October 1, 2011

The Zionist Question

Ran Radosh takes on John Judis and Andrew Sullivan — the latter of whom seems now to be confusing Israel with Trig Palin, and AIPAC with Sarah Palin’s lying evil womb of Satan.

Most interesting about this piece, from my point of view, is that it illustrates how revisionist historians and politically-motivated “journalists” work to invert easily accessible fact into “conventional truths” that argue the inverse. And it is the repetition and institutionalization of these “conventional truths” — themselves born of flagrant and intentionally misinformation and misrepresentation — that create the ever-changing contours of the Israel-Palistinean narrative the revisionists introduce as the starting point for each subsequent endeavor to pressure Israeli capitulation.

It’s almost as if they are fascinated with the idea that, by way of will and language — and by virtue of their collective control over the narrative they themselves are working to shape and contort — they might be able to bring about the destruction of a country and the slaughter of an entire people, and do so without strapping on a vest lined with C4 and bags of bolts and nails.

Liberals like to push anti-bullying measures as part of their perpetual social engineering schemes — with the predictable result that, at its end point, the bullying hasn’t been eradicated so much as it has been purposely repositioned, with the “traditionally underrepresented” protected group given a kind of unspoken immunity, completing the power shift wherein the protecting client group of the left-liberal is given an artificial social and legal advantage in exchange for its political gratitude.

But mostly, anti-bullying measures are an attempt at reversing power dynamics and exacting some sort of artificial “payback” — a logical trajectory for those who cast society in terms of identity groups and political alliances rather than recognize individualism and personal autonomy.

And I don’t think — after all the layers of argument are removed from the left-liberal attempts to keep Israel demonized — the dynamic is much different. Israel is well-armed and prosperous, and most especially, it has been held in special regard by the American hyperpower.

This makes Israel a type of bully, and the left-liberal ideology demands that Israel, like the US, be humbled, humiliated, and taught to feel subjugation.

It’s a perverse position built on envy and scapegoating. And as such, there’s really no surprise that it would find its fullest expression during the tenure of a US President who has flooded the national ethos with just such sentiments. That the New Republic, who just a decade ago was a serious, centrist journal and a vocal critic of the Arab menace, has moved increasingly to the left, is a testament to the increasing conflation of the intellectual and activist strains of liberalism — and the revolting narcissism of those who tinker with creating and institutionalizing a “reality” they work hard to shape and sell as a kind of corrective to injustices and power arrangements that they believe it their duty to define.

Posted by Jeff G. @ 10:40am
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Comments (8)

  1. …the increasing conflation of the intellectual and activist strains of liberalism — and the revolting narcissism of those who tinker with creating and institutionalizing a “reality” they work hard to shape and sell as a kind of corrective to injustices and power arrangements that they believe it their duty to define.

    Speaking of ethos…

    Oh, and what happens when we modify the following ever so slightly. From this

    Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to explain the origin of life or the universe. They tend to derive morality, ethics, religious laws or a preferred lifestyle from their ideas about the cosmos and human nature.

    The word religion is sometimes used interchangeably with faith or belief system, but religion differs from private belief in that it has a public aspect. Most religions have organized behaviors, including clerical hierarchies, a definition of what constitutes adherence or membership, congregations of laity, regular meetings or services for the purposes of veneration of a deity or for prayer, holy places (either natural or architectural), and/or scriptures. The practice of a religion may also include sermons, commemoration of the activities of a god or gods, sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trance, initiations, funerary services, matrimonial services, meditation, music, art, dance, public service, or other aspects of human culture.

    The development of religion has taken different forms in different cultures. Some religions place an emphasis on belief, while others emphasize practice. Some religions focus on the subjective experience of the religious individual, while others consider the activities of the religious community to be most important. Some religions claim to be universal, believing their laws and cosmology to be binding for everyone, while others are intended to be practiced only by a closely defined or localized group. In many places religion has been associated with public institutions such as education, hospitals, the family, government, and political hierarchies.

    Some academics studying the subject have divided religions into three broad categories: world religions, a term which refers to transcultural, international faiths; indigenous religions, which refers to smaller, culture-specific or nation-specific religious groups; and new religious movements, which refers to recently developed faiths. One modern academic theory of religion, social constructionism, says that religion is a modern concept that suggests all spiritual practice and worship follows a model similar to the Abrahamic religions as an orientation system that helps to interpret reality and define human beings, and thus religion, as a concept, has been applied inappropriately to non-Western cultures that are not based upon such systems, or in which these systems are a substantially simpler construct.

    To this

    Progressivism is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Progressivism has narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to explain the origin of life or the universe. Progressives tend to derive morality, ethics, law or a preferred lifestyle from their ideas about the cosmos and human nature.

    The word progressivism is sometimes used interchangeably with faith or belief system, but progressivism differs from private belief in that it has a public aspect. Most progressivism has organized behaviors, including virtual clerical hierarchies, a definition of what constitutes adherence or membership, congregations of laity, regular meetings or associations for the purposes of veneration of humanism, holy places (typically natural and geographical), and/or common dogmas. The practice of a progressivism may also include sermons, commemoration of the activities of cultural gods, personal sacrifice, festivals, intellectual trance, initiations, matrimonial law and services, meditation, music, art, dance, public service, or other aspects of human culture.

    The development of progressivism has taken different forms in different cultures. Some progressives place an emphasis on belief, while others emphasize practice. Some progressives focus on the subjective experience of the practicing individual, while others consider the activities of the progressive community to be most important. Some progressives claim to be universal, believing their laws and cosmology to be binding for everyone, while other forms of progressivism are intended to be practiced only by a closely defined or localized group. In many places progressivism has been associated with public institutions such as education, hospitals, the family, government, and political hierarchies.

    Some academics studying the subject have divided progressivism into three broad categories: world progressivism, a term which refers to transcultural, international faiths; indigenous progressivism, which refers to smaller, culture-specific or nation-specific progressive groups; and new progressive movements, which refers to recently developed faiths. One modern academic theory of progressivism, social constructionism, says that progressivism is a modern concept that suggests all virtually-spiritual practice and dogmatic “worship” follows a model similar to Marxist progressivism as an orientation system that helps to interpret reality and define human beings, and thus progressivism, as a concept, has been applied inappropriately to non-Western cultures that are not based upon such systems, or in which these systems are a substantially simpler construct.

    Well, I’ll be darned. Hello, SCOTUS?

  2. I don’t read TNR, so I can’t say what they write, with what proportional attention and in what volume they write it. Still, I wonder, is Judis, or is TNR, as concerned with Bashar Assad murdering the people of Syria, just next-door to Israel, as he is or they are with the Israelis’ steadfastly seeking to co-exist in peace with the Arabs who surround them? Is the American political left in general as concerned with the tyrant carrying out a constant program of murder and torture for going on eight months now?

    Often, it seems to me, what isn’t said tells as much as what is said.

  3. Progressivism began with somewhat better specificity, or clarity of purpose, something the modern proponents seem to have lost, along with any reflection on what it is they ought to seek. Not to say it’s our job to help them recover what’s missing, but it may be our job to grasp what Progressivism meant in order to better sniff it out when it creeps into our own political language.

  4. If any country mortally attacks Israel, let’s hope she retaliates with vigor. A new glass plaza covering several of Muhammed’s cities might be in order.

  5. There are a lot of self hating Jews at The New Republic. Seriously, some atonement for next Friday guys.

    As for Sullivan, he is just pissed off that the Jooooos promote male genital mutilation.

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