Monday, December 31, 2012

Palestine... The Unholy Land

The Palestinians and Jews have been fighting with each other for almost 70 years. It’s the latest installment of arguments that began 4,000 years ago.

Did God give the land of Palestine to certain people, or not?

If God did not, then who put lies in God’s mouth in order to steal?

And if God did, then what was promised?

These questions have never been answered to the satisfaction of everyone involved, and the dialogue between the parties always turns into violence.

With that in mind, the key to solving the problem in Palestine is to consider the illnesses of most of the people involved (since they claim to understand God better than others and think they are God’s favorite). In other words, by illnesses I mean the religions that most of the people involved are following, which are Judaism and Islam, and also Christianity, which has generally supported the Jews recently. Since all three groups have elevated written words to be the voice of God, instead of trusting the innate authority of love and the golden rule, it may be possible to use information from those ancient texts to fix the problem.

Therefore, the following remedy for the situation in Palestine will be based on scripture and common sense. This is regardless of what may be the actual historical truth, long since lost in time, if it was ever known by them in the first place. In the interest of comprehension for the layman, this account will be as simple and abbreviated as possible.

We begin with Abraham. He is a physical and/or spiritual patriarch to the people of all three mental illnesses previously mentioned. Abraham had two sons, Ishmael and Isaac. The Palestinians trace their lineage from Ishmael, son of Abraham. The Jews trace their lineage from Judah, son of Jacob, son of Isaac, son of Abraham.

God made promises to Abraham that he would bless him by making nations of his offspring, and also that all nations of the world would be blessed thru him. Many years later, God made similar promises to Abraham’s grandson, Jacob, whom he renamed Israel. These promises were both physical and spiritual in nature.

Were the promises fulfilled?

Israel has already been a great nation. And as for the promises that were spiritual in nature, a vast multitude say these were fulfilled by Jesus. He was a Jewish man who taught that the real kingdom of God is spiritual in design, rather than physical, because love and the golden rule are the key to life and the highest authority.

But however you view the promises made to Abraham, whether you see them as past, present, or future – or as fiction that was written by priestcrafters after the events to obtain power and revenue – the critical point is this: The Jews do not represent all of Israel, but only Judah, one of his many sons.

Here is more background on this…

Israel’s descendants would eventually refer to themselves as being from a certain “tribe,” meaning which of his 12 sons was their earliest ancestor. But before that came to pass, Israel, his sons, and their families, went to Egypt where one son was already located. His many descendants, generations later and much larger in number, then migrated to the Sinai Desert under the leadership of Moses. Here the tribes cast lots to divide the land they were about to invade, called Canaan (today’s Palestine).

In that lottery, the descendants of Judah (Judeans/Jews) were given the southernmost portion of Palestine, a huge tract of land, though quite arid.

The tribes lived in peaceful alliance for a brief period and Israel became a powerful nation under King David, then a world crossroads under his son, King Solomon (both Judeans).

But there was great unrest over the high taxes imposed by Solomon to support his extravagant lifestyle. When he died, the other tribes petitioned the new king, Rehoboam, to reduce taxes. Instead of addressing their legitimate complaints, the childish new king insulted them, which caused the other tribes to cast Judah out of Israel.

Thus, Israel and Judea became separate countries (sometimes called the northern and southern kingdoms by bible scholars). It was this way for centuries, with the two even warring against each other on occasion.

And then the physical nation of Israel ended.

The kingdom of Assyria rose to power and conquered Israel. They took everything of value back to their homeland, including educated citizens and tradesmen, leaving only the poorest peasants behind, who were then subjected to foreigners. The land ceased to be called Israel and eventually became known as Samaria, its most influential city.

After this, the Babylonian empire came to power and conquered Judea. And they did the same thing to the Judeans that the Assyrians had done to the Israelites. However, when Persia conquered Babylon several decades later, some of the Jews who had not assimilated returned to Jerusalem, rebuilt their temple, and gradually wrote the first versions of most of the Old Testament books.

Meanwhile, centuries passed. The Israelites (all the other tribes of the northern kingdom) never returned, but instead were absorbed into other nations.

After that came the Greeks, and then the Romans… The land of Palestine was continually subjected to one conqueror after another.

In every era, Samaria, the majority of ancient Israel, was considered ethnically distinct from Judea. It was this way even when Rome managed all of Palestine (including Galilee, formerly northern Samaria), as one province. In fact, Judea had been a separate country for close to 1,000 years by the time of Roman rule, and the nation of Israel had not existed for many centuries.

Understand, it wasn’t only foreign rulers that considered the Judeans a separate people, because the Jews themselves thought so, routinely insulting their northern neighbors by calling them “half-breeds.” This disparaging attitude is especially telling, given that many Jews lived among the Samaritans and Galileans, many of whom shared the blood of their brother tribes lost to antiquity.

Because of constant rebellions by the Jews against their Roman occupiers, particularly in Jerusalem, the Romans and Jews fought two wars. The first was just a few decades after Jesus died and the second was about 100 years later. After the second war, Rome was fed up with the endless insurrections and declared that every Jew must leave the land of Palestine, or die. So this edict not only applied to Judea, but also Samaria and Galilee, and thus the Jewish diaspora was completed. From this point on there were almost no Jews in Palestine for about 1,800 years.

In a little over 100 years, particularly in the last 70, the returning Judeans (wrongly calling themselves Israel) have grown from having almost 0% of the land to possessing 78% of it. Nearly all of it has been forcibly taken from the Palestinians.

Most of this occupied land does not belong to the Jews – according to their own record, for the nation of Israel (all the other tribes) has been gone over 2,500 years. All the returning ancestors of Judah are entitled to – assuming they are entitled – is that which is called Judea, their old southern kingdom.

Unfortunately, this solution was ignored by the returning Jews, who named their new country Israel, the same name as the long extinct great nation which once included all 12 tribes and far more territory. But the one remaining tribe, Judah, should not be allowed to claim false borders in order to annex all of ancient Israel, which God never gave them, and which they have never ruled. Stated plainly, the old northern kingdom does not belong to the Jews.

Not only is this is logical based on scriptures, it fits historically. Those areas were occupied by the ancestors of Palestinians before, during, and after Jesus’ time, including 1,800 years after the diaspora with virtually no Judeans living there at all. It is only recently that the Jews have returned – or invaded – depending on one’s point of view.

So let the Jews have the land of Judea, which is their original gift from God and includes Jerusalem. In return, the Palestinians keep Gaza and all of the old northern kingdom, including Tel Aviv, where their ancestors have lived continuously for over 2,500 years.

After Palestine becomes two separate states, if the Jews want to expel any non-Jew from Judea because it pleases their sick Jewish God, then so be it. And if the Palestinians want to expel any non-Muslim from their country because it pleases their sick Islamic God, then so be it.

It is a tragedy that Jews and Muslims have not elevated love and reason above all other things. The same could be said about Christians, who turned the great reformer Jesus into a new god business, ironically, after he rebuked the one built on Moses. Jesus called us brothers and sisters and taught that love and the golden rule should be our master. But instead of taking this great universal truth to heart, priestcrafters put him above us, so they can try to be above us in his absence. This is the same reason the other sicknesses put their icons Moses and Mohammed above us.

Religions are the spiritual equivalent of contagious physical illnesses. And anyone who puts anything above love and the golden rule is terminally ill.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Why Socialism Wins

The first principle of reason is to treat others as you would be treated. The concept is innate knowledge, and even infants understand it, though they lack the ability to articulate the concept. Indeed, by the time a child can talk, the idea is the first wisdom that they can express with words. In fact, so exceptional is this one single principle, it is literally the only thing that all rational adults agree on.

Certainly many people do not obey this “golden rule,” especially among the young, for we all cling to selfishness, but no one denies it. To do so would publicly humiliate oneself, since the idea carries its own authority.

Reasoning also concludes there is another facet to this universal principle, which is that we should love each other. This also becomes self-evident, for no rational person wishes others to be unkind to them.

More than anywhere else in our lives, love and reason are seen in their fullest flower within the family unit. Our spouses, children, parents, friends and relatives are the happiest part of our lives. So the concept as it applies to society is clear: The golden rule and love must be the core foundation in any proper system of governance – and the most loving and reasonable structure is a family.

What are the basic rights of every family member? Food, shelter, clothes, and to be cared for when one is unable to provide for themselves. In other words, one’s basic rights are one’s basic needs. Therefore, these are the basic rights of every citizen. And this is altogether fair, since every one of us lives under a government that we did not design, but are subjected to, just as we were born into a family over which we had no control. And note, taking the principle further, anything that controls others must be benevolent in its design and behavior, or it forfeits the right to lead, just as bad parents lose custody of their children.

The family principle always applies, whether at the top where the system is designed, or at the bottom in prisons, where citizens are sent to reconsider their violations of the golden rule and spare the innocent further suffering, just as wayward children are punished by being confined to their room.

The government must reflect that we are all one family – the most loving societal structure we know – or the system is wrong.

And herein is a fundamental problem with raw capitalism. When a system allows the domination of peers, then this is not family, but slavery. In fact, pure capitalism is essentially a form of war, since it not only allows taking advantage of others, it rewards it. Insult to injury, it even punishes charity, for any generous act is a step towards one’s own poverty without the safety net of minimum standards. “Everyone for themselves” fails miserably without a counterbalance for the entire group.

On the other hand, communism, with its imaginary equality of every member, also falls short. Though everyone may be equal in value, not everyone is equal in abilities. A dandelion is not the same as a sequoia. Moreover, if everybody receives an equal share of the fruits of labor, no matter what effort they contribute, then laziness flourishes and creativity dies. In short, the system collapses under the weight of freeloaders, while the lack of tangible reward for extra effort is demoralizing. “One size fits all” fails miserably without a counterbalance for individuality.

Ultimately, the idea of a nation being a family is better reflected in socialist governments. This is because they do a better job of incorporating the universal truth of love and the golden rule. In other words, a socialist nation more closely resembles a family and therefore succeeds where the other systems do not.

The family principle also makes it easy to see how citizens should pay for government. Obviously, the higher the income an individual has, then the higher percentage of taxes they must pay for the upkeep of the family. Those who earn very little should pay the lowest percentage. Parents always spend a much greater percentage of their money on the children, rather than the other way around.

What about maximums or minimums on how much income a citizen can earn?

First, the idea of a maximum is contrary to the idea of life itself. Limits to an individual’s growth should be subject only to fairness and the needs of fellow citizens. While peers must not suffer hardship because of another’s prosperity, restricting someone’s growth out of envy is profoundly wrong. So there should not be income caps. But if an individual is fortunate enough to earn a billion dollars a year, then obviously he should be paying at least 90% in income tax, which is the way our government once was. After all, everyone earns their living with the direct and indirect help of countless other people. And only being able to keep 100 million dollars for oneself is a problem most of us would like to have.

As for minimums, even though babies burden the upkeep of the home, (meaning criminals and those who refuse to pull their weight), they are still granted the basic necessities of life. And if one is unsure exactly what those minimums should be, then the place to start is by guaranteeing that law-abiding citizens are entitled to at least whatever is granted to prison inmates. This principle is self-explanatory and carries its own authority.

But “everyone will freeload” say our greedy capitalist masters. Nonsense. Think it through… Rooming in a jail-sized space, little privacy, public showers and toilets, rules and curfews, doing community service work for your upkeep… The concept is more of a halfway house – a bridge. The point is, family members would not be cast out. Who among us would willingly allow their selfish teenagers to perish, even if they were lazy and self-indulgent?

And never forget, some of these people in such dire circumstances are innocent, perhaps even sainted. We’ve all seen people who were injured or infirmed by accident or by the hand of others, while some precious individuals are suffering because they voluntarily interceded to help someone else!

Yet, while this goes on, some wealthy people are making 200,000 times more per year than minimum wage. Who on earth is worth that much more than their hard working employees? These are peers we are talking about! Equal human beings! Who can justify such an obscenity with so many broken people that cannot support themselves, much less their families?

And none of this begins to the address the tens of millions of citizens that are unemployed or underemployed, or the hundred million people who are underpaid through no fault of their own. In fact, minimum wage should be doubled, perhaps even tripled.

How can anyone with great riches ignore the poverty of their neighbors? Only capitalists and their sycophants even try to justify it, though every wealthy person attained their lofty position with an incalculable amount of help from the rest of humanity. 

But all people will never be wise, for there will always be children, so selfishness and crimes will continue, and sometimes succeed, to the detriment of many innocent people. And though punishment may come to pass, in this age or the next, the remedy for victims is often beyond our mortal power to resolve...

So what choices do we have?

Should we leave it to god to provide assistance to our brethren? Or is that just a miserable excuse we use to justify doing nothing? 

Or should we emulate the highest principle in every day and age, which is love and the golden rule, and become the family we were meant to be.