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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘sense’

Tribalism, Post-Tribalism and Counter-Tribalism

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Originally published at Sultan Knish.

Man begins with the tribe. The tribe is his earliest civilization. It is enduring because it is based on blood. The ties of blood may hinder its growth, the accretion of tradition holds it to past wisdom while barring the way to learning new things, but it provides its culture with a physical culture.

The modern world embraced post-tribalism, the transcendence of tribe, to produce more complicated, but also more fragile cultures. And then eventually post-tribalism became counter-tribalism.

Our America is tribal, post-tribal and counter-tribal. It is a strange and unstable mix of all these things.

The post-tribal could be summed up by the melting pot, a modernist idea of a cultural empire, the E pluribus unum of a society in which culture could be entirely detached from tribe, manufactured, replicated and imposed in mechanical fashion. The counter-tribal and the tribal however are best summed up by multiculturalism which combines both selectively.

Modernism was post-tribal. It believed that advancement lay with abandoning the tribe. Post-modernism however is counter-tribal. It doesn’t just seek to leave the tribe behind, but to destroy the very notion of one’s own tribe as the source of evil, while welcoming the tribalism of the oppressed.

The post-tribal and counter-tribals both felt that the rejection of one’s own tribe was a cultural victory. But where the modernists thought that tribe itself was the evil, the post-modernists think that it is only their tribe that is the evil. The modernists had no more use for the tribalism of any culture than that of their own. The post-modernists however believe that the tribalism of oppressor cultures is evil, but that of oppressed cultures is good. And so they replace their own tribalism and post-tribalism with a manufactured tribalism of the oppressed consisting of fake African proverbs and “Other” mentors.

Counter-tribalism is obsessed with the “Other”. It regards the interaction with the “Other” as the most socially and spiritually significant activity of a society. Counter-tribalists instinctively understand diversity as a higher good in a way that they cannot express to outsiders. They may cloak it in post-tribal rhetoric, but the emotion underneath is the counter-tribal rejection of one’s own identity in search of a deeper authenticity, of the noble savage within.

For the modernists, tribalism was savage and that was a bad thing. For the post-modernists, the savage was a good thing. The savage was natural and real. He was a part of the world of tribe and blood. A world that they believed that we had lost touch with. It was the civilized man and his modernism that was evil. It was the tribalism of wealth and technology that they fought against.

The modernists believed that culture was mechanical, that it could be taken apart and put back together, that fantastic new things could be added, the boundaries pushed into infinity in the exploration of the human spirit. The post-modernists knew better. Culture was human noise. Boundaries defined culture. When they were broken, there was only the fascinating explosion of anarchy and private language. Communications broke down and elites took over. They stepped outside those boundaries and lost the ability to create culture, instead they went seeking for the roots of human culture, for the tribal and the primitive, hoping to become ignorant savages again.

The modern left has become a curious amalgam of the modern, the post-modern and the savage. There you have a Richard Dawkins knocking Muslims for their lack of Nobel prizes and then side by side is the post-modern sneering at the idea that being celebrated by the Eurocentric culture and its fetishization of technology matters compared to the rich cultural heritage of Islam and the savage on Twitter demanding Dawkins’ head.

The same scenes play out on daily commutes in modern cities, where Bloombergian post-tribal social planners exist side by side with Occupier counter-tribals and violent tribal gangs acting as flash mobs in the interplay of liberalism, the left and the failed societies left behind by the systems of the left.

Muslim immigration is a distinctly counter-tribal project. The European tensions over it among its elites, as opposed to the street protesters who make up groups such as the EDL, is a conflict between the post-tribals who envisioned the European Union and the counter-tribals who view it as a refugee camp that will melt down the last of Europe’s cultures and traditions.

Julie Menin Announces Campaign for Manhattan Borough President

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Julie Menin, former Chair of Community Board 1 in Lower Manhattan, today announced her candidacy for the Democratic nomination for Manhattan Borough President endorsed by more than 200 grassroots community leaders from communities across the length and breadth of the borough.

“I’m running for borough president because I believe my strong track record of leadership and solution driven approach is what is needed in the challenging times our borough faces. As Manhattan builds – and rebuilds – we should create good jobs and affordable housing for people who live in every part of the borough.

“Every parent should be able to send their child to a nearby school that meets their needs. Every family should have access to great parks and playgrounds in their own neighborhood.

“Every New Yorker should have a voice in decisions that affect their community.”

She added: “Making sure that our growth benefits every neighborhood will take leadership, common-sense solutions and the ability to bring people together. That’s been my record as a lawyer, small business owner and community leader, standing up for what’s right and getting results.”

Menin is a community leader and mother of three young children who is known for helping lead downtown Manhattan’s recovery after 9/11, helping lead the charge to build three new schools, exposing government waste and taking on the big battles to protect our democratic principles.

Having completed fundraising for the 2013 race, Menin’s campaign launch is focused on her grassroots support. She has announced a schedule of 200 “Menin Meet-Ups” and will be drawing on a volunteer list that is already over a thousand New Yorkers long.

Ceasefire a Poor Outcome for Israel

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

Today, the IDF announced that it had “accomplished its pre-determined objectives for Operation Pillar of Defense, and has inflicted severe damage to Hamas and its military capabilities.”

It is embarrassing to read this statement, which includes the fact that 130 rockets slammed into Israeli towns on the last day until the ceasefire came into effect at 9 PM. It does not even mention that 20 more struck between 9 PM and midnight.

While many Hamas rockets and launchers were destroyed, clearly many were not. Hamas has been building fortifications since 2009, and much of this infrastructure escaped the air bombardment. Hamas was certainly dealt a serious blow, but not a knockout punch. Its Iranian weapons suppliers will soon re-equip it, and it will probably get millions in ‘humanitarian’ aid from its friends in Europe.

Israel’s operation is estimated to have cost 3 billion Israeli Shekels (about $770 million). Each Tamir interceptor fired by Iron Dome cost $40,000. Now there is a ceasefire, and 30,000 reservists (cost: $60 million) will likely be sent home.

Hamas established that it can hit Tel Aviv and Jerusalem with missiles that can only improve in the future. It established that — by launching a large number of rockets at once, as it did in an attack on Beer Sheva today — it can overwhelm the Iron Dome system. It established that it can withstand a concentrated air attack and still fire rockets.

Palestinians understand quite well what happened, both the people in the street and their leaders.

As always, Israel’s overwhelming military might can’t stand up against the ‘persuasive’ powers of the White House, and yet again defeat is snatched from the jaws of victory. There will be another round, and another, and another.

But what do you expect? Israel is addicted to US weapons systems and spare parts — and now, to the Iron Dome system, developed in Israel but funded by the US. Saying no is unthinkable.

One question that Israelis are asking is this: why didn’t Barak and Netanyahu expect this? Did they have assurances from the Obama administration that they could go into Gaza, assurances which were later withdrawn? It doesn’t make sense to call up 30,000 reservists just to scare the other side.

We’ll probably never know exactly what happened. But no matter how hard I try, I can’t interpret this as a positive outcome for Israel.

Visit FresnoZionism.

Safe Hallways

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

Israeli citizens are instructed to take shelter in the hallways and stairways of their apartment buildings after warning sirens sound, signaling an incoming rocket. We in the Tel Aviv area have not experienced this kind of thing since 1990. Our animals are particularly perplexed: it looks like we’re out on a walkie, but then no walkie, we just stop at the stairs? What the heck kind of outing is this?

They say animals can tell by a sixth sense when something’s about to happen, but the fact is, once something actually happens they have no clue what’s going on.

Our cats are not the least bit disturbed by the tension around them. With brains the size of a walnut, they don’t store tension – they let go of it, to make room for new things – moth!

The fact is our hallways cannot protect us from a direct hit, God forbid, but they’re pretty solid against shrapnel. Plus you get to meet and talk to neighbors you didn’t even know you had. Did you know she had a dog? I didn’t know she had a dog. Like that…

Shabbes Schlaf

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

An Israeli soldiers attending a training simulation of the ground war in Gaza, at a training base near Mount Hebron, Shabbat, November 17, 2012.

It’s been a tense Shabbat, up here, outside the range of the Hamas rockets. Although, supposedly, two rockets fell in Rammat HaSharon, well north of Tel Aviv and only about ten miles from Netanya.

Friday night we listened to the F-15 and F-16 fighter-bombers flying over Netanya on their way south.

Shabbat in Shul, when the Ba’al Tefila before Musaf got to the part about asking God to watch over the IDF, everybody was silent, and said a very loud Amen. Normally that’s the part where you catch a brief schmooze about this and that with the guy standing next to you.

Some of us in shul were suspiciously better informed than the rest about what was going on, because they’d left their radio or TV on. Makes sense. When your own flesh and blood are in it, you must know.

So far, other than 1000 sorties of the IAF, there has been only a volley of artillery fire on Gaza, and the Navy has been targeting specific addresses in Gaza. Otherwise, no ground war yet.

Hiroshima on My Mind

Friday, November 16th, 2012

The Spokesman for the IDF is constantly announcing that the Israeli Air Force is doing pinpoint bombing in order to protect innocent civilians. Prime Minister Netanyahu also says that Israel deserves praise for the care it is taking not to injure innocent civilians.

Apparently to them, these “civilians” are “innocent” even though they house grad rocket launchers in their homes, and it’s their fathers and brothers who are doing the firing. In the meantime, we are bombing evacuated warehouses and underground tunnels, and the Gazans keep firing away, not at all worried about being hit. In the 200 plus forays our fighter bombers have made over Gaza, maybe 20 people have been killed and a couple dozen wounded. Peanuts. So the innocent civilians keep shooting away.

Whose approval are we trying to win? Has America or the United Nations applauded us on our great sense of morality and fair play? Has France or Russia? You’ve got to be kidding. In their heart of hearts, they think that we’re jerks. No one fights a war this way.

Calculations of the death-toll from the Anglo-American bombing of Dresden in February 1945 have varied widely. Figures have ranged from 35,000 through 100,000 and more. The German city of Dresden had a population of three quarters of a million people, plus hordes of anonymous refugees from the Eastern Front. It was destroyed in one night by Allied aircraft armed with more than 4,500 tons of high explosive and incendiary bombs. The devastated area amounted to around 13 square miles – not much different from the size of Gaza. The victims weren’t Nazi soldiers but innocent civilians. No one said a word.

Toward the end of World War 2, following a firebombing campaign that destroyed many Japanese cities, the Allies prepared for a costly invasion of Japan, knowing that thousands of American soldiers would be killed. To avoid this, American airmen dropped the “Little Boy” atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945, immediately killing 66,000 innocent civilians. Then they dropped the “Fat Man” bomb over Nagasaki on 9 August, killing 40,000. Six days later, the Japanese surrendered without the loss of one American soldier in Japan. Within the first two to four months of the bombings, the acute effects killed 90,000–166,000 people in Hiroshima and 60,000–80,000 in Nagasaki. Once again, no one said a word.

If you ask me, it’s time we took a lesson from the goyim. Before even one of our soldiers steps foot in Gaza, instead of bombing vacant warehouses and tunnels, we should level a few eight-story buildings filled with “innocent civilians.” That will stops the rockets, believe me.

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

Dear Rachel,

In your column of Oct 26th you published a letter written by B’Ahavat Yisrael (really??) who attacked you for being soft on the candy issue. Actually, she sounded hyper, like someone who overdid the sugar, in her stinging criticisms of the people she (in her signature) professes to love.

She claims that we have lost our “sense of Yiddishkeit” and lists a whole host of grievances she has against us. Besides our “obsession with sweets,” she takes issue with the way we give mishloach manos, the type of music we enjoy and the expense we go to when making a simcha, and to add insult to injury she cites our frum culture as mirroring that of a non-Jewish society.

With all due respect, I would like to address her faulty analysis. Regarding her criticism of the way we give mishloach manos, she’s apparently never heard of hiddur mitzvah (the beautifying of a mitzvah by embellishing it). An example of hiddur mitzvah: some of us go all out to decorate our sukkah, which of course doesn’t mean that a plain looking sukkah does not cover the bases.

The same with the esrog; most men vie for a beautiful esrog, despite the increase in expenditure, and some even use a magnifying glass to check for the tiniest blemish. Would she consider this to be in excess or a sign of materialism? It is neither.

Giving more than the traditional two mishloach manos and getting enjoyment out of applying our own personal touch to them is hardly frivolous. On the contrary, it is putting our G-d given talents to good use. She can present hers without flourish and stick to the minimum required if she so desires, but she is not right in begrudging others their indulgence in a hiddur mitzvah.

She might also keep in mind that those in a position to go all out in celebrating occasions like weddings are mostly the same people who dispense charity to the needy with a generous hand. One should not dictate to others how their money should be spent. There have always been rich people, those of moderate means, and the less privileged. Naturally their different lifestyles reflect their resources; this is the normal way of the world and always has been.

As for overloading on sweets, the subject that led to B’Ahavat Yisrael’s rant in the first place, most of us are aware of the boundaries of unhealthy eating. In fact, overeating altogether (doesn’t have to be sweet junk) is detrimental to our health. Education may be what’s needed; we must talk about it – as we are doing here – and schools would do well to emphasize and promote the value of good nutrition. If we drum it into our kids early on, they’ll be more likely to live that way down the road.

Another disturbing condemnation by B’Ahavat Yisrael concerns summer camp for children. “When did that start?” she asks with incredulity. Would she really rather that they stayed home with nothing to do? Summer camp happens to be a wonderful outlet for children and a healthy way for them to unwind from their rigid school year, make new friends, and learn in a more relaxed atmosphere. Day camp is a lifesaver for those uneasy about sending their children to overnight camp or who cannot afford anything but.

No, summer camp does not spoil our kids, as B’Ahavat Yisrael implies. It offers them healthy physical and emotional outlets in a structured environment. She opines that they should stay put and “earn a little money.” At what age does she suggest they go job-hunting? At eight? Ten, maybe? Thirteen? The enterprising adolescent can, by the way, earn a few dollars by working in camp while still enjoying the benefits of being on camp premises.

As for B’Ahavat Yisrael’s contention that home is the best place for children to be in the summertime, I’m sure those mothers who can’t afford to send their children to camp of any kind would be willing to straighten her out as to the pitfalls of having children at home with nothing to do but play computer games, watch TV, annoy the heck out of their sibs, and eat. Mostly junk. Sweet junk. Lots of it.

All that Training Pays Off

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

This is the picture of an overworked, dead tired officer somewhere on the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, who picked up his megaphone and began to try and talk some sense into Sandy, the ravaging hurricane. The image has gone a bit viral, and so we’re doing our little bit to help it along. We feel that when all else fails, reasoning with the elements is something one should try at least once.

But don’t hang around too long, in case the elements have a devastating comeback…

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/photos/all-that-training-pays-off/2012/11/04/

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