Wednesday, September 4, 2013

What Does [Everything] Mean for the Jews?

As Rosh Hashanah arrives, many people will ask themselves how potential war in Syria might affect Israel -- a perfectly reasonable question that I virtually never asked myself during the twentieth century, and I kind of liked it that way.  Particularly in the free-market zones of the political spectrum, it seemed as though there weren’t too many ugly divisions over that topic.  It certainly didn’t seem then as if the entire political spectrum were defined by its relationship to Israel.

It was only post-9/11 that I really took much notice of what I will very loosely call paleolibertarians and their paleoconservative predecessors charging that the neoconservatives are obsessed with Israel (in a bad way) -- to which the neos soon responded that the paleos were obsessed with Israel (in a bad way).  I have gradually concluded that both sides are correct in those charges and have also concluded, after the inevitable period of trying to sort out which side was superior (caused by humanity’s deep-rooted Manichean instincts, to which I am by no means immune), that the two sides deserve each other (the neos and paleos, I mean, not the Israelis and Palestinians, although...).

In the interests of further balance, I will admit I miss both Reagan and 1990s neoliberalism at times.  Though they were still terrible.  Everything is terrible.

But some people are more terrible than others, and thanks to (non-terrible) Radley Balko and Franklin Harris, I see (terrible) William Kristol (in a blog entry called “Hail Ceaser!”) has praised an essay by James Ceaser (calling him one of American conservatism’s greatest thinkers, for what that’s worth these days) in which Ceaser came right out and said conservatives should back Obama’s war in Syria even if they think it has no merit and will work out terribly -- because someday a Republican president might want to wage a war (Ceaser might have added “which will also work out badly”) and we wouldn’t want to undermine the tradition of Congress and the public banding together in order to wage wars.

You know, I think we do.

But I’ll address other schisms tomorrow on the blog -- and we’ll no doubt touch on still more political fault lines (ones that divide some of the neos from each other and divide paleolibertarians from regular libertarians) when we debate the political dividing lines called borders, and how often immigrants should be allowed to cross them, Monday at 8pm at Muchmore’s in Williamsburg.

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