left biblioblography: The Illogic of Anti-Zionism - How The Liberal Leftie Atheists Have No Legs

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Illogic of Anti-Zionism - How The Liberal Leftie Atheists Have No Legs

I think I've made this fairly clear in the past: I am Pro-Israel. I feel that not only is anti-Israel sentiment a hold-over of a Christian meme, there is no, I repeat NO conflict between my non-belief and support of Israel, and furthermore, I have solid valid reasons for supporting that country.

I am currently engaged in a(nother!) pissing contest at the Nogodblog.

In the past, I've striven to have logical, consistent debates on the topic. I have endeavored to answer any and all objections without resorting to the usual schoolyard tactics ('hey shithead, yer mamma!' that sorta thing). Usually, it ends badly, mostly because there's only so many times I can wring the piss out of my shoes before I lose my temper.

So, without resorting to any logical fallacies whatsoever, I will expound on two (yes, two! Only two! I am also striving to be less logorrheic, yay!) simple principles that should convince the less stubborn of the illogic of it all.

Point number one: moral relativism. By it's very definition, as follows:

Philosophical view that what is right or wrong and good or bad is not absolute but variable and relative, depending on the person, circumstances, or social situation. Rather than claiming that an action's rightness or wrongness can depend on the circumstances, or that people's beliefs about right and wrong are relative to their social conditioning, it claims (in one common form) that what is truly right depends solely on what the individual or the society thinks is right. Because what people think will vary with time and place, what is right will also vary. If, however, changing and even conflicting moral principles are equally valid, there is apparently no objective way of justifying any principle as valid for all people and all societies. This conclusion is rejected by consequentialists (see consequentialism) and deontologists (see deontological ethics) alike.

As I have stated in the past, I've pretty much chucked moral relativism in the trash. If this is your particular -ism, then you can simply restrict your trenchant criticisms to the society and environment you find yourself in. Of course, you can tailor this definition to suit your needs, but then it becomes dangerously close to Loki's Wager, so best to be careful on this one. It's thin ice.

Point number two: the Is/Ought problem. For those of you unfamiliar with this concept, it is as follows;

In meta-ethics, the is-ought problem was raised by David Hume (Scottish philosopher and historian, 17111776), who noted that many writers make claims about what ought to be on the basis of statements about what is. However, there seems to be a significant difference between descriptive statements (about what is) and prescriptive statements (about what ought to be).

Hume discusses the problem in book III, part I, section I of his A Treatise of Human Nature:

“In every system of morality, which I have hitherto met with, I have always remark'd, that the author proceeds for some time in the ordinary ways of reasoning, and establishes the being of a God, or makes observations concerning human affairs; when all of a sudden I am surpriz'd to find, that instead of the usual copulations of propositions, is, and is not, I meet with no proposition that is not connected with an ought, or an ought not. This change is imperceptible; but is however, of the last consequence. For as this ought, or ought not, that expresses some new relation or affirmation, 'tis necessary that it shou'd be observ'd and explain'd; and at the same time that a reason should be given; for what seems altogether inconceivable, how this new relation can be a deduction from others, which are entirely different from it.

Hume then calls for writers to be on their guard against such inferences, if they cannot give an explanation of how the ought-statements are supposed to follow from the is-statements. But how exactly can you derive an "ought" from an "is"? In other words, given our knowledge of the way the world is, how can we know the way the world ought to be? That question, prompted by Hume's small paragraph, has become one of the central questions[citation needed] of ethical theory, and Hume is usually assigned the position that such a derivation is impossible. This complete severing of "is" from "ought" has been given the graphic designation of "Hume's Guillotine".[1]

A similar (though distinct) view is defended by G. E. Moore's open question argument, intended to refute any identification of moral properties with natural properties—the so-called naturalistic fallacy.

How do the ruminations of a 17th century skeptic tie in to the current crisis in the Middle East? It's incredibly simple.

At no other time in history, has there ever been a liberal democracy (yes, I used the code words, don't whinge on about it) founded and maintained by Jews in the history of the world. Yes, there IS discrimination, there IS racism, yes there ARE theocratic elements involved, yes, Israel is in NEED of reform. None of these detract from the reality of the situation. And also, never has there been a Jewish founded democracy smack dab in the middle of a bunch of crazy assholes hell-bent on their destruction (and this has been so for the past 60 years or so).

So the Is/ought problems is applied thusly: there is no criterion for a Hebrew democracy aswim in the waters of genocidal madmen, as to how they should respond to every situation.

This is not a cart blanche waiver releasing the Israelis from critique. It is a democratic country, and there are standards to abide by. I feel they responded badly in the 2006 Hezbollah debacle: there was an instance where the term ethnic cleansing can be applied ( the Palistinean exodus, which I think both sides are culpable), and I've always considered Ariel Sharon something of a piece of shit.

But when it's a limited democracy (I use the word limited to capitulate to those who adhere to an absolute definition of the term) that is under fire on a daily, almost hourly basis, when survival is meted out based not on constraints formulated by those who are detached from the conflict, but based on the minute-to-minute reality of the process, then who among us would perform better, all arm-chair analysis aside?

Principles are a hard thing to adhere by, when the messy business of survival interferes. And yet, in the humble opinion of this deponent, the Israelis have somehow managed to maintain enough of a yardstick to be able to measure by.

Till the next post, then.


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Danny Boy, FCD said...

I criticize Israel when they overreact in response to terrorism but I don't deny their right to exist as a country. Heck, except for their hair-trigger militarism, I think Israel's an ok country. Is that anti-zionist?

Krystalline Apostate said...

Hey Danny Boy.
No, that's not anti-Zionist. Way I define the term, is pretty much how some people go on @ length about how Israel SHOULDN'T exist, they should move somewhere else, usually filled w/some invective directed @ Jews.