Many make the argument that the United States was built on the concept of “individual rights.” What does that even mean? Do you have the right to free speech? Yeah, but you don’t. Do you have the right to own a gun? Sure, but when a weapon is initially sold in the US, the original purchaser must complete paperwork to obtain approval to buy said weapon. In many locations, in order for that person to transfer the weapon to another, it requires even more paperwork. Then take into consideration that just being accused of certain crimes is a sufficient cause for Officer Friendly to happily remove those weapons from your possession. Individual rights, like all political theory, are just that: something that exists in theory. In practice, it’s a different scenario.
With the conflict raging in Palestine, it is clear there are two groups with common interests at odds with one another. Yes, those groups are composed of individuals, but defaulting to judging all participants involved as individuals is either malicious or ignorant. To do so is to deny that groups of individuals who share common interests will organize and seek to lobby, propagandize, and even go to war for said interests.
Since the beginning of this conflict, many prominent people who identify themselves as Jewish have leapt to support Israel to the point of calling for genocide. Leaving that disturbing fact aside, it is clear that some individuals who have not been eager to identify themselves with any tribe will do so if they feel “their” tribe is being threatened. And that is to be expected because most people don’t view themselves as individuals but as part of some larger group. Even those who may promote individual rights as a rule default to group solidarity when they feel threatened.
What naturally comes along with people dividing into tribes in times such as these is collective criticism. With all due apologies to those who cherish their so-called individual rights, when a group of individuals starts making pronouncements, and even threats, on behalf of their group, they have surrendered their right to be judged as individuals, and the motives of that group must now come into question. Especially if the individuals are in lockstep with that message. When you consider that many people who call themselves Jewish also identify as Zionists (which is an ideology, NOT an ethnic or racial identifier), logic demands judging them as a group. As an example, and yes it’s a tired one, if a group of people were identifying themselves as “Nazis,” those who normally cry loudest that people need to be judged as individuals would quickly abandon their principles and run down the checklist of what they believe every single individual stands for and begin to judge them as their group identity. But those same people—for some unknown reason—refuse to do so when it comes to people who refer to themselves as Zionists. It would be a fair assumption that those standing in judgment of the group identifying as “Nazis” would know (or at least think they know) the ins and outs of national socialism yet have no clue what the tenets of Zionism are.
It is clear that those who cry that everyone needs to be judged as individuals do so selectively and even as a weapon to be used against or in defense of certain groups depending upon their preferences. Denying that groups who share common interests will come together to further said interests is folly. Decreeing that those groups cannot be judged for their collective interests reveals malice. If society has been trained to ignore one group’s interests while having a laser focus on others’, that appears to be conclusive proof that some groups are not only working in their own interests but against others at the same time. To be blind to that fact is one thing, to ignore that revelation or even fight against it when it’s pointed out is another.
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Categories: Culture Wars/Current Controversies