Thursday, May 04, 2006

Views cause the abandonment of Belief.

The other night I watched Downfall and I have to say it really brought home to me the evils of totalitarism. (Before That Girl jumps in about the arts, it was not funded by the government) But also it was showed the depths that human beings can stoop to. In one scene Magda Goebbels played by Corinna Harfouch went around and placed cyanine capsules in each of her children’s mouths then with one hand held their heads and with the other moved their jaws up to crack the capsules killing the children. The one of if not the most primal instinct of a human being is to protect the young. Yet the thought of a world without National Socialism was enough to drive Magda Goebbels to abandon all sense do to the intellectual arguments put forward by the Nazis.

In 1984 George Orwell said

“The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command. His heart sank as he thought of the enormous power arrayed against him, the ease with which any Party intellectual would overthrow him in debate, the subtle arguments which he would not be able to understand, much less answer. And yet he was in the right! They were wrong and he was right. The obvious, the silly, and the true had got to be defended. Truisms are true, hold on to that!.

At the end of World War II with the world in tatters and many wondering how the world could be rebuilt. Many people indeed highly intelligent people on the continent of Europe advocated the soviet model. Having just seen totalitarism rip the heart out of Europe, claim the lives of 50 million people, knowing much of what happened during the collectivisation period of Stalin’s agriculture policy they still advocated Stalin’s Russia as the model to follow. The driving force behind Communist was the philosophers who could argue magnificently the virtues of the social conscience of communism. Under that kind of intellectual prowess it is not surprising that many of the greatest minds and indeed the not so great fell for its charms. If it was not for America and the Marshall plan rebuilding much of Western Europe and the likes of Leon Blum Clement Attlee winning the argument on the left much of Western Europe would have turned it’s back on Liberal Democracy for the bleakness of the other side of the Iron curtain.

Look at Israel-Palestine with a litany of civil rights abuses on both sides. Israel using water supply as a weapon, suicide bombers blowing up civilians due to their religion, missiles flying from both sides. Who can look at that type of situation and pick a side of righteousness. Yet people do and will and disregard any semblance of human abhorrence at the targeting of civilians and children. Many people in Ireland will not only apologise for but condone Palestinian murdering innocent Israelis often secretly agreeing with Hamas when they say obliterate Israel. So too the pro-Israel lobby they portray Israel as the bastion of Liberal Democracy in the middle-east if it was in Europe it would be called something a lot different.

But the two sides of the argument will over look all these factors because it does not fit in with there intellectual view. The Palestinian cause is taken up by the champions of the under-dogs, the believers in self-determination and the Israeli cause is taken up by the champions of the right to security and safety. Both sides will gloss over the horrors caused by their side to justify their political philosophy even when it means going against the very things they love.

As detailed by Paul Berman in the excellent Terror and Liberalism many of the Anti-War socialist in France prior World War II were so committed to being against the horrors of war and the liberal belief that people most be good that they eventually abandoned socialism and liberalism to side with Hitler.

Same to with the people on the Israel-Palestine debate. People can be so forthright in their belief in the right of self-determination for the Palestinian people, the right to a Palestinian state, that they ignore that many Palestinians want to deny Israel the right to self-determination and a state. Same with the Pro-Israeli side they can come so caught up in the right for Israel to do what it needs to do to insure the safety of its people they ignore when Israel deny to the Palestinians their right to safety.

If you support Hamas you can not over look suicide bombings. You can use examples when you are debating the issue of how they are charitable and less corrupt then the other crowd but if you can not include support for suicide bombing in your support for them then can you really support them. Suicide bombings and anti-Semitism come as part of the Hamas package they can’t not be treated as anomalies to your beliefs.

Same can be said for Sinn Fein here in Ireland. You may agree with them on a great many issues but if you can’t support their views on the slaughter of innocent people or the recognition of a terrorist organisation as the true army of Ireland. Then you can’t suspend that aspect of them, you can’t say oh I don’t like their refusal to condemn the killing of Gerry McCabe but I will vote for them because I like their tax policies. By your willingness to disregard those aspects of the party you are supporting those views.

There is a reason I am a scientist. I believe that things must be proven beyond doubt that you can’t simply ignore a result of an experiment if it doesn’t fit with you thesis. If it doesn’t fit with your thesis then your thesis is wrong and needs to be amended to fit the true nature of the experiment. Same too with political ideologies if aspects of views violate your beliefs then your views need to be changed.

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