Monday, February 4, 2008

Moral Depravity

I read Jimmy Carter's Lust and North Korea's Nukes this past Saturday. Below is an excerpt:

Carter's formulation of morality is entirely self-centered. For his purposes, the adulterer and the lothario exist only as instruments, enabling him to display his own ability to be nonjudgmental. What does not figure into Carter's equation at all is the wife and children the adulterer betrays, or the string of women the lothario uses. It is a morality in which intention counts for everything and consequences for nothing.

This is where the analogy to a certain kind of liberal foreign policy becomes clear. The idea is that America (or another Western country, usually Israel) is not perfect, and therefore has no business passing judgment on the affairs of its adversaries. All nations, like all men, are predisposed to sin, and the greatest national sin of all is for a dominant power to exhibit pride. By this reasoning, it is morally worse for an American leader to call (say) the regimes of North Korea, Iran and Saddam Hussein's Iraq "evil" than it is for those regimes to undertake actions that deliberately hurt or endanger innocent people.

When applied to public as opposed to private morality, this kind of above-it-all attitude, this self-regard masquerading as humility, provides an excuse for inaction in the face of evil. To be sure, sometimes inaction is a wise course, because available actions would only make matters worse. But this is a practical question--one of consequences, not intention.

This applies not only to public policy but to what is happening In Israel. "Evil" Israel must be castigated without letup. Palestinian terrorists are given a free pass and in some cases, admired. The vast majority of the Palestinian terrorist's targets are Israeli citizens who are just going about their business. But every measure Israel undertakes to protect Israeli citizens is met with condemnation and headlines screaming the latest supposed outrage.

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