Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Netanyahu as an Israeli Donald Trump

Israel has a truly virulent Left, every bit as virulent as the American Left.  Because Israel cannot afford much irrationality, however, they are less influential than the American Left.  And a key to keeping them from influence is the moderate conservative Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu has been elected Prime Minister of Israel four times. He is the only prime minister in Israel's history to have been elected three times in a row. He is therefore greatly hated by the Left and they never tire of finding some way of bringing him down.  As with Trump they have no respect for the outcome of democratic processes.

Recently, however, they have been much heartened by the emergence of a claim that Netanyahu has been involved in some sort of illegal financial activity.  And an active investigation of that claim by the Israeli police is now underway.  The Israeli Left have great hopes of that claim.  They look to the eventual dismissal of Netanyahu out of it but realize that will be a long game.  What they hope right now is that the claim will at least dent Netanyahu's political support.  They hope that the public opinion polls will show that Netanyahu is now a lame duck whom his own party might eventually disown. As with all the accusations flung at Trump, they think something has got to stick.

With Trump, however, the opposite has happened. His poll numbers were for a while way down but they have recently crept up -- with Rasmussen now having him on a 50% approval rating. The "dirt" flung at him has just bounced off.  It was the same with Ronald Reagan.  No "dirt" would ever stick to him, either.  He became known as the "Teflon President" for that reason.

And Netanyahu also seems to have Teflon qualities. The accusations against him have not dented his popularity at all.  His popularity has, if anything, increased.

Which is a BIG puzzle for the Israeli Left.  How can that happen? Can the people of Israel tolerate an accused criminal as their Prime Minister?  It makes no sense.  It is as puzzling to them as was the defeat of Hillary Clinton to the American Left.

And the explanation they have come up with is similar.  They think the people are irrational and emotion-driven -- not rational and balanced people like themselves.   Netanyahu is their father figure and so on.  That people who are as full of hate as the Left are regard themselves as rational and  unemotional is as amusing in Israel as it is in America.   Sigmund Freud's observations about the power of projection (Seeing one's own faults in others) spring immediately to mind. And, as in the USA, the Leftist narrative dominates the Israeli media.

So we come to the article below, which puts forward the shocking idea that the supporters of Netanyahu might be perfectly rational.  As Trumpians do, they may like his policies enough not to be bothered by minor issues.  The inherent arrogance of the Left will however never allow them to see that. They will continue to rant away inside their own little hermetically sealed intellectual bubble

Why the Right Is Actually Rational

Those who shout 'Only Bibi!' aren’t necessarily acting on gut instinct. On the contrary, they’re voicing rational recognition of the fact that the war against corruption won’t necessarily alter their situation.

תEver since the police issued their summary report of two investigations concerning Benjamin Netanyahu, many people have been trying to solve one of the great riddles of Israeli politics: How is it that the poll numbers of the prime minister and his Likud party not only did not decline but even rose?

It can’t be claimed that only one side of the political map cares about corruption. In 1977, claims of massive corruption at the highest levels contributed to voters’ disgust with the Labor Alignment that led to its ouster. And in 1992, anti-corruption demonstrations helped Yitzhak Rabin to beat Yitzhak Shamir. So what has changed?

A number of Haaretz writers have weighed in. Yossi Klein cited Likud voters’ need for “revenge” against the elites (Feb. 22). Daniel Blatman proposed “fear” as an explanation for the lack of desire to separate from Netanyahu (Feb. 22, in Hebrew). Ravit Hecht cited the “familial” nature of Likud voters (Feb. 23). Alon Idan compared support for Likud to fans’ loyalty to a soccer team (Feb. 23, in Hebrew). Iris Leal claimed that Netanyahu “hypnotizes” his audience (Feb. 25, in Hebrew).

The weakness of all these explanations lies in their common denominator. The key terms in these op-eds show that to his critics, support for Netanyahu is emotional. None of them sought to understand its rationale.

This problem is most apparent in attempts to explain why the left has failed to convince the right: Persuasion is impossible from a position of fundamental arrogance, which assumes that “they” are not rational but “we” are. Yet a deeper look reveals, even if unintentionally, a real difficulty in understanding the other.

This isn’t new. The late sociologist Yonathan Shapiro, who conducted one of the first studies on Likud’s rise to power, named several reasons for its upset victory in his book “The Road to Power: Herut Party in Israel.” One of the main ones, he said, was Likud leader Menachem Begin’s emotional manipulation of Mizrahi Jews.

This claim was widely accepted as axiomatic for several decades, and still echoes through academic and public debates. The problem is that manipulation doesn’t work only on people of certain ethnic origins, and in any case, all politicians tend to manipulate.

In fact, new studies about the economic policies of the ruling Mapai party, a Labor Party forerunner, during the country’s formative years show that until the 1960s, and contrary to its image as a party that exploited the Mizrahim, Mapai pursued a clear policy of reducing wage gaps between the elites and the lower classes. This data help us understand why Mizrahim abandoned Mapai at about that time and started voting for Begin, because it explains the economic and class context and recognizes that this was a rational decision.

Haaretz Editor-in-Chief Aluf Benn wrote that Netanyahu’s accomplishments — Israel’s prosperity, its political stability and the decline in Palestinian terror within Israel proper — are what win him public support (Feb. 26). But Benn didn’t draw the necessary conclusion, which is that if Netanyahu’s achievements are what keep him in power, then the right is rational, and the left is emotional in its utter opposition to his policies.

Clearly, the left-right story is more complicated than questions of emotionalism, and even those who recognize Netanyahu’s practical achievements can’t ignore his moral failings. Nevertheless, the people who shout “Only Bibi!” even when he is caught out in disgrace aren’t necessarily acting on gut instinct. On the contrary, they’re voicing rational recognition of the fact that for all the importance of the war against corruption in high places, it doesn’t affect their lives and won’t necessarily alter their situation.



Against Fake Civility

Conservatives are the gentlemen of politics.  It's not always to their advantage

Kurt Schlichter

They tell us that our uppity refusal to quietly submit to abuse and subjugation, both figurative and literal, makes us bad people. Not only can we live with that, but we should celebrate it.

When the liberals and their squishy-soft allies in Conservative, Inc., start moaning about your dreadful incivility, that’s a clear indicator that you are doing something right and that you need to double down. Civility, once properly understood as a means to an end rather than an end in and of itself, has morphed from an aspiration into a political/cultural gimp suit designed to prevent you from effectively asserting your interests and your point of view.

For liberals, civility is a grift – they think it’s a punchline and they’re waiting to laugh at you for embracing it. It’s a way to keep you from interrupting their non-stop attacks on your rights, your faith, and your dignity by convincing you that it’s somehow wrong to get upset when, say, some Astroturf Tot backed up by a bunch of leftist Red Guard orgs like Planned Parenthood and Move On starts shrieking that you have blood on your hands.

For the Fredocons, civility is just an excuse for lounging on the Lido Deck while those of us not signed onto Team Submissive wade in and fight. It’s also an excuse to push back against the revolt of the Normals that their incompetent, self-serving bumbling created. They will never, ever attack the progressive cultural aggressors, those leftist savages spewing their death wishes against conservatives while saving the grossest sexual slurs for the brave female warriors whose will not back down in the face of progressive hate. Your refusal to knuckle under shames the sissycons.

No, they will attack you when you resist. It’s unseemly to fight back, according to some True Conservative Principle™ we never heard of but that they insist is the central tenet of conservatism. Not giving in is not who we are, or something.

So don’t swear. Don’t be mean. Don’t fail to get undone because maybe some of your allies failed to meet standards of propriety society tossed out the window two decades ago. Don’t win, whatever you do.

Yeah, we’re done with their version of civility because their version of civility is a lie too. George W. Bush was civil, oh so civil, or so dignified. He was so civil and dignified that we got eight years of Barack Obama and we came that close to going under forever. But funny how Dignified George’s civility lasted for only eight years of his pal/successor then vanished once the guy who beat his soft bro to a pulp showed up and took what was supposed to be one of the Bipartisan Civility Crew’s gig. Suddenly, when someone who wasn’t part of the Approved Elite got elected, George found his ability to attack again. Of course, it was his own (supposed) side.

Bush was not just attacking Trump. He was attacking us Normals for daring to elect Trump. Many of us defended him when he was busy being oh-so-dignified and civil. And when we defied him and his class, he turned against us. Like a true gentleman.

Civility is a component of a system of reasoned debate, not its end product. Civility is necessary in a system where people reason in good faith in order to come to the best solution to the policy challenges facing them. Civility lubricates that process, and allows people of good faith to disagree without engendering unnecessary and destructive discord.

People of good faith. See, that’s key.

The problem is that progressives are not people of good faith.

They are not trying to reason. They are not trying to compromise. They do not accept the basic concept that all American citizens have inalienable rights and that the law must apply equally to everyone. They hate us.

We are sub-human, unworthy of courtesy or respect. We have no rights; they might allow us some control over our personal lives, for now, but we exist at their sufferance. That’s their view. That’s their basic premise – and if you ever go on social media they will tell you. So it’s no wonder that they feel no need to be civil.

Wake up. The truth is ugly, but it’s still the truth.

The hallmark of adulthood is putting away childish things, like the Pollyanna view that others must always be acting in good faith because we really, really want that to be true. Luckily, many of us have rejected the illusions and embraced the truth. And truth is more important than civility.

The rational system that incorporated civility as a central component no longer exists. Why should we preserve that one aspect of the whole when the other side has gleefully tossed the rest into the bonfire? Because it’s nice? We’re not interested in nice. We’re interested in not having our rights stolen from us.

Time to accept reality. We don’t share a common foundation of beliefs with our enemies – yeah, feel free to explode in a fussy fireball of fauxtrage because I call the people who constantly wish for my death on social media “enemies.” You can’t have a discussion or a conversation with people whose bottom line position is that you must be gone, or at least stripped of anything like your rights and sovereignty.

All you can do is fight them.

The problem is not that we Normals are not nice. The problem is that we were nice for far too long. The hate and contempt of the left for Normal Americans grew and grew without any challenge, with any cost, without any pushback, such that it was able to take root and become progressivism’s central premise.

They never paid a price for their hate, not until now (Hi Delta!). They don’t like it, either – that’s why you see liberals constantly trying to use guilt and shame to get you to start playing by the old rules again. Notice how they never, ever prescribe that remedy to themselves?

And the Fredocons? They’re as obedient as always to their class masters. They never, ever attack the left, but should you dare push back there’s not a pearl they’ll leave unclutched.

This country is in grave danger of real chaos as the Normals confront an elite that seeks to rule it without accountability or challenge. Will the country split apart? Will there be armed conflict? The chances of those awful possibilities coming true are much, much greater if we give the other side the false impression that we are not deadly serious about defending our Constitutional rights to the death, if necessary. Hell, many of us are already sworn to.

Civility is not a sign of weakness when a system of reasoned debate is in effect. But it is a sign of weakness, and will be taken as such by our enemies, when we cling to civility because we are too weak and afraid to admit the awful truth, that we are no longer a society ruled by reason but by power.

You want a civil society again? Good – so do I. But the way to get it is not to surrender. It is to defeat those who want to crush you with lawless rulings by leftist judges, with economic warfare launched by woke corporations, and by the steady erosion of the rights your Creator granted you.

If civility means submission, the hell with it


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

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