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Re: [Sanhedran] Digest Number 73

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  • dafnayee@aol.com
    In a message dated 4/24/2004 8:50:08 AM Central Standard Time, Sanhedran@yahoogroups.com writes: Are political decisions based on moral choices? I would argue
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 24, 2004
      In a message dated 4/24/2004 8:50:08 AM Central Standard Time, Sanhedran@yahoogroups.com writes:
      Are political decisions based on moral choices? I would argue the
      best political decisions and leadership are based on moral
      principles. Why did Abraham Lincoln free the slaves? Was that a
      purely political and non-moral act? Why did we fight at D-Day against
      Hitler? Was that not for freedom? Why did Israel defend itself in all
      its wars? If not for the right to one day be free in its own land? Is
      the fight for freedom not a moral act? Moral leadership does matter,
      Dafna to Politics...while I have argued about Jewish politics even
      the Greeks the inventors of the word "politics" knew about the same
      time as Jews in their pre-socratic period that "ones charecter
      determines ones fate" Heraclitus
      No, politics and political decisions are NOT based on morals.  Let me respond to your points one at a time:
      Abraham Lincoln himself might have had moral objections to slavery (although there are different views on that -- in the Lincoln/Douglas debates, he did NOT come out against slavery!) but the Civil War was NOT fought for moral reasons. 

      "Lincoln ran for Senate in 1858 against Stephen A. Douglas. It was a spirited campaign, and Lincoln and Douglas engaged in seven popular and now famous debates about slavery. Lincoln was not an abolitionist, though he regarded slavery as an evil. He opposed its expansion. Lincoln said that he had no purpose directly or indirectly to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it existed. Furthermore he said that he had no lawful right to do so and that he had no intention of doing that. He believed also that whites were superior. Lincoln said that he was not and had never been in favor of bringing about the social and political equality of the white and black races. Lincoln stated further that he was not nor ever had been in favor of making voters or jurors of blacks, nor letting them hold office or intermarry with white people." http://www.lib.niu.edu/ipo/ihy970236.html 

      Yes, Lincoln wanted to end slavery but ONLY IN THE STATES THAT DID NOT ALREADY ALLOW SLAVERY!  Lincoln went to war when the Southern States seceded from the Union; he could not afford to let them go, NOT because they insisted on the right to own slaves!  The Southerners wanted a confederacy of powerful states (i.e. States Rights) with a weak Federal government and the North wanted a strong central government with only minor authority given to the States.  Lincoln knew that two divided nations would be easy prey to the European powers, who still had their eyes on America.  That is not to say that there weren't men who fought to free slaves for the sake of personal morals -- there certainly were!  But, that was not the case for the vast majority of the soldiers in the North, just as the majority of Southern soldiers were not fighting to defend slavery -- they fought for States Rights!  Few Northerners wanted the freed slaves to move north and even fewer wanted them to be given equal rights.  So, where does the morality come in? (Although, Lincoln -- like most politicians -- did use the term "morality" in many of his speeches!) http://members.aol.com/jfepperson/linc.html  (You might check out the other pages of this site as well; it is an excellent reference for the causes of the Civil War.)
      England and America fought the battle on D-Day because the allies had to break the German hold on the Continent or they could very well have lost the war.  But, America did NOT enter WWII because Hitler and the Nazis were an immoral group!  Most people, including the American government, did not want to fight Hitler at all; we were forced to go to war when -- several years after WWII began -- Japan, who was an ally of Germany, attacked Pearl Harbor.  The US declared war on Japan, Germany declared war on the US and the US declared war on Germany.  Morals had absolutely nothing to do with the US getting into that war (or any other) and certainly nothing to do with the battle on D-Day!
      Israel defended itself during its wars because not doing so would have meant death to every Jew who lived there!  The Arabs were very specific about their intentions, and considering how they have always behaved, there was and is no reason to doubt them.  There are never any abstract ideas about morals or principles in the decision to fight for survival when you are attacked.
      So, you see, none of these battles or wars were fought for "moral" reasons, though many of the politicians who negotiated the conditions which made fighting necessary used "principles" as their excuse.  There are definitely good reasons for fighting, and there are many that I can think of for which I myself would take up arms (or send my children, more likely, because of my age) but abstract ideals are NEVER intrinsic to the decision-makers about politics.  They are just useful to recruit people to their cause (whatever it is!)
      Dafna, I would say this about Mr. Powell perhaps he does not know
      where to place himself in politics or where his legacy will be.
      Vietnam and an exit strategy always made his foreign policy a prudent
      one. Mr. Powell will also I think be remembered for being alligned
      with the Jewish people. Few people know his jobs growing up in
      Brooklyn were with Jewish families and that he is fluent in Yiddish.
      Actually, many people -- including me -- know that Powell was brought up in Brooklyn and speaks Yiddish.  He has advertised that fact very often trying to "prove" that he is sympathetic to the Jews and Israel.  But, his ACTIONS speak much louder and everything that he has done in the past few years have shown that he is NOT a friend to Israel; in fact, he has been actively working with Israel's worst enemies!  Frankly, neither his Jewish friendships nor his language fluency impress me in the least.  Apparently you do not know that Adolf Eichmann spoke fluent Hebrew and had spent a lot of time in Palestine.  That is why he was picked to be in charge of the "final solution of the Jews"! 

      "Eichmann was considered a kind of specialist. Before the war, he had visited Palestine and studied Jewish religion and the Hebrew language. His report to the leaders of the SS concerning his travels in the Holy Land convinced them that Eichmann was an expert on the subject of Zionism. Heydrich and Himmler chose Eichmann to become the head of the "Jewish desk" in Berlin, and gave him extraordinary power--nearly absolute power--over the fate of the Jewish people in Germany and in all the conquered lands. From his small office in Berlin, Adolf Eichmann pulled the strings and made the decisions that cost nearly six million Jewish lives." http://www.rossel.net/Holocaust08.htm

      You say that perhaps Powell doesn't know where to place himself in politics.  I don't believe that for one second.  He does everything deliberately so why should he be acting thoughtlessly in regards to Israel?  Powell is an ENEMY of Israel; he is not even neutral.  Read his own statements for yourself, as I have, before you try and defend him.  If you want sites, then just ask me and I will be glad to supply them.

      >If there is image in American politcs that must be broken it is ties
      >to Saudi Arabia.
      America needs to realize that ALL the Arab theocracies can never be true allies, NOT just Saudi Arabia!
      >Like China, Saudi Arabia for many American
      presidents is holy ground never to be touched never to change.The
      American people have thus far gone along. 9/11 ought to bring the end
      of such control by foreign powers in Washington. The Sanhedran group
      advocates the end of such treatment now in its petition "Against
      OPEC's oil war"
      I happen to be in favor of breaking the Arab noose on world economy but even the politicians who are trying to do just that (and most are not -- Arab oil money is FINANCING most of the world's politicians, certainly including those in Washington right now!) are doing so because of their moral principles!
      William, I have been studying history for over 35 years; I specialize in Jewish/Israeli history -- particularly the Holocaust -- but I can hold my own in American history, as well.  One of my B.A.'s is in history (my two other degrees are in psychology).  I may be "biased" in favor of Israel and Judaism (I am a Conservative Jew because that is where I feel most comfortable but I don't negate other branches of Judaism because of my choice), but that doesn't necessarily mean that my historical facts are incorrect.  I also criticize both Israel and Judaism frequently but I know the difference between criticism and propaganda. I can (and will) corroborate every statement that I make.
      I stand by my original statement that political decisions are never based on abstract principles and very few, if any, politicians use their personal morals when making political decisions.  If that doesn't fit the philosophy of the group, so be it.  But, I certainly won't continue to belong to any group where my e-mails are not posted because the moderator doesn't agree with me.
      Dafna Yee, director
      JWD - Jewish Watch Dog
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