The Foundation for Constitutional Democracy

08-Jan-2009

Historical Proportionality

Filed under: EthicsMulticulturalism/Moral Relativism — eidelberg @ 7:28 am Edit This

How might normal Jews—repeat normal Jews—react to those who denounce Israel for using allegedly “disproportionate” force against Hamas?

It seems to me that normal Jews would not waste their saliva on such commentators, who have the stupidity-modulated audacity to preach to Jews about “proportionality,” hence, about justice.

I think the most superficial knowledge of the extent to which Jews have been persecuted, tortured, and decimated by one nation after another during the past 2,000 years should be sufficient to deter any sensible and honest person from preaching to Israel. Of course, I do not expect sensibility and honesty from cloddish hypocrites.

For the record, however, allow me to say that historical proportionality or justice is staring us in the face. Consider the condition of Europe today—Europe, the home of humanism, but also of Christianity, the religion of love. Europe, which tormented and slaughtered Jews down through the ages, is succumbing to Islam, which utterly rejects humanism and propagates a religion of unmitigated hatred. Might this not be rightly regarded as a divine manifestation of proportionality or justice?

06-Jan-2009

Einstein, Germany, and Israel’s Next-Door Enemies

Filed under: EthicsIslam & Arab — eidelberg @ 5:59 am Edit This

In a message honoring the heroes of the Warsaw ghetto, Albert Einstein declared:

The Germans as an entire people are responsible for the mass murders and must be punished as a people if there is justice in the world and if the consciousness of collective responsibility in the nations is not to perish from the earth entirely. Behind the Nazi party stands the German people, who elected Hitler after he had in his book [Mein Kampf] and in his speeches made his shameful [genocidal] intentions clear beyond the possibility of misunderstanding.

Does not the Hamas Covenant, which begins with the words, “Israel will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it,” make the genocidal intentions of Hamas also “clear beyond the possibility of misunderstanding”?

Is this not also true of the Fatah Constitution of the Palestinian Authority, which calls for “The complete liberation of Palestine and the economic, political, military and cultural elimination of Zionism”?

Did not the Palestinian Arabs repeatedly hear Yasser Arafat’s declarations of war against Israel but nonetheless elected him as their Fuhrer? (more…)

05-Jan-2009

Praise the Lord, the God of Israel

Filed under: EthicsJudaism — eidelberg @ 9:04 pm Edit This

Praise the Lord, all people of honest faith, praise the God of Israel.

See how His Chosen People, “despite” mediocre leaders, attacks Evil—the evil incarnate in Hamas, the proxy of Shi’te Iran, the epicenter of Islamic paganism veneered in monotheism.

But take note of how the world denounces Israel. Is there better proof of the Chosen People?

Hear ye, oh people of honest faith, rise and cheer the People of Israel, while one gentile nation after another wallows in envious hatred of Jews while crawling to Arab and Muslim despots—merchants of hatred, of black gold and murder.

Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, who uses even fools and scoundrels to reveal the inexhaustible righteousness of His Chosen People.

09-Dec-2008

Israel’s Sick Prime Minister

Filed under: EthicsPoliticians — eidelberg @ 5:34 am Edit This

Edited transcript of the Eidelberg Report, Israel National Radio, December 8, 2008.

Virtually everyone knows by now that something is terribly wrong with Israel’s prime minister. Even President George W. Bush suspects that Ehud Olmert’s eagerness to yield the strategically vital Golan Heights to Syria is not rational. Many people say that Olmert’s failure to resign after the Winograd Commission Report of his incompetence during the Second Lebanon War marks him as shameless—more so after repeated police investigations of his unethical and perhaps illegal financial transactions.

The truth is, and as I shall soon illustrate, Ehud Olmert is suffering from a mental disorder. If the Knesset, as a whole, was not itself infected by the same mental disorder, Olmert would have been forced out office two years ago. I call this mental disorder “demophrenia,” and I see its symptoms across Israel’s political spectrum.

Demophrenia is a form of schizophrenia manifested especially in democratic societies where moral relativism permeates academia and therefore the behavior of politicians who, after all, are college and university graduates. However, as the World Health Organization points out, schizophrenics, despite their vulnerabilities, are in the full sense responsive social beings like the rest of us. Put simply, schizophrenics or demophrenics are subject to one or another delusion, by which I mean a persistent false belief held in the face of strong contradictory evidence.

Various researchers distinguish between positive- and negative-symptom schizophrenia. (more…)

07-Dec-2008

More Police Brutality in Israel

Filed under: Domestic PolicyEthicsCURRENT ISSUES — eidelberg @ 6:52 am Edit This

by Paul Eidelberg and Eleonora Shifrin

I. A Pogrom in Hebron

According to a report by Dr. Aryeh Itzhaki, Woman-in-Green chairlady Nadia Matar has been seriously wounded in the clashes between border police special forces and defenders of “Shalom House” in Hebron.

Since the moment the soldiers broke into the building, it became apparent that they had received orders to “neutralize” Nadia Matar and Daniela Weiss, the two heroic female leaders of the resistance movement, who were sitting together at the moment. Nadia, who is younger, tried to shield Daniela with her own body and thus received the first and most severe blow.

Witnesses testify that Nadia, mother of six, was severely beaten with clubs all over her body by a group of border police.

She has been evacuated to Shaarei Tzedek hospital in Jerusalem where she is undergoing examinations for a suspected spinal trauma.

It has also been reported that the operation against the “Shalom House” in Hebron—a house of which Jews have verified legal title—was executed by mercenaries, i.e., policemen who were specially recruited into police force and trained to act against the Jewish population. (more…)

05-Dec-2008

Self Restraint

Filed under: EthicsJudaism — eidelberg @ 6:32 am Edit This

U.S. Admiral Bull Halsey, a rational and responsible man, said, “Hit hard, hit fast, hit often.” Rationality and responsibility are qualities quite foreign to those who shape Israel’s policy toward its enemy, the Palestinian Authority. Their policy is “Hit softly, hit slowly, and hit seldom.”

In Hebrew this policy is called “havlaga”—self-restraint. This policy is motivated by fear of world opinion, perhaps also by the desire to display Israel’s moral superiority vis-à-vis the cruelty of her Arab enemies. It is an utterly inane and immoral policy.

Havlaga prolongs the war. It therefore increases the number of Jewish as well as Arab casualties. But let me focus on the character of the government that pursues this policy of havlaga—so sickeningly obvious in its failure to retaliate against the constant bombing of Sderot by the Arabs in Gaza,

This craven policy reveals the government’s lack of heartfelt concern for the lives of Jews. Paradoxical as it may seem, this government policy of havlaga undermines the sanctity of human life. It encourages the enemy and increases Arab—indeed, the world’s—contempt for Israel. Havlaga is a vile policy, and its proponents must be deemed bungled or base human beings. (more…)

14-Nov-2008

Capital Punishment and Abortion

Filed under: EthicsPoliticians — eidelberg @ 6:24 am Edit This

Barack Obama opposes capital punishment. Yet he voted against legislation that would put an end to full-birth abortion. Full-birth abortion means nothing less than “kill the baby”—inflicting capital punishment not on the guilty but on the innocent! Hence, I am prompted to republish an article I wrote three decades ago. The reader should bear in mind however, that wherever the article refers to the “unborn child,” today we must add the “born but unwanted child.”

* * *

In the Mishna we read: “Therefore but a single man was created in the world, to teach that if any man has caused a single soul to perish, Scripture imputes it to him as though he had caused a whole world to perish; and if any man saves alive a single soul, Scripture imputes it to him as though he had saved alive a whole world.”

To avoid misunderstanding, let me state at the outset that, except in extreme cases, I do not advocate capital punishment in Israel at this time. Nor do I regard as correct the Catholic view of abortion. But there is something very curious about the liberal position on these two issues, especially by liberals who advocate the American practice of “abortion on demand.”

Among the arguments against capital punishment is the contention that society has no right to take the life even of the most savage murderer. (more…)

13-Nov-2008

The Pathological State of Mankind

Filed under: EthicsDisengagementMulticulturalism/Moral Relativism — eidelberg @ 6:00 am Edit This

In II Samuel 12:1-4, the prophet Nathan teaches the following parable:

There were two men in one city: the one rich, and the other poor. The Rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds; but the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and reared; and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own morsel, and drink of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and it was unto him as a daughter. And there came a traveler unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him, but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come unto him.

The emotions normally evoked by this parable are anger and compassion: anger toward the rich man, compassion for the poor man.

Suppose, however, that upon hearing Nathan’s parable, a person were to evince anger toward the poor man and compassion for the rich man. (more…)

09-Nov-2008

Myths About Science

Filed under: EthicsJudaism — eidelberg @ 6:39 am Edit This

Let’s reflect on some not very well-known facts in the history of science as well as about scientists.

First, the astronomer Hiparchus, who lived in the second century before the common era, calculated the distance of the moon as 30 and 1/4 earth dimensions. That involves an error of a mere 0.3 percent. Not bad.

Second, in the sixth century before the common era, educated men knew that the earth was a sphere. Twelve hundred years later the earth was thought to be a disc.

Third, and more familiar to moderns is the name of Copernicus. Few people know, however, that Copernicus got his idea of a heliocentric (as opposed to a geocentric) universe from Aristarchus who studied the heavens some eighteen centuries earlier. Still less known is the fact that Pope Leo X gave a lecture on the Copernican system contained in The Book of Revolutions. The book was published in 1543. Seventy-three years later the Church, under another pope, placed the book on the Index.

Consider, now, the reputed founder of modern science, Galileo, who brought astronomy down to earth by his mathematization of nature. (more…)

06-Nov-2008

Biblical Freedom of Speech

Filed under: Democratic MethodsEthicsJudaism — eidelberg @ 6:55 am Edit This

Freedom of speech is a fundamental human value. This value seems to have its home in liberal democracy. In fact, liberal democracy exalts freedom of speech over all other values. Unfortunately, the exaltation of this freedom has led to its degradation. Today freedom of speech lacks rational and ethical constraints. Divorced from truth, freedom of speech has become a license to lie. To redeem and elevate freedom of speech, let us explore its pristine origin, the Bible of Israel.

Recall Abraham’s questioning the justice of G-d’s decision to destroy Sodom: “Peradventure there are fifty righteous within the city; wilt Thou indeed sweep away and not forgive the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? That be far from Thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked, that so the righteous should be as the wicked; that be far from Thee; shall not the Judge of all earth do justly?”

G-d permits Abraham to question Him. By so doing, the King of Kings affirms freedom of speech as a fundamental human right. But clearly this right, from a Judaic perspective, can only be derived from man’s creation in the image of G-d. Only because man is endowed with reason and free will does he have a right to freedom of speech. This right, however, must be understood in terms of the purpose or function of speech. (more…)

23-Oct-2008

Semantic Subversion: Behind the Rise of Barack Obama

Filed under: Democratic MethodsEthicsOslo/Peace Process — eidelberg @ 4:53 am Edit This

When opinion rules, as it does in democracies, it is only necessary to examine, not its truth, but the number of those who express this opinion. It is not even necessary to examine whether any individual who expresses this opinion is serious or frivolous, whether his opinion is the result of reflection or of impulse, whether it is an abiding conviction or a passing fancy. Consequently, wherever opinions rule, people are less apt to take opinions seriously. Hence they will be less likely to develop the habit of critical thinking or of making logical and moral distinctions. Feelings or the emotions will thus tend to supplant logic. People will then become more susceptible to propaganda, whose target is the emotions.

It is in this light that we are to understand Senator Barack Obama’s use of such slogans as “Change!” and “Yes, we can.”

Since democracies, more than other regimes, are ruled by opinion, and since politicians modulate opinions with emotion, democracies are inherently prone to semantic subversion.. The adepts of semantic subversion use the media of democracy to concentrate public attention on emotionally appealing and simplistic solutions to complex problems. For example, the Arab-Israel conflict is commonly viewed as a territorial one. This is precisely how Senator Obama referred to the conflict when he visited Israel. Lacking a background of serious knowledge, he readily succumbs to the formula “territory for peace” as if it were the key to solving what in essence is a a religious conflict, or what Samuel Huntington calls a “clash of civilizations.” (more…)

17-Oct-2008

Secular Education

Filed under: EthicsJudaism — eidelberg @ 5:53 am Edit This

According to one study, 97 percent of all teachers in Nazi Germany were members of the Nazi party. Many of these teachers taught the humanities, for example philosophy, literature, the fine arts. Many others taught various social sciences, such as sociology, political science, psychology, anthropology, history.

Clearly, the study and teaching of the humanities and the social sciences do not make people virtuous. We should not be surprised. For the prevailing doctrine in the humanities and the social sciences in our time is moral relativism, which holds that there are no objective standards of good and bad, right and wrong.

As for the exact sciences, such as physics and chemistry, they are more obviously “value-free” or ethically neutral. Still, how did German scientists respond to Nazism?

In Walter Moore’s Schrodinger: Life and Thought, we read: “There is no known instance in which a professor of physics or chemistry without any Jewish family ever made any open protest against Nazi activities. Even among the German intellectual elite, the scientists were conspicuously unanimous in this respect, since a few protests can be found among scholars in other fields.” (more…)

10-Oct-2008

Accountability

Filed under: Democratic MethodsEthicsJudaism — eidelberg @ 4:10 am Edit This

Accountability is a basic Jewish concept, awesome during Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur. Whereas the Torah Jew knows he is accountable to G-d, the Government of Israel is accountable to no one.

The leaders of this Government boast that Israel is a democracy. One should then expect them to be accountable to the people. But Israeli politicians are accountable to the people only on election day. Once elected they ignore the convictions of those who elected them. In the January 2003 elections, a large majority voted for parties that opposed Labor’s “unilateral disengagement” policy by giving those parties 84 (or 70% of the) seats in the Knesset. Yet, the following year, the same Knesset enacted Disengagement by a vote of 67 to 45!

To whom is a Prime Minister accountable? No one. It was Ariel Sharon that adopted Labor’s policy of disengagement law, thereby nullifying the 2003 election!

To whom is Supreme Court accountable? No one. The Court is also above the law. It makes its own laws in utter disregard of the ethics and legal heritage of the Jewish people. (more…)

05-Sep-2008

France 1939; Israel 2008

Filed under: EthicsOslo/Peace Process — eidelberg @ 5:27 am Edit This

On December 22, 1939, the French newspaper l’Epoque reported that Germany’s agents of influence in France were engaged in a plot to convince Marshal Petain to accept the leadership of a government of national unity that included the most notorious French defeatists and quislings.

The plotters wanted the aged Marshall to play unwittingly the role analogous to that of General Sivory in Czechoslovakia, opening the door to a Hitler in a moment of despondency. (Czechoslovakia, recall, was the victim of Chamberlain’s policy of “territory for peace.”)

It so happens that Georges Mandel, French Minister of Interior and director of counter-espionage, was fully cognizant of Hitler’s ambitions and of how his accomplices in France were plotting the country’s downfall. On the eve of the French Government’s enforced evacuation from Paris, and just prior to its conquest by the Germans on June 14, 1940, Mandel leveled a blistering indictment against France’s political and military leadership as well as its intelligence services: “Worst of all, you didn’t understand the one phenomenon you had to understand in order to save your country. You didn’t understand Hitler. You didn’t understand that he was planning total war. You never stopped to consider that total war is—total. That it really includes everything. You didn’t see what was coming closer and closer. And we who did see were called hysterical.” (more…)

03-Sep-2008

Governor Sarah Palin

Filed under: EthicsPoliticiansUS & Global Policy — eidelberg @ 5:08 am Edit This

Sarah Palin displays what is most lacking in many people in high office: character. Character is far more fundamental and important than “experience,” because without good character, experience will not enable office-holders to deal with the tough issues confronting our country.

A person of character has moral integrity and courage, personal dignity and humility, a strong sense of justice and devotion to the common good, respect for human life and, above all, a love of God. All this I discern in Governor Sarah Palin’s character—a strong, dynamic, yet humble person.

The Jewish sages regard humbleness as the highest virtue. Indeed, the Torah says Moses was the humblest person on the face of the earth. Humbleness is the only adjective the Torah uses to describe Moses. Why? Because humbleness is a precondition for achieving the highest wisdom. No wonder Gentile as well as Jewish philosophers and statesmen esteem Moses as the greatest law-giver of mankind.

I’m not suggesting that Governor Palin or any living person possesses the wisdom of Moses. (more…)

22-Aug-2008

The Brzezinski/Obama Axis

Filed under: EthicsIslam & ArabPoliticiansUS & Global Policy — eidelberg @ 6:17 am Edit This

Barack Obama has chosen Zbigniew Brzezinski to advise him on Middle East policy. This bodes ill, and not only for Israel.

Back in 1985, I wrote an article on Brzezinski for The Intercollegiate Review. Before citing some of the more relevant passages of that article, it should be borne in mind that Brzezinski, a political scientist, served as President Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser. One does not have to read Carter’s Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid to know that Carter is an anti-Semite. Brzezinski has earned the same reputation.

Not only has Brzezinski publicly defended the anti-Semitic canard that the relationship between America and Israel is the result of Jewish pressure, but he also signed a letter demanding dialogue with Hamas, whose charter calls for Israel’s destruction. It behooves us to understand the mentality of Obama’s Middle East adviser—and more deeply than our so-called experts.

Long before he became Mr. Carter’s national security adviser, Brzezinski rejected what he and most political scientists term the “black-and-white” image of the American and Soviet political systems. (more…)

18-Aug-2008

Georgia and Israel

Filed under: EthicsUS & Global Policy — eidelberg @ 6:34 am Edit This

“Humanity,” said Alexander Hamilton, “does not require us to sacrifice our own security and welfare to the convenience, or advantage of others. Self-preservation is the first principle of our nature. When our lives and properties are at stake, it would be foolish and unnatural to refrain from such measures as might preserve them, because it would be detrimental to others.”

It has rightly been said that Hamilton was always adverse to relying on other countries to do for Americans what he believed they ought to do for themselves.

Hamilton was 21 when revolution was simmering in America. Some of his contemporaries argued that the Americans could rely on Britain for relief of their grievances. Hamilton responded: “Tell me not of the British Commons, Lords, [and] ministerial tools … I scorn to let my life depend upon the pleasure of any of them.”

Georgia, invaded by Russia, can expect no aid from its ally, the United States. The same applies to Israel, threatened by a nuclear Iran. (more…)

12-Aug-2008

A Brief Political Glossary for Israelis and Immigrants

Filed under: Democratic MethodsEthicsJudaism — eidelberg @ 10:22 pm Edit This

A.  Democracy: Two Types

  1. “Normative” or classical democracy: based on the idea of man’s creation in the holy image of God. This provides democracy’s basic principles, freedom and equality, with rational and moral constraints. (Freedom is not “living as you like,” and equality is not a leveling but and elevating principle. The holy nation is a “kingdom of noblemen.”)

  2. “Normless” or contemporary democracy. No ethical standards. Freedom is living as you please, and equality leads to vulgarity via the equivalence of all lifestyles. (Moral equivalence: “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” Arafat is awarded a Nobel Peace Prize.)

B.  Jewish values (derived from the Torah)

  1. Emphasis on justice, kindness, modesty, creativity, reason, and due process of law. Deference to wisdom. Relating the present to the past without sacrificing creativity. (more…)

22-Jul-2008

Of Men and Apes

Filed under: Ethics — eidelberg @ 7:34 pm Edit This

The Descent of Man is the ambiguous title of Darwin’s sequel to The Origin of the Species. Of course, it was not ambiguous to Darwin, who simply meant that man is descended from apes. But the title may nonetheless be construed to mean that man has descended to the level of apes!.

Consider the Great Ape Project reported in The New York Times by Donald G. McNeil, Jr. (July 21, 2008). The project is based on the findings of microbiologists that certain apes possess 95 percent to 98.7 percent of the DNA of humans. The directors of the Great Ape Project, Peter Singer, a Princeton ethicist, and Paolo Cavalierro, an Italian philosopher, regard apes as part of a “community of equals” with humans.

Consistent with this conclusion, a committee of the Spanish parliament voted last month to grant limited rights to our closest biological relatives—chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, and orangutans. Why not, seeing that the genomes of these apes are only a snippet less than that of humans? (more…)

08-Jul-2008

War Models

Filed under: EthicsForeign PolicyUS & Global Policy — eidelberg @ 6:45 am Edit This

Nazi Germany never attacked, killed or wounded a single American on the American continent. Yet the U.S. declared war on Germany, bombed its industrial and civilian centers, invaded its territory, but not before invading and liberating France—at the necessary cost of killing civilians. America’s war policy? “Unconditional surrender.” The outcome? Germany surrendered, unconditionally.

North Korea, a Soviet proxy, never attacked, killed or maimed a single American on the American mainland. Yet the U.S., under United Nations auspices, waged war against North Korea (some 10,000 kilometers away), bombed and invaded its territory, killing many thousands of civilians in the process, until driven out by the Chinese. America’s war policy? Restoration of the status quo ante. The outcome was precisely that: Korea remained divided. The U.S. did not win the war and did not lose—except tens of thousands of American soldiers. (more…)

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