The first annual International Moral Poser award

If you want to understand the phenomenon of moral hypocrisy, you have to consult an Israeli. Israelis are on the receiving end of moral hypocrisy every day and they know what it looks like. Many have become immune and indifferent; others have opted to the other side; but some remain awake and alive to this fascinating phenomenon.

What do we mean by moral hypocrisy? You all know the pose: a placard in hand, with a nasty, clever slogan, braving the inclement weather or enjoying an outdoor party in order to do the right thing, which always means blaming somebody else. It can be a wonderful feeling, spewing anger at truly justified target. You can feel good about yourself and forget the fact that you are human too. And equally guilty. Only more so.

Moral posing does not mean performing acts of kindness to the people we know, the people we meet, and above all to our close friends and family members. That is moral goodness, and it has nothing to do with our subject. There is a second component to moral goodness as well. There are cases where united action is needed. This is when the most serious and horrifying events are unfolding. Genocide, enslavement, indiscriminate torture and mutilation. Those who organize help and resistance to these kinds of events are moral heroes. Unfortunately, these are the places where the moral posers typically fail us, preferring to focus attention on other more congenial targets.

This award is not given to the worst people in the world – those are the perpetrators of genocide and other similar crimes. That is a different award. This award is for those who have the highest G x B product. This means those who have the highest product of guilt and blaming others. They are the most guilty and at the same time the most prodigious blamers of others.

In order to provide a basis for comparative judgement, we needed first of all to rank guilt on a global scale. One of the worst crimes of recent centuries of course is the Holocaust, committed by the Germans, with help from the Dutch, the Belgians, the French, the Greeks, the Latvians, the Poles, the Ukranians, the Russians and so forth. But the Germans, who were the chief instigators, have taken major responsibility, have shown signs of contrition, have made some reparations, and do not tend to lead the charge in moral vituperation. Their product was not as high as that of others.

Another crime of great proportion is the 1915 Armenian genocide. Many people around the world, including in the United States, have been pressing the Turks to acknowledge this crime, and to apologize and make reparations. Until recently the Turks would not have qualified for our award since they did not make any specially outspoken efforts to blame others. But now that their elected leader has found his moral voice, and is criticizing everyone in range, they have become serious contenders. However, this year the Turkish pose was outdone by another group.

Another great crime is the genocide of the Australian Aborigines. This included the unprovoked slaughter and extinction of numerous tribes as well as the kidnapping of young aborigine children. But although Australia has not apologized for this they have expressed regret and, again, they do not lead the charge in moral vituperation.

As some readers may have noticed, one major crime has not been mentioned, indeed the greatest of them all. What could it be? I am referring of course to the slaughter of the North American native population by the people of the United States. This is one of the largest crimes in the annals of human history, entailing the almost complete eradication of hundreds of distinct tribes and races. It was completely unprovoked by the natives who had no means or desire to wage any form of war against Europe. It involved massacre, rape, the malicious spread of disease, starvation, deception, imprisonment, forced expulsion on a mass scale, murder. The massacre at Wounded Knee occurred in 1890, only 25 years prior to the Armenian genocide, so it’s not ancient history by any means. Americans who press for Turkey to apologize for its crimes, rarely demand that the United States do the same. There has been no apology. There has been no restitution.

Many of the benefactors of this crime think it is silly to even mention it. Some of them live in places with names like Manhattan, Chicago, Miami, and other non-European names. Some even live in a city called, ironically, Philadelphia.

Like other people, Americans prefer not to think about their own crimes. That was then, this is now. Do not judge America by what it did but by its values today. But what are its values today as long as it refuses to apologize or make restitution? What are its values if it demands that others apologize for their crimes while refusing to apologize for its own?

As stated, we cannot grant our award on the basis of a crime alone. Even if it is the greatest crime ever, the product of a very large number and zero would still be zero. It is only self-appointed American preachers of morality to others, those who blame others while enjoying the fruits of American genocide, that can fairly receive this award. And this forces us, unfortunately, to present it as a group award to the American left. The most vociferous part of the American left is the anti-Israel left. They are the greatest moral posers of our day, and at the same time, participants in the greatest crime of human history. Sitting comfortably on the spoils of genocide, and refusing to part with them, they spew moral indignation on people less guilty than they. Above all they love to blame the victims of the Holocaust and their descendants, the victims of Arab expulsions and their descendants, refugees from anti-Semitism in Russia, France and Ethiopia, and all those who have come to support them against violent Arab and Muslim aggression.

Moral goodness means doing something yourself, not blaming others. I know leftists who claim that they do hate America, and that they did protest in the Fergusen-related riots. I ask them this question: were you protesting against yourself or against someone else? Were you protesting your personal occupation of native American land, or were you protesting racist police officers with whom you have nothing in common? If you were protesting against others, you are a moral poser.

What can you do to be good? First step is to press for an official US apology and statement of contrition. This will open the door for lawsuits seeking retribution. Second, return the land. I know it is not an easy thing to do, but it is not beyond your means either. Don’t be a thief. Contact your nearest Indian reservation and make an appointment to turn over the deed to your dwelling place. They will greatly appreciate this. You will be amazed by the welcome and undeserved gratitude you will receive. You will make warm and lasting new friends. It will be a transformative experience. Try it. You will achieve that freedom from guilt that you futilely sought to achieve in the farcical protests you attended. Third, press for full sovereignty for the remnants of the great Indian peoples. This may involve some inconvenience I know. It is not easy losing the kind of power that Americans enjoy today, as the fruit of genocide, but it is the right thing to do. Be consoled: there is little chance that the native Americans will do to you what the Arabs would do to the Jews if your plans for Israel were to succeed.

We will offer this award again next year, together with a report on progress in resolving this, the most severe of all moral crimes and the most preposterous of all moral poses.

NB: Unfortunately we were not able to include Israel in this survey, since we were limited to nations which have incurred some degree of moral guilt as a result of their actions. If you choose to respond to this, please do not avail yourself of the tu quoque fallacy. In other words, do not attempt to evade your guilt by yet again blaming someone else. Another’s wrong does not make you right.

About the Author
The author is a professor in the department of Classical Studies at Bar Ilan University. He is the President of the International Society for Socratic Studies, and the Founder of the Classical Forum for Contemporary Issues. The father of eight beautiful children, he lives in Efrat with their beautiful mother.