Thursday, January 01, 2004

As Per Your Request, Kevin:

Calpundit wanted comments on Glenn Reynolds latest call for jihad, or transfer, or war, or whatever against the Palestinians. At least one person already responded, and it was a good piece, but I think I'm going to take it in a different direction.

The question, to wit, is this: is Glenn Reynolds anti-Semetic?

No, he isn't, or at least he has never given any indication. He has taken a profoundly philo-Semetic position as of late, but I think that has more to do with his war hawkishness than anything else. Still, they are, in some respects two sides of the same thing, because when taken the wrong way, they point to one thing: collective guilt.

So, for that matter, does Glenn's post. Let's take a look.

THE UNITED STATES SHOULD NOT TRY to play a "neutral arbiter" in the Israeli/Palestinian dispute. We should, in fact, be doing our best to make the Palestinians suffer, because, to put it bluntly, they are our enemies. Just read this post and follow the links to see how they feel about America.

And read this piece by Amir Taheri on the Iraqi "resistance," which notes Palestinian terror connections by the Iraqi insurgents, and features a Palestinian "journalist" egging them on.

These folks are our enemies, and deserve to be treated as such. They don't deserve a state of their own. It's not clear that they even deserve to keep what they've's war, and the Palestinians...think it's a war not just against Israel, but against us. We should tailor our approach accordingly.
Notice something? He never refers to individual Palestinians, except when using them as examples of apparent collective beliefs. He did the same thing in the rants against the EU that I edited out (that's a whole 'nother topic), but here he's using it to call for war.

The problem, naturally, is that not all or even most Palestinians are suicide bombers, jihadists, or anything of the sort. Even if a majority are (which is by no means clear- the polls reveal general support, but for reasons which are far more diverse than Glenn would believe) that does not mean that there should be collective guilt assigned to the Palestinian people.

So why does it matter? Because collective guilt has a very, very bad history. Instapundit becomes totally apoplectic about this email:

You should be ashamed of yourself posting such intolerant hateful bullshit. You sound like Goebbles reincarnate.
... yet in many respects, it's substantially true. The propaganda of the Nazi party was built upon concepts of the collective- the collective might and nobility of the German people, and the collective guilt of the Jews for undermining those same people. The whole reason the Holocaust happened was because the Nazis believed (or pushed the belief) that because members of the Jewish collective were supposedly wealthy and dishonest, the entire collective needed to be punished for it.

Sound familiar?

The Islamic theocrats who rant about Israel and the evils of "the Jews" and "Americans" that Glenn linked to...

Sound familiar?

The Neo-Nazis today who rant about Jewish conspiracies and the evils of the Jewish people also push ideas of the collective might of the "white race" (whatever that is) and the collective stupidity of "Africans" (whatever that is) and the evils of "liberals". The terms are nebulous and constantly changing, but again, they're about collective guilt...

Sound familiar?

Again, Glenn isn't a Nazi. He's not even a fascist. He's not the libertarian he purports to be, but Goebbels he isn't. What he is is a man walking down the dangerous path of collective guilt, and while most of the WWII comparisons that we hear nowadays are weakly supported at best, this is one situation where they're entirely relevant. By attempting to call for a war against a people- not a state, a people- he echoes precisely the beliefs that turned WWII into the horror it was. It's not surprising, as the battle of "Our Group vs. The Other" is, I suspect, built into human behavior.

As thinking, rational beings, however, our job is to fight this notion, and not exploit that rationality to further its cause. That is what Glenn is doing. That is why Glenn is wrong.

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