Roger Waters – the UK’s Dennis Rodman

Roger Waters is at it again.  He’s bashing Israel and he’s criticizing Scarlett Johansson for expressing a political opinion.  In what is clearly an obsession (7 posts to Facebook on Israel in 6 months, an interview in Counterpunch magazine where he says a Jewish lobby controls the music industry, etc.), Mr. Waters can’t stop defaming the country of Israel and pretending he knows the truth.  He actually reminds me of another celebrity that behaves that way with his attitude of North Korea.  That would be former basketball player Dennis Rodman.  At least Rodman admitted to being drunk during one interview and apologized.

Unfortunately for Mr. Waters, he doesn’t apologize.  At least a silver lining for me would be that I didn’t listen to the lyrics of one of his songs where he says “We don’t need no education”.  I got an education.  And Mr. Waters is coming across as an ignorant anti-Semite like none I’ve ever seen in my lifetime.  And believe me, anti-Semitism is not a new occurrence, and I’ve seen some doozies.

With my education, I like to read books on history and current events.  Especially the Israel Palestine conflict.  I don’t limit myself to one political persuasion. I’ll read everything from far left to far right, and everything in between, and draw my own conclusions.  That I believe is a sound way of becoming informed.  Mr. Waters, in his posts on Facebook and his interview in Counterpunch clearly only focus on far left writings.  And it appears Mr. Waters takes liberties in his understanding of the books he reads.  This is my opinion of what I’ve seen from him, having read some of the same material, but it’s telling at least to me, that the man needs an education.

But aside from getting educated a bigger problem with Mr. Waters is that he thinks he is right and by his discussion, that he has moral standards.   Take what he says on Facebook from Feb 6:

 “I give heartfelt thanks, to those of you who chose to go online and stand with me, in declaring their opposition to colonialism, occupation, racism, dogma, bigotry and narrow national self-interest, in favor instead, of internationalism, self determination [sic], truth, reason, justice, understanding, discourse, liberty, peace and love.”

So let me get this straight.  Mr. Waters is now saying that if you support the Israel position of the debate you are automatically against the truth, reason, understanding, peace, love, and all the other buzzwords he uses?  Talk about hypocrisy.  Does Mr. Waters think that being on the Israeli side politically makes us inherently evil?  What exactly does he mean by the Israeli side not wanting peace and love?  He can’t be serious.

But more telling Mr. Waters suggests he has the “truth” on his side from the comment above.  Waters actually believes he has the truth and everyone who doesn’t think exactly like him is wrong.  And he knows he is right because Waters writes in the same post:

 “ [H]ad Dr [Martin Luther ]King [sic] lived long enough to see how things have developed in Israel/Palestine, we all know for sure which side of this debate he would be on now.”

Wow.  He brings Martin Luther King into the debate!  Talk about name dropping!  First, how does Roger Waters know what Dr. Martin Luther King would think?  Did he call the psychic hotline?  Did he hold a séance?  Of course not.  Roger Waters is just being dogmatic.  He thinks he knows the “truth” and that Israel’s actions towards the Palestinians is so obviously wrong that Dr. King would actually take a “side” of a debate.  I don’t claim to know what side Dr. King would take on the debate, if he would involve himself in it at all.  And to be honest, it really doesn’t matter.  We are all entitled to our opinions and that’s it.  It is up to Palestinians and Israelis to negotiate a comprehensive peace agreement.  Opinions can provide comfort and encouragement to help bring about peace in a conflict, but they can’t end the conflict. Does Mr. Waters think, that because he believes that Dr. King would be on “his side” of the conflict, that it is enough to end the discussion?

First, it is quite common in the Israel/Palestinian conflict to quote distinguished leaders.  But from an ethical standpoint, it does not resolve the debate issue of how Palestinians and Israelis are treating each other and how their actions may be right or wrong.  One good book that can help address this a little better than Waters is The Fundamentals of Ethics, by Russ Shafer –Landau, the Philosophy chair at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  In chapter 21, Shafer-Landau talks about the moral objectivity that Waters indirectly claims to have, and about dogmatism that can plague such logic.   I believe it relates quite nicely with the anti-Semitic Roger Waters:

“Pick any blowhard, tyrant, or political fanatic, and there is one thing they all share.  They are all ethical objectivists.  These are the folks who believe in moral truth with a capital T.  Luckily for them, they have managed to discover that Truth.  All they are trying to do is to let you in on some of it.  This may take some shouting, perhaps coercion, maybe even some killing, but the Truth can be pretty demanding.”

Does that sound familiar?  Mr. Waters’ coercion of Israel by supporting Boycotts Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)?  Shouting (or writing two letters to ScarJo and writing to all his “friends” in rock and roll to boycott Israel)?  The only thing Waters leaves out is the killing, but he did apologize for the terrorist group Hamas in one of his previous Facebook posts, going so far as suggest that Hamas recognizes Israel’s right to exist.  Yeh, whatever.

Shafer-Landau goes on to dispel this fallacy that I believe is present in Roger Waters:

“Dogmatism is the character trait of being closed-minded and unreasonably confident in one’s own opinions.  Dogmatism is a vice, and if a theory recommends that we always close our minds to competing ideas, then that theory is very implausible…it is true that that the worst fanatics…are always ethical objectivists…it is a strike against the individuals who misapply it.  Such people fail to appreciate the complexity of morality…”

I agree.  Mr. Waters fails to appreciate the complexity of morality.  He thinks he is absolutely right and has the truth on his side.  Too bad for him.


About the Author
Simon describes himself as a professional musician with a brain.