"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

Mar 24, 2011

The Logic


"The fact is, as much as we do not like Western power in principle, in practice there are many instances where we solicit it for what we think is right, because there is no alternative. Naturally, we seek out these alternatives if we can. But it is hypocritical to foreclose the same options to others when in our daily lives as Westerners we pursue them all the time."


Heard in an imaginary cafe:

"Johnny gets paid $45 an hour, why shouldn't all those people over there?"

"But, that's not the point. The point is that Johnny gets paid to..."

"Are you a hypocrite? Johnny has access to the best medicine, the best insurance, the best food. Why shouldn't everyone else have what Johnny has? Why shouldn't I?"

"Okay, let's back up, maybe? What we have to discuss first is what Johnny does to get the money and access, and..."

"You're not paying attention to all the people who don't have what Johnny has. It's easy for you to complain about what Johnny's doing because you're not looking at all the people who don't get what Johnny's got. We have to think about what they want."

"...what we're trying to show you is what Johnny does to get what Johnny has. It's not that complex a problem. If Johnny wasn't doing what he does everyday..."

"Do these people have a claim on the same benefits Johnny receives?

"Sure, but that's not the point, here. We have plenty of room to discuss how to get everyone these benefits. That's a great topic, but it has little to do with Johnny. You refuse to consider or admit aloud how it is Johnny gets his goodies. You want to ignore how he obtains his benefits, in order to argue that others should have access to them. You don't seem to understand that you can't make this arbitrary division between the benefit, and how it's got."

"If the people want what Johnny's got, who are you to argue against them? Your privileged Western upbringing blinds you to..."

"Can you at least recognize that Johnny is a mercenary security specialist for an oil outfit, with a questionable track record and history of breaking his promises?..."


Overheard on the sidewalk outside an imaginary cafe:

"Why are you punching me in the face?"

"That girl over there said she was in danger."

"From me?"

"Nope. Just that she was pretty sure there was danger to her coming from somewhere near to where you are standing."

"I've never seen her before in my life."

"So what? You're standing right where all the danger is coming from, and..."

"Could you please stop punching me in the face? If you don't stop, I'm gonna hit you back."

"You're going to use violence? Well, see, the girl was right. There is danger right here, where you are standing.


Joe said...

This may be turning the tables somewhat, but I think there's a parallel here. I had an argument with friend yesterday after he applauded the bombing of that bus stop in Israel. His argument was that the Palestinians have a "right" to bomb civilians because the Israelis do it--eye for an eye, etc. The analogy I used in response was: Imagine some dude kicks your ass, somebody you couldn't possibly beat in a direct fight, so in retaliation you go and beat the shit out of his wife and kids.

Jack Crow said...


I don't see it as turning the tables. And while I'm not a philosophical pacifist by any stretch, it doesn't seem all silly to assume that maiming and killing people will probably make the world worse, not better.

I certainly don't presume to speak for any one Palestinian, any group of them, or every single person identified as such, but it seems to me that murdering children is a really good way to get people to ignore your arguments at the same time as they hunt you down and slay you. Especially when the hunters have all the good toys.

Justin said...

but it seems to me that murdering children is a really good way to get people to ignore your arguments at the same time as they hunt you down and slay you.

Me too. A problem with that mess is that people ignore their arguments and hunt them down to kill them with or without the dead children at a bus stop.

Jack Crow said...

Truth, Justin. So why blow up busses at all?

Justin said...

I'm not disagreeing with your moral point.

My understanding of what is going on when the Palestinians attack Israel with suicide bombings are rockets is that they are doing so in desperation and anger that no one cares much about their ongoing displacement and brutalization at the hands of the Israeli state. It is both a reaction and cause of an already existing condition of no one having much sympathy with them, not just its cause.

In effect, when the Palestinians try peaceful negotiation and protest, the Israelis literally and figuratively bulldoze right over them. The US and Israel says, that sucks for you, but there are more important interests for us to consider that would be compromised for us stop.

Then when the Palestinians fight back using violence, the US and Israel says, ah, we can't and aren't going to do anything for you if you are going to blow up kids at a bus station.

Anonymous said...

Yep. I agree with Justin at 1:26.

Consistency: I don't see the US "intervening" in Libya as factually or otherwise consistent with, or equivalent to, Palestinians defending their own lands.

Hopefully that doesn't need explanation.

Jack Crow said...


I was asking the question as a confirmation of your point, not as a challenge. My apologies for the misunderstanding.

Anonymous said...

So we all agree that a Palestinian planted the bomb? In fact, the very one the Israelis are now hunting and will show on TV?

Joe said...

I agree with Justin's comment, too, by the way. I don't want my initial comment to be mistaken as any kind of apologia for Israeli aggression. I was just objecting to my friend's celebration of the bombing of civilians.

But, yeah, the comparison to Libya doesn't really work.