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

Remove moral equivalence from Climate Crisis reporting

Moral equivalence is treating morally unequal parties equally. The anti-Semite hits a Jew; they both looked very angry. The man sexually accosted the girl; the police called both of them confused. The bullies continued to mess with the vulnerable pupils because no one stood up against them; growing up can be rough. There is a total disparity between an attacker and an attacked. The ‘unifying’ comment tries to hide that.

The headline “UN climate talks in limbo as rifts among countries remain” pretend there is ‘a difference of opinion.’ Nothing is further from the truth.

It reminds me of the evening news on Jordan TV when I was still watching the greatest time killer of all times, 25 years ago. When the poor would protest a price hike for bread, the anchor would say: the King sympathizes with the protesters by warns against sawing discord and division. The oppression was made universal by characterizing it as a conflict, obfuscating the moral differences between oppressors and oppressed.

Another popular one I often saw in AP Middle East reporting. ‘Violence broke out’ or ‘A new spiral of violence in the Middle East.’ Suddenly, there are no instigator and no perpetrator, victimizer or injured party, victim.

There are no ‘rifts among countries’ concerning climate change. There are the powerful who refuse to change and pay their fair share and the relative powerless demanding the big guys to give in. Which is which?

1. Old politicians not caring and young protesters demanding rapid change that does justice to conclusions of the mainstream scientific community.

2. Rich countries not paying their fair share and waiting for poorer countries to pay money they don’t have. Colonialism all over again.

3. The powerful nations that are the biggest polluters not cutting greenhouse emissions. China is rigid because it’s not a democracy, the US is stubborn because its government is high-jacked by billionaires who rather make a buck than save humanity’s survival.

4. Powerful companies who rather keep selling old stuff that would kill us all than move to produce highly profitable but new green alternatives.

5. Lucky others not caring about the first ones to suffer. We don’t live on a tiny island in the middle of the ocean and don’t have a mansion or live in a city quarter close to the sea so what do we care about rising sea levels? Hundreds of specious will die off before us — why should we care?

Some of them are aggressors and some are at more-immediate risk. They are not equals. If we don’t take drastic measure, we’re all going to die. But it makes a difference who is drunk driving and who is innocently being hit.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to two Dutch 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 strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * 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, Rav Zev Leff and Rav Meir Lubin. * 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 (statistics), 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. Sometimes he's misunderstood because he has such a wide vision that never fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what many 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. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having a peek outside of your cultural bubble. * NEW: To see other blog posts by him, his overspill blog you can reach by clicking on the Website icon next to his picture at the head of every post. There you may find precursors to later TOI blog posts, addition or corrections of published TOI blog posts, blog posts the TOI will not carry and some thoughts that are too short to be a TOI blog post. Also, the TOI only allows for one blog post per blogger per 24 hours. Sometimes, he has more to say than that. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
Related Topics
Related Posts