The Moral and the Political

You can completely and vociferously sympathize with Israel’s position, and unequivocally condemn the ends and methods of Hamas and its radical Islamic allies, without necessarily believing that it is your country’s official duty to give material support to Israel’s self-defense. To take this position, one merely has to have the intellectual subtlety to grasp the distinction between the moral and the political, private virtue and public policy. The former relates to what is right and wrong simply; the latter relates to how the institutions of state (taxation, government authority, etc.) ought best to be employed with regard to moral matters, taking into account all the practical complications and incursions upon personal liberty and responsibility that might be entailed by any given government action.

If you can understand that distinction, and how it allows one to take a moral stand without necessarily advocating government action in relation to that judgment, and if you can accept such a position’s legitimate place within the boundaries of civilized foreign policy discussion, then you will understand the argument I have been making against the Republican Party’s fraudulent “conservatives” (aka pro-Trump, anti-republican populists) when they speak out against further American support for Ukraine. Listen to their words, their intonation, and their seemingly irresistible need to rationalize their case against this particular “foreign entanglement” with moral equivalency arguments, mocking jabs at the Zelensky government, obscure allusions to “Russia’s legitimate security concerns,” or incoherent references to NATO’s alleged provocations of Vladimir Putin. These anti-Ukraine GOP frauds are not making a principled argument for limited government, although they sometimes wish to hide behind the pretense of such a position. They are, when you cut through the palaver, making an argument in defense of the expansionist tyrannical aspirations of Vladimir Putin, plain and simple. If this were not so, then they would have no difficulty assigning blame and condemnation to Putin’s side of that war, without feeling any need for rhetoric aimed at reducing the legitimacy of the Ukrainian side. 

In short, whatever these same Republicans feel compelled by political and financial interests to say in support of Israel today, they are in fact thinking in a manner more spiritually akin to Hamas, with regard to the use of bloodthirsty authoritarian means to achieve irrational and inhumane ends, whether they are capable of understanding themselves properly or not. (And if they are still aligning themselves with the Trump movement, then it is indeed likely that they are not capable of understanding themselves.) 

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