Sunday, January 11, 2009

Melanie Phillips and the faculty of reason

Melanie Phillips in The Spectator: pastes a series of stories relating to Hamas policy of using Gazans as human shields - which is probably true - and concludes "The fact that such demonstrable truths are not being acknowledged but wickedly ignored and Israel accused instead of behaving like Nazis demonstrates that a large section of Britain’s ruling class has simply repudiated reason itself."

Melanie is right, and everyone else has repudiated reason. This is what happens when one takes sides in an irrational conflict.

What is reason? It is a means of moving from facts to judgments without making mistakes. Because others may disagree with you does not mean that they have left reason behind (although they may have done); it may just mean that they are making different judgments.

The fact is that the war is an intolerable source of injury to the Gazan community, and also, in due course, to the Israeli community, as the hatred that Israeli bombs bears fruit in the next wave of revenge attacks. The fact is that it takes two to tango: the war is a situation resulting from mutual paranoia of the leaderships of both communities. The fact is that war is bad for everyone, and the sooner we repudiate militarism and divert the energy and resources presently committed to destruction into constructive work on ecological infrastructure, the better.

Melanie will see this line as irrational. I do not question her state of mind; I just think she is reasoning from the false premise that Israel's response to Hamas' provocations is (a) proportional and (b) going to produce a lasting peace.

4 comments:

Tendryakov said...

So if Israel adopted a policy whereby they track each incoming missile from Hamas, and sent one as a reply, that would be proportional, would it?
Seems fair to me.

Tendryakov said...

I forgot to say, that it would be proportional if the Israeli replied tit for tat, but also at random.

DocRichard said...

Hello Tendryakov
Thanks for commenting. I agree that the Israeli Government response is disproportionate, and therefore breaches one of the seven principles of the "just war". The tit for tat arrangement would indeed be more proportionate, but would still be completely stupid, since it would be perpetuating the cycle of hatred and violence. Violence is the problem, not the solution.

The rocket fire could be stopped by identifying caches of rocketry using dogs trained to detect the odour of rocket fuel. The dogs can also work at the borders, including the tunnels, to prevent import of more rockets.

At the same time, the USA and EU should stop all arms imports to Israel.

This will prepare the ground for a diversionary activity of water conservation and afforestation in order to enable the Land to support both communities, working together in peace.

I hope you agree that this is a better idea than blowing each other to blobs of red jelly.

Richard

Red Green Nick said...

I've always found that Mel Phillips is a bit of a political barometer for me, I ALWAYS seem to disagree with whatever she says!
Are Hamas capable and willing to use human sheilds - yes undoubtedly thier track record is appauling - lots of murders of political opponents etc...
But equally Gaza is extremely densely populated and one of the biggest lies out there is the idea of "Smart" bombs - whether they wan't to or not the Israelis are killing many innocent people