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Nell Clover
Nell Clover
4 months ago

To summarise, multicultural societies breed tribalism that is irreconcilable at the ballot box leading to failed democracies and eventually failed states.

Europe’s demographics are rapidly changing. In a generation they will mirror those of Lebanon in the mid 20th century. Events in Gaza many 1000s of miles away have already triggered splits along tribal lines in the establish political parties of Europe. Politics has demonstrably failed to bridge the tribal gap. What comes next is clearly signposted by Lebanon.

There is an obvious reason why historically all stable, strong states were monocultural. Human nature didn’t magically change in the late 20th century. Human nature will always lean towards tribal identity to seek favour and serve patronage. If a state’s identity doesn’t mirror tribal identity the larger tribes will tear apart the state and each other until it does.

It seems many in Europe are convinced their strong, impartial laws will militate against tribal conflict. This is dillusional. Law isn’t enforced by benevolent overseers but by the human tribes, of which Europeans are soon to be just one of several large minority tribes. Those strong laws may remain but they won’t be used impartially.

It is particularly perplexing that the inevitability of this is denied by many on the left. Leftist Europeans are united in the opinion that Europe’s imperial borders were ignorant of tribal borders and when inherited by newly independent states these mismatched borders and large minority tribes triggered tribal conflict that persists to this day. Not least in Palestine, the poster child of the left. Why then would European states be immune to this?

Last edited 4 months ago by Nell Clover
Saul D
Saul D
4 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

Monocultural is unusual in Europe. England accommodated Saxons, Vikings, Normans and Celts. Italy, as city states and invaded by the French and Aragonese, was a melange until unification. Germany with its princes was a blurred mass of territories. Spain was a royal union of people’s with different languages, and Switzerland is the archetype of different people living together. Czechoslovakia couldn’t keep it together. Neither could Yugoslavia. And Belgium, cleaved out of the Netherlands, still pulls in two directions. And, of course, Britain and Ireland split. And outside Europe, the melting pots can be found in Asia, in Australia and of course the USA. It’s the ability to cope with difference, to rub along even in disagreement, to have neutral mechanisms to resolve disputes, and to find mutuality that is deeper than mere ethnicity or religious outlook.

Shrunken Genepool
Shrunken Genepool
4 months ago
Reply to  Saul D

The ‘accommodation’ involved 600 years of nearly continual war

El Uro
El Uro
4 months ago

It’s the ability to cope with difference, to rub along even in disagreement, to have neutral mechanisms to resolve disputes, and to find mutuality that is deeper than mere ethnicity or religious outlook.

And the conversion of pagans to Christianity
But Saul probably doesn’t know much about European history, which is forgivable given his name (just don’t take that last remark as a racist insult; I don’t know much about Western European history either).

Last edited 4 months ago by El Uro
Saul D
Saul D
4 months ago
Reply to  El Uro

…and what does my first name say to you, since you seem to use it to leap into fantastical interpretation? Hint: 1517

El Uro
El Uro
4 months ago
Reply to  Saul D

If so, how can you forget 1524–1525 by saying that a religious outlook meant nothing?

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
4 months ago
Reply to  Saul D

The genetic make up of the UK population has changed more in the last 70 years than it has in the previous 6,000.
People from different ethnicities may be able to cope with difference and rub along for a while but it never lasts, as we see with the likes of BLM. Also we have seen that there is no such thing as neutral mechanisms when it coms to resoling disputes. Everything is political and politics divides along racial lines

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
4 months ago

I think Saul’s point is that it’s possible to have mechanisms that are as neutral as we can humanly make them (nothing’s perfect), which some Western democracies have at least come close to achieving.
To roll back on that enterprise is a profound mistake, even whilst acknowledging that tribalism remains with us, and probably will do for the foreseeable.
That it took many centuries of warfare to achieve (as per Shrunken Genepool’s comment) makes it all the more vital we strive to preserve the principles of democracy, imperfect as they are. Not to do so would be to waste the sacrifice of our forebears.

Last edited 4 months ago by Steve Murray
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Wishful thinking always comes unstuck when it crashes into reality.
Neutral mechanisms only work in an ethnically homogenous society because it is the enforcement of those mechanisms that matters and as we have seen in this country the enforcement is selectively against the native population.
Also when you get a sizable ethnic minority they work together against the ethnic minority with in-group preference having a major impact.
As to tribalism being with us for the foreseeable future, the Middle East, the Balkans and Ireland show that tribalism persists for centuries until one side or the other is vanquished and that is what happened in the West
Do you think I, as an employee of a publicly funded organization, could get away with sayin that seeing so many people of colour about was affecting my mental health

Last edited 4 months ago by Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Bret Larson
Bret Larson
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I question the amount of multi-culturalism achieved. It’s all good when things are rosy, but something like Gaza exposes a lot of truth. It may be limited to the understanding of when you should sing Dixie instead of the battle hymn of the republic.

Betsy Arehart
Betsy Arehart
4 months ago

Not only along racial (ethnic) lines. At least in the United States, it’s primarily along ideological (worldview) lines. For example, the current conflict between black and white ethnicities in the U.S. is not truly racial, it’s ideological. Many if not most of one ethnicity hews to one ideological tribe (if you will). But there are among that ethnicity those who are loyal to the opposite ideological side, who are regarded by their co-ethnics as “race traitors.” In this case, ethnic tribal identity is based on ideology, not their ethnicity. This is put perhaps a bit clumsily but I hope you can perceive what I’m getting at.

Last edited 4 months ago by Betsy Arehart
Mike Downing
Mike Downing
4 months ago
Reply to  Saul D

The ethnic groups that invaded this country occasioned years of war and bloodshed, and that was with people of the same basic North-European bloodlines with very similar genetic roots.

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
4 months ago
Reply to  Saul D

Agreed. I’d love to see more detailed studies of this question.
It’s different here in the US than it is in Europe. We don’t have much of a safety net. So when you show up you have two choices; abject, miserable poverty or find a job. The job always involves rubbing elbows with all sorts, so you quickly lose your repulsion toward people who look/sound/act differently then you expect. You have to send your kids to school while you work so they get acclimated even faster.
Having said that, it’s obvious that the levels of immigration are much greater than they were twenty or thirty years ago. And that a large percentage of the voters object. If we had functional political systems we would have compromised.
Alas, all we can do is bark at each other.

Last edited 4 months ago by laurence scaduto
Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
4 months ago
Reply to  Saul D

‘Monocultural is unusual in Europe’ – Unusual across the world and across human history you could say, if you agree with David Graeber’s book The Dawn of Everything. There he (and David Wengrow) argue – among many other things – that hunter-gatherers tended to travel far and had many inter-cultural contacts and exchanges of population. Behind this observation is the mundane but important point that many people have an easier time getting on with outsiders than insiders – how many people have rocky relationships with family/people in their local area yet flourish once they settle elsewhere? It’s in the temper of some to seek identity and distinction in the challenges and novelties of cultures removed from or even defined against their own.

Last edited 4 months ago by Desmond Wolf
Nell Clover
Nell Clover
4 months ago
Reply to  Saul D

The Vikings weren’t accomodated. The Danelaw was established by violence and war. Beaten Anglo Saxons were forced to submit to the law of the invading Vikings. The Anglo Saxons were left defending a rump of Western England. The impact of this can still be seen in socioeconomic maps of modern Britain.

The Normans invaded England and proceeded to exterminate more than a third of the population of Northern England and forced all of England and Wales to submit to their laws. The impact of this can still be seen in socioeconomic maps of modern Britain.

The Celts were marginalised by waves and Angles, Saxons, and Vikings. From occupying all of England, they were left clinging on to the fringes of the British Isles. The impact of this can still be seen in socioeconomic maps of modern Britain.

None of this was peaceful. All of it was bitterly contested.

Saul D
Saul D
4 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

Nell started with “…multicultural societies breed tribalism that is irreconcilable at the ballot box leading to failed democracies and eventually failed states”
I pointed out that “Monocultural is unusual in Europe”. In other words modern societies emerge as a historical blending of often many multicultural or different ethnic groups (eg white tribes). This happened with war and conflict at times – ethnic, class-based and religious-based – and more gradually in other circumstances, but eventually the groups had to learn to live together to get the Europe we have today.
That’s where “It’s the ability to cope with difference, to rub along even in disagreement, to have neutral mechanisms to resolve disputes, and to find mutuality that is deeper than mere ethnicity or religious outlook.” emerges from struggle over time. We’ve learnt to rub along, because if we don’t there is war and failed states. Tribalising situations doesn’t work.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
4 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

‘The Vikings weren’t accomodated.’ They were actually, in some cases. If you read Britain After Rome: The Fall and Rise which is the 400-1070 section of the Penguin History of Britain, you’ll find it was a much more mixed picture, between Angles and the Welsh there was integration (the fact that some place names like ‘Bredon’ are hybrids of their two languages is pointed to as evidence of co-existence) and even between Vikings and Anglo-Saxons, as there were parts of England that saw peaceful mixing of these groups with intermarriages and gift exchanges.
The Normans and the Harrying of the North is of course a terrible episode, but as you know within a few decades there was intermarriage and adoption by Normans of local culture (although you’re dead right that there are still families – like the Grosvenors – who have immense wealth from land which was seized in the violence of 1066 and which still generates huge revenue for them for doing nothing at all, but hey never mind them we’re supposed to be angry with benefits claimants and refugees)
All this seems to me to paint a picture of initial violence followed by eventual assimilation, just as Ken Livingstone observed the same in the assimilation of immigrants in the UK ie an initial friction followed by integration once the host culture becomes accustomed (as explains the greater resistance to immigration in areas which have the fewest immigrants). I know there’s the counter argument which says the second generation immigrants are likelier to rebel against their host culture as they did not choose it as their parents did, but I’d like to see more evidence that that phenomenon isn’t cancelled out by the fact that these children are also growing up among native members of that host culture (speaking as a teacher who sees every day children from (originally) different parts of the globe making friends with each other in a system where class rather than culture seems the biggest dividing line)

Last edited 4 months ago by Desmond Wolf
Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
4 months ago
Reply to  Saul D

Poor grasp of history, suggest watch Dr D Starkey , “Monarchy “, Michael York on “Dark Ages” and Prof R Bartlett on ” Normans ” , read A Bryant and GM Trevelyan.
Aethelbert of Kent was issuing laws from 650 AD, shires created by 700 AD and the coronation ritual is over 1000 years old.
William agreees to rule according to the laws of Edward the Confessor. The Charter of Liberties of 1100 AD is largely a reissue of Edward the Confessor’s laws.
England has remarkable continuity from Alfred the Great in 886 AD.

Saul D
Saul D
4 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

In the 11th century, over a period of less than 60 years, England had a Danish king, an Anglo Saxon king and a Norman king, each being part of a complex continuity of traditions, alliances and personal relationships (mixed with violence and assimilation) – “accommodation” as a shorthand.

Shrunken Genepool
Shrunken Genepool
4 months ago
Reply to  Saul D

It’s a pretty silly word to use as shorthand. How about ‘mired in continual tribal sometimes genocidal/eliminationist conflict’.

Citizen Diversity
Citizen Diversity
4 months ago
Reply to  Saul D

It’s a curious thing to assert that ‘England accommodated Saxons, Vikings, Normans and Celts’. As if the spacious landscape itself brought all these peoples into a celestial harmony. Surely the one hope of multiculturalism, not one known to any of these ancient peoples.
Thomas Williams in his book, Lost Realms: Histories of Britain from the Romans to the Vikings, takes the reader over the linguistic, documentary and archaeological evidence that shows that the Saxons as an identity only emerged after many clans and tribes had been subsumed and their identity lost. No one will ever know what these people thought of themselves.
King Alfred agreed a ‘two state solution’ with the Danes. Not that it brought peace and an end to political ambition. A similar book, Vanished Kingdoms by Norman Davies, takes the same journey over polities in Europe up to the 20th century.
The most basic unit of trust is formed by blood and marriage ties. Other loyalties above that may be formed by politics, culture and religion. However, once these superior ones degrade and lose their hold, out of necessity people revert back to the most basic loyalty.
Multiculturalism is betting the farm that governance by a competent political class can satisfy all the ‘identities’ and communities. That political class goes through them all like thread through a needle. Everything they do is stitched with it. It would try the skill of the three Fates to weave it all successfully into a whole tapestry.
Just as Mr Judah has his favourite territory that he would like to see flourish and walk in peace there under the avenues of cedars – delightful vision – I too have my personal favourite.

Tony Buck
Tony Buck
4 months ago
Reply to  Saul D

The USA melting pot never more than partially worked and doesn’t seem to be integrating Asians or Hispanics.

Whereas traditional Europe, despite continual local power struggles, was held together by its medieval Catholic monoculture.

Britain was created by the Reformation, which however, sundered it from Catholic Ireland.

The USA was united by a WASP monoculture. It isn’t now, and is failing to resolve its differences.

Andrew F
Andrew F
4 months ago
Reply to  Saul D

You forget that European states accepted their different population components quite late.
You might argue when, but probably after 30 years war, ending 1648, as a earliest point of acceptance of differences with probably another 200 years before the issue was settled (1848 revolution?).
Current predicament is different entirely.
We are dealing with invasion of low IQ violent savages from Muslim countries and Africa.
Islam can not be ever reconciled with Western culture.
Non Muslim low IQ immigration lowers general IQ of West population and causes huge crime and benefits burden because most Africans are not capable of functioning in modern Western economy.
Then we soon face perfect storm of AI destroying many jobs.
Never mind supporting native population when it happens.
Do we need to support useless savages as well?
They need to be cleared out.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
4 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

“Those strong laws may remain but they won’t be used impartially.”
We are already seeing that with laws being selectively enforced and the legal system being weaponised against the native white population in this country

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
4 months ago

Here in the US, whole cities are being destroyed because no one wants to prosecute the destroyers.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

The article is not about Europe. It’s about the politics of the Levant. To summarise, before October 7th the potential for civil war in Israel was very real. Post October 7th that is no longer an option. And on that day Israel was caught with its defensive pants down. Coincidence?

Ardath Blauvelt
Ardath Blauvelt
4 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

Because the Left always knows better. After all, they are “the best and the brightest” are they not? And utterly and always altruistic. Let ’em rip!

Andrew Holmes
Andrew Holmes
4 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

In support of Mr Clover I cite Canada. French and English haven’t mixed. The current identitarian movement in the US, if not quelled, will end the melting pot.

Andrew F
Andrew F
4 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

Brilliant post.
Shame you are not in government instead of usual woke idiots.

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
4 months ago

I’m not really in a position to comment on the narrative of the article but I would like to compliment the author on his prose.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
4 months ago

It was well written

N Satori
N Satori
4 months ago

What would happen if the Islamic Republic of Iran were removed from the equation?

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
4 months ago
Reply to  N Satori

The head of the snake.

The Man
The Man
4 months ago

The head of the snake is Israel and it is a cancer of the world. As soon as this f!lth is removed, not only a peaceful ME, but a peaceful world!

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago
Reply to  The Man

Would you care to elaborate on that extraordinary statement?

Avro Lanc
Avro Lanc
4 months ago
Reply to  The Man

The IDF will shortly resume crushing Hamas to the last man. This fact doesn’t care about your feelings or your antisemitism. Have a great day.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago

It’s not a snake but a HYDRA.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
4 months ago

A hydra given 10 billion by Joe Biden last month as part of ongoing appeasement and relaxation of sanctions. He is the most dangerous snake. His wretched gutless myopic appeasement of soon to be Nuke terror state of Iran is as base as his surrendering Afghanistani women to the medieval Taliban. He already has subverted the IDF’s aspiration for a genuine destruction of the Hamas military with his wokey ceasefire pressures. He is a monster and a fool.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
4 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

He is very certainly a fool and has been a life-long useful one to those who’ve used him, but he is nothing now. Those propping up Iran are trying to extricate themselves from the desiccated demi-corpse they stole an election for. They’ll likely replace him with another of their creatures, Gavin Newsom, who will also do as he is told, but with more vigor and less uncontrolled child groping.

Tony Buck
Tony Buck
4 months ago

Maybe. But you can’t remove the Iran government without world war.

And what would you, if victorious, then replace it with ?

Andrew F
Andrew F
4 months ago
Reply to  N Satori

Yes, let’s nuke them before they have nukes.

El Uro
El Uro
4 months ago

Oakland City Council calls for ceasefire in Gaza amid support for Hamas
The people who turned their own city into this shit are not going to stop there
comment image

Last edited 4 months ago by El Uro
El Uro
El Uro
4 months ago
Reply to  El Uro

UPD. As I understand it, the Jews of Oakland were particularly pushing for a resolution condemning Israel’s unprovoked aggression.
When they need it, I will be happy to help them change their ethnicity; I have many Israeli friends who have successfully registered as Russians in the USSR and are ready to give appropriate advice.
I’m sure this will help the Jews of Oakland. Although not for long.

Waffles
Waffles
4 months ago

From Ireland to Israel, multiculturalism is failing. There is not one successful multicultural country in the world, where the majority don’t feel threatened and minorities don’t feel aggrieved, now or at any time in history.

Here in Thailand, jihadists terrorize the south because they want to form their own breakaway monocultural Muslim country.

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
4 months ago

I suggest that Lebanon split peacefully into two friendly and cheerful states, one Christian, one Muslim, living side by side in peace, harmony, and song. This worked very well before, in India and Pakistan, Israel and Gaza, North Korea and South Korea. There is no reason to think that this solution will not work.

Rafi Stern
Rafi Stern
4 months ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

Christian, Sunni, Shia and Druze.
There is every reason why this should not work. We have experience of this in Israel. As in the Oslo Accords or the “Disengagement” from Gaza.

A D Kent
A D Kent
4 months ago
Reply to  Rafi Stern

You both need to educate yourselves on what actually took place in Lebanon in the early 80s – specifically look into ‘The Front for the Liberation of Lebanon from Foreigners’ – you can even find them on wikipedia. They were an Israeli controlled terrorist group. Christian, Sunni, Shia and Druze had rubbed along well for many years there – and could have done so for many more but for outside intervention. We’ve seen this repeated in more recent times in Syria, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan & even in China – ethnic tensions willfully and recklessly fermented by outsider political interests. Any explanation that defaults to a ‘Clash of Civilisations’ is woefully inadequate.

Rafi Stern
Rafi Stern
4 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

I think it is rather far-fetched to blame the Lebanese civil war on Israel. Israel did its own damage, but it came in in the middle of the anarchy and carnage, with its own heavy handed attempt to stabilize its northern neighbor to the benefit of its Christian allies and the detriment of its foes.

A D Kent
A D Kent
4 months ago
Reply to  Rafi Stern

The actions of the FLLF were not designed to stablise anything – car-bombing and assassinations never are.

Rafi Stern
Rafi Stern
4 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

The Israeli invasion of Lebanon was supposed to. Even if you attribute the FLLF to official Israeli policy, it was but one player already late in the game. The civil war started several years before that.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
4 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

Palestinians sided with Sunni Muslims against Christians which started civil war.

Peter B
Peter B
4 months ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

There probably isn’t a neat geographic division with a simple, clean border to map this on to. Just as there isn’t for Israeli Jews and Palestinians.
North and South Korea is a completely artificial separation. Or at least, it was when done – no real difference between north and south.

Milton Gibbon
Milton Gibbon
4 months ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

I wouldn’t call these the best examples as they are all at each others’ throats. I may have missed the irony but can’t think of any good examples.

SMFC Mike
SMFC Mike
4 months ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

I suggest that is better for Israel to at least either Annex or occupy half of Lebanon from the south to Beirut. The best thing Israel can do is align themselves with the Maronite Christians and help displace the Muslims either into Syria or into North East of the country. And Israel will get the backing from UAE and Saudi Arabia to occupy half of that country.

A D Kent
A D Kent
4 months ago

Unsurprisingly missing from this analysis is Israel’s active fermentation & instigation of the Lebanese horrors of the 1980s. Via their front group ‘The Front for the Liberation of Lebanon from Foreigners’ (FLLF) terror group they bombed and killed hundreds of Lebanese civilians from 1979 to 1983.  This went as far as to actually constructing the bombs that they used (see the work of Ronen Bergman or Remi Brulin on this). They have played a massive part in producing ‘the Lebanon that we know today’ – they wanted a failing state and that’s just what they got.

Rafi Stern
Rafi Stern
4 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

Thanks for prompting me to read up about the FLLF. From what I understand, the FLLF was a rogue organization set up by Israeli Intelligence leaders without official approval, not direct meddling by the state or a desire to create a failed state in Lebanon. Official Israeli policy at the time was to meddle in Lebanese affairs in order to achieve quite the opposite – to strengthen the supposedly Western-aligned moderate Christian faction at the expense of the the Muslim factions and to root out belligerent (to Israel) Palestinian factions who had taken over South Lebanon. This effort suffered majorly from the principle of unintended consequences, and contributed in its way to the state of Lebanon today. Though I daresay Lebanon would probably have got there under its own steam, left to its own devices. It certainly was on its way, then.
There are many parallels between the PLO rule of South Lebanon in the 70s and 80s and the rule of Hizbollah there now and as Lebanon paid then, they are paying now and the price is probably about to escalate. Unless someone can find a way to enforce UN decision 1701 without the need to use force.

A D Kent
A D Kent
4 months ago
Reply to  Rafi Stern

I’m not so sure they were ‘rogue’ – as far as I’m aware no one was ever punished for their atrocities. It’s been a while since I read about them, but I’ve got a feeling that Arial Sharon was involved in their work. He certainly was involved in all sorts of barbarism in Lebanon at the time – and of course he went on to become Prime Minister. As an aside it’s for that reason why I’m rather dismissive of all the ‘Well they voted for Hamas…’ bleatings of those supporting the Gaza collective punishments. If you’re going to punish a populous for who they or their parents voted for, you have to account for that butcher.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
4 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

He is dead and there is one of him. Do you support Hamas? It certainly sounds like it.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago

You don’t have to support Hamas to make a reasonable historic point that happens to be critical of Israel. But thank you for your simplistic kneejerk reaction.

Last edited 4 months ago by UnHerd Reader
Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
4 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

Populace

R.I. Loquitur
R.I. Loquitur
4 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

“If you’re going to punish a populous (sic) for who they or their parents voted for, you have to account for that butcher.”

Everyone acts like the members of Hamas have no families, who not only voted them in but support everything they do. It’s likely that a very high percentage of the “innocent civilians” are just that, families and supporters of their sons in Hamas.

Last edited 4 months ago by R.I. Loquitur
UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago
Reply to  R.I. Loquitur

I take it from your inverted commas that you don’t think that they are innocent civilians? If that’s the case are those killed on October 7th who supported the Israeli government also not “innocent civilians”? For my money they’re all innocent civilians, slaughtered by the monsters of Hamas and the Israeli govt. And yes, I see them as moral equivalents.

Rafi Stern
Rafi Stern
4 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

What is happening in Gaza is not collective punishment, it is Israel fighting to wipe out a murderous Jihad organization. When the West fought Al Qaida and ISIS no-one expected them to come to a ceasefire agreement, and this time, neither does Israel intend to. How many people died in Falluja, Raqqa or Mosul? And they were really innocent civilians caught up in somebody else’s war.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

Great post. Thank you.

Brooke Walford
Brooke Walford
4 months ago

Ben paints a very beguiling picture of a very cosmopolitan Beirut in the 50s which is sadly utterly trashed now by years of sectarian strife. The only bit I take issue with is the reference to the Bible. That very creative piece of writing was never meant to be history. Its purpose was to codify an ideology and establish law but above all to inspire a bunch of agro-pastoralists, known by the major powers of the second and early first millennium BCE as Habiru, to coalesce around a portable god.The land that is textually referred to in many Letters from Armana, Mari and many stelae as Canaan covered an area in todays terms as Israel minus the upside down triangle from Gaza to the Dead Sea to Aqaba but including the West Bank, the southern half of Lebanon, a small chunk of Syria including Damascus and a piece of Jordan.The point is, as Mary Buck pointed out in her book on the Canaanites, most Arab and Jewish groups in the Levant today owe more than half their DNA to Canaanites.If only the current population of the Near East including the jews could understand the outsider status of Judaism’s origins and de-emphasise all ‘holy’ texts, then multicultural amity in the region might stand a chance. I like to dream!

Robert
Robert
4 months ago
Reply to  Brooke Walford

“That very creative piece of writing was never meant to be history. Its purpose was to codify an ideology and establish law…”
I recently decided I wanted to actually read the ‘holy books’ for myself. Like many, I can quote bits and snippets of all of them (old testament/torah, new testament and quran). I started at the beginning, the old testament, and I hadn’t gotten through the book of genesis when I had a thought much like what you said in your quote I noted above.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
4 months ago

In 1972, when we lived in Cairo, my mother used to shop in Beirut. She liked calling it the Paris of the Middle East, because she had never been to Paris.

El Uro
El Uro
4 months ago

I read the article The Death of the Old Europe—and the Rise of the Right
https://www.thefp.com/p/the-death-of-old-europe-and-rise-of-the-right
What really interested me was this comment on the article:
“My understanding is the Wilders still needs to form a governing coalition. Can he find partners without diluting his message and plans? Or is he still toxic to mainstream politicians despite electoral success?
There is also the problem of the judiciary. I believe other countries in Europe and also the U.K. have similar problems. I believe plans to stop or slow immigration in Italy and the U.K. have been thwarted by the judiciary. Here in the US we had the bizarre situation during Trump’s presidency in which obscure judges would issue national injunctions that thwarted or slowed reform attempts.
While I am hopeful, I am also continual astounded at the resistance from the establishment at what seems to be both popular will and common sense. There is something behind this that is not obvious but seems nefarious. Why are these culturally damaging immigrants so popular with the establishment? That is the question that needs to be asked and answered.”
Sounds familiar, isn’t it?

Simon S
Simon S
4 months ago

What a beautifully written and sensible piece – the most measured I have seen on Israel / Gaza + in Unherd since Oct 7. Please can we have more of this so we are delivered from the rants against evil by Giles Fraser and others?

Last edited 4 months ago by Simon S
UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago
Reply to  Simon S

Excellent post. It was a well balanced and impartial article.

Jennifer Lawrence
Jennifer Lawrence
4 months ago

History tells us that the formation of a culture and its values is syncretic in character, and conflict is simply what happens and is even a necessary condition of that process. So why do we long for a peace that never existed nor will exist between peoples?

Peace represents an eschatological vision that is irrelevant to the reality of politics. To me, the only thing that seems to be possible is some sort of democratic policy of tolerance whose limits are worked out through dialogue, conflict, contestation and debate (and not, through the muted kind of debate that we have today).

Last edited 4 months ago by Jennifer Lawrence
Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
4 months ago

You ignore emotions. A sense of inferiority, inadequacy, resentment, irresponsibility, etc make people unfit for government and undermine a nation. In England, the Anglo Saxon Monarchs, many were elected, ruled through consultation and consent and the Witan and there was a remarkably high level of equality.
For nation to be created, people must possess the emotional maturity to think beyond beyond family and village. The Charter of Liberties of 1100, Magna Carta of 1215 and Model Parliament of 1295 were evolution of politcal proceses which can be traced back to Aethelbert’s Laws of the 650s. By 1295 AD some 270 knights and burgesses were representing 4M in Parliament. Though few voted, all could voice an opinion at hustings.
Parliament agreed on taxation and the army of archers were volunteers. The result was that England had a mucher higher proportion of the population having a say on tax and defence than any other country and were forced to devlop the emotional maturity to take responsibility. In battle, all classes were forged into a nation. The Black Princes’ oration to the archers before Poitiers says ” You are worthy sons and kinsmen …. I and my comrades will drink the same cup with you “.No Continental monarch had volunteers who were free land owning who were armed and trained fighting for them as this class hardly existed. Continental monarchs had nations of unarmed serfs and foot soldiers were mercenaries and they would have not addressed them as worthy.
The consquence of having a robust stout hearted armed land owner, yeoman and franklin, who in todays terms would be considered middle class, was that England a degree of social unity unmatched by any other country.
The yeoman and franklin defended their liberties. The political stability was robust and resilient,like the oak an yew trees, because they grew slowly. When a class had shown the emotional maturity and responsibility to take part in government they did so. The women who worked in factories and served as nurses in the front line in WW1 showed they had the emotional maturity and responsibility to tak part in government . It was the toughness and leadership of the nurses, all who were officers in the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Nursing Corp in the Boer War which showed women were competent to take part in running a country.
What we see in the West is the decline of emotional maturity and a sense of responsibility needed to forge a nation and defend civilisation against barbarism. It was said of J Kennedy he showed grace under pressure. In his inaugeration speech, he states the importance of accepting the burden of responsibility needed to defend freedom.
President John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address (1961) | National Archives

Brooke Walford
Brooke Walford
4 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Great wide ranging potted history, though I suspect a touch of anglo-centrism.

Caroline Ayers
Caroline Ayers
4 months ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Wonderful! Thank you! x

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago

You’ve spent too long fighting in The Hunger Games, love.

El Uro
El Uro
4 months ago

So, I understood everything, you convinced me,
Netanyahu and his fascist judicial reform are to blame for everything!
However, I ask the editors to find at least one fascist from Netanyahu’s troops so that he can explain his position to readers. Then it will be much easier for us to find the fascists hiding among us and destroy them (of course, during academic discussion, as is customary in a decent society)…

leonard o'reilly
leonard o'reilly
4 months ago

It is late in the day for commenting, so to no one in particular, but it must be repeated: this is a terrific essay.

Ardath Blauvelt
Ardath Blauvelt
4 months ago

Drawing back even further, it seems that all of democratic governance and institutions are under assault by totalitarian impulses and demands. Tribalism is our natural state, only the umbrella of shared power, a version of democracy, or an overweaning iteration of totalitarianism corrals it.

Democracy has broken down into power centers, special interest tribes, unable and unwillingly to defend the larger cause of essential survival. To be trite: we must hang together, or surely we will hang separately. The center is not holding — anywhere.

This is a marvelous essay.