Posted by: theoptimisticconservative | July 28, 2012

Olympic opening ceremonies and the death throes of a civilization

I don’t think I was the only American weirded out on Friday by the bizarre “dancing nurses” segment at the opening ceremony for the 2012 London Olympics.  There were lots of children wriggling in hospital beds, and seemingly hundreds of nurses prancing around dressed in the garments of yesteryear.  It wasn’t clear what the artist was trying to say – and then the letters “NHS” burst out in glittering lights on the field.

Oh.  This is about the National Health Service.

[Pause.]

????????????

That realization was paired in my mind with the International Olympic Committee’s refusal to commemorate the 11 Israeli athletes killed by Yasser Arafat’s terrorists in Munich in 1972.  The IOC’s position is that it doesn’t want to “politicize” the games.

Creepy NHS-worship at the opening ceremony, XXX Olympiad; Photo credit: J.S. Hong, AP (h/t Thoughts from a Conservative Mom)

That position doesn’t hold up so well considering that 9/11 was commemorated at the opening ceremony of the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City.  In 1996, at the Summer Games in Atlanta, the IOC had a moment of silence at the closing ceremony for the victims of the Olympic Park bombing.

In 2010, at the Winter Games in Vancouver, there was a moment of silence during the opening ceremony for Georgian athlete Nodar Kumartashvili, who had died in an accident on a practice run just before the games began.

So in recent years, the Olympic authorities have commemorated the death of an Olympic athlete and the deaths of others in terrorist attacks, with a moment of silence each time in an opening or closing ceremony.  And guess what?  Last night, in the Olympic stadium, the victims of the 7/7 terrorist bombings in the London subway in 2005 were commemorated as part of the opening ceremony.  Granted, it was hard to catch; a photo montage was projected into the stadium during a lull in the prancing and acrobatics, but there was little narration to call it out.  I didn’t even notice it, and had to be told about it afterward by others who had seen it.

It is jarring to think of passing references being made to the victims of terrorism, sort of as part of the entertainment, during an event-palooza dedicated to performance and revelry.  The reason we usually have authorities solemnly asking for a moment of silence, at a carefully separated, showcased point in the proceedings, is that that’s what is appropriate for commemorating tragedy and sorrow.

But it was clearly important to the British planners to mention their dead from the 2005 terror attack in the opening ceremony.  So they did it.  For forty years, including this Olympics, no one has incorporated a commemoration of the 11 murdered Israeli athletes into an official Olympic ceremony.  Yet Olympic authorities have been assiduous about commemorating others.  Their relentless, determined failure to commemorate the Israelis in the same way is a failure to acknowledge the common humanity of Israeli Jews.

The opening ceremony for the 2012 Olympic Games couldn’t have been more stuffed with politics if it had been a bell pepper.  The Republic of Taiwan was required to march as “Chinese Taipei,” although of course that is not what the Taiwanese call their nation.  There is no nation of Palestine, yet athletes walked under a “Palestinian” flag and were announced as “Palestine.”  The “quirky” performance segment of the ceremony involved numerous references to political events in the history of Great Britain, including, of course, the paroxysm of pagan worship, complete with cavorting women, for the National Health Service.  It was a really, really political night; if a commemoration for the murdered Israeli athletes might have been “political,” that would only have guaranteed that it would fit right in.

Watching the ceremony last night, I had a profound sense of sadness for the hollow revelry.  There was no dignified memorializing of the greatness, uniqueness, and courage of Britain’s past.  There was “irreverent, idiosyncratic” entertainment, and a very long segment of writhing self-abasement before the shibboleth of socialized medicine.

We seemed to be looking last night at a moment frozen in time before a great upheaval, like the last days of lingering sunlight before World War I.  A civilization based on entertainment and ritual political worship is headed for a fall.  But then, a civilization that singles out some humans, like Israeli Jews, to show less care for – less solidarity with – is a weak and unsustainable one.  Nothing else will go right with it.

Britain is not alone in her shallow, artistic commemorations of a dying culture.  Western Europe’s official vision of itself largely boils down to that.  I believe there are still many individuals in Europe – as distinct from the ruling precincts of political correctness and utopianism – who have the courage to forge a different future.  But as a useful vehicle for what needs to be done, the continent’s official organizations, its governments and agencies, are beyond their expiration date.  Too many of them do not serve the people now, but only indenture and discourage them.

Such a situation cannot endure.  No amount of artistic entertainment can make fear, loss of purpose, and politically correct weakness noble or inspiring, much less invincible.  The post-liberal culture and political idea of Europe are not in a position to triumph today.  They are not even in a position to survive.

Some bonus material evoking what England once was.  A poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson:

England and America in 1782*

 

O thou that sendest out the man

To rule by land and sea,

Strong mother of a lion-line,

Be proud of those strong sons of thine

Who wrenched their rights from thee!

 

What wonder if in noble heat

Those men thine arms withstood,

Retaught the lessons thou hadst taught,

And in thy spirit with thee fought –

Who sprang from English blood!

 

But thou rejoice with liberal joy,

Lift up thy rocky face,

And shatter, when the storms are black,

In many a streaming torrent back,

The seas that shock thy base!

 

Whatever harmonies of law

The growing world assume,

Thy work is thine – the single note

From that deep chord which Hampden smote

Will vibrate to the doom.

* G. Robert Stange, ed., The Poetical Works of Tennyson: Cambridge Edition (Boston. Houghton-Mifflin, 1974), p. 62 and note, p. 627)

J.E. Dyer’s articles have appeared at Hot Air’s Green Room, Commentary’s “contentions,Patheos, and The Weekly Standard online.

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Responses

  1. Be careful not to criticize the Brit’s handling of the Olympics or the liberals might try to burn you at the stake. Remember, the only unforgivable faux pas in International relations nowadays is the telling the truth. Why, its practically a hate crime.

    rafa

  2. Forgive the Brits, they were too preoccupied rigging LIBOR to stage a decent opening ceremony. It’s a matter of priorities.

  3. enough natural gas in this to keep the torches burning till 2016.

  4. The IOC is controlled by the European left. It’s leadership and behavior reflect its intellectual and moral bankruptcy.

  5. Benny Hill did the hospital skit right.

  6. While all of the facts cited are correct and the omissions of tragedies not commemorated were clearly very real, I viewed the opening ceremonies as purely entertainment. The puffery segment which celebrated the NHS was typical of the views of the media elites in the UK (who by their wealth are able to seek better treatment ) was typical the views of our own media and political elites. Having lived and worked with my wife and elder son in the UK, I can tell you that the quality of the care was more consistent with Dickens than House. I did think it was cool that they credited someone other than Al Gore for the foundational inventions of today’s social media. Let’s enjoy the theater of it all and not “lose it” over the looney politics of it all. All of Europe are screwed-up by their affection for feudal dependency and oppression. The UK is less-so than the other western European countries, even including Germany.

    • I like your sunfish. I sail a Laser SB 20 myself ( not so quickly these days, alas)

      I agree what you say about much (but not all) of Europe. The problem is that they are sacrificing their future on the altar of austerity and fiscal rectitude (rectal fiscitude?). This is exactly what the Republicans want to do to the US.

      • Yes indeed. “Austerity”. That is to say colossal tax hikes, savage cuts to defense budgets already pared to the bone and, occasionally, very very tiny snips of the lavishly extravagant public sector. Can’t complain about the balanced budgets these sorts of policies yield, can we?

  7. This, I had understood, was the opening of the London Olympics, hosted by London, England, United Kingdom. It was not the opening of the Tel Aviv Olympics. I presume that is why it dealt with British themes, history, and events, and not Israeli ones. I would presume if they ever have a Tel Aviv Olympics the Israelis will celebrate Israeli preoccupations. They may even host an event for land-stealing.
    Of course it is unforgivable for the British not to turn their event into a PR opportunity for Likud, but, shuks, the world ain’t perfect. And of course the British will be deeply saddened to hear how disappointed you and your far-right Israeli buddies are that they and the IOC recognize the Palestinians. How boorish of them not to have taken your views into account.
    And how dare they celebrate what they see as important, iconic, and matters of pride to them. Again, how boorish not to have consulted you first. The country that gave us our laws, much of our culture, Shakespeare, Dickens, Darwin, Churchill, Adam Smith, and Beveredge and, yes, the NHS, should first have consulted with yourself and Likud whom everyone knows have contributed so much to civilization.
    Give yourself a break. Better still go to London for a holiday. You seem to need it. You will find that London is still the most innovative, exciting, interesting, and culturally relevant city on the planet, bar none. Hardly a testimony to decline.
    And whatever anyone says about the NHS (and it has many faults) Britons, left, right, and centre, and committed to its future. And why not? In spite of all its shortcomings, it still delivers better outcomes at a third of the price of our bad-value mess.

    (And something else: in spite of all the scandals involving Murdock Britain, unlike the US, still has a wonderful irreverent, disrespectful and fearless press – as Romney care found out when he put both of his well-manicured feet in ‘it’. It is difficult to get the Telegraph and Guardian to agree on almost anything. They were of one voice when it came to Mitt the Mutt)

    • Funny but somewhere I got the impression that it was the INTERNATIONAL Olympics hosted by London. Perhaps it was all the flags that led me astray.

      • No you got it exactly right. However, the opening ceremony is always a matter for the host to organize, and it is always used by the host as a cultural billboard. Just as ours was.

    • ” I presume that is why it dealt with British themes, history, and events” The Queen’s body language and facial expressions demonstrated that she doesn’t share your opinion.

      “how dare they celebrate what they see as important, iconic, and matters of pride to them”
      That they don’t see the 40th anniversary of the only terrorist attack and mass murder of Olympic athletes as worthy of even a moment of silence speaks volumes about the IOC’s values and what the Brits now see as ‘important’. That you agree with those ‘values’ exposes your moral bankruptcy beyond denial.

      That the Brits and IOC ‘recognize’ the ‘Palestinians’ but not the Kurds, etc. exposes their political bias, their accommodation of Muslim demands demonstrates their callow appeasement.

      “London is still the most innovative, exciting, interesting, and culturally relevant city on the planet, bar none.”
      To what “innovations” do you refer? (sound of crickets…)
      You mean cultural ‘relevance’ like the 57% of British Muslims under 30 who believe that Sharia law should be implemented across the UK and support the death penalty for apostasy? If rejection of freedom of religious choice isn’t a decline in traditional English values, what would be? Churchill certainly is spinning in his grave but your ‘spiritual’ idol Chamberlain, would heartily approve.

      Massive amounts of empty seats belie claims of sold out venues, while angry Brits protest. Gay partners eagerly accommodated for shared rooms, while married heterosexual couples are denied… London cabbies made to sacrifice needed earnings…10,000 British troops assigned guard duties as last minute substitutions for inadequate security provisions. Private guards spitting on British troops, screaming “Baby Killers”… Celebrating a failed medical system that rations health care through unelected death panels…

      All this and more demonstrate that the only thing Romney ‘stepped in’ was the crime of mildly implying the truth. But then, facts can be so inconvenient, can’t they? Especially when one believes, as you clearly do, that facts only have value when they support one’s agenda…

      • Well, Geoffrey, if you lived in Britain you would be able to afford the medication which would enable you to stop yourself writing this sort of nonsense.

        • Not likely he’d survive the waiting list, if he was even able to get on one, before he could even get his prescription.

          http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/8671127/Patients-struggle-even-to-get-on-NHS-waiting-lists.html

          • Isn’t it amazing how, if the NHS is so bad (and, admittedly, its not on a par with the that of the French and other ‘Old European’ nations) the British have health-outcomes on a par with ours at 1/3 the cost in terms of GDP? Strangely, these alleged waiting lists seem to be having little statistical effect.
            Or perhaps its just that health-provision everywhere is imperfect and you can find horror-stories in all systems if you are prepared to look hard enough. Our own healthcare failings and disasters are also pretty well known and publicised by those who want to point them out. I suspect that the real net difference is that ours are just three times as expensive. In other words, the British get much better value for a slightly better net outcome

            • This is such an inane and stupendous response that it’s breath taking. Obamacare RAISES costs. It bends the infamous “cost curve” upward, not downward.

              How anyone could entertain the idea of adding armies of bureaucrats between a patient and his/her doctor will improve medical outcomes speaks to that person’s ideological bent – not to mention the hordes of FBI agents needed to enforce the rigid centrally-directed program.

              The difference in medical outcomes of U.S. is a result of our lifestyles. We eat huge amounts of carbs and sugar and lead sedentary lifestyles. Perhaps you don’t get out very often but we have an obesity epidemic going on.

        • Here’s some more of that ‘stuff’ Romney ‘stepped in’…

          A fresh ticketing row has enveloped London 2012 Olympic organisers as angry parents of athletes are turned away at Games venues.

          And that’s at multiple venues. It’s an embarrassment.

          How about that, the proverbial ‘egg’ is ending up all over your face. As those “wonderful irreverent, disrespectful and fearless press” that British press you adore are the ones reporting just how bolloxed up the incompetent leadership of these games is proving to be.

          And your refusal to admit that Romney was right and that the criticism of his mild remarks was just the usual leftist hyperbole to gain political advantage reveals your support for intellectual dishonesty.

  8. This is the single worst, most ignorant commentary about the UK that I’ve ever heard. Obviously, you know nothing about England, the UK, British history or culture. The London Olympics are in LONDON, in the UK. This is not in Israel. Why on earth would they even mention 1972? This was a celebration of British culture, of which there s plenty. I gather you did not even comprehend the significance of Glastonbury Tor, the Holly Tree, and the ancient connection to the legends of Christ in England. You did not catch the beauty of the torch and the homage to Stonehenge. I gather all that matters is the fact that we have been told a bunch of lies about the British Health Service.

    My eyes were opened a few weeks ago when I visited with a friend who spent the last months of her daughter’s life – in the UK. She could do nothing but brag about how well her daughter had been treated. I ask her about the dirty hospitals, lack of meds, and ill trained doctors. Her answer? “Oh, the Republican lies.”

    Mitt’s pandering supporters will do anything, destroy anything, lie and cheat in order to get him nominated, because they hate Obama so badly. This is one life-long Republican who refuses to go along with the lies and the hate. I’ve never been so disgusted with a Hot Air column in my life.

    SJR
    The Pink Flamingo

    • SJ,

      Did Professor Patrick Pullicino lie when he said that doctors are prematurely ending the lives of thousands of elderly hospital patients via the NHS “death pathway” to save costs, some of whom would probably survive for several years if given proper medical attention?

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2161869/Top-doctors-chilling-claim-The-NHS-kills-130-000-elderly-patients-year.html

      Do you have any facts to back up your claim of lies?

      • No he didn’t lie. Nor did he say what you say he said. Read the Sunday Times article again. This time read it properly – including the big words with more than four letters (you are allowed use a dictionary)

        • Perhaps you’ll be so good as to post the link to the Sunday times article.

          • It’s last Sunday’s edition. Being a Murdock organ, subscriptions apply.

            • I just did a search of the Times and it turned up one piece on medicine unrelated to this issue. I doubt that this article that you cited exists.

              • Its on page 6 of the “News Review” section in the printed version. There is also a great article by Andrew Sullivan in the News Review section titled “Tough luck, Mitt, Brits fight dirty”. This contrasts the wonderfully disrespectful British Press with our pathetic shower whose reaction to Mittens failure to disclose his stimulus package for The Cayman Islands economy is to apologetically wring their hands.

                • Since I cannot get to the article, I will summarize from the Daily Mail article that covered what he said. With all the powers at your command, which include use of big multi-syllable words that others not of your ideological sway evidently do not possess, please tell us how the Times piece contradicts the following that Dr. Pullicino asserted:

                  ● NHS doctors are prematurely ending the lives of thousands of elderly hospital patients because they are difficult to manage or to free up beds.

                  ● There was often a lack of clear evidence for initiating the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP), a method of looking after terminally ill patients that is used in hospitals across the country.
                  ● The LCP and it had now become an ‘assisted death pathway’ rather than a care pathway’.

                  ● He had personally intervened to take a patient off the LCP who went on to be successfully treated. “…four weeks later he was discharged home to his family,”’ he said. The patient had another 14 months of life by demanding the man be removed from the LCP.

                  ● There are around 450,000 deaths in Britain each year of people who are in hospital or under NHS care. Around 29 per cent – 130,000 – are of patients who were on the LCP.
                  ● The patient’s extra 14 months of life came at considerable cost to the NHS and the taxpayer, Professor Pullicino indicated.

                  Where exactly, Paulite, does this differ from the sequestered document that you possess? Inquiring minds want to know.

    • Congratulations. Your comment takes the cake for emotional overreaction mixed with a mighty dollop of ignorance. You’ve even managed to exceed Paulite t’s twaddle, a truly Olympian feat. You’re most likely a troll, but at best a RINO.

    • thank you SJ for a breath of sane air.

  9. There you go again! Confusing the issue with facts! (sarc off)

  10. Sorry about this. None of you have any idea about how far the ideal of modern Olympicism has strayed from the (modern) founders vision of applying the ancient version.

    Paramount in the ancient games was a cessation of hostilities. Not selling hot dogs. Since commercialism ( and nationalism) of the games has replaced the primary ideals, what did you all expect?

    Conclusion:
    1) “Olympics” and what it should represent, actually mean nothing, except another way to make a buck.
    2) We have yet a long way to go .

    • The Olympics, as well as the Oscars, the Nobel Prize and most other big-marketing International “competitions” have been highjacked by the international left and are now just that much more political propaganda. Meant, of course, to indoctrinate as well as to dull senses.

      Bread and circuses. Watch at your own peril but always remember to bring a good bucket.

      And, speaking of dull, bucket-needing stuff, paulite loves and rabidly defends any and all things that carry the official socialist seal of approval. And, also, he/she does carry that particularly political torch proudly and like the true olympiad that he/she dreams of being.

      gag…gag…bucket, please…

      rafa

      • That’s a good point about comparing the Olympics to the Nobel Prize. I assume our President will get the gold medal for the 100m. Based of course, on the precedent of awarding the Nobel for something that hasn’t been accomplished yet.

      • I’m the capitalist around these parts – Like the right of people not to have their private property confiscated by the state. Like the concept of getting the best value for our tax-dollars. Like to each according to their work rather than what the state can steal for its friends.

        • Keep walkin’ Pauliite, until alcohol is is banned in your locality of course.

        • Yeah…right…Quacks like a duck, etc. comes to mind.

          rafa

  11. It’s the Spinal Tap Oympics, I could have sworn I saw Nigel Tufnel in the background, they edited out the tribute to the 7/7 victims as well,

  12. The Olymics have always been tragically stupid. They are a pathetic passive aggressive perpetually vapid substitute for war. More often than not, they are mere spectacle where chemically enhanced specially groomed Socialist Uber-Menchen are competed against each other to demonstrate their superiority over each other.

    It is very critical to remember than most of the traditions from the parades tot he torch relay to the grandiose spectacle of the opening and closing “ceremonies”… are direct from “Triumph of the Will” and the 1936 Berlin Nazi Games. Even the “Olympic Salute” was appropriated by the National Socialist German Workers Party as a symbol of their aggrandizement of pagan humanist image worship. I surprised they don’t all goose step into the arena. They could even give out spiffy Olympic arm brassards and even have everyone wear sharp looking tailored uniforms with their medals and ribbons all shining and flowing.

    The whole thing is pretense and an expensive wasteful annoyance.

    • unlike actual war which is so much more entertaining and less costly.

  13. But seriously folks……….

    Why in heavens name would a nation which has contributed more than most to our civilization, legal and political norms, and which remains one of the most culturally innovative on the planet, have the slightest interest in the preoccupations of a distant and minor ethnocracy with whose values and political culture it now shares almost nothing?

    The only bizarre notion is that it anyone could think it would.

    • “…and which remains one of the most culturally innovative on the planet…”

      You mean a nation that can’t decide wether it will be a Christian, Muslim, Jewish or Santeria-Voodoo mumbojumbo nation? Wether it will follow Sharia law or something a bit more modern and Western? Wether it is a European, an African, an Indian or whatever else becomes the immigration flavor du jur kind of nation? That sort of “cultural innovation” is what you mean?

      Well, OKEE DOKEE. This is what I have to say about that. Comming from you, our resident and most heroic paradigm of capitalism…it figures….

      rafa

    • Israel is a representative democracy with traditional western liberal values. Your inadvertent admission that the UK is increasingly abandoning those values does ironically make the case but to the UK’s detriment, not Israel’s.

      But again, this is about an official refusal to extend even the most minute recognition of the 40th Anniversary of the only mass murder in Olympic history.

      Your apologia makes you complicit in the condoning of that dishonor. While no surprise, the irony that you support the dehumanization of murdered athletes, solely for the crime of being Israeli… places you in the company of the white supremacists, the Nazi party and fanatic Islamist’s.

      • Israel is not a representative democracy. It is an ethnocracy. It only fully represents its jewish citizens. Its Christian and Moslem citizens receive a lesser recognition.
        Israel doesn’t have the rule of law. Its laws discriminate on the basis of religious affiliation or ethnicity. Legal status in many areas is governed by a quasi-religious code not unlike sharia (hasidic law?). Liberal fundamental rights, like freedom to enjoy and be secure in ones property, are wholly dependent on belonging to the dominant tribe.

        Israel is NOTHING like Britain. (nor the USA either)

        So, again, why in heavens name would the Brits concern themselves with giving a PR opportunity to a far-right faction in a distant ethnocracy with which it shares little of its values or culture? (And, by the way, PR opportunity, not genuine commemoration, is what the far right is really about).

        • Israel is “far right” only in the manner in which it benefits your presentation or helps you make some demagogic point. The fact is that Israel is a socialist democracy, not unlike the UK and fairly similar to what you wish the US would become and which it sadly is indeed becoming.

          Since “far right” is what you socialists use in almost knee jerk reaction to describe any sort or level of anti-socialist or anti-communist activity, idea or philosophy, your cavalier use of that term in relation to Israel is disingenuous at best and wickedly low and ill-intentioned at worst.

          But, after all, what should anyone expect from a rabid socialist “liberal” as yourself which, unlike the true and intentional meaning of the word, has no expectations at all with anything to do with “liberty” but demands, instead, the constant lock step march with government’s most onerous and invasive rules.

          rafa

    • Another assertion that the UK is ‘culturally innovative’, while avoiding specifics, even when questioned previously, exposes your intellectual dishonesty.

      The liar thinks that he’s avoided the consequence of reality but in truth only hindered their own ability to learn. The consequence lies inseparable from the act.

      • Yes, Geoff. Now take your tablets.

  14. [...] -J.E. Dyer [...]

  15. “Israel is not a representative democracy. It is an ethnocracy. It only fully represents its jewish citizens. Its Christian and Moslem citizens receive a lesser recognition.”

    Untrue, Paulite. Christians and Muslims in Israel have the same civic rights as Jews. There are a number of Muslim Arabs in the Knesset, and quite a few who own property, run media outlets, etc. Christians are not an electorally significant group in Israel, but they certainly enjoy the rights of free speech, free practice of religion, and voting and owning property. Christians have been immigrating to Israel from elsewhere in the Middle East because they are safe and have rights there. The population of Christians in Israel has grown by more than 300% since 1967.

    Israel is, in fact, a representative democracy. It has the only government in the Middle East that peacefully changes hands on a frequent basis between parties with different viewpoints on policy. In that sense, it is exactly like the governments of Europe, the former British colonies (including the USA), and the elected, representative governments of the Far East (Japan, South Korea).

    • Being a sentient human being (albeit, with some very odd views) I don’t believe for one moment that you actually believe a word of what you’ve just written.

      Israel may have some of the outward appearances of a democracy – so has Putin’s Russia. But just because it is slightly better behaved than some of its neighbours doesn’t make it a proper liberal democracy like Britain, the US, and the other members of the family Western democracies. You see, the latter all observe what is known as the rule of law. They don’t steal, or allow to be stolen, the private property of people (citizens or otherwise) who aren’t members of some dominant tribe. In Western democracies the law is applied impartially to all within the power of the state. It is one of their defining characteristics.

      Israel is nothing at all like a Western Democracy. However, that’s to miss the point: As an IOC recognized member Israel is perfectly entitled to compete in the Olympics – just like Syria, the Congo, Palestine, Belorus, China, or all those other non-democracies whose citizens take part. But why anyone should expect the Brits to pander to the internal politics of any of these outfits in its Olympic celebrations just beats me.

      • Britain, the US, and the other members of the family Western democracies. You see, the latter all observe what is known as the rule of law. They don’t steal, or allow to be stolen, the private property of people (citizens or otherwise) who aren’t members of some dominant tribe. In Western democracies the law is applied impartially to all within the power of the state. It is one of their defining characteristics.

        Yeah, they sure do. Let’s talk to the ghost of David Koresh and fifty odd of his followers about it. Or Jose Guarena. Or David Lee Turner. Or some of the many victims of Tennessee law enforcement or the Metro Gang Strike Force.

      • P, the opticon is closer to the mark than you are……Israel is indeed a democracy and the flaws neither negate that truth nor make it an ethnocracy…….

        you’ve gotten carried away.

        • Perhaps we’ll just have to agree to differ.

          You see, the world is full of “representative democracies”. Iran is a “representative democracy”. So is Russia. Whatever the flaws in their respective elections, it is a (sad) fact that the leaders of both these nations enjoyed the support of a plurality of their electorates. What distinguishes “Western Democracies” is the “rule of law” which underpins the relationship betweeen the individuals, and between individuals and their government. Russia doesn’t observe the rule of law. People doing business within, or with, Russia can never be sure that their property and other rights will be respected and upheld by the law – particularly if their property becomes coveted by some establishment thug, or worse, they have a conflict with the interests of one of the latter. Similarly, non-Jews – particularly Moslems – cannot depend on Israeli law to uphold or protect their property and other rights when those rights are challenged by the dominant tribe and its agents.
          The bare fact is that Israel does not observe the rule of law, and as such, its laws would not pass Constitutional muster in the United States. Neither would it be eligible for membership of the EU, whose members must comply with the rule-of-law charter that is the ECHR. Neither would it pass muster under the Canadian Constitution, nor as a state in the Australian Federation.
          Sorry, Fuster, Israel is not a Western Democracy, however you slice or dice it.

          • However you slice or dice it, insisting that reality is, as you wish it to be, simply confirms doubts as to your rationality.

            Despite your asserting otherwise, the settlements are not evidence of Israel’s general disregard for the rule of law.

            They are evidence of an Israeli strategy to gradually force the Palestinians to negotiate sincerely. To force the Palestinians to recognize that continued intransigence, motivated by the covert goal of the elimination of Israel, will instead, result in the eventual expulsion of all Palestinians from both Gaza and the West Bank.

            Israel is trying to demonstrate that Palestinian hate is counter productive but reason rarely prevails over hate. So gradually, Israel is solving its ‘Palestinian problem’ in as non-violently a manner as possible. A remarkable accomplishment when considering that it is dealing with murderous, non-rational, religious fanatics.

            To disregard that strategic consideration and insist that the settlements are prima facie evidence that Israel does not respect the rule of law is to ignore the ‘reality of circumstance’ and deny the much greater evidence that the opticon has cited.

            The history of the issue is freely available. Everyone knows that Israel would meet any reasonable demand that would bring real peace and everyone knows that the only solution that Hamas will accept is for first Israel and then every Jew in the world to die.

            For you not to acknowledge the most basic of the situation’s circumstances is irrational, which means your motivation must be emotional. The only emotion that fits that fundamental a denial is hate. So the only question remaining is the rhetorical one of whether you have the intellectual honesty to admit to your racist antisemitism.

            So far, the record demonstrates that you do not.

          • Iran isn’t a democracy, P as the head of government is appointed by a small council of clerics

            • A moot point, F. This odd method of appointing a head of state arises from a provision in a constitution voted into law by a large majority (78%, I believe). But I take your point. Perhaps we should stick with Russia, Venezuela, and the like. I think that the Venezuelans have cause to be devastated by the failure of the Brits to incorporate a eulogy to Chavez in their opening ceremonies.

              • perhaps we CAN agree that the failure of the Brits to eulogize Chavez was as near to regrettable as is his failure to croak in time for same.

  16. Isn’t it just disgusting how the decrepit decadent British, softened and weakened by the NHS, have managed to amass more than half the number of gold-medals of vibrant thrusting USA – with one-fifth of the population…………

    • Enjoy your Sunday folks

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-19094768

    • Congratulations are due the UK for their accomplishment. Host country’s invariably do well. One Olympics does not a trend make however. Care to make a bet on how well the Brits will do in the next summer Olympics?

      • Britain operates in a very unsteady manner and sometimes appears to do well, other times seems a bit past his sell-by.

  17. […] banning of Spencer and Geller.  These actions are of a piece.  Britain – once Tennyson’s “strong mother of a lion line” – has jumped the […]

  18. […] banning of Spencer and Geller.  These actions are of a piece.  Britain – once Tennyson’s “strong mother of a lion line” – has jumped the […]


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