Follow by Email

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

David Brooks, "Finding Peace Within the Holy Texts": All You Need Is Love . . . and Justice?

At yesterday's press conference in Antalya Turkey, Obama, frustrated and confused in the wake of the Paris attacks, abnegated American leadership in the war against terror. In response to a question from ABC News White House Correspondent Jim Avila, the president declared (my emphasis in red):

"We'll do what’s required to keep the American people safe. And I think it's entirely appropriate in a democracy to have a serious debate about these issues. If folks want to pop off and have opinions about what they think they would do, present a specific plan. If they think that somehow their advisors are better than the Chairman of my Joint Chiefs of Staff and the folks who are actually on the ground, I want to meet them. And we can have that debate. But what I'm not interested in doing is posing or pursuing some notion of American leadership or America winning, or whatever other slogans they come up with that has no relationship to what is actually going to work to protect the American people, and to protect people in the region who are getting killed, and to protect our allies and people like France [sic]. I'm too busy for that."

American "leadership" and "winning" won't help protect the American people? Fascinating. So what will help, according to the president? Stick to the Obama game plan . . . whatever that might be. But not to worry: In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Finding Peace Within the Holy Texts," David Brooks offers alternative advice for a more tranquil world. Brooks writes:

"The great religions are based on love, and they satisfy the human need for community. But love is problematic. Love is preferential and particular. Love excludes and can create rivalries. Love of one scripture can make it hard to enter sympathetically into the minds of those who embrace another.

. . . .

Alongside the ethic of love there is a command to embrace an ethic of justice. Love is particular, but justice is universal. Love is passionate, justice is dispassionate.

Justice demands respect of the other.

. . . .

The reconciliation between love and justice is not simple, but for believers the texts, read properly, point the way."

All the great religions are based on love, yet love can run amok? And all the great religions embrace a common notion of justice, extending to others with different sets of spiritual values, thus setting love back on track and providing a path for peace in our time?

Hurry, David, and set a meeting with Obama. You've hit upon it! Love and justice! The case cracker! That, or the West finally gets its act together - with a little help from the Kurds - and kicks some Islamic State butt.

Why do I prefer the latter idea?

[For more stupidity of a different variety, have a look at David Ignatius's Washington Post opinion piece entitled "The fight against the Islamic State should unite Muslims and the West" ("These tragedies should unite Westerners and Muslims, and create a common solidarity against the terrorists of the Islamic State"). Ignatius, who not too long ago claimed that we had heard the last of "Death to America!" from Iran, still doesn't get it.]


  1. 27 (so far, with 16 not yet commenting) U.S. governors say no to Syrian refugees
    worth a look at the map:

    "...The Council on American-Islamic Relations said Monday, "Defeating ISIS involves projecting American ideals to the world. Governors who reject those fleeing war and persecution abandon our ideals and instead project our fears to the world." ..."

    Massachusetts, Maine, and, "Live Free or Die" New Hampshire just said no.

    About those American ideals? Which ideal is American when a state can NOT officially display the Ten Commandments?

    too surreal this.

    America, land of the free because of the brave.

  2. my antidote for surrealism, Bret Stephens:

    “To counteract the radicalization [in Europe],” Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström said in a televised interview only hours after the Paris attacks, “we must go back to the situation such as the one in the Middle East in which . . . the Palestinians see that there is no future; we must either accept a desperate situation or resort to violence.”

    Here was the sanctified tantrum par excellence: People murder and maim because they have been put (by Israel) to a bleak choice. Rage is not to be condemned but understood, mitigated and mollified. ..."

  3. Anyone remember this Ted Talks moron telling us the "Terrorism is a Failed Brand"?