My Thoughts Exactly

 Posted by on 13 July 2006 at 9:57 pm  Uncategorized
Jul 132006

A letter to the editor from David Holcberg:

Dear Editor:

What will it take for Israel to go to war? How many more Israelis will have to be murdered, kidnapped, or maimed?

Israel says the killing and kidnapping of Israelis by Islamic terror groups Hezbollah and Hamas are acts of war. But is Israel prepared to wage a real war in self-defense?

Hezbollah and Hamas have been launching attacks against Israelis for decades–yet Israel has not used its military capability to inflict massive destruction on these groups and obliterate the terrorist states that harbor and sponsor them.

It is long past time for Israel to wage a real war against these terrorist groups and states. And it is long past time for the United States to join Israel in waging this war.

David Holcberg

Copyright (c) 2006 Ayn Rand Institute. All rights reserved. [Reprinted with permission.]

I was hopping mad this morning after reading this news story about the criticisms leveled at Israel from all quarters for its supposedly excessive force. In fact, Israel has taken only very tepid and halting actions against these recent attacks. That’s why the attacks escalated so rapidly after the kidnapping in Gaza: the militant Islamists quickly realized they could get away with so much more. And “getting away with more” is precisely what they’re doing in Lebanon right now.

It’s no wonder that I don’t read the news. (This morning was a mistake on that score!) The problem isn’t just that I’m depressed by the endless stream of bad news, although I am. The problem is that I now see too clearly the impossibility of any better policies at present. The commitment to altruism in foreign policy is growing ever stronger, drowning the remnants of a self-assertive sense of life. (President Bush is substantially responsible for a huge explosion of altruism in U.S. foreign policy. Given that he’s regarded as an imperialistic war-monger, I fear that our alternatives in the near future will be far worse.) Without philosophic change in the culture, without an explicit rejection of the duty of self-sacrifice, short term political change is a pipe dream. So following the news is a frustrating horror for me: I’m absolutely certain that the near future will contain only more cringing self-sacrifices by the good to the evil. Yet I know that nothing can be done — except work for long term philosophic change in our culture. I’m just glad that the Ayn Rand Institute is doing that so very well.

P.S. For a detailed analysis of the evils of altruism in war — as well as the proper egoistic alternative, I highly recommend the essay “Just War Theory” vs. American Self-Defense by Dr. Yaron Brook and Alex Epstein.

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