Friday, March 31, 2006

The latest

Earlier this week I finally received the first issue of The Objective Standard (TOS). The issue clearly represents a new milestone in Objectivist publications in every aspect. First it seems by far to be the largest Objectivist periodical publication ever -- over 120 pages in the first issue. Second, while I would have preferred a color other than red (I like the blue on the web page -- why didn't they use that? Red has too many bad connotations-- but I digress), the issue has a highly professional look and feel. Third, the content is excellent. In particular, the Brook/Epstein article on “Just War Theory” vs. American Self-Defense finally lays out in print and in detail the full critique of present war effort.
If one thinks the American political scene is depressing, perhaps a look abroad will demonstrate that it could always be worse.

As presumably everyone knows by now, elections were recently held in Israel. Here are the official results per the Jerusalem Post.

The first 12 parties on this list -- those with more than 2% of the vote -- will get proportional representation is Israel's 120 member parliament (the "Knesset") -- see this helpful Q&A. For some details on what the parties stand for see here.
The 12 parties can be more or less divided into four blocks: Religious, Right-Wing, Left-Wing, Arab

Religious (ultra-orthodox -- "haredi") -- 14.1%
  • Shas (run by "Sephardi" Rabbies, i.e., with ethnic origins in Muslim countries)
  • United Torah Judaism (run by "Ashkenazi" Rabbies, i.e., with ethnic origins in European countries)
One has to keep in mind that these parties are more concerned with funding of religious schools and religious laws than any security issues -- they are not to be confused with the religious right in the US.

Right-Wing -- 24.9%
  • Likud
  • Israel Beitenu
  • NU/NRP (also religious)
The NU/NRP is basically the religious right. It's the party of the religious settlers. Israel Beitenu is further to the right than Netanyahu's Likud in terms of defense issues but they tend to be more Anti-Arab than is just, flirting with the idea of a "transfer" of populations.

Left-Wing -- 36.5 %
  • Kadima
  • Labor
  • Gil (party promising to address Senior citizen's issues -- imagine an AARP party)
  • Meretz
Arab -- 7.9%
  • United Arab List
  • Hadash
  • Balad
I think this election clearly demonstrates Daniel Pipes recent thesis that Israel Shuns Victory. Pipes writes:
And so, they experiment with compromise, unilateralism, enriching their enemies, and other schemes. But as Douglas MacArthur observed, "In war, there is no substitute for victory." The Oslo diplomacy ended in dismal failure and so will all the other schemes that avoid the hard work of winning. Israelis eventually must gird themselves to resuming the difficult, bitter, long, and expensive effort needed to convince the Palestinians and others that their dream of eliminating Israel is defunct.

Should Israelis fail to achieve this, then Israel itself will be defunct.


Gus Van Horn said...

"The issue clearly represents a new milestone in Objectivist publications in every aspect."

You can say that again!


Gideon said...

Thanks Gus!

Now that I finished this issue I can't wait for the next one. I hope Craig puts up the list of articles for the next issue soon.


Myrhaf said...

I like the red cover. I've always resented how the communists made the color theirs. To hell with them, let's take it back.

The Israeli left, it seems, is as suicidal as the American left. Altruism, egalitarianism, collectivism -- these premises are powerful and deadly.

Gideon said...

TOS color: Well, perhaps I was a little harsh on the red but I still prefer blue.

You're quite right on the Israeli left and with the large ultra-orthodox parties and no strict separation of synagogue/mosque/church and state you can also add a dose of mysticism to the equation.