We have responsibilities for others, not just across space but across time. We have responsibilities to people who came before us. They left us a world of institutions, ideas or possibilities for which we, in turn, owe them something. One of the things we owe them is not to squander them.
How should we begin to make amends for raising a generation obsessed with the pursuit of material wealth and indifferent to so much else?
The people whose necks hurt when I write about the Middle East tend to live in Brooklyn or Boca Raton: the kind of Zionist who pays another man to live in Israel for him. I have nothing but contempt for such people.
Judaism for me is a sensibility of collective self-questioning and uncomfortable truth-telling. I feel a debt of responsibility to this past. It is why I am Jewish.
There is nothing to be said for being crippled. You don’t see the world better or clearer, nor do you develop some special set of skills by way of compensation.
We need to learn… how war brutalises and degrades winners and losers alike and what happens to us when, having heedlessly waged war for no good reason, we are encouraged to inflate and demonise our enemies in order to justify that war’s indefinite continuance.
I can still boss people around. I can still write. I can still read. I can still eat, and I can still have very strong views.
I was born in 1948, so I’m a ’60s kid, and in the ’60s everyone talked all the time, endlessly, about socialism versus capitalism, about political choices, ideology, Marxism, revolution, ‘the system’ and so on.
If we have learned nothing else from the 20th century, we should at least have grasped that the more perfect the answer, the more terrifying its consequences. Incremental improvements upon unsatisfactory circumstances are the best that we can hope for, and probably all we should seek.
Why is it that here in the United States we have such difficulty even imagining a different sort of society from the one whose dysfunctions and inequalities trouble us so?