Re: Theos-World Moe and the volcano
Apr 08, 2002 06:40 PM
by Steve Stubbs
Bart: "Those statements prove nothing. At best, they
indicate that the theory MIGHT be correct.
Very interesting. I am surprised you would say that.
The statements prove that the person or persons who
wrote this story believed the object of adoration at
that time was a volcano, whether their assumption was
historically correct or not. Maybe that is a more
accurate way to put it. You are certainly free to
speculate that he was wrong. It is hard to read this
account and somehow conclude that the writer did not
have a volcano in mind when he wrote it. The story of
the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah indicates a
tradition that at one time these people lived in the
shadow of an active volcano and had good reason to
fear it. At least we have to take it as evidence of
that unless we want to assume the story is fictional,
and I see no reason to make that assumption, given
that villages have been destroyed by volcanoes in
living memory. I know I certainly would have lived in
fear of it had I lived in their community at that
We have to bear in mind also that this was the mind
set of people who lived 3,000 years ago and that these
people should be taken on their own terms, not in
terms of a society which has gone through the Golden
Age of Greece, the Roman Empire, the Renaissance. the
Enlightenment, and the Industrial Age. There has been
a considerable evolution of human thinking since then.
The fact that we today might view natural phenomena
differently than they did does not mean they saw
things the way we do. For that matter, there is no
evidence that they were wrong that I am aware of,
although my preferred method of dealing with a volcano
would not be to placate it but to change
Bart: "Ah. 60 MINUTES found a bigot. And you condemn
an entire nation because one bigot lives there
(bringing in Hitler, too, I
I think you may have a valid point there. What
concerns me is their statement that he is not alone,
evidenced by polls which indicate 46% of the Israelis
want to ethnically cleanse the whole area of
Palestinians. So it would be accurate to say that 46%
of those surveyed frankly admit that is what they have
in mind and 54% may or may not be thinking the same
thing but are unwilling to admit it. It is not
unreasonable given the large number of people who
think in terms of driving all Arabs out to infer that
this is the motivation behind the atrocities which are
being daily reported from the occupied territories.
The "transfer" theory is that the way to annex the
territories is not to put the inhabitants in cattle
cars and send them by train to somewhere in Poland,
but to make their lives so miserable that they decide
to get up and leave peacefully. That theory is
>From a purely utilitarian point of view, ignoring the
fact that this is morally wrong, a policy like this
will not lead to peace but only to worsening violence.
I don't know if you have ever read Machiavelli or
not, but one of his maxims was that rewards should be
distributed over time, but punishments meted out all
at once. From a purely Machiavellian point of view I
have been convinced for some years that slowly trying
to crowd the Palestinians out by building settlements
would lead to a disaster sooner or later, and believe
this theory has been vindicated by recent events. If
they wanted to seize the West Bank and Gaza the way to
do it would have been Slobodan style, the way they
expelled 3.5m people in 1948. As it is, most of the
Arabs are still in the areas they want to annex, and
they are highly pissed off. No matter how you look at
it, that policy is just plain wrong headed.
Looking at it statistically, the number of suicide
bombers is quite small considering the size of the
population in which they originate. I don't think
anyone could dispute that the numbers are rising, and
it is indisputable that as this "transfer" nonsense is
implemented and the sense of nihilism spreads, thete
could easily be thousands and not dozens of suicide
bombers within a year. The numbers are there. The
whole idea behind the "transfer" theory is to push
these people into nihilism. There is no way that is
going to make the place peaceful. If they stay the
course things are going to get far worse than they are
On the surface of it, moving the country's borders to
the water's edge, which is what Ariel Sharon wants to
do, makes military sense, since that is how army
officers think. The water's edge is presumably more
defensible than a line drawn in the sand. Neither
Zinni nor Colin Powell are in any doubt about his
intentions since they all share the same background.
But it only makes sense if one's enemy is dependent on
the use of heavy equipment. There is no reason I can
see why the Jordan river would stop single individuals
or small squads from crossing with light weapons and
explosives. The Jordanian army is not the enemy here.
Building "settlements" on the river's banks will only
provide an easy target for a man on a raft or a
missile launched from the other bank.
Whether it is possible to salvage the situation at
this point with all the irrational thinking everywhere
or not is impossible to say. If, hypothetically, they
wanted to oppress the Arabs and get away with it, one
good model would have been Ireland under British
occupation. The British oppressed the Irish more
brutally and cynically than the Jews have oppressed
the Arabs and they got away with it for 700 years.
What they did was convince a key class of people that
it was in their interest that Ireland remain part of
the British Empire. Those folks then spied for the
British, and reported any sign of revolutionary
plotting to MI5. The MI5 then arrested these people
secretly, tortured them to get names, arrested the
other plotters, and put them all to death secretly.
Their graves were not disclosed to their families, or
their fates. That was the inspiration for the "Night
and Fog" decrees in occupied Poland.
You can only start a revolt if you can trust people.
Creating a society based on paranoia and suspicion is
the key to preventing revolutions. Hitler, Stalin,
and Saddam all knew and used this principle.
Where the British screwed up was violating
Machiavelli's maxim. Lloyd George became convinced
during the First World War that unrestrained and
mindless terror was the key to any political
objective. So he started hanging participants in the
Easter Uprising publicly, and spacing the hangings
over a period of months. This alienated the spies and
suddenly MI5's leads dried up. LG then put together a
terror squad called the "Black and Tans" whose purpose
was to rape and pillage the countryside. Not only
their methods but their uniforms were copied by
Hitler's storm troopers, thus the name Black and Tans.
As a direct result of all these mistakes Ireland is
now a free country and the British Empire is no more.
The strategy of the Black and Tans was quite similar
to the strategy being stated by "transfer" advocates.
It is a historical fact that it did not work in
Ireland and led to the end of 700 years of British
rule. Time will tell if history repeats itself.
Political science remains the same from century to
century and continent to continent. Getting even with
some terrorist by firing rockets at refugee camps is
just Lloyd George all over again. No matter which
side you're on the question still remains: how can
this flawed strategy work?
A more humane alternative to killing the leaders is to
buy them off. This is the technique which has been
used in the USA to prevent the ethnic melting pot from
boiling over. You don't have to buy everybody off,
but you do have to buy the leaders off. That won't
work in Israel because the elite intransigently wants
to keep the Arabs powerless. They can only buy the
leaders off if they do away with the ethnic
exclusivity which is supposed to give Israel its
"Jewish" character. It may happen but I suspect it is
a non starter. Those are about the only two
strategies there are. If they want peace they are
going to have to get inclusive. Then they have
another problem. I was listening to a rabbi today who
is most definitely not a bigot, and he said Arab
culture is quite seductive in many ways. If the
Israelis don't marginalize the Arabs they are going to
be dancing to Arab music and assimilating themselves
to Arab culture in other ways. You and I know there
are people there who would rather die than let that
happen, and they probably will before this is over.
Think about it carefully and I think you will see why
I see no hope. Consider that most of the people there
are innocent and have the right to live in peace and
you will see why all this makes me sick at heart.
Just some thoughts from a student of history. If you
see a way out of all of this, please write someone in
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