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October 30, 2005



I think it's our old friend, cultural relativism. Yestday I listened to Any Questions feedback, which included lots of nice-sounding British people saying that the statement was essentially fine, because it was "for domestic consumption" and not really meant in a grown-up geopolitical context. Yet if any politician here or in the US said a similar thing for "domestic consumption" they'd hear the riot act. Also, how does he know Iran will never carry out its threat?

Professor Froward

Oliver, "risk" is something like probability multiplied by cost, isn't it?

So their sense of the "risk" of Israel being nuked is, roughly, the cost to them, times the likelihood. The cost to them is zero.

An acquaintance of mine (a lefty) mentioned last year that it would be no skin off the US's national interests if somebody nuked Israel, so therefore it would be okay. I asked him if he generally approved of using nuclear weapons on civilians. He did a bit of a double take, because he'd never thought of it that way. It hadn't ever occurred to him that Israelis were members of the human race. That's not a figure of speech, it's literal. He's not a bad kid, really. He just has a few blind spots due to his upbringing.

There are a lot of very nice, well-mannered, progressive liberals running around loose who would be appalled at the thought of using nuclear weapons on a dog, for example, but are absolutely comfortable with the thought of using them on Israelis.

What do you call it when a particular non-self-selected group of people is regarded as being outside the human race? I think there's a term for that, isn't there?


Very nice. Sorry I didn't comment sooner but it was hard to type while rubbing my hands with glee.

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