On Double-standards

Sully provided us with this quote yesterday:

"All nationalists have the power of not seeing resemblances between similar sets of facts.
A British Tory will defend self-determination in Europe and oppose it in India with no feeling of inconsistency. Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage — torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians — which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by 'our' side … The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them" — George Orwell

He says that the person who originally posted it wanted to make a statement on Ghaza, but that he feels it applies to The US of the Bush adminstration. I am not going to debate either statements, and you are welcome to do si if you will. I am just amazed that someone as smart as those two men haven't figured out the golden rule of humanity yet. And if you didn't either, allow  me to let you in on the secret:

We, all of us, are simply making it up as we go. We always have, and we always will. There are no real rules, fixed or elastic.

That is all!


  1. It reminds me of a great many people in the Middle East, actually.

  2. To some degree it can be said of us all… It’s human nature I suppose. Some are better at recognizing this condition and fighting it than others (George, agreed) but none of us can honestly say we are totally objective about everything.

    The old saying “Take the log from your own eye, before you try to take the splinter from someone elses eye” comes to mind…

  3. SM…

    You sound like Abu Sa’ar. The relativism argument in probably one of the worst things that happened in the 20th century…a sociologic spin on good old Albert’s theory…and proved disasterous.

    Unfortunately…implementation of religious belief systems have been equally disasterous…with Christianity and Islam leading the back (not too much horror in the name of Judaism, Bhuddism or Hinduism overall).

    So…I do disagree with you…there is good and evil…there is better and worse and it is not just in the eye of the beholder. Terribly dangerous philosophy, though I certainly understand it. If everything is relative, then why does SM get so mad sometimes?

    However, if there is Truth, and I have had this discussion many times and there is no end to it, then how and to whom was it revealed and has it been revealed at all and if so, who’s interpretation of it is correct?

    Oh…life is messy. It is nuanced, it has shades and spectrums…I have long noted that just about anything falls neatly into a bell-shaped curve…colors, intelligence, goodness, badness, happiness, sadness, madness, athletic skill…you name it…

    In any case…no…I disagree with Georgie W. on this one.

  4. Unfortunately…implementation of religious belief systems have been equally disasterous…with Christianity and Islam leading…

    I disagree with you there, Howie. Humanist philosophy didn’t take root in Europe (or anywhere else) until the 18th Century. Before that, EVERY culture was evil, by today’s standards. Every single one. Torture? So what. Murder? So what. Political dissidents? Oh, you mean that pile of dead guys over there? So what. Yeah, we enslaved the enemy soldiers we just defeated. We enslaved their women and children too. So what.

    Don’t try to point the finger at religions. Everyone was equally bad. The only exceptions were people who were too weak to be anything but victims, but that’s hardly an excuse for not following the popular trends, is it?

    The problem today is that Muslims are still living in pre-Humanist times.

    I do agree with most of Sandmonkey’s post, though. I’ll even go one step further, and point out that many people seem to have no problem with excusing or even justifying atrocious behavior in other societies, when they would be the first to object if those atrocities were happening in their own. We can see that right now in the double standards that get applied to Arabs, vs Israel. I can’t believe Europeans try to prove Israeli use of smoke grenades is a war crime, while at the same time doing nothing but token condemnations of Hamas for the dozens (hundreds?) of suicide bombings of civilians it has done. Why isn’t Ismail Haniyeh at the Hague, facing charges of Crimes against Humanity? Is it because everyone knows the Arabs are just ignorant barbarians who don’t know any better, and aren’t expected to comply with international laws and basic standards of human decency?

  5. Adam B. Says: ” The old saying “Take the log from your own eye, before you try to take the splinter from someone elses eye” comes to mind… ”

    I’m from Lebanon (originally), so when I said the part above, that’s kind of what I was doing, I think.

  6. George, the proverb wasn’t directed at you… :)