2023 Grateful 12: Moral preening from a safe distance

When I started blogging all those years ago, it was to keep friends in far-flung places abreast of my flat renovation in Budapest. That was then.

Somewhere in the middle, when I split my main blog into three – one on travel, one on cemeteries, and the original, the likes and the comments became more important.

Now, though, it’s an exercise in processing and sharing.  I’m no longer bothered about the numbers. I’m no longer waiting to be discovered. I have a core group of readers who seem to enjoy and find inspiration in what I say. That’s enough.

Some blogs take hours; others take minutes. So much of what I learned, like FPA said, I learned by looking for something else.

There’s an anxiety about me. An unsettled dread. A deep-seated worry that the world as we know it is ending. Reading about the ‘anti-Israel’ protests in Glasgow and elsewhere along with the ‘pro-Palestine’ chants of From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free, I worry. I use those annoying rabbit ears because I’m not at all convinced that those involved really understand what they’re doing. They may mean well… but do they understand? Really understand?

Or am I missing something?

No one wants kids to die, be they Israeli or Palestinian. I doubt there’s a ‘normal’ person in that part of the world who wants this war.

In an effort to understand the protests, the hatred, the venom, and what I’m increasingly seeing as short-sightedness, I started reading.

On Future of Jewish (because, let’s face it, no matter how this war is dressed up, that is what is at stake here), I came across a reference to US economist Thomas Sowell and his two visions – constrained and unconstrained.

Those with an unconstrained vision of the world believe

poverty, crime, inequality, and war are not inevitable; rather, they are puzzles that can be solved. We need only to stand up for the right causes, enact the right policies, and spend enough money in the right places in order to eradicate these social ills.

Those with an unconstrained vision don’t agree. For them

no amount of social engineering can change the sober reality of human self-interest, or the fact that human empathy and social resources are necessarily scarce. People who see the world this way believe that most political, social, and economic problems will never be “solved.” They can only be managed.

Not solutions. Trade-offs. Compromises.

I went looking for more on Sowell and found this excerpt from his book Dismantling America:

Moral preening from a safe distance; and at someone else’s expense.

There’s a thought.

This book published in 2010. That’s what he said then. This is what’s happening now.

This isn’t just about Israel or Palestine – it’s about the evil of Hamas.

Think about that.

Thanks, Thomas – you’ve explained something I was struggling to understand.

2 Responses

  1. On a recent trip I spent time with two American Jews….a husband and wife, we talked extensively about the situation in Gaza. Apart from being very worried about the outcome they had similar views to Thomas. A few things came out of our conversations that I hadn’t previously been aware of – at the end of the second world war, when European Jews could not return to their homelands and were looking for a new Jewish homeland, Palestine was not the only place on offer. The Australian outback and Argentina were also on offer. Personally I’m not surprised that they chose Palestine.

    After the 1967 war, where the surrounding Arab states attacked Israel with the intention of obliterating Israel from the map, in winning Israel was left with a lot of previously Arab land. There were peace treaties with the surrounding Arab countries and Israel gave back a lot of the land that it had captured securing a lasting ‘peace treaty’ as part of the bargain. Gaza had previously been part of Egypt and when it was offered back to the Egyptians they didn’t want it…….Israel was left with it. The west bank had previously been part of Jordan and guess what when it was offered back the Jordanians didn’t want that either……..lucky old Israel was left with it.

  2. The Outback – I didn’t know that. Argentina I’d heard of. I feel for the Palestinians. Normal, everyday people, who want to get on with their lives. Hamas though – they’re frightening. I heard yesterday how some UK politican was saying that the word Jihad can mean many things … the mind boggles

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