web analytics
December 22, 2014 / 30 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



The Post-Structuralist Version of the Sermon on the Mount

We need to understand that a universalist civilization will not survive a contest with a tribalist one. If we don’t value our civilization, who will?
Judith Butler

Judith Butler
Photo Credit: Javier Ignacio Ditzel

Ms. Butler fights the regressive “my side, right or wrong” with the liberating “your side, right or wrong.” It’s the post-structuralist version of the Sermon on the Mount: “Love thy enemy more than thyself.” But what if that enemy embraces a savage form of loving themselves and hating us? What if it takes an extreme interpretation of Muslims’ edict to “love and hate for Allah’s sake”? This enemy makes all our utopian and multiculturalist projects impossible. — Benjamin Weinthal and Richard Landes, “The Post-Self-Destructivism of Judith Butler.”

Judith Butler is an American academic (philosophy) known for her quick mind, impenetrable prose and anti-Israel activism. The quotation is from an article about the controversy surrounding her selection by the city of Frankfurt to receive its important Adorno Prize for excellence in philosophy, music, theater and film.

I’ll leave it to Weinthal and Landes to describe the particular trouble with Ms Butler and the Germans, and to others to evaluate her academic work, which (despite my philosophy degrees) is far beyond my understanding.

But I find the quotation above perceptive, illuminating perfectly how Westerners fail to conceptualize the struggle that we find ourselves in (or don’t recognize!) today. Despite our obsession with diversity, we fail to understand precisely how some cultures are diverse.

Virtually all humans favor their own family members, especially their children, over unrelated humans. This is an innate characteristic that can be explained as a result of natural selection: those humans who behave like this are more likely to pass on their DNA to future generations.

Tribalism is an expansion of this ‘family’ preference to larger groups — extended family, tribe, people, nation. The evolutionary argument to explain it is a bit more complicated: those groups made up of individuals who tend to favor members of their own group and to display hostility to other groups are more likely to dominate others, obtain choice land and hunting grounds, and survive as groups, thus promoting the survival of their members, who will pass on their ‘tribalist’ genes.

What we call ‘patriotism’ is a fellow-feeling that applies to a very large unit, the nation. It is an extrapolation of the same feeling that we have for smaller groups.

Natural selection works because of environmental pressures, so societies in different environments have evolved different degrees of tribalism. Nomadic peoples often come into contact and conflict with ‘strange’ groups that they must either dominate or be dominated by. Settled agricultural peoples, on the other hand, rarely meet strangers, and can even obtain an advantage by cooperating with neighboring tribes rather than fighting with them.

The Hebrew Bible is (among many other things) an expression of tribalism along with rules for cooperation when appropriate (e.g., treating the stranger who dwells among us well).  The ancient Hebrews were a nomadic people and behaved like one; later, the Prophets spoke to a primarily agricultural population.

Christianity and liberal Judaism went much further, suggesting that the favored treatment previously reserved for tribe members should be expanded to all humankind. Judith Butler and other Jewish anti-Zionists often claim that their anti-Zionism is based on Jewish ethics — by which of course they mean a very liberal or even Christianized Judaism, one which depends on a special way of reading the Torah (or often on not reading it).

Today, as has happened numerous times before in history,  massive cultures or empires are coming into conflict with one another. One side is radical Islam, whose basic principles are drawn directly from the culture of nomadic Arabs of the Seventh Century. Many of their leadersare Arabs, who are only a few generations removed from a nomadic lifestyle and whose culture reflects this.

On the other side we have people of European heritage, formerly farmers, whose culture was profoundly influenced by Christianity (even if they reject it today).

Both sides imagine their place on the spectrum of tribalism as an absolute moral principle. The Islamists are certain that the proper world order is for the infidels to submit, and violence and war in order to bring this about is not only not wrong, it is profoundly right.

The West, on the other hand, believes in peace and above all, cooperation. It believes that war is only justified in self-defense, that it is possible to solve all disagreements by negotiation and compromise, the way a farmer negotiates the location of a fence with his neighbor.

About the Author: Vic Rosenthal created FresnoZionism.org to provide a forum for publishing and discussing issues about Israel and the Mideast conflict, especially where there is a local connection. Rosenthal believes that America’s interests are best served by supporting the democratic state of Israel, the front line in the struggle between Western civilization and radical Islam. The viewpoint is not intended to be liberal or conservative — just pro-Israel.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Post-Structuralist Version of the Sermon on the Mount”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi meet in NY late Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, ahead of Netanyahu's speech at UN General Assembly  set for the next day.
India May Pull Rug Out From Under Abbas in UN Vote
Latest Blogs Stories
Lehava head led away in handcuffs

Limiting Jewish success and revival is that the anti-Jewish, anti-History Left rules here in Israel

Young Ultra Orthodox kids sit in a classroom in a school in the neighborhood of Neve Yaakov in Jerusalem

The crisis in Jewish education is of existential importance. How should it be resolved?

George Orwell was an anti-radical, anti-totalitarian socialist who admired the United States.

BBC GUIDELINES ON TERRORISM: The word “terrorist” itself can be a barrier rather than an aid…

Doug Goldstein

Discussion with entrepreneur William Heinecke on how he became a young, successful businessman

Did Cuba apologize for their spies the way Israel apologized for Pollard?

Nothing binds Jews together more than Torah observance; Or so one would think.

Sukkah tinsel decorations enjoy a robust market but are invariably manufactured for “another”holiday

A number of Israeli papers regurgitated a biased AP article on settlement growth, but they should have read it more carefully before hitting publish.

Many of the battles of the Maccabees were right here in the Shiloh area.

Both Labor and Likud are expected to get more seats in the upcoming elections.

Get a straight answer from Edward de Bono to the question: What is lateral thinking?

Jewish communities worldwide commemorate Yehudit during Chanukah by eating dairy foods in her honor

Israel’s problem isn’t Indyk, Obama, UN, NGOs or even the media; Our problem is much closer to home.

None of the attacks on Jewish & property should come as a surprise in light of the Temple Mount.

No surprise! Israel is now being blamed for Ziad Abu Ein’s death.

How does the new U.S. tax amnesty affect American citizens living in Israel and abroad?

More Articles from Vic Rosenthal
SynagogueMurders

No more ‘peace process’ envisioning sovereign ‘Palestine’ in YESHA; Arabs can call today “Nakba 2.0″

benjamin-netanyahu

The extreme hypocrisy, contempt & vulgarity of the attacks indicate more than a policy disagreement

Expecting the IDF to mount a ground attack against Hamas in Gaza? There may be a better approach…

It looks from here like a really bad weekend in Israel. Some 40-odd rockets were fired from Gaza at southern Israel within 48 hours, as far as Beersheva. Arabs rioted throughout the country, throwing rocks and firebombs at any available Jewish target. They systematically destroyed the light rail tracks, stations and equipment in Arab neighborhoods […]

The problem is a culture whose essence is to negate ours.

The teenagers in the video, then, were either injured non-seriously by rubber bullets, or faking for the camera.

The liberal wing of the Jewish establishment in the US is following the same path as it did in the 1940s.

When will the State of Israel decide the Palestinian Arabs are a hostile enemy and treat them as such?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/fresno-zionism/the-post-structuralist-version-of-the-sermon-on-the-mount/2012/09/11/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: