December 21, 2012

Protecting the Child from Darkness

I have been meaning to write several posts of late, but here it is that I finally get around to it. What was timely then has since been passed by events. In the interim came the Connecticut elementary school killings, a momentous tragedy, exploited by the media until it becomes just another spectacle for mass consumption, diversion, indoctrination, until the next thing comes along. My heart goes out to all those whose lives have been altered. One can hope something positive may result from this darkness.

Darkness affects the child in other ways. The first post I planned to write dealt with children, too, and education, but along the much different lines of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, adopted in 1959 by the UN General Assembly as a precursor to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which codified its principles into international law. Principle 10 of the Declaration says:
The child shall be protected from practices which may foster racial, religious and any other form of discrimination. He shall be brought up in a spirit of understanding, tolerance, friendship among peoples, peace and universal brotherhood, and in full consciousness that his energy and talents should be devoted to the service of his fellow men.
How far astray the international community has drifted from its role to give protection when it refuses to take a stand against something so basic as this:

No behavior by others, like building settlements (even if illegal), can justify or absolve responsibility for this behavior, as a type of offset. It is a violation of the child in every instance. States have an independent legal duty under the CRC treaty to protect the child against all other forms of exploitation prejudicial to any aspects of the child's welfare.  

How far away has the international community drifted when it actually promotes the very things it agrees in law and spirit not to do? Recently, a poem read by hosts of a youth program on Palestinian Authority TV glorified plane hijackings, terror, and hatred of Israel and the US, including:
“Expect us always, expect us where least expected. We’re in every airport, and in every ticket… A small rifle in the hand of a small boy can kill the big one.”

The program, Speak Up, is co-produced with the Palestinian youth NGO PYALARA, funded by the EU, the World Bank, Switzerland, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden. It has also praised suicide terrorists in their TV programs, saying that they are "role models."

What boggles my mind even more is the ignorance I observe in many well-intentioned, highly educated people, who define themselves as progressive, when it comes to the matter in general, combined with a tendency toward overall indifference that sees things as tit for tat, unable to discern a qualitative distinction concerning the ongoing conflict between Arabs and Jews.

That is the other post I intended to do, and it will follow relatively soon.

(Hat tip to Elder of Ziyon and Palestinian Media Watch)

December 3, 2012

Expanding on a comment I wrote at Harry's Place

Watching how the reaction has been to Israel's decision to build more settlements, it seems that the  instantaneous world, built on the sensational 24 hour news cycle and ability to manipulate the audience, has outstripped human capacity to think and reflect. Actions are reflexive and usually for the worst because, to a large extent, they are not self-driven.

Ironically, at a time of so much knowledge and technology, you'd think we could create a better world.

If some states and people cannot yet see through the Arab inspired Islamist imperialism, laced with genocidal intent and incitement, then it will require more of it. One can only bring the mule to the water trough, and you know the rest of that story.

It is particularly sad to see the lack of morals in Europe, where states entertain the status of diplomatic relations towards Israel, due to settlements as yet unbuilt, while giving reward to Palestinian violations of the most fundamental obligations of war to civilians, not to mention international agreements. The ability to see right from wrong appears lost.

On one level, it's as if they use Israel to try and purge their own history, putting the collective Jew in the worst place, blind to the fact that their disparate treatment constitutes and is a continuing pattern of antisemitism. Would their states in a similar circumstance live up to the standard of perfection imposed on Israel, the singular Jewish state?

In this environment it becomes easier to look the other way concerning basic facts about unlawful Arab aggression after the the lawful creation of a Jewish homeland and state, the unlawful occupation by Arab forces between 1948 and 1967, or the other clear indicators of malicious intent, such as poisoning the minds of their children toward Jews and even Europe itself. To the contrary, they act from fear of the aggressors combined with greed for resources. Eurabia has arrived.

A web post by Greg Lukianoff made an interesting point about how "smart" some people are, in the context of speech and toleration of thought at the university. It applies in Europe, too, particularly among the so-called intelligentsia that seeks out ways to prop up the "oppressed" at the expense of seeking a balanced narrative. He says:

If higher education were living up to its goal of making people deeper, sharper, and better critical thinkers, we could reasonably expect to live in a golden age of discourse. After all, more of our population is college educated than ever before. But I don’t believe anybody thinks that’s the case. By tolerating censorship and by making it risky for students to honestly speak their minds, universities encourage students to play it safe and talk only to those students with whom they already agree — a tendency that can’t help but spill over into the world off campus once those students leave. This means that higher education, an institution that should be opening people’s minds to new ideas and dissenting opinions, may actually be supercharging our political polarization.

One of the most intriguing pieces of data I came across while researching Unlearning Liberty is that there is an inverse relationship between how much education people have and how frequently they talk to those with whom they disagree politically (this research is covered briefly in Diana Muntz’s excellent Hearing the Other Side: Deliberative versus Participatory Democracy). In other words, there is evidence that the more schooling you receive, the tighter your echo chamber becomes. A truly educated person, however, should develop the intellectual habit of actively seeking out challenging debates rather than settling into a self-affirming clique.

I think Mutz has nailed it. The smartest are just too smart to hear anything from others besides agreement of how smart they are, so it must be right!

Hard to believe, but actions at the UN and in world affairs will need to deteriorate further before enough people become more cognizant of the forces at work, so that elitist, monotone high theories, developed in echo chambers, will garner the repudiation they richly deserve.

The tragedy is that, but for prevention, so much despair could have been halted and even reversed.

(Link to Harry's Place)