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More fallout in Carter Book flap
Posted by: mcq on Friday, January 12, 2007

In Atlanta, 14 (of 200) advisory board members of the Carter Center have resigned as a result of Jimmy Carter's defense of his latest book, "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid". In a letter, the 14 stated:
"In our great country where freedom of expression is basic bedrock, you have suddenly proclaimed that Americans cannot express their opinion on matters in the Middle East for fear of retribution from the 'Jewish Lobby,' " the letter said. "In condemning the Jews of America, you also condemn Christians and others for their support of Israel.''

The letter to Carter notes that several white supremacists have "enthusiastically embraced" his suggestion that the Israel lobby stifles debate in America.

"We can no longer endorse your strident and uncompromising position," read the letter. "This is not the Carter Center or the Jimmy Carter we came to respect and support."
This is a fairly shocking reaction to a book, but certainly, for those resigning, a hill to die on, metaphorically speaking. Obviously the whole board wasn't approached. In fact, per the story, only 17 were and of those 17, 15 said "yes" and 14 signed the letter (one wishing to remain anonymous). But it speaks volumes about how divisive Carter's book is and how divisive Carter himself has become.

And watching how he has handled all of this leads me to believe there's more to come. Stay tuned.
 
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WSB TV in Atlanta led with they were on the "advisory" board not management and that they were Joooos!

In other words, "Move along, there is nothing to see here!"
 
Written By: Richard
URL: http://soslies.blogspot.com
Support for the highest ranking useful idiot in American History continues to collapse.

(Jimmy’s presidential page is now #3 on live.com for that search phrase. That’s probably the most pointless pleasure I’ve ever indulged in. But I just can’t stop.)
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
and that they were Joooos
I figured that would become a featured part of ’why’.
The turnaround time was a day faster than I expected though.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Also, a newly invited member of the advisory board has declined to accept membership, citing the book. Professor Melvin Conner had some quite specific objections which he points out page and paragraph. Caltechgirl has more extensive coverage.
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
But it speaks volumes about how divisive Carter’s book is and how divisive Carter himself has become.
Become?

Frankly I fail to see any substancive difference between the opinions expressed in the book, and ones he’s always espoused... though admittedly, back in the day, the positions were better couched. Face it; Carter’s positions have become the basis of leftist policy in the reagion. And what is that policy? Blaming Israel.

And therein lies the reaction of the gang of 14; the roots of the positions of the left have been exposed as what they are... which makes those most closly assocyted with Carter’s name, understandably uncomfortable.






 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
damn typos.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
Bithead is right, same old Jimmy, he hasn’t gotten any better but he isn’t any worse, he is just a horrible tragic hisortical mistake.
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
I’m back from Italy, and see that your blog is still running strong. I’ll start with a nice dissent from the consensus of your blog contributers.

Carter is not only perhaps our most intelligent President of recent times, but a man of rare courage of conviction. He knows what he’s talking about, he’s been on the inside, and he understands he’s bucking the establishment. He’ll take his knocks because he focuses on truth and principle, and not being PC and worrying about how the attack dogs will be called out. I have more respect for President Carter than for most people alive, and I am absolutely convinced that history, and world public opinion will place him as one of the more effective and important elder statesman. Unfortunately, these traits did not shine while he was President. I think he must have been too caught up in the political games and his own career at the time. Ironically, in much of the world Carter’s argument would be met with a "duh, of course, everyone knows that." Only in the US, where daring to criticize Israel gets one attacked and ridiculed does the reaction get so wierd and warped. Anyway, I plan to assign the book.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Certainly, I could sit here at this desk and retch without calling it to the attention of anyone here. But when a person who asserts that criticizing Israel in the US requires some sort of “daring” says that he will assign Carter’s viciously dishonest and error-ridden book to university students, I am so overcome with disgust that I just want to announce it generally to all and specifically to Erb.

You mean actually to tout the intelligence of persons “in much of the world” who would receive Carter’s “argument” as something everyone knows? Have you read the book or even any of the myriad negative reviews? Do you think Dershowitz’s reaction is weird and “warped” or that it constitutes “ridicule” of Carter? Do you think that the resignations in protest of persons associated with the Carter Center characterize the sort of reactions that would occur “[o]nly in the US”? Why would persons as supportive of Carter and his work as those quoted in the linked story resign their association with his organization over this book?

For all that he’s gone from disgrace to breathtaking disgrace in the years since his failed presidency, Carter will be remembered primarily as the deserving recipient of Khomeini’s insult. Deserving because he sat stock still for it, much to the lasting harm of us all. Must have been the malaise.
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
I am so overcome with disgust that I just want to announce it generally to all and specifically to Erb.
Alas, all good things must come to an end, so too our his vacation.
He wasn’t the only one who was enjoying his time away from here.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Ironically, in much of the world Carter’s argument would be met with a "duh, of course, everyone knows that."
If Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Pakistan, and Paris are considered "the rest of the world" then that is definitely true.

David Duke and Jimmy Carter, making me proud to be from the South. Two peas in a pod.
 
Written By: DS
URL: http://
Do you think Dershowitz’s reaction is weird and “warped” or that it constitutes “ridicule” of Carter?
Yes, I don’t have much respect for Dershowitz. And, of course, universities are the perfect place to point out the dishonesty of shrill ad hominem attacks on someone like Carter, and note that even world leaders often have to endure dishonest assaults when they take on establishment views.

And luckily the Carter bashing is so shrill and ridiculous that it ends up self-defeating. But hey, win you win your Noble peace prize, get accolades from world leaders, have your text read in universities, and have the international fame and respect Carter does, then I’ll take your silly insults more seriously.

Carter is speaking truth and principle. The shrill attacks will fade, Carter’s ideas already are becoming mainstream and the militarism of the past years is giving way to a more rational view of American foreign policy. America is changing, finally.

 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Yes, I don’t have much respect for Dershowitz.
I’ll explain this further. Dershowitz lost all my respect when he attacked Mearsheimer and Walt, two outstanding academics, for their work on the impact of the Jewish lobby in Washington. Having worked as a LA on foreign affairs for a Republican Senator in DC in the 1980s, I know very well that AIPAC has considerable influence because they run a very effective lobbying organization.

Yet the attacks on Walt and Mearsheimer, followed now by attacks on Carter, were vile efforts to smear and discredit anyone who opens up the issue of the power of AIPAC or pro-Israel groups on US policy. That is a very dangerous trend, and ultimately it could end up igniting renewed anti-semitism because of the vehemance and dishonesty behind it.

Of course Walt and Mearsheimer, as well as Carter, are not perfect. One can disagree with their conclusions, debate their judgements. But the vicious personal attacks and efforts to destroy and smear really cross the line for me, and I admit it adds emotion to my reaction. All I can do is try as best as I can as a teacher to fight that kind of effort, both in my blog and the classroom: to focus on truth, the difference between legitimate criticism and personal ad hominems and smear jobs, and know that in this little section of the world (teaching future teachers too, at least) I can try as best I can to move away from that kind of political discourse to one that is more honest and rational.

If you disagree with my conclusions and how I do it, state it in a clear specific argument, avoiding generalities and ad hominems. I certainly am willing to question my views. But the attacks on Carter are just over the top, even if they are limited to a particular subsection of the political spectrum.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"I’m back from Italy,"

Oh, happy day.

Just to save some time, here are some of the dishonest attacks on Carter made by the folks here in the good old days, while you were away.
http://www.qando.net/details.aspx?Entry=5194

Evidently you are not going to answer Linda’s questions.


But hey, win you win your Noble peace prize, get accolades from world leaders, have your text read in universities, and have the international fame and respect Arafat does, then I’ll take your silly insults more seriously.

When your standards improve I might take your comments more seriously.

 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Tell you what, Scott. Why don’t you go ahead and assign Carter’s book? And then, as a contrast, assign Mark Steyn’s America Alone. Then let your students debate them, with no favoritism shown to those who advocate Steyn (if you are capable of such objectivity). Both you and your students might learn something.

I remember Honors Economics in 1975. We read and contrasted John Kenneth Galbraith’s Economics and the Public Purpose, and Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose. What a great class! The debates forced everyone to actually read the material and think about it.

Steyn’s book is going to sell a lot more than Carter’s, and will therefore probably have a lot more influence. Plus, Steyn’s book is actually not a chore to read. I’m sure you consider him unbelievably fluffy, but then, that would mean your "Carter is brilliant" sycophants would easily win the classroom debates, right?
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
The allegation that Americans cannot debate matters in the Mideast without fear of retribution from the Jews is something I expect to see coming from Democratic Underground or KOS, not a former President of the United States.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
But hey, win you win your Noble peace prize, get accolades from world leaders, have your text read in universities, and have the international fame and respect Carter does,
Is anyone else here disturbed the Scott Erb purports to be a college professor and yet can’t spell simple words like "when" and "Nobel"?
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
The viciousness in these comments, toward Erb as much as toward Carter, expose the truth of the main gist of Carter’s book: Israel is our ’holy cow’, not to be questioned in the same light as our own policies or those of other countries.

This should not be a discussion about Israel’s right to defend itself (nobody involved here questions that), but rather a discussion about some of the tactics used to do so. I note that those don’t even come up, and if you question any particular, you are immediately assigned to the ’enemy’ comp. To have a more wholesome discussion, one has to talk to Israelis, those who live and breathe the consequences of state policies. That strikes me as odd, in itself.

In the middle of the broohaha about Carter’s book, Israel announced plans to build a new community in the West Bank. To me, this looked like waving a red flag in front of a raging bull; this is about land, to a large extent. In Israel, this announcemnt prompted a heated discussion. In the US, not so: if Israel does it, then it’s the right thing to do.

Carter offers a solution for this problem: land exchange. What do you critics offer outside of a blanket pass to Israel?

Carter’s goal is peace in the area. That can not be achieved by a winner-takes-all approach. As we see over and over again, military power, or any other power, cannot achieve that alone. It will be the particulars that inch us along toward that goal.

===
The personal attacks on Erb really astound me. They bring to the site a cult-like atmosphere.
That may make some feel good, but it will turn away many would-be converts to your movement.




 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
Erb:
Carter is speaking truth and principle.
You want to, like, give an example or something from the book you intend to assign?
Of course Walt and Mearsheimer, as well as Carter, are not perfect. One can disagree with their conclusions, debate their judgements. But the vicious personal attacks and efforts to destroy and smear really cross the line for me, and I admit it adds emotion to my reaction.
Here is a link to some of Dershowitz’s recent comments on Carter and his little book: Has Carter crossed the line? What in these comments constitutes a vicious personal attack on Carter or an effort to smear him?
If you disagree with my conclusions and how I do it, state it in a clear specific argument, avoiding generalities and ad hominems.
I could ask the same thing of you, Doc. And if there were anything in your foregoing comments suggesting a willingness to try and glean one iota of information or convey one specific datum to indicate you have the first faintest idea of what you presume to blather on about, I might. But why waste my time when you’re clearly disinclined to do anything but pout, pose and pontificate?
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
The viciousness in these comments, toward Erb as much as toward Carter, expose the truth of the main gist of Carter’s book: Israel is our ’holy cow’, not to be questioned in the same light as our own policies or those of other countries.
I wouldn’t be bothered if Israel and the Palestines were both wiped off the map tomorrow.

I nonetheless believe President Carter to be a two-face piece of manure. How that little clot made it through USNA is beyond me.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
I don’t recall much shrillnes or ad-hominem in the resignation letters so far.
Unless you consider questioning or disagreeing with Carter’s stand to be shrillness and ad-hominem.

And Scott, he’s not a ’world leader’, he’s a former world leader, now he’s just an American citizen, accorded respect, or not, based on his accomplishments.
Bill O’Reilly has about as much power, ’world leader’ wise.

The only reason JC has an audience at the moment is because so much of the world is torqued off over Iraq. Carter didn’t have nearly the prominence when the, probably, most intelligent (if morally questionable) President of recent times, Bill Clinton, was in office.

I used to like Jimmy, but he needs to buy a clue, he’s not President anymore.
He has turned into a very useful idiot though. Let’s perhaps, one of Jimmy’s recent shining star accomplishments - Hugo Chavez and Hugo’s ’democratic’ socialist state, with no term limits and nationalized media.
The personal attacks on Erb really astound me. They bring to the site a cult-like atmosphere.
That may make some feel good, but it will turn away many would-be converts to your movement.
Perhaps I do Scott an injustice, having never audited one of his classes, but my suspicion, based on reading him here, is that as his student, if I didn’t agree with him, I’d find myself being graded on my agreement with him, and not on my ability to demonstrate comprehension of the course he’s teaching.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Carter offers a solution for this problem: land exchange. What do you critics offer outside of a blanket pass to Israel?
Well, certainly something else since that has been tried and found wanting. Of Course people on the left are always fond of doing the same self destructive things over and over.

My arguments against Carter have nothing to do with Jews, I dislike how the man went all around the world certifying bad elections for the sake of socialist dictators. I dislike how he repeatedly criticized sitting presidents foreign policies even while abroad (BTW thats the real reason he got a Nobel from that pack of Scandinavian anti-Americans). And I dislike the way he abusively attacks his own country every chance he gets. He is not too far from Noam Chomsky now.

I too, am sickened by ERB, it seems that there is a type of willful ignorance one can only get from an Ivory tower academic.
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
If this is the same Scott Erb who has a bunch of book reviews on Amazon, his credibility, to me, is absolute ZERO being typical post-modernist schizophrenic babble.
 
Written By: Sharpshooter
URL: http://
"But the attacks on Carter are just over the top"

All of them? By everyone?

***********************************************

"The viciousness in these comments,..."

This is viciousness? You must live in Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood.

****************************

" I could ask the same thing of you, Doc."

You just don’t get it. Every inconvenient fact, idea, or statement that reflects poorly on him or his arguments is a vicious, unprincipled, and unprovoked ad hominem attack by right-wing fascistic...... etc. Calling those who disagree with him insensitive, callous, bigoted, rascist, etc. is merely stating a self evident truth.

"But why waste my time when you’re clearly disinclined to do anything but pout, pose and pontificate?"

Nicely said. You catch on quick.

**************************
"Unless you consider questioning or disagreeing with Carter’s stand to be shrillness and ad-hominem."

But of course.

**************************
"Perhaps I do Scott an injustice, having never audited one of his classes,"

Watch the movie "Syriana" and you will have.




 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
From Erb...
Unfortunately, these traits did not shine while he was President
Understatement of the year award nominee.
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
Lots of vacuous comments, a few flames on typos, and a comparison of Carter to some unknown author who apparently has a book out, but nothing really substantial in response. No specific statement or point of actual substance that I see. That’s expected — lots of emotion, little reason. Actually one book I really think everyone ought to read — and it touches on the Palestine/Israel issue, as well as other issues on war, is Chris Hedges War is a Force that Gives us Meaning. And, of course, the thing about the Israelis and Palestinians is that their destinies are linked; they’ll live together or destroy that region of the planet together.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
So Mark Steyn is "unknown"? Yeah, Scott, in your ivory tower world, he probably is.

Of course, he’s currently sitting at #25 on the NYT best seller list, and he’s been on the list almost three months with his current book, which compares well with Carter’s book. He has written for the London Observer, Spectator and Sunday Telegraph, the New Criterion, and Canada’s National Post and Western Standard Magazine. He currently has a weekly column in the Chicago Sun-Times and a monthly column in National Review. He has three best sellers to his credit. He was born in Canada, has lived in London, has traveled in post-war Iraq, and was twice named "favorite columnist" is an annual survey of high-profile right-of-center bloggers.

If Steyn is unknown to you, then you need to broaden your horizons a bit. He might help you lighten up a bit, too. Besides being quite perceptive, he injects a lot of high-brow humor into his writing.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
but nothing really substantial in response
Your original posting was nothing but unsubstantiated opinion.

I was in USMA during the Carter administration (1976-1980). At the time, I viewed President Carter as a naive fool, who meant well, but was completely out of his depth. Please note that...
The [Camp David] agreement also resulted in the United States committing to several billion dollars worth of annual subsidies to the governments of both Israel and Egypt, subsidies which continue to this day.
...so part of President Carter’s brilliance is that he managed to bribe two countries into signing a peace agreement that both of them wanted anyways. Yay for him.

In the years since his term in office, President Carter hasn’t gotten any smarter. Do you have some proof otherwise?
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
In the years since his term in office, President Carter hasn’t gotten any smarter. Do you have some proof otherwise?
Hmmm, third in his class at the naval academy, successful governor, manages to get elected President, wins a Nobel peace prize, lauded world wide, and has done tremendous humanitarian work, including efforts that dramatically improved health care in Africa, and of course there’s habitat for humanity.

But hey, you can sit on at your computer and insult him and call him stupid, feeling I suppose oh-so-superior. Great country where one can do that, eh?
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
No specific statement or point of actual substance that I see.
You never advanced a substantive argument that would merit a substantive response. You typed a hagiography of Carter that would make a pop star’s groupie blush:
Carter is not only perhaps our most intelligent President of recent times, but a man of rare courage of conviction. He knows what he’s talking about, he’s been on the inside, and he understands he’s bucking the establishment. He’ll take his knocks because he focuses on truth and principle, and not being PC and worrying about how the attack dogs will be called out. I have more respect for President Carter than for most people alive, and I am absolutely convinced that history, and world public opinion will place him as one of the more effective and important elder statesman.
Not surprisingly, those who dislike Carter responded on the same level.

Then, you attempted to compare Carter to Walt and Mearsheimer. Those scholars argued for their premise in a serious tone, using careful language. That is why they are largely taken serious. Carter, in comparison, uses bomb-throwing rhetoric that is deliberately intended to provoke outrage among Jews, and then points to their outrage as proof that he is not allowed to criticize Israel.

It is interesting that you are assigning Carter, rather than Walt and Mearsheimer to your classes. To me, that suggests that you are more interested in indoctrinating your students with polemic than in exposing them to scholarship.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
successful governor, manages to get elected President, wins a Nobel peace prize
Heh, you’re offering those as proof of his being smart? You should have stuck with 3rd in his class at Anapolis.
Let me point out, the CURRENT PRESIDENT meets two of your other three criteria for this smartness award you want to hand Carter.
The Nobel Prize, well, let’s face it, if Iraq turns sane within the next few years Bush is a candidate (though, as political hacks will be voting on it, won’t be) for a Nobel.

There really wasn’t much substance in your original statement either, so, consider that the standard the rest are being judged against.

Meanwhile, I lived through Carter, the smiling peanut farmer from Georgia, the killer rabbit, his bubba brother, Miss Lillian. The whole crappy 4 years of his administration were a way to finish off the decade that wasn’t really a decade - they were just the years between the end of the Vietnam War, and a more sane America brought on by the 80’s. You may perceive that to be some brilliant page on our history books, but I don’t miss the 70’s at all, it’ll be another 100 years before we have a decade that screwed up again, and Carter did zero to improve it.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Annapolis - sorry grads.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
http://www.gather.com/viewArticle.jsp?articleId=281474976879837
Now I know that Erb won’t like this, but this is interesting. Jimmuh is not the Saint everyone thinks, of course, this merely shows the power of AIPAC, in Erb-land.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
"So Mark Steyn is "unknown"? Yeah, Scott, in your ivory tower world, he probably is"
"Of course, he’s currently sitting at #25 on the NYT best seller list,..."

It is probably envy, or sour grapes.




 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Hmm, I thought I would find some interesting argument here from both sides. Instead, it’s nothing but a flame war. How about discussing the issues instead of just issuing drive-by insults? Reminds me of being in heavy traffic: the one-finger salute from the little old lady who just cut you off; the horn-blowing soccer dad; the red-faced librarian, mouthing expletives. Then, when they get to where they’re going, it’s Mr. Nice Guy/Gal again. Boy, anonymity, sure turns bring out the jerk in many of us, doesn’t it. Sad... sad.

Anyway, thanks to Mr. Carter for bringing these issues out for discussion. How many people here have actually read the book?
 
Written By: Canuck Boy
URL: http://
How many people here have actually read the book?
Soon as I can get hold of a copy without my paying for it.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Meanwhile, I lived through Carter, the smiling peanut farmer from Georgia, the killer rabbit, his bubba brother, Miss Lillian. The whole crappy 4 years of his administration were a way to finish off the decade that wasn’t really a decade - they were just the years between the end of the Vietnam War, and a more sane America brought on by the 80’s. You may perceive that to be some brilliant page on our history books, but I don’t miss the 70’s at all, it’ll be another 100 years before we have a decade that screwed up again, and Carter did zero to improve it.
Nobody seems to be seriously defending the attacks on Carter over his book; a couple people posted links, but one can always find links to articles that support ones’ opinion, no matter what one believes. (Try some of the Israeli peace organizations for really radical arguments). So I usually don’t even follow links, I just respond to what is being argued (unless a specific claim is made, with a link offering evidence for that claim). But in terms of actual content and criticism, I’ve seen none.

I was a volunteer at age 16 driving people to the polls in 1976 in support of Gerald Ford. I didn’t like Carter as President. Yet compared to the debacle the Bush Administration has caused, Carter’s mistakes seem minor. At this point I’d rank him a mediocore President, and a superb ex-President.

I also suspect that given the weakness of the US at this point due in large part to the Iraq fiasco, and the rise of China and Iran, alongside real economic problems and public opinion strongly against both the war and the current President, I think we may be entering a kind of era much like the seventies. The Iraq syndrome will be as strong as the Vietnam syndrome (and maybe this time the lessons will be learned). I don’t think the seventies was a good era for US policy, but at least the music was good :-)

Watch for another Carter politically — someone who promises a complete change, focused on honesty and a new approach to politics. Perhaps Obama vs. Huckabee? I wouldn’t mind that contest. And perhaps whoever wins won’t make the same kind of mistakes as President that Carter did.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"Boy, anonymity, sure turns bring out the jerk in many of us, doesn’t it. Sad... sad"

Nah, I am just as obnoxious in the real world. Just ask my friends. Oopps, I mean ask my acquaintances. Err, just ask anybody.

"Anyway, thanks to Mr. Carter for bringing these issues out for discussion."

Yeah, there is a tragic lack of discussion on the middle east and Israel/Palestine.

"but one can always find links to articles that support ones’ opinion, no matter what one believes."

Well, having no personal knowledge of the case myself, I have to read something. Do you have first hand knowledge?

"So I usually don’t even follow links,"

How on earth can you argue with somebody and not look at the evidence they use? Is that how you do it in the halls of academe? For one thing, it is fun to use it against them, which is often possible as sometimes people only read part of an item, quitting when they find what they are looking for and missing things that weaken their argument.


" and a superb ex-President."

Aww. And you even used his favourite word. How cute. I, on the other hand, think it is superb that he is an EX-President, even if not a particularly good one.
**********************************

Joe
Your link doesn’t seem to work for me.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://

How on earth can you argue with somebody and not look at the evidence they use?
Hmmm, why did you cut out the part where I note I do follow links if they are provided as back up evidence for a point someone makes? I usually don’t follow links if someone doesn’t make an argument and just says "read this." That isn’t a conversation, and I don’t have time to read all that (but be assured, I am reading things from a variety of perspectives on the Israeli-Palestinian issue — I read the Jerusalem Post on line daily, and often even check out Israeli right wing sites like Debkafiles).

I tend to avoid ideological polemics because, as I note elsewhere, I think ideologies and attempts to philosophically prove a particular political position as correct has been one of the most horrid outcomes of the age of reason. It gave us Marxism, an irrational reaction in fascism, and people tend to simply find interpretive schemes through which to understand reality rather than compare different perspectives and ideas, and recognize that reality doesn’t usually fit one human constructed ideological schema.

In some ways that leads me to a kind of Burkean conservatism: societal stability rests not on reason, but shared ideals and customs, and these vary across borders and cultures. That doesn’t mean we can’t try to "improve" things, but we need to be very modest about claiming our cause is correct, and that we have the power to shape the world.

 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
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