Thursday, 26 November 2009

The Upright Individual vs. The Machiavellian Rulership

As someone who has been involved in public life on a very minor level, I have had to struggle with the cognitive dissonance in that we aspire to be "Honest Abe's", yet as one rises to higher levels of office, honesty is replaced by "realpolitik", manipulation, and Machiavellian maneuvers.

In reading RSR Hirsch on Lech Lecha [my BM Sidrah BTW] I saw an almost timeless description of the dichotomy between the upright individual and the "sleazy government" spanning Jew and non-Jew alike

VIZ. That society is so geared from the time of Avraham henceforth and I quote Breisheet 12:2 [Hirsch New edition p. 292]

«Honesty, humanity, and love are are duties incumbent upon the individual, but are regarded as folly in relations with nations..

Individuals are [punished] for the crimes of fraud and murder, but countries murder and defraud on a grand scale, and those who murder and defraud [in the national interest] are decorated and rewarded.

«Not like these is the portion of Avraham....»

No wonder Israel is levadad yishkon! We as the children of Avraham may not - and almost cannot - play the games that other nations play! Because we do not subscribe to this Machiavellian "deal with the devil" of being an honest individual while being a a corrupt nation!

It is the legacy of the Jewish State to play by different rules, by principles in our DNA and perhaps ingested with our "mother's milk" to maintain a high level of idealism even whilst negotiating on an international level.

Thus, while the individual delegates at a forum such as the UN might contain individuals who in their private lives are quite humane and enlightened, yet on the international stage will be honoured for furthering the most deceptive, corrupt, and evil agenda possible, and even be decorated davka for this behaviour!

I only wish this sunk in to my consciousness when I was in my twenties, but I guess it takes a lot of life experience to realize that R. Hirsch is saying, that he might as well be penning an op-ed in today's newspapers and be current 130 years after the original publication of his magnum opus!



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