Thinking Citizen Blog — Three Principles (gratitude, proportionality, reality), One Case Study (Israel-Palestine)

John Muresianu
4 min readDec 2, 2023

Thinking Citizen Blog — Saturday is Justice, Freedom, Law, and Values Day

Today’s Topic: Three Principles (gratitude, proportionality, reality), One Case Study (Israel-Palestine)

Let’s try a different angle. I have repeatedly failed to initiate an open discussion of Israel-Palestine in the form of an “Orion Exchange,” that is an exchange of a list of seven historical-ethical points that captures the simple, but complete, organized, and prioritized essence of your perspective. Why the failure? Three explanations.

First, making such a list is very, very hard work and people are busy. It took me almost half a century to come up with one of my own. Second, people are afraid of looking stupid. Smart people are very good at finding flaws in any premise or any fact presented in any argument but not so good at couching their replies in ways conducive to communication and goodwill. Third, people are afraid of losing half or more of their friends. The risk/reward is just no good. Politics is toxic. What’s the upside?

So what’s the new angle? To start at the level of three general principles — gratitude, proportionality, and reality, You might also call them premises.

Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.

MICRO AND MACRO GRATITUDE, JUSTICE, AND ISRAEL PALESTINE

1. “Gratitude is not only the first of the virtues but the parent of all the others.” (attributed to Cicero and the foundation of my philosophy of life).

2. Gratitude comes in two forms: micro and macro. Micro example: each of us is a beautifully orchestrated symphony of 70 trillion cells perfectly synchronised most of the time, working 24/7 without a break from cradle to grave, and who do we have to thank for it? Call it chance or not chance. God could be chance or not chance, either or both. Your choice. Macro example: we live in a democracy in a time of extraordinary abundance with a global population orders of magnitude larger than imaginable just two hundred years ago thanks to extraordinary advances in medicine and agricultural productivity.

3. How does gratitude relate to Israel Palestine? Well, without judaism, there would be no Christianity, and no Islam. The first Christian was a Jew (that would be Jesus) and the first Muslim was a Jew (that would be Abraham).

NB: Is the gratitude premise fallacious? Is the link between gratitude and justice fallacious?

PROPORTIONALITY — an essential component of justice? or not?

1. What is the math of proportionality with respect to political justice? One person, one vote?

2. Was John Stuart Mill right that without proportional representation in legislatures, democracy is a scam?

3. How does the math of proportionality relate to Israel-Palestine?

NB: By what moral-historical reasoning is it “fair” that Muslims have 55 countries in which they are the majority and Christians 158 but Jews have no right to one of their own? if Jews are to have just one country can there possibly be a more appropriate place that one centered on Jerusalem. the Mecca of Judaism.

THE REALITY PRINCIPLE AND THE HAMAS — NAZI ANALOGY

1. The Nazis did their best to keep the Holocaust a secret.

2. Hamas has flaunted the slaughter of the innocent.

3. Hamas would never have acted without the support of Ali Khamenei.

NB: In his 2011 book “Palestine” Khamenei describes Israel as a “cancerous tumor” and the US as the “Great Satan.” Is the logic here essentially the same as that of Mein Kampf? If not, how not? Was it reasonable to make a deal with Hitler in September 1938 (the “Munich” agreement)? How about in August 1939 (the Nazi-Soviet Pact)? What are the lessons of history since?

QUOTE OF THE MONTH

“Make your own Bible. Select and collect all the words and sentences that in all your readings have been to you like the blast of a trumpet.”

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

My spin — then periodically review, re-rank, and exchange your list with those you love. I call this the “Orion Exchange” because seven is about as many as any human can digest at a time. Game?

For the last four years of posts organized by theme:

PDF with headlines — Google Drive

Four special attachments below:

#1 A graphic guide to justice (9 metaphors on one page).

#2 “39 Songs, Prayers, and Poems: the Keys to the Hearts of Seven Billion People” — Adams House Senior Common Room Presentation, (11/17/20)

#3 Israel-Palestine Handout

(“Beyond all ideas of right and wrong, there is a field. Meet me there” Rumi, 13 century Persian Sufi mystic)

YOUR TURN

Please share the coolest thing you learned in the last week related to justice, freedom, the law or basic values.

Or the coolest, most important thing you learned in your life related to justice, freedom, the law, or basic values.

Or just some random justice-related fact that blew you away.

This is your chance to make some one’s day. Or to cement in your mind something that you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply about something dear to your heart.

--

--

John Muresianu

Passionate about education, thinking citizenship, art, and passing bits on of wisdom of a long lifetime.