Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews

Are moderates really always more reasonable than extremists?

Popular wisdom has it that moderates are more reasonable than extremists. And generally that may be true. But sometimes a radical solution is better than compromising. Sometimes extreme positions are the real and good ones. Some examples to follow.

As the Dutch saying goes: Soft doctors make stinking wounds. Sometimes, one needs to do something extreme to save someone’s life.

A physician should not seek a compromise with a cigarette-smoking patient, like: you start smoking half the amount and I will bother you only half the time. The change must come from the patient only, to cut out tobacco completely. Any other deal kills.

In an abusive relationship the abused should leave, not give in again and again and again until breathing becomes a problem. Because the abuser will never compromise. There is no middle ground. “Reasonable” relationship therapy may make an abuser even more dangerous.

If one person says “no group of people is better than the rest” and the other says “I disagree,” truth doesn’t lie in the middle. In an oppressive friendship, it is important that the person in the privileged position starts listening and stops commenting, say five hours a week. Domination is one-directional (in each superiority system) and the solution must be too.

For peace for Israel, it is important that Arab Palestinian leaders stop preaching “Death to the Jews.” If hard choices from both sides are important, Israel has done plenty of them (as I mentioned: here). Mildness vis-à-vis genocidal murder mentality may make haters even more dangerous.

The only danger of a Trump Peace Plan could be that it could try to be “reasonable.” So far, Trump has been not “evenhanded” at all, thank G-d. Let’s hope that that was not a bait for Israel, but rather a prelude, to return in the main theme of the rest of the composition.

Yet, moderates usually are more pleasant people (except when they pretend to be more moderate to hide that they are in fact extremists). When truth demands that we take an extreme position, we must make sure that we are not trashing others, not angry (but rather concerned) and do not sound as if we are unreasonable — or the message we’re sending will not come across to people who fell for “moderation.”

About the Author
The author is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (DES - Diethylstilbestrol), born in 1953 to two Dutch Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork, and holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam). He taught Re-evaluation Co-counseling, became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a vegan for 8 years now. * His most influential teachers (chronologically) are: his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach and lehavdiel bein chayim lechayim: Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo and Rav Zev Leff. * Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years he wrote hasbara for the Dutch public. His fields of attention now are varied: Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science, Politics (Israel, the US and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight Truth), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, GLBTQAI, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), Ecology and Veganism. Many people can't understand or like him because he has such a wide vision that he never fits any specialist's box. But that exactly what others love about him. Many of his posts relate to affairs from the news or the Torah Portion of the Week or are new insights that suddenly befell him. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, reassure the doubters but make the self-assured doubt more. He strives to bring a fresh perspective rather than bore you with the obvious. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds must be disputed. In short, his main political positions are: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, democracy, anti the fake peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, Science, Free Will, anti blaming-the-victim and for down-to-earth optimism. Read his blog how he attempts to bridge any discrepancies. He admits sometimes exaggerating to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quit a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. November 13, 2018, he published his 500st blog post with the ToI. * He likes doing age-appropriate and age-inappropriate things and looks forward to getting to know his timeless mature out-of-the-box soul mate. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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