Clearpill yourself on Gaza
"You just like to see tanks pop their turrets while the driver bakes."
Are you an American or European? Do you have feelings about the war in Gaza? Stop. You shouldn’t. You should be totally clear on the question—in the Scientology sense.
Your Kantian moral imperative is to feel nothing at all—no emotions whatsoever. You should not budge a needle on the ol’ E-Meter.
I repeat: if everyone in the world who has feelings about this conflict just stopped, it would make the world a much better place. (Not that I’m holding my breath.)
These feelings are evil. They come from a bad place. You and the world, you and the Arabs and the Jews and everyone else, will be better off with your feelings deleted. Maybe you don’t matter—as Kant pointed out, it’s about you and everyone like you.
How do you stop having feelings? One ugly way, which I don’t recommend, is to find nihilistic pleasure in GoPro war porn—from both sides. You just like to see tanks pop their turrets while the driver bakes. Like porn proper, this nasty addiction will rapidly rob you of all feelings. There are many routes to political Zen—not all of them pretty. We will try to come up with a better one.
You’re incredulous. You react as if I had told you the moon is made of butter. So be it. So my job is to convince you that the moon is made of butter. Let’s get on that. But first: why do we even have this problem? What are we doing here?
Have you heard of someone named Peter Singer? Peter Singer—a Princeton professor—thinks he is the best person in the world. Peter Singer wants you to work on your feelings until they are rational. Peter Singer wants you to care about a kid on the other side of the world as much as a kid in front of you—as much as your own child. Peter Singer inspired Sam Bankman-Fried. Peter Singer is a monster and doesn’t even know it. He has one redeeming virtue—as a living reductio ad absurdum. God created Peter Singer so that we did not have to invent him—so that we can use him. And we will.
Maybe you don’t care about the plight of the Palestinians. You must know someone who does—but is otherwise like you. Maybe you don’t but you used to. Great. Please inhabit this individual and accept my apologies for the second person. Anyway, we all live in the same world and none of us is fully above the sick charms of “Singerism.” Let’s test this against reality.
The Gaza test
Imagine someone you love—not a moral abstraction, a real person. Your child. Your mother. Your brother. Your spouse. Even just a friend. Everyone, even Peter Singer, has friends. Suppose your friend is a civilian—has never used a weapon and never will.
This person is trapped in a war zone. One power, using all the diabolical tools of 21st-century industrial warfare, is trying to destroy another. The other is resisting with all the deviltry it can muster. Imagine what Satan thinks of a thermobaric fuel-air bomb. Even Satan is like: damn, yo. That’ll leave a mark! Shit…
And neither of these powers seems particularly concerned with acting in a way that will preserve the life and limbs of this person, this one person, loved and cherished by you, for no other reason than that they are the person they are—no rational reason at all. Now: what do you want for this person? What is the first thing you want?
You want to get them to safety. To get them away from the war. Of course.
Now—extend this concern, mechanically, to all the civilians of Gaza. Since you care about these people, your first goal is to get them out of the war zone. To take them somewhere they have safety and food and water.
Now—think about all the people in the world who care about the Palestinians. Who are in the streets, waving flags, the whole nine yards. How many care this way?
How many are demonstrating to ask Hamas and Israel, together: please, let the civilians out of the war zone? Move them? Move them anywhere—an AirBNB in Thailand? A tent city in Mozambique? Anywhere that bombs aren’t falling? Hm.
Also: if this isn’t what all the “pro-Palestinian” people in the West want, who does want it? Who would be happy with this outcome? How about—the Israeli army?
Now, suppose Palestinian lives didn’t matter. Suppose the only thing that matters is that Hamas wins the war. Obviously, you want to use these civilian lives as effectively as possible to achieve your goal—which means using them as human shields.
Every war is a political contest, and a human shield is a political weapon—a weapon which gives the enemy a choice: to not shoot at whatever is behind the shield, or take the political damage of visibly harming a human being for political reasons.
In a way, the difference between a human shield and a hostage is not great. The only difference is which “side” the human being is on. Which side is a 3-year-old girl on? Scientists can probably identify her race… She is still more valuable to one army than another—a hostage is a kind of mega-powered shield. But a shield is a shield.
So: when you try to build sympathy for the Palestinians from first principles, you get—what most “Israel supporters” want. When you try to build cynical exploitation of the Palestinians from first principles, you get—what most “Palestine supporters” want. The one way it makes sense is if all these nice, nice people support Hamas more than the population Hamas governs—which is the exact opposite of what they say.
You don’t think all this is weird? Come on. Tell me this isn’t weird. It’s weird.
Solving the Palestinian problem
Imagine the irony of believing, in 2023, that blood (ie, genes) and soil (ie, real estate) make a nation.
I thought we were all just a bunch of people now? This blood-and-soil stuff—not only is it not ethical, it’s not even Christian! This is pagan content. Give it a content warning. Assign a strike. The trust and safety officer has found a case of unadulterated fascism. The diversity committee will be investigating.
As we have seen, the ethical way to handle a civilian in a war zone is to get them out of the war zone. The ethical way to handle a civilian population in a war zone is to get them all out of the war zone. If Hamas would lose its war without its human shields, Hamas has to get out too—losing territory is what losing a battle, or a war, means.
If blood and soil cannot be separated, this means Gaza needs to be genocided. These people will simply not thrive in Laos, or even LA. Their genetics has bound them to a local ecological niche, with special bacteria on which their metabolism depends. It’s a microbiome thing. Outside his niche, your Gazan will become anorexic and waste away. You might as well euthanize him for his own good. Harvest the organs, of course…
But if we are not into fascist pseudoscience, if we believe that people are people, if we have a true and deep respect for the United Colors of Benetton—we might be willing to separate blood from soil—and simply relocate the losing side. Obviously, this poses certain problems—which we will now proceed to solve.
If all the Gazans have to move to an AirBNB in Thailand (price that out, Jewberg)—will they ever come back? Will the Israelis ever let them? History suggests—no. Fine. Blood is blood. Soil is just real estate. Climate matters—here’s an idea—South Africa?
But economics matters too. What about the value of their land? Their condos in Gaza City? Rekt. Well… could they maybe be paid for it? What a solution.
Where does the money come from? The “international community” seems pretty free with our tax dollars… but only when it wants to rent human shields. Not when it wants to compensate them for the obvious consequences of some screwed-up 1940s treaty.
But—what if the Gazans left, but still owned the property? Or stock in a company, run by slick Arab MIT graduates, with the right to develop the strip as a new Israeli city? The LA or Vegas of Southern Israel? Perhaps the “international community” could even get an equity slice, for brokering the deal? That could even fund the 401(k)s of the aid administrators in UNRWA. They’ll need to eat somehow once their problem is solved.
Imagine caring about people. Imagine caring about them so much that you wanted to make them live in a war zone off sacks of aid grain, rather than living in a tropical resort off foreign real-estate investments.
The moral cuckoo
When we derived a Gaza policy from our own instincts for concern, we got policy A. When we derived a Gaza policy from the popular narrative fueled by these instincts, we got policy B. Policy B is almost the opposite of policy A.
It is very straightforward to explain why policy A is more moral than policy B. Moving people away from a war is more moral than using them as antitank shields. Flying them to safety is more moral than tethering them like goats in a lion trap. What?
You need to turn off your feelings because you are a mother bird feeding a cuckoo. Once you look at the cuckoo, it is obviously not related to you. Where did your actual eggs go? What happened to your real empathy? It’s gone. Write it off. Your first job is to somehow get that thing out of your nest.
Let us take a quick look at the mindset of the worldwide “pro-Palestinian” crowd. Here is a representative video—made by supporters. Videos vanish—a still:
These girls are happy. They are proud. They do not seem in any way saddened by the tragic deaths in the war. If anything, they seem intoxicated. They look literally high.
Moreover, the Palestinians themselves seem by no means immune to this opiate. Now, people are not stupid in this part of the world—they know that, in general, anything in front of a camera is done for the camera. Actual public opinion in Gaza is pretty hard to measure. But there is always some reality.
But supposing they believe what they allegedly believe, it would not be the first time or the last that a human population was persuaded to ardently desire the path of its destruction. Then again, maybe the Gazans’ beliefs would be more rational if the planet wasn’t egging them on.
When we step back and look at this incredible tragic farce, we see a direct path from the Palestinians’ international fan club to the Palestinians’ “armed struggle.” There is no game without the fans—no war without the terrorism, and no terrorism without the supporters. The happiness on these girls’ faces is the exact same happiness of the “militants” who hunted for toddlers to kill at the kibbutz.
We also see that there is no difference at all between this movement and the main thrust of 20th-century anticolonialism. The Zionist exception is just unraveling. There is not even some principled objection to forced mass migration or ethnic cleansing. Most of the people who would be shocked by the idea of moving the Palestinians to Mauritania would be perfectly fine with moving the Israelis to Mauritania—the old “coffin or the suitcase” option, as in the case of the French Algerians. Nor did they have any problem with the ethnic cleansing of the Armenians of Artsakh, last month.
What is left? Look at those girls’ faces again—a kind of orgiastic, Bacchanal pleasure in destruction. In a real-life trolley problem, they will not be motivated by care at all—they will be motivated by pure vanity and sadism. In any contest between two peoples, they will choose the weakest over the strongest—not out of love for the humble, but out of pride in humbling the strong. The drug of politics has made them into human crocodiles. This is the id of democracy—democracy as an unmitigated, addictive vice.
Let’s get back to Peter Singer, who caused all this. Well, not really. But kind of.
Peter Singer advises you to expand your “circle of concern” till it includes not just the people who are viscerally close to you, but ascribes equal moral value to everyone on earth—and even to all neurological activity, eg, the marine Auschwitz of krill every time a whale eats lunch.
We must postulate an ideal human, some kind of saint, for whom this actually works. Most people—like the girls pictured above—can exercise genuine care for the human beings close to them. They can take care of a basket of eggs and repel brood parasites. Saints can care for a nest the size of the world. But if you give ordinary people a nest the size of the world, in a few weeks it will be a nest full of billions of moral cuckoos. The lesson is: turn off your feelings. Don’t try to sit on a nest the size of the world.
Evidence of this reality is everywhere. This makes the preachers of these theories, which purport to encourage good but in fact nourish evil, negligent and culpable. Only their own moral blindness can explain their incorrigible persistence—they are obviously getting plenty of their own vanity satisfied by their professional success.
The problem is not Professor Singer, of course—who is just the reductio ad absurdum of the dominant principle of Anglo-American theological thought (purportedly now “secular,” but come on) over the last quarter-millennium. Singerism is Quakerism. It is utilitarianism. Ultimately, it is even Puritanism, a branch of Protestant Christianity. As a hardcore atheist: you may not be interested in God, but God is interested in you. “Rationalism,” for instance, is a profoundly Protestant phenomenon.
I recently spoke to a traditional conservative professor who lamented that “now all my best students are either becoming Catholics or BAPists.” The shared reason for this flight in such different directions is that both kinds of smart kids sense this historical connection, which is like the fact that birds are descended from dinosaurs—obvious once you know it. Great things have come out of Protestantism. But ultimately it is still a disease. Fortunately or unfortunately, this narrative is easier to read every day.