Friday, July 28, 2006

R U 4 the UN?

Ted said:

“Steve, I couldn't agree more! All that stuff about ‘love thine enemy’ and all is for the dogs. Pull out all the stops!”

It’s always revealing how many unbelievers act as if satire is un-Christian. They never say why. They just emote.

Ted’s reaction reflects muddled-thinking at several levels. He quotes the Sermon on the Mount out of context, which I’ve discussed elsewhere.

Beyond that, Hezbollah is not “my” enemy. Hezbollah is not firing missiles at me.

So even if Ted were not quoting the Sermon on the Mount out of context, his quotation is inapplicable in this context.

But it’s true that I side with Israel over Hezbollah.

I guess that Ted would rather side with Hezbollah over Israel.

I employed sarcasm to make a serious point: the UN is always part of the problem, and never part of the solution.

The UN had all these “peacekeepers” on the ground in Lebanon. Did they keep the peace? No.

The UN had all these observers on the ground in Lebanon. Where were they looking when thousands of missiles were transported from Iran to Lebanon?

Far from monitoring the militants, the UN simply provides cover for the militants.

By in large, the UN is an ally of our enemies.

And no matter how often the UN fails, the liberal establishment continues to support the UN.

Liberals don’t care about solutions; they only care about symbols.

Sarcasm aside, this is my take on the war in Lebanon:

Israelis complain that Israel always gets the blame regardless of what she does. If she's aggressive, she takes the blame, and if she's restrained and conciliatory, she takes the blame.

While this is a valid complaint, I think there's another way of looking at it. If you're going to get blamed no matter what you do, then you have nothing to lose by acting in your own self-preservation regardless of the headlines.

Since Israel always takes the blame anyway, she might as well use maximal force to repel the enemy. Hit hard and fast and get it behind you.

I have little sympathy for the Lebanese. The excuse I’ve heard is that the Lebanese gov’t lacks the muscle to evict Hezbollah.

Maybe that’s the case, but the Lebanese had an alternative: they could have formed a military alliance with Israel, squeezing Hezbollah from both directions, inside and out, in a pinchers maneuver.

But most Arabs (not to mention Iranians) are Jew-haters first, last, and always, so such an alliance would be unthinkable even though it would be in their self-interest.

I realize that the Bush administration is worried about the collapse of the fledgling democratic movement in Lebanon, but as long as Hezbollah is calling the shots, any "democratic" gov't would be a puppet gov't.

I also think it would be helpful if the US were to use some of its airpower against Syria and Iran. We should form a military alliance with Israel in the war against global jihad.

Daniel Morgan also weighed in. Unlike Ted, Danny was at least attempting to make a serious point:

***QUOTE***

Perhaps the more, um, reasonable (and perhaps Christian) way to have made Steve's point would have been to say something of the effect that, had the bomb hit the HQ instead of the outpost, the effect on peace (when and how it will come) would have been nil.

The underlying question in all of this is, of course, can you remove Islamic fascism by force? Can you kill them all? Or in fighting them, do you not draw more persons into their cause, and convince more moderates that they [Hizbollah] are on the right side of things, and that such a militia is necessary?

Perhaps I'm just an idealist. I'm not a leftie in the sense that you mean it, but I suppose I see this cycle of violence as cruel in its unending circularity. Watching Munich was a beautiful narrative for convincing me of that.

How many people think this doesn't just motivate the crazies further, and encourage their efforts to acquire serious weapons, as well as make those with access to such weapons more likely to sympathize with them and give them over?

***END-QUOTE***

I would respond as follows:

1.We don’t have the luxury of choosing our battles. Our enemies don’t give us a range of preferred options.

2.No, we can’t kill every jihadi on the planet. But that’s not the point.

The police can’t apprehend every criminal or preempt every crime. Should we therefore disband the police force?

This was never about winning once and for all. It’s about risk management. Cutting your enemies down to size. Keeping the threat-level on a scale that permits some semblance of normality.

3.As I said in my piece on just-war criteria, the way to end the cycle of violence is through the application of overwhelming force rather than proportional force.

If we had used proportional force in Japan, Japan would still be a warrior culture.

4. Not all Muslims nurse a death-wish. They may support the suicide-bomber, throw him a stag party before he leaves to do his homicidal thing, but they don’t strap themselves into the explosive vest.

It’s better to make your enemies love you than fear you—but if you can’t make them love you, then I’ll settle for fear.

As to Spielberg’s amoral, softheaded propaganda piece, I prefer Dennis Prager’s review to Danny’s:

http://www.townhall.com/columnists/DennisPrager/2006/01/10/munich_and_revenge

16 comments:

  1. Bazooka Lucifer7/28/2006 10:27 AM

    I just read this story about a Christian being killed in a bombing in Lebanon. Too bad they didn't bomb a whole church full of Christians.

    . . . Uh. Ha, ha. I was just being "sarcastic." I just employed sarcasm to make a serious point: Christians are always part of the problem, never part of the solution.

    So, I'm funny, right? You can see the humor. Dead Christian body parts strewn across a field. Come on people, where's your sense of humor? Jokes about killing people are cool, right?

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  2. The Maronites should team up with Israel to defeat Hezbollah.

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  3. The unbelievers are, yet again, making more subjective value judgments. Only theism can provide a basis upon which to objectively say, "Murder is wrong."

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  4. S&S:

    Perhaps you would like to reconsider that statement in light of the utilitarian (survival consequentialist) ethic I took the time to clarify here in response to Steve's thread. Murder violates the basic right of life within society, where society is a collection of individuals who sign in on a social contract, out of rational self-interest, to promote virtuous behavior in order to further their own survival, health, and prosperity.

    Sounds pretty solid to me.

    On the other hand, the God of Islam has instructed them to rid their land of the infidel (the non-Moslem) and the God of Israel has instructed them to rid their land of the pagan (the non-Jew). Both of these two groups have strong faith that they are acting righteously, in accordance with what their God has commanded, when they kill one another. What objective means do you use to establish the wrongness of their action (or one group's)?

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  5. > Sounds pretty solid to me.

    It is solid, until you consider the interactions between societies as you define them. Since no social contract exists between Israelis and Hezbollites, there is no framework within which to evaluate the morality of violence they commit upon each other. To push it to the extreme, genocide for the benefit of your own society is perfectly acceptable--until and unless you accept a source of moral judgment that transcends your society.

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  6. "Only theism can provide a basis upon which to objectively say, "Murder is wrong."

    What can a theist possibly mean by 'objective'?

    - Al

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  7. The very fact that skeptics will quote from the Sermon on the Mount approvingly says alot about their ignorance but even more about the truth of Romans 1.

    The Sermon on the Mount is a restatement of the OT Law itself. It's riddled with the reiteration of texts from Leviticus, through the Decalogue, through Proverbs, and several other texts, all under the umbrella that Christ has come to fulfil the Law not set it aside.

    So much then for the skeptical appeal to the brutality of OT ethics, for in invoking the Sermon on the Mount, they invoke the Law and its ethics, the same ethics, and then they apply this as an argument for their own ethic, telling us that they really do believe the Law good and right, exactly contrary to their atheism.

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  8. Hmmm after re-reading your post Daniel I would like you to back up this statement:

    "God of Israel has instructed them to rid their land of the pagan (the non-Jew)."

    When precisely did anyone in Israel claim this? As I understand it they are simply hoping to live without the threat of bombs being detonated in their school busses and hospitals.

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  9. God of Israel has instructed them to rid their land of the pagan (the non-Jew).

    I would guess Daniel is presenting an historical perspective, i.e. the taking of the promised land in the OT.

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  10. Daniel Morgan said, "Murder violates the basic right of life within society, where society is a collection of individuals who sign in on a social contract, out of rational self-interest, to promote virtuous behavior in order to further their own survival, health, and prosperity."

    And what is your basis for saying that it is wrong to violate the societal contract? What is your basis for saying that it is wrong to be selfish in violating that contract?

    Secondly, there are many cultures that never recognized the "right to life" (i.e. Huns, Mongols, Aztecs, etc.). The idea of a "right to life" (i.e. human rights) is a Christian idea.

    If all there exists is matter and energy, then there is no difference between a rock that is used as target practice and a human being (or rather, a "carbon-based meatbag" if materialism is true).

    Mother Teresa is dead, six-feet under. Adolf Hitler is dead, six-feet under. In the end, what is the difference between the two? A materialist has to say, "Nothing."

    Daniel Morgan said, "What objective means do you use to establish the wrongness of their action (or one group's)?"

    My argument was against the atheists' subjective value judgment. I said that the only way to have objective morality is to be a theist (which could be a Jew, Christian, or Moslem). The morality system that is right is determined by whichever religion is the true one, and that is determined on an evidentiary basis.

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  11. Danny,

    Your parallel falls apart because you're trying to equate OT Israelites with modern Israelis.

    Modern Israelis are not all Ultra-Orthodox Jews by any stretch. Many Israelis are secular Jews or Jews on the religious left.

    They are not the Jewish counterpart to the jihadis.

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  12. I would add that the atheist/naturalist world view is one that includes no real justice. As S&S pointed out (although I would have used a different example than Mother Teresa, how about Martin Luther?) both of them lived, died, and are rotting in the ground, and one is no different than the other (I know, I know, the legacy, the legacy was what they left behind. Don't you want to leave a positive impact on the world?). But the fact is from their standpoint, the Columbine shooters got away with what they did, they're just in a different graveyard than the Columbine victims...

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  13. In the end while I deplore what goes on, the will to end this must exist on both sides. 'Love thine enemies' is good for individuals, to who the Lord addressed it, but it simply will not do in the context of a state that is under attck. This has always been recognised. Pacifism fails in the face of an enemy who wants to kill you or enslave you. To quote, 'We thought that the alternative to war was peace, but we discovered that sometimes the alternative to war is slavery (Richard Hatch, Battlestar Galatica: Experiment in Terra).'

    I'd go with the Basilian rather than the Augustinian view, that all war is an evil to be regretted but sometimes it is a necessary evil. Israel recognises the right of Lebanon to exist. Hezbollah does not recognise the right of Israel to exist. Until all Muslims everywhere recognise the right of the state of Israel to exist, there will be no peace in the Holy Land.

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  14. S&S,

    And what is your basis for saying that it is wrong to violate the societal contract? What is your basis for saying that it is wrong to be selfish in violating that contract?
    (9) here answers that -- primary value is survival, and survival is furthered within society, thus we endanger our own survival by disrupting society and/or breaking the terms of our contract.

    Secondly, there are many cultures that never recognized the "right to life" (i.e. Huns, Mongols, Aztecs, etc.). The idea of a "right to life" (i.e. human rights) is a Christian idea.
    Um, sure...if you want to believe that...

    If all there exists is matter and energy, then there is no difference between a rock that is used as target practice and a human being (or rather, a "carbon-based meatbag" if materialism is true).
    Whether or not materialism is true, humans and rocks are both made of atoms, and humans are "carbon-based meatbags". What you're doing is going a step further and saying that is all that they are, if materialism is true. You are making a value judgment which does not follow by simply noting what substance humans are composed of. My laptop is contains silicon, so does sand. My laptop can be used as an instrument to accomplish things which confer benefit to me and others -- and is thus a means to moral behavior. I have not found sand to be the same (although you could arguably come up with something). Does this mean that my laptop should not be rendered as valuable to me as a pile of sand, just because they are composed of similar substances? Your assertion is: 1) a non sequitur, 2) unsupported

    Mother Teresa is dead, six-feet under. Adolf Hitler is dead, six-feet under. In the end, what is the difference between the two? A materialist has to say, "Nothing."
    Why do I have to say that? I would say, "One used their life to make humanity worse off, while the other used their life to make humanity better off. One extolled and exemplified virtue, while the other provides a model for evil." Why does your bald assertion logically follow? I'm tired of hearing your illogical assertions.

    My argument was against the atheists' subjective value judgment. I said that the only way to have objective morality is to be a theist (which could be a Jew, Christian, or Moslem). The morality system that is right is determined by whichever religion is the true one, and that is determined on an evidentiary basis.
    Ah, but you've tripped yourself up by admitting that "subjective value judgment" is an intrinsic part of which God you choose, as human judgment in determining the strongest evidentiary case is always subjective. In the end, if we don't agree to some primary standard (ie promotion of survival) which is independent of subjective interpretation (the life/death state of a given organism is scientifically-objectively verifiable)...then you're admitting your ethos is relative to which God you choose.

    S&BL,

    I would add that the atheist/naturalist world view is one that includes no real justice.
    False. What you mean is "no eternal or afterlife justice". So long as people are still alive and a society exists within which justice can be rendered, your bald assertion (not an argument) is false.

    As S&S pointed out (although I would have used a different example than Mother Teresa, how about Martin Luther?) both of them lived, died, and are rotting in the ground, and one is no different than the other (I know, I know, the legacy, the legacy was what they left behind. Don't you want to leave a positive impact on the world?).
    So you don't believe in rendering justice or a value judgment on the basis of cause and effect? A legacy, or the effects of one's life, is not a valid criterion for evaluating said life? Why is that?

    But the fact is from their standpoint, the Columbine shooters got away with what they did, they're just in a different graveyard than the Columbine victims...
    Got away with? I would say that dying in the commission of murder is hardly "getting away with it". Is death not the just punishment prescribed for such crimes for adults in most states in the US? Is their death no sufficient to prevent any such event from recurring, and thus removing the source of danger to society (the purpose of justice -- to secure law and order)?

    How are the effects of their actions "undone" if they are roasting in flames forever (or even worse, chilling out in paradise as they repented right before death)?

    Kaffinator,

    To push it to the extreme, genocide for the benefit of your own society is perfectly acceptable -- until and unless you accept a source of moral judgment that transcends your society.

    Violence against fellow humans, even those outside the society, confers no benefit to the survival of the species and the society unless they are threatened and acting in self-defense. Any commission of violence endangers the one acting with risk of reciprocity.

    "God of Israel has instructed them to rid their land of the pagan (the non-Jew)."
    When precisely did anyone in Israel claim this? As I understand it they are simply hoping to live without the threat of bombs being detonated in their school busses and hospitals.

    Well Steve made the larger point -- that the question depends on whether the ones acting (or making the justification I implied) are secular or if they believe Deut 7, Num 1:51, 3:10, 3:58, 18:7, etc.

    As a side, yeah, the best way to ensure no more suicide bombers is to give their cause more support from the masses with their persecution complex, and more poverty and desperation that ensue from war and displacement...

    warrenl,
    I would guess Daniel is presenting an historical perspective, i.e. the taking of the promised land in the OT.

    Indeed, but did God ever revoke or "repent" of the words I referenced in the Bible above? Is God's word not "forever true"? I don't see anywhere in the Bible you can justify God calling off the war instigated in the Torah between the Jews and the ones occupying "their" lands.

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  15. Daniel Morgan said, "primary value is survival, and survival is furthered within society, thus we endanger our own survival by disrupting society and/or breaking the terms of our contract."

    Not when you have enough power to control society and deal with them as you please (examples: Stalin, Mao Tse-Tung, etc.). In the end, the logical conclusion of atheism is moral nihilism, the survival of the fittest. Another way of putting it is: do as much evil as you can as long as you can get away with it.

    It could also be asked, "Why is survival good?" The suicidal Columbine gunmen could care less about their own survival much less the survival of others. On what basis do you condemn them? You have no basis to say that it is wrong for a person, when he/she is sick of this life, to go out with a bang (quite literally).

    Daniel Morgan said, "My laptop can be used as an instrument to accomplish things which confer benefit to me and others -- and is thus a means to moral behavior."

    I'm not arguing functionality. Of course a machine as a whole is more important than the sum of its parts, but that doesn't answer why it is wrong to shoot human beings as opposed to a rock. If you admit that man is nothing more than an electro-chemical machine (which is the logical conclusion of materialism), then why is it wrong to treat man in the same way as an old car?

    Why was it wrong for a Red Army soldier to pull out his pistol and sumarily execute a political prisoner in a 1940's gulag. There were plenty of instances of that, and they got away with it. Heck, they probably rationalized it and said it was for the good of the state.

    Daniel Morgan said, "Why do I have to say that? I would say, "One used their life to make humanity worse off, while the other used their life to make humanity better off. One extolled and exemplified virtue, while the other provides a model for evil."

    Again, WHY IS SOMETHING GOOD OR EVIL?! A materialist has no basis to say that one was good and the other virtuous. Who decides what is or is not good? Hitler thought that he was doing the world and Germany (to use your standard of the social contract) a lot of good by killing Jews.

    Just because YOU say something is evil doesn't make it evil. To an SS Nazi, your version of good is his version of evil.

    In the end, your attempt to find a basis for morality from your atheism is like a Hindu priest trying to defend his cosmology (leading to an infinite regression of animals upon which the earth rests). You're left trying to walk on water, and there's only one Person who can actually do that.

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  16. Daniel,

    What I was asserting is that there is no real justice. That means actual justice as a proper response to the crimes committed, so the assertion is not false. Do you think the Columbine shooters were rendered a just punishment for their crimes by committing suicide? I guess it wouldn't have mattered if they could've fit in another 12 students, right? Same justice. Also, there is only one instance of near death repentance unto eternal life that I can think of, the thief on the cross. So you have a cavalier understanding of near death conversion, I highly doubt the Columbine shooters came to Christ. If they had they wouldn't have shot themselves, they would have accepted the just punishment that comes with their actions. It is high presumption to think you can live it up and turn to Christ anytime you want...

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