect every zygote they can find. And these same pro-lifers, who say they want to protect human life, oppose contraceptive programs and education, which undercuts their "pro-life stance." If you are pro-life, then you ought to be pro-condom/pro-contraception, since that is a great way to avoid unwanted pregnancies.

    I agree w/ you, praguetwin, that abortion is a tough issue. I admit to some unease about it too. Yet I also think that many of the people on the pro-life side are disingenuous - they're not really pro-life, they're anti-sex. And I have a whole family of pro-lifers to use as an example. My dad belongs to this pro-life group that believes all contraception is immoral, only married people should have sex, and even married people should ot have access to contraception. This set of beliefs sounds like disaster to me, especially in world with 6 billion + people.

    By Blogger reality-based educator, at 7:12 PM  

  • Tony,

    I'm not sure I can do your comment justice with a response but I will try.

    I can see that you believe the actions that Israel is undertaking now as justified because the Lebanese government has been unable to disarm Hezbollah.

    I would be interested to hear how the Lebanese government should have gone about disarming Hezbollah. Should they have asked for international support? I don't think they are capable of disarming Hezbollah, granted though, that doesn't mean they even want to. I think the Lebanese have left Hezbollah armed as a buffer against Israeli incursions. Obviously this was a failed strategy if this was in fact the case.

    I think telling the Lebanese goverment to disarm Hezbollah is kind of like telling an adolescent to stop letting his Dad beat his Mom. This is probably a poor analogy, but you get the point.

    What I disagree with is the bombing of the infrastructure throughoutt Lebanon, including areas in the north of the country. I am opposed to the killing of innocent civilians (now up to 300) for any reason. I think that when the soldiers were "kidnapped", Israel had an opportunity to get the world community involved, and perhaps a U.N. force (or Nato) could have gotten involved, or at least okayed the actions of the Israeli government. Although the actions in Gaza seem a little heavy handed, they are nothing compared to what is happening to Lebanon as we speak. My view is shared by almost everyone in the world community, not that that means anything, but even Russia is asking for restraint.

    The bombing started almost immediately, almost as if this was already planned and they were just waiting for a flash point. Hezbolla served it up, and they deserve what they get. However, I'm opposed to the destruction of the fragile Lebanese state, and the killing of innocent life. In the end, I think the chances for a "final solution" to the Hezbollah problem are poor. What I predict is that in the end, Hezbollah will still be a force, Lebanon will be destroyed, thousands will have died, and there will be more hate and revenge seeking towards Israel than ever before.

    Mostly I'm opposed to the killing of innocent life no matter how good the reason is.

    With regards to relativism, I find it ironic that it is us who are called relativists when it is the hawks who bemoan every life taken by a terrorist, but have no remorse for the innocents killed in bombing raids and such. I, on the other hand, feel very bad for both. I feel the same pain for the victims of 9/11 as for the families who's houses have been bombed in Iraq with them inside. Dead is dead, and there is no coming back. It is precisely those who justify killing that doom us to a continuation of killing.

    In my mind, the hawks are the relativists, while the peace-nigs are more consistent in their view, with perhaps the exception of the abortion issue.

    Which brings me to RBE,

    I tend to agree with what you write here. Thank god I was raised by hippies so I don't know what it is like to have that kind of energy around.

    I have always wondered why the right is so eager to allow business to do whatever they want, but individuals must be told if they can have sex or take drugs or a myriad of other things that the right wants to tell us to do.

    It seems hypocitical.

    Abortion is a very tough issue, and it is one that will have to be taken up seriously. I fear that the dogma from both sides will make it impossible for any decent policy to emerge.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 9:01 PM  

  • PT

    Very perceptive of you! Yes, we are acquainted, but not one in the same.

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 3:23 AM  

  • PT,

    Word is getting out that the Israelis got it wrong in that the situation in Lebanon is unlikely to be resolved by air warfare alone.

    The situation is horrific: the Lebanese infrastructure destroyed and a half a million people are refugees.

    This type of crisis will require an international force to secure the situation. Yes, it is bad for the fragile Lebanese government.

    The majority of nations consider Israel's actions to be disproportionate. Hey, it was only 2 soldiers. As for the Russians, well let's just sit down w/ them and ahve a little chat about a place called Chechnya.

    The vast majority of terrorists are stateless--like Hezbollah or are participants in state sponsored terrorism. Could the Lebanese governmentt disarm Hezbollah? Probably not. But, as my great grandfather was fond of telling my father: "When you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas."

    At some point, when governments like that of Lebanon take whatever steps are necxessary to insure that what is happening now, never happens again, innocent civilians will stop being killed.

    On the way home today, I heard that the Hezbollah militia numbers 2,000. They are well trained and 2000 of them have 10,000 freaking missiles. This is simply unacceptable. I caution you to read the link in Diomedes latest posting.

    When everyone adopts a zero tolerance for terrorism, terrorism will abate. If my country were in ruins as Lebanon is, I would blame the Israelis but I would also do whatever is necessary to see that were not provoked again. I don't think the Lebanese left Hezbollah in place as a buffer b/c Hezbollah and its ilk was the reason behind the Israeli incursion. Israel doesn't ask much of Lebanon. 2 things basically. Don't allow terrorists to iniltrate our borders or fire rockets at us.

    As for reproductive freedom. Individuals must make choices and live w/ their consequences.

    What the president has yet to rewalize is that you cannot legislate morality.

    As for Genghis Khan, not everybody was given ac hoice to join or die. Some just died.

    By Anonymous Tony Sokolow, at 5:14 AM  

  • At some point, when governments like that of Lebanon take whatever steps are necxessary to insure that what is happening now, never happens again, innocent civilians will stop being killed.

    You realize that this is the exact same argument that OBL uses on Americans: put pressure on your government to get out of Saudi Arabia and stop meddling in the Arab world and the civilians will stop dying.

    Forgive me for being dense, but I just don't see the difference. You are saying killing civilians is a viable form of coersion and I respectfully disagree.

    When everyone adopts a zero tolerance for terrorism, terrorism will abate.

    Which is why I don't advocate the current bombing in Lebanon. Bombing of passenger cars on the way to Damascus (trying to escape Beirut) can only be described as terrorism.

    Ghandi defeated the greatest empire on the planet without firing a shot.

    Ghengis killed all the soldiers first. Then he gave who was left the choice. First sign of insurgency, he would have the whole city killed. Women, children, everyone.

    Simple, harsh rules. My point with Ghengis is that THAT is how you win wars. Is that what we really want to see accross the arab world?

    The Hezbollah militia may be only 2,000, but people who consider themselves Hezbollah party members is nearly equal to the entire Shia population of Lebanon.

    Wiping Hezbollah from the map would be nothing short of Genocide.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 11:53 AM  

  • PT,

    "Wiping Hezbollah from the map would be nothing short of genocide."

    Let us suppose you are right. Doesn't that leaves me w/ a choice between the genocide of tribes to whom I am connected at the hands of genocidal Islamic Jihadists or the genocide of those Islamic Jihadists?

    I am not an advocate of genocide, but if I am compelled to make this choice, it's a no brainer.

    Meanwhile, I am am not suggesting that killing civilians is a viable form of coercion. Civilians get killed in wars. Perhaps less now than in the past, but they do. The loss of innocent life is regrettable. What is the alternative? Hezbollah, like OBL are stateless terrorists. Like OBL, they are stateless terrorists attacking sovereign nations.

    Do you really think that OBL will stop if the US were to w/draw from Saudi Arabia? Terrorists will never cease inflicting death and destruction until they have imposed their own brand of backward tribalism on the rest of us. Then and only then will they turn on themselves.

    I admire Ghandi. I admire that he was abe to achieve what he did w/o violence. The BE, howver, was in severe decline when all of that occurred. 1. He had history on his side: 2. His timing was very good or lucky.

    I actually beleive that Ghenghis Khan did not kill all the soldiers as he may have absorbed some.

    He definitely had no use for leaders who assumed their positions by reason of lineage rather than merit.

    I will continue to articulate my theory of tribalism. I mean not all tribes are bad. I like the 12 Tribes of Israel and I am fond of the Iroquois Nationals, as they currently exist, who lost to the motherless Canadians in the World Lacrosse Game semis setting up tomorrow's matchup between the US and Canada.

    The Czech Republic lost to Wales yesterday 9-0 in OT. Today, they play Denmark for 15th place. It's Hong Kong v. New Zealand for 19th place in the Toilet Bowl. But I digress.

    Tribalism, whether it is manifests itself as it did in Rwanda, Darfur, southern Lebanon, or in evagelical Christian Churches in the United States, is the enemy.

    Islamic Jihadism is not a form of Islam or is Islamic in name only. Certainly the Quran does not advocte the wholesale destruction of innocent life as proposed and practiced by the insurgency in Iraq, Hezbollah, and Hamas. (By the way, what do female suicide bombers get? 72 studs who look like mebers of Chippendale?)

    It is the tribalistic aspect of Islamic Jihadism that renders it incompatable w/ civilization. I will work on this. Commebt if you care to.


    By Anonymous Tony Sokolow, at 12:00 AM  

  • Wiping Hezbollah from the map would no more be a commission of genocide than was the removal of Shintoism from the world stage. I'm really tired of this debate. To say that to wipe out Hezbollah would be genocide is like saying that wiping out the UPS would be like genocide. They are organizations that potentially have a multi-ethnic membership. For god’s sake, look the word genocide up in the dictionary and stop misusing the word. Here, I did it for everyone

    gen·o·cide [ jénnə sd ]



    murder of entire ethnic group: the systematic killing of all the people from a national, ethnic, or religious group, or an attempt to do this

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 5:22 AM  

  • Let's hear it for moral relativism. As far as the mess in the Middle East goes, I don't see any good or bad guys. I just don't want us to be involved in it (beyond the trillions of dollars we've already given to Israel).

    Hamas, Hebzollah and the Israeli government are all villains, and I feel sorry for the civilians on both sides who are caught in the middle. That's all I can offer; I don't have a solution (who does?).

    By Blogger Tom Harper, at 11:40 PM  

  • Arch Stanton,

    "murder of entire ethnic group: the systematic killing of all the people from a national, ethnic, or religious group, or an attempt to do this"

    Hezbollah is both a national and an religious group. The nation is Lebanon. The religion is a particular sect of Islam. It's not a misuse at all.

    And, as indicated by the link posted above this post, in order to wipe Hezbollah off the face of the Earth Israel will have to destroy Lebanon entirely. Which seems to be exactly what they're trying to do.

    By Blogger Stephanie, at 10:00 AM  

  • Stephanie

    Hezbollah is not a nation, it operates within a nation (just like the UPS) and the sect of religion that it pretends to be exists elsewhere, so therefore the wiping of Hezbollah from the map would not include - as is defined - the ENTIRETY of anything.

    Do you believe that all or even most of the Lebanese people operate as or are members of Hezbollah?

    It is a total misuse of the word.

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 3:39 PM  

  • Tony,

    No one wants genocide, except for the two tribes involved in this struggle. You said...

    It is the tribalistic aspect of Islamic Jihadism that renders it incompatable w/ civilization.

    Why can not the same be said for the Jews? The Jews' desire to live in this place based on their race, religion, and history on the land qualifies them as a tribe by your own defining. Indeed you say that you are connected to this tribe.

    So isn't this a tribal conflict that goes back for centuries? Doesn't it seem foolhardy of us to think that there will be any "final solution" short of genocide? And if we reject Genocide as an answer, isn't the best strategy the path of Ghandi, or at least a strickly defensive posture?

    Sorry, more questions than answers. One last one... . Your own opinion is influence by your tribal connection. Doesn't this tell us volumes about how hard it must be for people in the middle of this thing to be rational and listen to the calls for peace?


    I think what Stephanie may be saying (and if so, I agree) is that talk of wiping Hezbollah off the map would be at least near genocide as nearly all Lebanese Shia would have to be killed before the party would no longer have support. As the violence increases, support for Hezbollah is increasing. Thus, as time goes on, more and more people will have to be wiped off the map along with Hezbollah.

    Also, don't forget about all the innocent Shia that will have to be killed "just in case" if you want to finish the job properly.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 10:14 PM  

  • PT

    Are you suggesting that nearly all the Lebanese Shia have membership in Hezbollah? If so I would ask that you back this notion up. But again since the Israeli action is to wipe out an organization whose membership is voluntary and potentially diverse, I hold to my claim that the destruction of Hezbollah is nowhere near genocide. I makes light of true genocide.

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 4:45 AM  

  • My point is simply this:

    If you want to get rid of Hezbollah through violence you will have to kill all the Shi'ites in Lebanon.

    That would be a form of genocide.

    Now, if you want to disarm Hezbollah and try to bring them into the fold politically, that is a different story.

    But that is not what you and other extreme military hawks are advocating. You are advocating "wiping Hezbollah off the map."

    To effectively do this, you will need to engage in genocide. As long as there are 1,000 Lebanese Shi'ites alive, Hezbollah will have some support.

    I'm not saying getting rid of Hezbollah is genocide. I'm saying if you want to wipe Hezbollah from the map, you will have to commit genocide.

    It is a subtle difference. I don't expect you to understand it as it is not binary in nature.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 10:12 AM  

  • I'm not saying getting rid of Hezbollah is genocide. I'm saying if you want to wipe Hezbollah from the map, you will have to commit genocide.

    Sorry, edit here. Should read...
    I'm not saying disarming Hezbollah is genocide. ...

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 10:14 AM  

  • PT

    Again you have made the unsubstantiated leap that says: Hezbollah = Lebanese Shiites. Even if it were true, since wiping in out Hezbollah would not equate to wiping out all Shiites, it is still a misuse of the word genocide. And yes it is very binary. At some point it is a simple as 1+1 = 2. It in fact is the problem with moral relativism that we can force anything that we want into any shape that we want. That we are actually arguing over this is proof of that. If anything Hezbollah by their own words is the organization that actually has a desire for genocide.

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 3:29 PM  

  • PT,

    I have not visited in a few days. I am sitting shivs for Team USA which lost to Canada on Sturday, losing their first internmational game in 28 years.

    I have documents that are slouching toward dictation to be born and will respond later from home when my filing is fait accomplis.

    This entry conatins a lot fuzzy thinking by divers individuals among whom I do not count myself as one.



    By Anonymous Tonyy Sokolow, at 10:19 PM  

  • Arch,

    You just don't get it.

    I officially give up.

    Read Ghegis Khan's story. The answer lies there.

    Go brave soldier and wipe all evil from the map so we can live in paradise. A brave new world awaits!!!

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 11:29 PM  

  • Tony,

    No worries. I've been AWOL since about last Thursday. Alot to process.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 11:30 PM  

  • 305 of the population of Lebanon is Christian; 70% are Muslims including the Druse, whom I do not believe can be classified as Shiites.

    I am uncertain as to the sectarian breakdown of the 70%. I must agree w/ Arch.

    It is an unwarranted and unsupported proposition to equate all Lebanese Shiites w/ Hezbollah anymore than one could equate all American white christians w/ the KKK.

    PT, When referring to Jews as "the tribe' I was being halfway facetious and perhaps diluted my point.

    Israel may be a fractious democracy but it is a democracy. Some Israelis may be theocrats but the majority aren't.

    The bottom line, I think is this: You and sometimes we, amy not approve of Israeli policies. But the nanosecond you equate the actions of non governmental groups like Hamas and Hezbollah w/ the policies of the sovereign state of Israel, you have committed a fundamental intellectual error.

    The killing of innocent civilians is regrettable at best and deplorable at worst.

    Please defend firing rockets indiscriminately w/ no specific target in mind except whatever they may hit. Such action cannot be equated w/ and attempt to destroy the those rockets and the people firing them.

    I posit that are at least two types of terrorism: State terrorism and terrorism committed by individuals and groups w/o sovereign status.

    Iraq is an example of the former. The latter need no identification as we all can think of examples.

    So answer this question: Is it terrorism to attempt to neutralize a group that is indiscrimanently firing rockets into your country in order to kill or destroy whatever they may hit.

    PT. Jews in Israel do hold as a basic tenet that Lebanon must be destroyed and all Muslims killed. The same cannot be said of Hezbollah.


    By Anonymous Tony Sokolow, at 1:04 AM  

  • Arch Stanton,

    "But again since the Israeli action is to wipe out an organization whose membership is voluntary and potentially diverse..."

    Participation in any religion is voluntary and potentially diverse, thus the whole "conversion" thing. That's true of all religions of which I am aware, including both Islam and Judaism. Thus your distinction of Hezbollah is negated on that point.

    As per your question (which PT answered quite well) I will add this: Hezbollah was formed as a direct reaction to Israel's invasion of Lebannon in 1982. So, it could be implied that even were Israel to successfully destroy the current leadership of Hezbollah and all it's participants, a new, even better supported version of Hezbollah would rise from the rubble in Lebannon, unless the entire country was obliterated, and that would bring the wrath of all the other nations in the region on Israel's head. So, yes, you are advocating genocide as it would be the only way to accomplish what you are suggesting, and it would also ensure WWIII is started and Israel's own destruction. Both of which I would prefer to avoid.

    "Even if it were true, since wiping in out Hezbollah would not equate to wiping out all Shiites, it is still a misuse of the word genocide."

    Therefore Hitler didn't even attempt to participate in genocide, because all the Jews in Europe didn't amount to all the Jews. Is that what you're suggesting?

    And I'm sure that parrallel will anger you, so I want to clarify that it's not what I am suggesting. I merely pointing out that if you wish to define genocide in this manner it is equally applicable to your people as the "other."

    By Blogger Stephanie, at 1:37 AM  

  • PT

    Good, you were in way over your head on this one.


    Do you think that Hitler killed only the Jews that observed the Sabbath and went to temple? Judaism is as much a matriarchal bloodline as it is a religion. As Tony has observed – By yours and Prague Twins understanding of genocide – to hunt down and kill every member of the KKK would be genocide. Do you believe that?

    It would do you well to further read up on Hezbollah, as the notion that its main purpose is some noble defense of Lebanon is the teaching of apparatchiks. This is a group of people who have sworn to drive the Israelis into the sea (a TRUE act of genocide) why do you believe that to destroy Hezbollah would equate to the destruction of the whole of Lebanon?

    Rest assured Stephanie that had Hitler won WWII he would not have rested until every Jew was exterminated. (Anyone want to chime in on that statement?) I have only advocated wiping out an organization that is hell bent on committing genocide.

    You make the assumption I am Jewish, why?

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 7:02 AM  

  • Arch Stanton,

    "Do you think that Hitler killed only the Jews that observed the Sabbath and went to temple?"

    He didn't ONLY kill the Jews at all. And, as far as the ethnic lineage you're talking about, the original lineage of the Jewish population and the Islamic population (Semite) is the same. Both Hebrews and Arabs are of Semitic origin, so if you're using that as a determining factor, ignoring the significant number of converts to both religions, then your argument for Hitler's act of genocide is even less valid using your definition, because he didn't attack the rest of that lineage.

    Besides, Hitler imprisoned and/or killed those he called "Jews" who had absolutely no affiliation with the religion, except one of friendship. Hitler's murderous rampage was not simply about "Jews," it was about control.

    "As Tony has observed – By yours and Prague Twins understanding of genocide – to hunt down and kill every member of the KKK would be genocide. Do you believe that?"

    That depends on whether you are defining the "KKK" as it was originally formed, or as it stands now, which is a religious (if a very screwwed up one) organization. If you're counting the KKK now, then yes I would, because the recruiting process is one that calls for religious affiliation.

    However, not all white supremists are KKK members. Just as not all terrorists, nor all Muslims, are the same. That doesn't mean a particular set, especially one that holds to different beliefs, isn't a religious organization unto itself.

    "This is a group of people who have sworn to drive the Israelis into the sea (a TRUE act of genocide)..."

    Which is a direct reaction to Israel's original intention to take back the promised land and kick all non-Jews out of their newly claimed terroritory, which expanded beyond what they were given.

    Do not get me wrong. I do NOT agree with Hezbollah's actions. Nor do I agree with Israel's. Israel has no right to do what they are doing.

    "...why do you believe that to destroy Hezbollah would equate to the destruction of the whole of Lebanon?"

    1) Because that is exactly what is happening. Israel is NOT targetting Hezbollah; Israel is targetting Lebanon with no regard to the innocent civilians they are killing and the legitimate infrastructure and culture they are destroying.

    2) Because Lebanon will NEVER side with the country who murders their people over the group of their people who murders their enemy and Israel is making it blatantly obvious that they are the enemy of Lebanon.

    3) Because it is human nature to retaliate when attacked. Usually this retaliation is measurable to the original attack. Israel's retaliation is not comparable, but it is highly probable that Lebanon will make every effort to retaliate against Israel's unjust action. That is a full-fledged war not between an established country and non-established militants, but between two established countries. Lebanon has no reason not to do so, because Lebanon, every citizen of Lebanon, is under attack by Israel. Hezbollah is going to grow because of this action, and is likely to win control of Lebanon entirely.

    "Rest assured Stephanie that had Hitler won WWII he would not have rested until every Jew was exterminated. (Anyone want to chime in on that statement?)"

    There is no way to know for sure what Hitler would have done had he had the opportunity. He wanted to create a "pure" race of Aryans and exterminate and enslave all non-Aryans, yet was a non-Aryan himself. You cannot predict the actions of that kind of insanity.

    "I have only advocated wiping out an organization that is hell bent on committing genocide."

    You are against genocide and yet justifying it on your own behalf. If you expect that to make sense... I'm sorry it doesn't.

    "You make the assumption I am Jewish, why?"

    I made no such assumption. That is simply how you interpretted my statement. You affiliate yourself with the Israelis much the same way that a sports aficionado affiliates himself with a team. You want your side to win, much like the sports aficionado wants his team to win; irregardless of the fact that neither of you have a tangible stake in the affair at hand.

    The difference of course is that, in your case, thousands of lives are at stake instead of a score board, but that doesn't seem to matter much to you.

    By Blogger Stephanie, at 8:02 AM  

  • Tony,

    You finished with this...

    PT. Jews in Israel do hold as a basic tenet that Lebanon must be destroyed and all Muslims killed. The same cannot be said of Hezbollah.

    I'm assuming this is sarcasm and meant to be reversed?

    Aren't you comparing Jews in Israel to Hezbollah? Isn't this the same "intellectual flaw" you accused me of making?

    I am not going to, nor have I ever, condoned Hezbollah's actions, especially the firing of rockets into civilian areas.

    I am allowed to disagree with the way in which Israel sees fit to deal with this situation without defending Hezbollah.

    Why is this so hard for everyone to see? Your argument basically boils down to this...

    What Hezbolllah does is horrible (agreed). Therefore, millions of people can be displaced and thousands killed in a failed effort to do something about it and that is perfectly acceptable.

    Also, if anyone questions the methods that Israel uses, they are a terrorist supporter.

    I'm sorry Tony, but you emotions have gotten in the way here and it is you who are making critical intellectual errors.

    You point about the ethnic composition of Lebanon is well taken. My only point is that to effectively destroy militant opposition to Israel, you will have to engage in something very close to genocide, if not all out genocide a la Ghengis Khan.


    Hezbollah enjoys a much greater percentage support amongst Lebanese Shi'a than the KKK does amongst white Christians.

    There really are very few good numbers out there on Lebanese demographics, but suffice to say, I don't know of too many KKK members in congress at present. Hezbollah certainly enjoys much broader support than the KKK in percentage terms.

    Has it ever been suggested by rational people that the U.S. government should "wipe the KKK from the map?"

    No. Of course not. Sure, they are bad, and they kill innocent people and their message is to destroy all the non-pure people (including the Jews). But simply destroying them or vanquishing them is simply not an option.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 8:25 AM  

  • PT,

    "Has it ever been suggested by rational people that the U.S. government should "wipe the KKK from the map?""

    I don't know about "ever," but it is not suggested now, because members of the KKK are recognized as human beings in this country, and it is becoming more and more obvious the some of your commenters see those "others" as less than worthy of human dignity and fair treatment.

    By Blogger Stephanie, at 8:48 AM  

  • PT

    So now the definition of genocide has to do with level of support of said group? Besides, I thought you gave up on this one.


    So then by your logic any group that was comprised of ne’er-do-wells who had at its core a religious aspect could "pull the genocide card" the second someone tried to stop them?

    Like I said: The teachings of apparatchiks.

    p.s. same father different mother, hence the matriarchal nature of Judaism. Do some research.

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 3:17 PM  

  • Arch,

    This is the last time. I will try to explain in the most basic terms possible.

    To exteriminate Hezbollah, you would have to commit genocide.

    Exterminating Hezbollah itself is not genocide, but to effectively exterminate Hezbollah you would have to kill all or most of the Shi'a in Lebanon just to be sure.

    They will not be able to weed out Hezbollah, so if they do anything short of genocide, Hezbollah will survive the storm.

    Think of it like a bug bomb. If you really want to get rid of the fleas you have to use a bug bomb. Sure, you kill plenty of innocent moths, ants, and other bugs in your house that have never done you any harm and on which you wish no harm, but going around and trying to kill the fleas individually will never work.

    Are you starting to see what I am saying? I really hope so.

    Having explained this quite simple point at least a half a dozen times to you, I hope you also understand that this is my opinion. There will be one of two outcomes...

    1. Genocide

    2. Hezbollah survives

    That is my opinion about a future event. You are welcome to disagree.

    Have I made myself clear? Hmmmm, maybe one more time just for good measure, because really, I'm not doing this again.

    In order to wipe Hezbollah from the map, you would have to commmit genocide. Why? Because it is impossible to single out all the members. Any effective "wiping off the map" would involve something very close to, if not full-blown, genocide.

    Just like a bug bomb.

    Anyone? Beuller?

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 5:00 PM  

  • PT,

    Sorry. Not sarcasm. I omitted the "not." It should have read 'Jews do not...."


    By Anonymous Tony Sokolow, at 5:51 PM  

  • Freudian slip?

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 9:10 PM  

  • PT


    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 3:14 AM  

  • Arch Stanton,

    "So then by your logic any group that was comprised of ne’er-do-wells who had at its core a religious aspect could "pull the genocide card" the second someone tried to stop them?"

    Stopping people and wiping them from the face of the earth are two separate things.

    Stopping "ne'er-do-wells" is called justice and wiping them from the face of the earth is called murder. And if you're targetting an entire group, then it's genocide.

    "p.s. same father different mother, hence the matriarchal nature of Judaism. Do some research."

    I've done lots of research and I know the lineage connects with the same father and different mothers. However, you will not that the male lineage is what is kept primary track of in the records. The farther you go back, the less likely the women's names are to be recorded at all, or at least in full. Add that to the fact that the culture was/is controlled by men, calling it matriarchal is inaccurate.

    By Blogger Stephanie, at 6:35 AM  

  • Stephanie

    If you research Judaism you will find that the important relation is to Sarah, Abraham’s wife and mother of Yitzchak ancestor to the Jewish peoples. Prior to that, Abraham also sired Ishmael (ancestor to the Arab peoples) through a sanctioned relationship with Sarah’s maidservant Hagar.

    Like I said, matriarchal in nature

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 10:59 PM  

  • I'm familiar with that, Arch. Really, I am. However, the twelve tribes of Israel, were not matriarchal in nature. They were patriarchal in nature, because there was one father and several mothers involved in producing those twelve tribes.

    And, the lineage is still traced back through the father's line, and not through the mothers.

    By Blogger Stephanie, at 1:29 AM  

  • Stephanie

    But a child borne of a Jewish father and a non Jewish mother has no birth right to be called Jewish.

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 1:59 AM  

  • That really does depends. Because, in that case, most of the Twelve Tribes are not, technically, Jewish. It depends on who believes what, and whose teachings they're following.

    Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have more similiarities than differences when it comes right down to it. One of those similiarities is the branching off of a variety of "sects" that have significant differences of oppinion when it comes to what constitutes doctrine. Some Jews believe that you have to be born Jewish (as you described) to be a Jew. Some do not. Those who do say those who don't aren't really Jewish at all. However, the history of the Torrah does not support that, including the formation of the original Twelve Tribes AND the laws passed down to the Hebrews from God.

    Later prophets, or "prophets" depending on the beliefs of the sect in question, changed that. Did they have the authority/right to do so? It depends on your beliefs.

    I'm not Jewish, but I do respect the Judaic faith. I'm not Muslim, but I do respect the Islamic faith. What I don't respect is the unwillingness of others to accept either those who believe in a different version of their own faith or those who believe in an entirely different faith. There are Muslims, Jews, and Christians (amongst other faiths, but those are the main ones pertinent to this discussion) who practice this unwillingness. And I have no tolerance for such people, wherever I may find them.

    I will debate with them, and try to educate them, but usually it's useless. Still, one must try, and that is a tenet of my faith, though it could be said that I take it to a higher level than is required.

    By Blogger Stephanie, at 12:41 PM  

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