Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Legal Crime (4)

- How did you get yourself into this position?
- I thought the world owed me a living. It seemed to be true. Then it stopped being true.
- What happened?
- "Nice guys finish last." That's what I heard this morning from the head of an Israeli defense institute. Israel isn't nice. It is strong, and has the will to use its strength.
- Blunt words.
- Yes. He said the Arabs aren't like Europeans. Europeans made union and peace with each other after war in which the losers' cities were burned to the ground. That's why European nations can talk with each other. Israel can't talk with its neighbors because their cities haven't been burned to the ground. They aren't ready to talk. They intend to fight their war to the end.
- So you are too nice?
- After the lecture I remarked to the escort from the embassy it was good for once to hear the truth about politics. He said diplomats always lie. He himself was a diplomat.
- You are nice and polite like a diplomat, that's what you're trying to tell me? And people walk all over you.
- No, unfortunately not. I'm not a diplomat. And it gets me into trouble.
- Go on.
- The institute head said the Arabs cannot be reasoned with because their institutions are too corrupt, their societies are organized by tribes, militaries, and fanatical Islamic organizations. They cannot keep peace even if they wanted to.
- He says they are primitive.
- "Barbarians" was his word. But put it this way: everyone makes a choice in how they talk and act. Either they talk for the joy of telling the truth and seeing things clearly, act from the joy of making a beautiful life. Or talk and act to make something happen, to get things, without concern for truth of words or beauty of life. Once you give up on the idea of truth and beauty there really is no reason not to steal.
- And the Arabs speak and act against truth and beauty?
- So he says. They have no institutions, what is known now as "civil society", protecting them.
- What does this have to do with your brother?
- It has to do with being nice, and not being diplomatic. That's my combination, and it's a disaster.
- Go on.
- There isn't much more to say. It's like this. When you are dealing with barbarians there is no purpose in telling the truth and making a show of beauty in your life. There can't be a response. You're talking to yourself. Really there's no need to talk at all, but if you do, do it with diplomacy.
- Lie.
- Yes. Most of my life, life did owe me a living. I told the truth and made my life as beautiful as I could. I wrote down some of it in stories as true and beautiful as I could make them. But -
- But?
- Those stories weren't diplomatic!
- They offended.
- Yes! But what was I to do? I was getting away with it! So I continued.
- What changed?
- The world changed, I changed, my family changed, my friends changed: I don't know. Or I do, really. What changed was that I was paying the world for my living, effortlessly, by telling and living the stories. Truth and beauty had some exchange value. Now apparently they don't.
- Don't think you're a little arrogant with these claims?
- As I said the world owed me a living. It paid up.
- And now it won't.
- And now my brother steals.
- And since the world has stopped being hospitable you need the inheritance he stole.
- He thinks he doesn't owe me a living.
- And you can't convince him to change his mind? No, you're no diplomat.
- No. It's war.
- And you're not so nice after all.