Monday, February 9, 2009

A Political Post

Today is Election day in Israel, and I'm voting for the extreme left wing party Hadash. Why? Because I think war is wrong. Period.

Why is war wrong you ask? Well, killing or hurting innocent people is obviously wrong. People should be considered innocent until proven guilty in court. At war, people are killed and hurt just because they belong to some nation or group, or believe in a different set of beliefs than the attacker.

It seems to me that there are for major causes of conflict in the national level: Religion, Nationalism, Greed, and Vendictiveness.

Let's start with Religion. The same system that allows people to wholeheartedly believe fairy tales with no shred of truth gives those people justification to do the most horrible things to others. However I believe that people are basically good and would not follow a religion to extremism without other circumstances.

The second point I would like to mention is Nationalism. That is, a feeling, that your nation is better or more important simply because you happen to have citizenship there. It seems silly to me to be proud of, say, Israeli athletes or other achievements. Most of those people share little of my belief system, and I feel much closer to people of other nations who do. I also do not agree with my elected officials, just like most Americans were no proud to be represented by George W Bush.

The third point is Greed. Very rarely do the spoils of war cover the human and even financial cost of the war, even to the "winning" side. There are no winners in war. That said, people who have nothing to lose are much more likely to be aggressive and try to get ahead by force. Therefore, the solution to war prevention is not arms or security, but financial support and fair trade. A person with a good financial situation does not become a terrorist!

The final point is vindictiveness. This is what causes the vicious cycle of war. A well-known experiment asked participants to try and match the pain levels caused by another participant. The results: Although the other participant accurately matched the former's actions, the participants kept escalating their responses due to perceived escalation from the other side. That is why we should break this cycle and stop responding with force. That is the only way to finally achieve peace.

To conclude, I would like you to listen to the lyrics of Imagine by John Lennon:


  1. This is so thoughtful and touching! Thank you for your courage in sharing this - I'm sure you face some opposition in Israel by saying these things. Speaking truth to power is always a challenge.

    Have a wonderful time in Israel with your family!

    Imagine makes me cry... Such a beautiful song!


  2. Beyond the fact that ethics of war fails to be a strictly black-or-white area (ie Allied victory in World War II ended the Shoah; NATO intervention in Bosnia/Kosovo stopped ethnic cleansing there; UN failure to authorize the use of force in Rwanda resulted in 800,000 dead innocent civilians in 100 days), you ignore the fact that communism as an economic system has failed in every instance where it has been tried. While the kibbutzim enjoyed some initial success, the system broke down completely when it passed to the second generation, children who did not choose to live in a communist system. The Soviet Union has fallen. China has opened itself to capitalist trade.

    You have a naive, simplistic worldview and you are championing a failed economic system.