Beyond the Cusp

May 18, 2016

Free at Last, Meir Ettinger Will Soon Be Free at Last

 

Meir Ettinger will finally be allowed to go home after being released from an ordeal which stole from him over nine months of his youth. Meir was detained, arrested, held without charges or even suspicions of having committed any crime beyond holding political views outside of those considered rational and safe by people in the Shin Bet security police and is a member of groups of young dreamers calling themselves “The Hilltop Youth,” a name which they may have taken due to media labelling them as a disruptive group known for camping on hilltops overlooking Jewish settlements and known rock throwing vantage points. Meir was arrested without charge back in August of 2015 during the investigation into the deadly firebombing of a Palestinian house in the village of Duma. Subsequent to Meir Ettinger’s arrest two others were charged with having committed the crime but that did not affect Meir’s detention. Despite all of this, Meir Ettinger and Evyatar Slonim, who has since been released without charge, were placed under administrative detention as being a security risk though for what they posed such a risk was never released nor were they charged with any criminal act or intent of criminal act. Meir spent much of this time in solitary confinement, a mental strain and a form of punishment which has left lesser individuals permanently scarred and some even driven insane. The Shin Bet accused Ettinger of being the leader of an extremist collective nicknamed “The Revolt.” Meir was amongst a large dragnet of nationalist youths with whom the left leaning leadership of the Shin Bet and other agencies of the government, a shadow enforcement arm of such a self-serving security police with obvious extra-judicial powers, all in the hopes of cracking members of these idealist activist youth and getting their suspected criminal. That some were detained even after they presumably got their confessions, Meir was chosen for particular treatment.

 

Meir Ettinger

Meir Ettinger

 

What exactly was Meir Ettinger’s criminal intent? He desires a stronger and more self-believing Israel which faces down threats from forces he sees as evil and claims all of the lands promised between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. He would like to see the Temple rebuilt in its proper place and the return of Davidic Rule, the monarchy, something we pray for three times every day right after we pray to rebuild Jerusalem. He and any friends have never been shown, let alone proven, to house any thoughts of revolt against the elected government and only wishes for some changes that they see as necessary. Meir desires better protection for the citizens of Israel from terrorist acts with the rock throwing which has proven fatal a number of times to be properly prevented and the perpetrators arrested for their criminal acts. He has differences of opinion as to what the state could do if only they desired and had the will to do and wishes for leadership which would live up to the hopes and realizes the dreams of its people. Oh, and worst of all he belongs to a long line of trouble makers as he is a grandson of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane who was assassinated in 1990 for his controversial views that one day if Israel did not address challenges to its security the terror war would grow out of control, rocks would be hurled at motorists, stabbings would take place on the street, bombings would ensue in restaurants and other venues and public places and called for the transfer after buying out those Arabs who desired to leave and live elsewhere if only they had the funds and the expulsion of those deemed a threat to the nation and its people. For these crimes of association Meir was even denied permission to attend the Brit Milah, circumcision, of his first born son as well as missing his wife’s pregnancy and delivery of this precious child. The fact that Meir was held for just over nine months has this added element of mental stress and torture added onto everything else. Imagine being held for political reasons and due to your family heritage and missing almost all of the pregnancy of your wife, the delivery of your first son, his religious ceremony dedicating him to the Covenant with Hashem all because you are suspected of holding political views and being the grandson of an assassinated Rabbi with strong Torah views and great foresight and now you have a son who you can only fear will some day face the same torturous treatment. Let me display his thoughts which he included in a poem, not the greatest of poems and the greats need not fear Meir replacing them in any future great books of poetry, but it captures his essence which is what is most important. Meir Ettinger’s poem: as published in Arutz Sheva

 

You know, it’s not easy for us to be heard
The media hardly allows us a word
And he who dares say that the media’s wrong
Is ground into bits by their teeth and their tongue.

 

They have a system that’s oiled to perfection
One schemes, one directs, then they pen a confession
And he who dares question their machinations
Will find out that his past needs “investigations.”

 

Still, we will try to explain a thing or two
In the hope that you’ll realize it all rings true –
No, I don’t mind repeating our story to you
I’m in prison for months, there’s nothing to do.

 

If you’ve listened to all the distortions of truth
Then you shudder at hearing the words “hilltop youth.”

 

Someday we will tell you about the machine
That processes facts and decides what they mean
But for now, here’s a message we hope will hit home
(We’re writing our story in rhyme, like a poem.).

 

The hilltop youth – you won’t hear in the news –
Have hearts filled with love for their fellow Jews
And when they noticed the emperor’s clothes were awry
They couldn’t, like others, just let him pass by.

 

In their young minds many questions arose
When they saw that the emperor lacked more than his clothes
True, they had no proper contacts and methods and means
But were willing to try – after all, they are teens.

 

The truth they were missing, that is what they sought
To fill the lacunae in what they’d been taught
To them life was simple, they needed no frills
They went out to find truth on the bare, rocky hills.

 

Down below was erudition, with all degrees listed,
Could that be the reason so much had been twisted?
Only when young can this search be undertaken
We could step back from the crowd and try to awaken.

 

Families murdered on roads? In our land? – we asked why
We know it’s preventable, if you really try
Perhaps someone up there has a head that is hollow
That doesn’t keep him from leading – but why do you follow?

 

And when no one could give us a good explanation
It deepened our fear for the state of our nation
And led us to feelings of isolation
If matters so crucial are covered in plaster,
It’s no wonder foundations just crack all the faster.

 

Then many fine youths came to join and do good
Feel the pain of the nation – as all of us should
The establishment shunned them and on them heaped blame
And everyone else rushed to join in the game.

 

The youth on the hilltops were stunned by this ploy
Why the unleashed aggression, the need to destroy?
How could adults abrogate their own rules
And behave towards their children in ways that were cruel?

 

At first they had gazed on the children in wonder
But when truth posed a threat, they tore them asunder
For they know by themselves what we know very well
That power and honor is what makes their hearts swell.

 

We must have stumbled on some great mystery
Maybe someone is trying to rewrite history
Otherwise there is no way to fathom
What led them down to this moral chasm.

 

How turn evil into good and good into evil?
They gathered against us as if we’re the devil
Why create a new story every few days?
When we’d watch the news, we’d be simply amazed.

 

True, we do dream of ending our people’s disgrace
Hoping one day to see the Temple in its rightful place.
We believe that all of Israel is our eternal possession
And want our leaders to say no to secession.

 

This is what Jews prayed for throughout the years
Through gas and fire and blood and tears
So why do they treat us as if we’re deranged?
What Jewish aspiration has changed?

 

Why did they arrest us with such needless violence?
And leave us to languish in cells of silence?
Police made a mockery of the law
And when they caused us pain, broad smiles we saw.

 

Why does terror continue despite Tzahal forces
While the world keeps silent and its media endorses?
Our leaders with stopping the terror just toy
But command the army, “Settlement hilltops destroy!”

 

This policy did not emerge out of the blue
With every new government, it’s resurrected anew
Once again the British White Paper comes to pass
As each new government hopes that their power will last.

 

If someone notices that the emperor is sans his attire
He becomes a threat to be extinguished like fire
All the media join to burn the witch at the stake
With all of the threats and wild claims they can make.

 

You may feel that I am too rash in penning these words
But what we have here is a theater of the absurd.
Just one last question allow me to bring:
If my being free is the threatening thing

 

Maybe something very fundamental is the matter
If I, a singer at heart, am deemed the Mad Hatter.

 

All right, enough, I will silence my breath
Lest jailers administratively detain this bad poet to death.

 

That is his poem and perhaps frames his “crime against the state,” desiring it become a better place for which he was willing to live as an example of what could be while never calling for any overt or criminal act. He was admired partially because of his revered Rabbinical grandfather and because he was a leader and a figure respected by the others who believe as he does. I have never met Meir but would be honored to do so though not sure I would last too long at one of their campsites. Yes they have built temporary structures which have all been summarily razed within a week at the most by the authorities though he was at home when arrested, not sitting on some cold and unforgiving hilltop. His treatment will only have given him a more dedicated following if he so chooses and may have accomplished the exact opposite of its intents while quite possibly steeling this young man to lead more vigorously. He might even reestablish his grandfather’s political party though a new name would be in order as Rabbi Kahane’s party was permanently banned from running for election as it appeared to be garnering a following, cannot have a new political party which challenges the status quo and possibly even one or more of the establishment parties. That would reek of democracy. Nope, cannot have too much of that and did not the people realize the danger of voting for people they honestly believed in and wished to follow, nope, not that much democracy.

 

Meir, welcome home and may you live a fruitful life with joy and blessings of Hashem and all the merit you deserve and earn. Thank you for your stout heart and strong mind. Enjoy your new baby son and may you never be removed from his side ever again and may your tormentors be forgiven their transgressions as I feel confident you too wish for their souls and consciences.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

May 5, 2016

Ancient Thoughts and the World Today

 

I read an e-mail article which listed what it claimed in its title to be “20 Quotes From Ancient Greek Philosophers That Liberals Still Don’t Understand” and four of these in particular got my brain reeling, drowning in swirling daydreams and thought perhaps it might be fun to share. I found myself gravitating to three philosophers where one was the most gifted student of the other and the other their sole peer. Below are the thoughts in decreasing order of relevance, or at least in ease of application and understanding. This dictates we tackle them in reverse order working from the sublime imperatives from which we then reach the inevitable brutal and undeniable truth.

 

“Republics decline into democracies and democracies

degenerate into despotisms.” – Aristotle

 

“This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs;

when he first appears he is a protector.” – Plato

 

“A system of morality which is based on relative emotional values is a mere illusion,

a thoroughly vulgar conception which has nothing sound in it and nothing true.” — Socrates

 

“The curse of me and my nation is that we always think things can be bettered

by immediate action of some sort, any sort rather than no sort.” – Plato

 

 

Plato Socrates Aristotle

Plato Socrates Aristotle

 

That places our starting point with Plato and the concept, “The curse of me and my nation is that we always think things can be bettered by immediate action of some sort, any sort rather than no sort.” This is true in every government which depends on the opinions of the people discerned through an elective process. Be the system parliamentary, republic, direct democracy or other form where the voting public consists of eligibility of the greater part of the adult electorate and where promises gains votes those promises will come fast and loose. This will inevitably lead to greater and greater promises which will become more and more immediate often inventing problems and difficulties which are designed for easy quick solutions which can be readily enacted and implemented despite there being no reality to both the invented problem and an easy answer. Everything becomes something which requires an immediate solution and this demand continues to grow and now the people soon demand that even the greatest difficulties of the world be solved with the same brilliance, alacrity and without difficulty or complications. The expectations have become unrealistic but then when the people are demanding miracles, those who desire to hold office will make promises which they know cannot be solved with promises which they know will never be solved and only lead to greater problems as the half measures designed as quick actions which are definitive, definitive failures causing more and deeper problems. The demand for immediacy by the public eventually leads to the need for a savior.

 

That brings us to the next quote from Socrates which states, “A system of morality which is based on relative emotional values is a mere illusion, a thoroughly vulgar conception which has nothing sound in it and nothing true.” This is where taking the false promises of charlatans who are the sole makers of empty promises selling them as definitive solutions to the most knotty and complex of problems starts us down a slippery slope. These have the ability to sell a framing of the problem in such a way that their solution appears obvious but nobody seems to think why if the solution which now appears so simple, easy and immediate that it did not appear for the last body of officials. Nobody wants to question whether the defining of the problem has been molded and crafted simply to facilitate the elevation of the individual and not done to reach a viable solution. These charlatans always play emotional weaknesses and know the desires of the people more than they understand the problems but emotionalism plays well, think Donald Trump with one difference, imagine Trump with a solution to the Middle East which is easy, immediate and apparently just hidden from view in such a way that only Trump could see it. Of course Donald Trump has not put forth such a solution and instead has simply sold that things will be great, trust Trump, great. Well, it is so completely different than Yes We Can. Both “Make America Great Again” and “this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth” are empty boasts on which all problems can be put aside as the personality is sufficient to repair every problem. These set up a system of morality which is made of empty platitudes that caught the people up in an emotional defining of the world and choosing a leader purely on emotion which eventually leads to disappointment making the situation primed for the next step.

 

We go back to Plato where we read, “This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector.” When the solutions are minimized such that false solutions become the norm, we reach a mire so deep that only a savior is believed to be the only possible solution. A person who is charismatic and has a plan, a plan that sweeps the public up with the promises, causes them to fall head over heels for the man with the plan which will heal their nation and restore it to greatness and return every glory which was once true and real. The savior and restorer of the greatness are seen as one who will revamp the government and streamline the process and accomplish that which formerly was not possible. The protector comes with promises if only you can and will trust what he knows must be executed to bring about the future promised by this protector. The promise is that once they are loosed from the restriction built into government and being freed from the tethers designed to limit and constrain government, but the savior cannot be constrained by such petty inconveniences. The releasing of the tethers and streamlining the methodology leads only one place, tyranny, and tyranny inevitably leads to one thing, despotic ruin.

 

This last revelation finished the slide defined so accurately by Aristotle who stated, “Republics decline into democracies and democracies degenerate into despotisms.” The Republic was seen as the finest form of governance no matter the style, be it direct elections, parliamentary or anything between or alongside where the people hold the power and the government has to respect the people’s power. With time the republic governance reaches a point where their society actually needs minimal government and definitely does not need any interventions, new laws, programs or anything else but the government has to find relevance in order to form promises around which will grant them the support of the people and result in their next election. This leads to demagoguery and populism which tend to bring an end to the slow and deliberate governance and replace it with governance which has a tendency to divide the populace into groups based on positions on issues, some real and some manufactured by the politicians themselves. Such governance works by promising larger groups of citizens benefits which will be paid for by smaller groups treasure, usually unwarranted wealth made by abusing the workers and these political riders of white horses topped with a wide brimmed white Stetson hat riding off into the sunset after collecting the votes of the masses. This results in a government which will end in bloated inefficiency where the promises have far outstripped revenue collection and has built a deficit which only grows along with the government. The collection institutions are inefficient often using half the collected wealth simply to finance their department making it obvious an impediment to balancing the budget as that cost is rarely figured into the formulas promoted by the political charlatans.

 

As noted above the situation reaches some critical point where the population is primed for a savior, the one who can return sanity and prosperous times. This promise keeps growing and as this savior has made some progress they start to complain how the government itself is preventing them from rescuing the society from itself. Slowly but surely they strip down the government taking over one layer after another until they no longer stand for reelection, their continued leadership has been accepted as permanent. Soon the other governing bodies are replaced with sycophants and lackeys making them simply the echoes of the dictator allowing for them to hold ultimate power and makes for efficiency in all operations which saves revenue which further permits the dictator to show success after success.

 

But even an all-powerful dictator runs into problems eventually as they too continue promising more and more until it becomes necessary to find new sources of revenues. This has historically led to wars which eventually make for the end of the rule of dictators as once they start to attack neighbors, the neighbors are likely to form alliances and end the spread and conquest of the dictator and after conquest the people may eventually make their way back to representative governance. The one rule is that the generation which falls and allows the rise of a demigod will not return to free governance with it more often taking many years, even centuries, before the people will be permitted to rule themselves. This is evident today as Europe and the Western world is slowly lurching its way down that well-worn path to ruin while developing nations have shown a sign of seeking to develop representative republic governance, what Aristotle, Plato and Socrates all believed was the most favorable form of governance.

 

Where on this merry-go-round your nation is can be figured simply by measuring the freedom each has as an individual and the size and scope of the governance. In all situations where the people are more powerful than the government and are capable of changing the entirety of their legislature and their leaders with regular elections, that would point to a society with a great deal of freedom and is a republic. With the power shared or favoring the government agencies over the people, then one is likely no longer in a republic but in a mere democracy, a good place from which an engaged population can turn things around. But if the governance is under a single person or small cabal which is unelected and not dependent on the approval of the people and rule as they wish, that is the final stop of a democracy where it dies and will not be reborn during the lifetime of any of its citizens, even any infants born during the year of the final elections, a meaningless election at that.

 

That is both the end of freedom and the start of the path back to liberty, freedom and the rights of man. The unfortunate truth is that the vast majority of humankind has never known freedom or even truly elected governance and probably never will. For this majority of the planet will require great expenditures by the free world to instruct, educate, form and develop the basics, principles and understanding of the mechanisms required. After the entire world finds itself on the merry-go-round where we slide from freedom to despotism and finally revolution and a return to republic and the new optimism which will eventually end in disappointment until humankind learns to control their appetites and refuse to follow demigods who promise perfection and untold riches and joys, delivering none of them and few promises being realized. Perhaps that is our fate or maybe we will eventually learn to control our slide of our own personal weaknesses. Perhaps we will learn and our species finally break free of petty differences, greed and acting in a manner which eventually leads to our subjugation when our greed outpaces our good sense. Perhaps.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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