Monday, April 29, 2002

Should I blame it on irritable indigestion?

This blogging thing is hard. They expect you to be reasoned and responsible and logical and everything here. Rightfully, Patrick Nielsen Hayden brings me up short.

That seems like a tremendous amount to dump on Ginger Stampley's head...
I don't see where you get off accusing Ginger of any kind of "high horse." Nor am I clear on what you mean to imply when you observe that "people of the 'American' temperament are in the minority in this world." Perhaps so, and so what? We are what we are, with the temperaments we have.
It's all very well to get snarky about "friendly, objective reasonableness," but exactly what attitude has served us better, in this or any world? Aside from simply displaying a big dose of superior attitude, what are you actually proposing?
Forgive my snarkiness, but I _do_ read your blog carefully and give a lot of thought to what you say, and this time I literally can't parse it into anything more coherent than a wish that liberal Americans should shut up.

Patrick is right. I emptied the missile silos at Ginger, and she didn't deserve it. And I was wrong to target her.

But there's something instructive in the spleen - something dreadfully important about the way people think, identify, and respond to challenge. I must explain why I had the superior attitude - why I lost my Enlightenmen, why I broke my cool..

Patrick is right - my attack on Ginger (my October usenet post warped by my Saturday annotations) is nothing more than a bitchy wish that the liberals would shut up, would stop their pointless, exasperating yammering. It hasn't been doing any good. It's been twenty months since the Intifada broke out; now, the contents of the dialogue on the matsav differ little from the self-same discourses and dialogues exchanged way back in the summer of 2000. And that's not entirely surprising, because those who carried on the dialogue always kept certain values and ideas at the forefront of the debate - parties' grievances were justified, but sustained malice was not. The disputants valorized the ideal of compromise in service of higher, humanitarian goals. The shafted Palestinians deserved a state. The screwed-over paranoid Jews deserved peace. All else therefore was detail, quibbling over land and obligation.

The timeline of history demonstrates the virtue of those attitudes - the virtue of the liberal spirit. Patrick is right to say "It's all very well to get snarky about "friendly, objective reasonableness," but exactly what attitude has served us better, in this or any world?"

There is no better attitude - that attitude universally employed is the only one that allows solutions to all the problems of the world for all the people.

I rejected it because over the past twenty months, I have become sick with hatred, fear, loathing, memory, and cant. I don't want to concede the smallest detail any longer to the opposite side. I feel that the balance - the normality and the solvability which the liberal dialogue brought to the dispute between the Israelis and the Palestinians - needs to be broken. Ginger's, and Patrick's, and Mike Weholt's, et cetera, considerate, careful, and calibrated adjustments of the scale enrage me, because I don't believe in my heart any more that goodwill and compromise can do anything.

It's a species of fanatical despair - the same kind of unthinking heart-hardening that we rightly condemn in the Islamists. For me, the proper solution is much more Greece-Turkey 1922 than Camp David 2000, and I listen to the careful discourse about borders and respect and oppression and human rights, and I feel that it's more a ploy to get my guard down and steal from me advantages won by blood and love, than it is a genuine effort to reach worldly justice.

I know different, but feelings reach up to choke the brain.

This is despair from the inside, folks. Thank you, Patrick. Ginger, I apologize.

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