Aharon Gottlieb
Don't lose sight of the bigger picture.

Monopoly of good deeds

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For some time, our society seems to have decided that some have the monopoly of good deeds. When I meet people and, in our conversation, I mention that I support, and indeed vote for, the right-wing, people look at me as if I were among the worst beings on earth. They also tell me that I am aligned with the “extreme right” – after all, the political spectrum has now been officially divided into the pious left, the center and then there is a quantum jump to the extreme right.

Some people do get curious though and ask questions about my personal life. They learn that I worry about the environment and can be a recycling freak (and I do clean the beach after people who cannot be bothered), I have rescued all sorts of animals, I pay maasser (tithe) of my own volition, I do pro bono work, I sit down and talk to the homeless fellow on the street because he also needs emotional support, I give my seat on the bus to the elderly although I probably have more reasons to sit than them, I could get a certificate of kashrut for tax payments. No, I am not a saint, I do lots of bad things. I think, however, that what I do at a polling station cannot qualify as bad.

I consider any government from an objective point of view. From my perspective, a good government is a government that is morally neutral towards its citizens. As Nozick would put it, “scrupulously neutral”. Who am I or any other person for that matter to dictate morals, for example? I support freedom, that includes freedom of choice for all (e.g., sexual orientation, gender, abortion, euthanasia and so on and so forth). I choose when it is my life, others choose when it is theirs. I also support my country, Israel, as a Jewish state “from the river to the sea” as they say it.

As I get the odd judgment, I cannot help but wonder what really goes on in people’s minds. I have recently met a fully healthy person who is about my age range (mid-forties) and has a surreal life: they have never had a job. They do not live on income, but on benefits, assistance etc. For over forty years, this person has earned a living from the state. This person believes that a party that sponsors the division of the wealth of everyone else (that works) should win the next elections. Why wouldn’t they? What if the guilty rich, however, decide that it is not worth the effort and stop working and investing?

When I made aliyah to Israel, I made a point of paying for my flight. I was grateful that the miraculous State of Israel could bring me home and still give me the airfare. But since I could afford it myself with some hard work, why would I burden the taxpayer – my fellow taxpayer in waiting? This is how I conduct my life. And everyone else has the freedom to conduct theirs otherwise.

About the Author
Aharon Gottlieb is a lawyer by profession, who has also learned Psychology. He has a special interest in the interwoven areas of national and international security, intelligence, defense and foreign policy. He writes about life in Israel and current events that are relevant to Israel and the Jewish people. In early 2018, Aharon immigrated to Israel, which has added further meaning to his life.
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