Monday, September 11, 2006


Something has changed since the end of World War II. In the past, countries would win wars by virtue of their superior might. It would be foolish for a weak country to declare war on a stronger one because it would be quickly demolished. This is no longer true. Today, minor military powers are able to brazenly challenge world superpowers and win! What's going on?

This new situation is possible thanks to the strategy of "divide and conquer." And "divide and conquer" in turn is made possible by the "anti-bully/pro-victim" mentality that has become the guiding philosophy not only of the average person but of our social and political scientists as well: the belief that imbalances of power are wrong and need to be eliminated; that the stronger one in a power struggle is the "bully" or "the bad guy" and the weaker is the "victim" or "the good guy"; and that morality equals "protecting victims from bullies." This philosophy is going to be our downfall. There is no such thing as a social organization without imbalances of power. It is both irrational and immoral to determine that the weaker side is automatically right and the stronger is automatically wrong. Yes, bullies may be bad, but victims are worse. Bullies want power; they are not looking to kill. It's when people feel like victims that they become truly dangerous. The worst acts of violence in the world are committed by people who feel like victims. They believe that blowing up people will gain them entrance to Heaven. The masses go to war not because they believe they are bullies but because they believe they are victims. But before I continue, there is another matter that needs clarification.

Almost everyone interested in the Arab-Israeli conflict passionately favors one side over the other, and can argue endlessly why their position is the correct one. It's as though we believe if the world finally figures out who is right and who is wrong, the conflict will be over. However, the issue of who is right and who is wrong is irrelevant and will never lead to peace. Many therapists give angry couples the sage advice that "It's more important to be happy than to be right." Spouses can spend endless hours arguing with each other who is right and who is wrong, and they don't realize that the real problem is that they are fighting about who is right and who is wrong. The fighting is what destroys the relationship and both sides end up losing.

Similarly, in battles between nations, proving who is right does not create peace. We can all end up being blown to smithereens before we are finished debating who is right. So the solution to the problem has nothing to do with proving which side is "right."

What is This War Really About?

To tackle the problem World War III, we have to identify what this struggle is really about. The official view of the United States government is that it is a war between the free world and terrorism. But terrorism is not an enemy; it is only a tactic. You don't fight a war against a tactic; you fight a war against an enemy. There are those who say that it is a war between Islam and Western civilization (or democracy, really). This is a little closer to the truth, though it is not really Islam as a whole that is trying to destroy democracy, but certain groups of followers of Islam. There are those who say it is a war between democracy and "Islamo-fascism." I would say this is getting even closer to the truth. What is the truth? Get rid of the "Islamo" part, and we hit the nail on the head.

The danger to civilization is not Islam. In fact, it is dangerous to declare that we are waging a war against Islam or "Islamo-fascists" because doing so simply turns Muslims and non-Muslims against each other and fuels the fire. The real danger is not the "Islamo" but the "fascism" part. In the previous century, it was the Nazi fascist government, in partnership with the fascist government of Japan, which brought the world to war. Now it is fascist governments of certain Islamic countries that are endangering the world.

What is fascism? According to the Merriam Webster Online Dictionary, fascism is "a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition." In other words, the State is more important than the individual. Many, or most, Islamic countries fall into this category. This is not because of Islam, but because these countries have fascist governments, ruled by individuals or small groups of individuals who maintain almost absolute control.

The Difference between Fascism and Democracy

There is a fundamental difference between democracy and fascism. In a democracy (or, perhaps more accurately, a "republic"), the leaders are supposed to represent the will of the people. In a dictatorship, the reverse holds true: the people have to represent the will of the leaders. This leads to dramatically different lives for the citizens.

Unfortunately, most citizens of democracies have no idea what's special about their form of government. Our enlightened educational systems have taught us since childhood that we should respect all people equally -- that we are all "different but equal." Unfortunately, we have come to apply this thinking to governments, too, that they are all "different but equal." This is a huge, unjustified jump in logic. It is true that as human beings, our similarities greatly outweigh our differences. However, this cannot be said about human products, and government is a human product. Of course they are not all "different but equal." A cynic may say that all governments, including that of the United States, are bad, but even so, some are much, much worse than others. And a fascist government is much, much worse for its people than a democracy. If you are not sure about this, think about the world's countries. Ask yourself if you would prefer to live in one of the fascist dictatorships or one of the democracies. It shouldn't take you long to decide.

Have you noticed that democratic countries don't go to war with each other? All wars involve at least one fascist state. Why? In a democracy, the leaders have to make the citizens happy. If they don't, the public votes them out of office. Under fascism, the reverse is true: the citizens have to make the leaders happy, or the leaders kill them! This is a difference of night and day.

If you and I are the leaders of two democracies and we have a dispute, the last thing each of us wants is to send our citizens to risk their lives and the lives of their children. If the public feels they sacrificed lives in war for nothing, they will be furious and vote us out of office. So we will always succeed in resolving our disputes before we decide on going to war.

On the other hand, if I am a dictator, I don't have to worry what my citizens think. I can send them to war against you, and they had better go or else I will have them killed! Of course I can't let them think they are shedding their blood for my own selfish needs. I can't afford to have them realize that it is really I who is their greatest enemy and the source of their misery. So I convince them that your country is their enemy and the cause of their wretchedness, so they will hate you and eagerly fight you. This is a simple task for me because there is no freedom of speech or press in my country. I control what my citizens are exposed to in the media, and if they dare to speak out against me, their lives are over.

And that is why you will find that all wars involve at least one dictatorship. The solution to world peace is, therefore, obvious: A world of democratic nations, for they will always figure out how to solve their disputes without having to resort to warfare. George W. Bush acted on this idea when he brought the United States to war against the Iraq of Saddam Hussein. He was hoping to usher in an era of democracy among the Arab countries of the Middle East. Unfortunately, this has turned out to be a colossal blunder. Bush's mistake, as you should understand by the end of this article, was that he tried to sell democracy to the wrong people. Instead of trying to impress (or force) democracy on the citizens of non-democratic countries, it would have been infinitely cheaper and more effective to empress democracy on the countries that already have it and don't appreciate it! The truth is that Bush did try to do this, but not nearly hard enough. By spending a couple of billion dollars on pro-democracy public relations, he could have saved us the hundreds of billions he now has us spending on the military.

How the Fascists are Able to Thrash the Democracies

The fascistic countries of the world are objectively very weak in comparison with the democracies. So how are they able to bring the democracies to their knees? Where does their strength come from? It comes from the strategy of "divide and conquer." .... This ... is what gives the fascist regimes their incredible power. And the most powerful weapons they have are not bombs but the media. Thanks to the wizardry of modern technology, the media is able to bring real-time battlefield events right into everyone's home. The amazing thing about the media as a weapon is that it can turn the natural order upside down by taking advantage of people's sympathy for victims.

According to the rules of nature, the way to win a fight is by winning. Today, thanks to our incredible media technology and the widespread anti-bully/pro-victim mentality, the way to win a fight is by losing! Demonstrate that your side is suffering more casualties, that you are the bigger victim, and the world takes your side and defeats the stronger side for you! Have you noticed, by the way, that in the Arab-Israeli conflict, each side is constantly trying get the world on its side by arguing that is the real victim? It's because you win the world's support by convincing it you are the victim.

This is how it's playing out in the current situation in the Middle East. Iran (along with all the countries of the region), has been stoking the fires of hatred against Jews and Americans for several decades, indoctrinating the populace with the belief that all their misery is due to the existence of Israel, the Little Satan, and her supporter, the United States, the Big Satan. Iran funds Hezbollah, which embeds itself among the citizenry in Lebanon. Then Hezbollah attacks Israel. Israel could easily demolish Hezbollah, but not without killing innocent citizens that serve as human shields for Hezbollah. According to the Geneva Conventions, Hezbollah should be held responsible for the deaths of Lebanese citizens because it is illegitimate to hide among civilians. Nevertheless, Israel takes it upon herself the impossible task of trying to fight Hezbollah without harming civilians. Images of civilian casualties are immediately and ceaselessly broadcast into the homes of the world. The citizens of the democracies don't understand that their system of government is special, and they fall into a sinister trap. Being more easily moved by scenes of bloodshed than by an abstract notion of supporting democracy, they feel outrage at Israel for being a heartless bully.

The democracies then complain that Israel is being too harsh and tell her, "Restrain yourself! You have to stop fighting so hard! You are hurting too many innocent civilians!" The United States, which has been supporting Israel in it's campaign against Hezbollah, can't for long withstand the pressure from other democracies, so it, too, starts caving in to demands for Israel to cease fire. Voila! "Divide and conquer" on an international scale. A victory for Hezbollah and Iran, courtesy of the sympathy of well-meaning democracies.

Iran and Hezbollah are currently reveling in their power. How easy it is to challenge and defeat the mighty democracies of the world! You can be certain they are feeling emboldened to ride the wave of victory. Today, Israel and America. Tomorrow, the world.

The Only Solution: United Democracies

How can we put an end to this sorry state of affairs and prevent the world from sliding into all-out war? The only way is for the democracies of the world to stand together. They must realize that this is a war not between Jews and Muslims but between fascism and democracy. It is the freedom of democracy that has led to the strength and prosperity enjoyed by democracies. Yet the democracies have foolishly partaken in a "world government" called the United Nations, in which fascist regimes are given equal status with democracies. The United Nations headquarters is currently undergoing billions of dollars in renovation. It would be more useful to spend the money to build a new organization called United Democracies. The fascists wouldn't stand a chance against the united power of the free world. In fact, we could defeat them quickly and with a minimum of bloodshed. All that the United Democracies would need to do is tell the fascist regimes, "If you are going to use your oil revenues to attack us, we will have nothing to do with you. We will no longer buy anything from you or sell you anything."

The fascist leaders aren't stupid. They know their wealth is ultimately due to the strong economies of the West. Faced with the prospect of trading their palaces for tents and their jet planes for camels, the fascist rulers would quickly give up their defiance and behave themselves. And this would be a blessing not only for the democracies of the world. The citizens of the fascist nations would also be happier and better off if their leaders would stop engaging in warfare at the expense of their own population. Yes, with a minimum expenditure of human life and resources, the democracies can defeat the fascists and usher in an age of world peace.

Do I think it will happen? No. I am not that na‹ve. Sadly, the "anti-bully/pro-victim" mentality has become too deeply rooted among the intelligentsia. When our leaders' policies are based on a victim mentality, we have no chance against the fascists. Peace will be impossible until we recognize that the "victim mentality", and not "bullies", is the major cause of misery in the world.



I have been reading Ben Stein for many years. This was originally broadcast in the Christmas season

Here at this happy time of year, a few confessions from my beating heart. I have no freaking clue who Nick and Jessica are. I see them on the cover of People and Us constantly when I'm buying my dog biscuits. I still don't know. I often ask the checkers at the grocery stores who they are. They don't know who Nick and Jessica are, either. Who are they? Will it change my life if I know who they are and why they've broken up? Why are they so darned important? I don't know who Lindsay Lohan is either, and I don't care at all about Tom Cruise's baby. Am I going to be called before a Senate committee and asked if I'm a subversive? Maybe. But I just have no clue who Nick and Jessica are. Is this what it means to be no longer young? Hm, not so bad.

Next confession: I am a Jew and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish, and it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautifully lit-up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are — Christmas trees. It doesn't bother me a bit when people say 'Merry Christmas' to me. I don't think they're slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. I shows that we're all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me one bit that there's a manger scene on display at a key intersection at my beach house in Malibu.

If people want a creche, fine. The menorah a few hundred yards away is fine, too. I do not like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat. Or maybe I can put it another way. Where did the idea come from that we should worship Nick and Jessica and aren't allowed to worship God as we understand him? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where Nick and Jessica came from and where the America we used to know went to.


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