Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Realism or idealism
None of us know exactly where we ought to stand on the question of realism or idealism. Realism means to embrace policies for reasons of state. Idealism means to embrace policies because they increase the good in the world. But what if the two conflict with one another? What if, say, what is conducive to the increase of power and safety of one party in a struggle for dominance is detrimental to another party? For reasons of state you would say, whatever is conducive to the increase of power and security of your own kith and kin is right, even if it is at the expense of the well-being of others. Idealism means you strive to minimize the damage to others that is incurred by striving for the well-being and safety of your own, because, in a final analysis, we both ought to live in safety, security, and dignity. The ultimate division is not between us and them but between humanity and inhumanity. When it comes to Jerusalem, there is a conflict not so much between Jews and Arabs or Muslims but rather between those who would settle the conflict on the basis of equity and security for all and those who insist on the legitimacy of their claim to ownership, even at the expense of others. Where do you stand?