Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Whose Vengeance?

Reportedly, Obama recently declined to pursue criminal cases against Bush administration decision-makers whose actions violated the international laws of war, saying that "retribution" is not productive.
If we have no avenue of justice for these criminals other than retribution, that means that our system of criminal justice has no other avenue than retribution, which is another word for vengeance. But twice in New Testament epistles, the Bible recommends karma instead, saying "Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto God's wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord."
It's interesting that karma is here framed as "repayment." Classical economic theory defines transactions as consensual, so "repayment" suggests a restorative justice process where all parties converse and come to mutual agreement.

How Can Israelis Be Racist?

     I learned in school that Jews and Arabs were both Semitic peoples, and wikipedia confirms this. So how can the Israeli-Palestinian conflict be racist?
     The evidence I'm aware of indicates that Israel has been violent and mean towards the Palestinians, and the U.S. has been funding this for decades. If saying so is racist, does that mean that lies are egalitarian? I'm confused. And not all Jews agree with Israel.
     Also overlooked is the role of water, precious in the desert, and other resources. But the news we get is rarely truly balanced. We don't really get complete information about the facts and implications on the ground. The further away you are from another person or place, the more fanciful your notions of them will be.
     I don't believe we can count on getting the kind of news a democracy needs until we end its addiction to advertising. It corrupts and censors media content, because commercial purposes and messages are almost never free of attachment, and attachment is a recipe for believing your own bullshit. More and more, this attachment sabotages public discourse.