The Tyranny of Mutual Exclusion
Benjamin R. Dierker, Social Policy Contributor
Opinion- The complexities of the world are often simplified into models for easy understanding. In economics, basic models with common assumptions lay the foundation for powerful analyses. In theology, easy to digest analogies and syllogisms often ease people into more dynamic concepts. In most spheres of industry, we encounter simplifications and reductions for the sake of sorting and identifying items or concepts. But in politics, our simplifications often become binary camps with so little nuance that overlap is impossible. It is in this mutually exclusive nature that true tyranny lies.
Some things are mutually exclusive by definition. A person cannot be both a Republican and a Democrat (conservatism or liberalism notwithstanding). Likewise, one cannot be both a child and an adult, nor married and single. But rhetorical conflations have obfuscated the line between distinctions by definition and distinctions by political expediency. The former, as depicted above, proves itself true, while the latter is only true because it is maintained by rhetorical and political messaging. When two things are merely held as mutually exclusive by political rhetoric, tyranny certainly exists.
We commonly see examples of this mutual exclusion in arguments over free speech. Leftists will claim that one cannot support free speech for Nazis and support legal protection and equality for black people. This dichotomy is a tool to sow division. It sets people up to either defend Nazis or defend black people; but anyone can see that this is not a true problem. Those who support free speech support the legal right, not the Nazi himself, so their support for black equality is not in conflict. The ACLU has proved this point by defending speech for controversial figures. Being pro-free speech is not being anti-black.
The mutual exclusion principle in politics always presents a “pro” and an “anti.” The feminist movement claims the phrase “pro-choice” while casting their opponents as “anti-choice” rather than their preferred identity of “pro-life.” There is no power in naming one’s opponent “pro-life” when “anti” creates a better adversary. Similarly, “anti-fascists” hope to paint all who do not support them as “pro-fascist” by implication. In legislative battles, politicians would be scourged in the media for voting against the ‘Save Puppies Bill’ when in reality the bill may include provisions unrelated to puppies. The politician would not be against puppies just because they did not support the bill.
It was not until my trip to Israel that I finally saw through the manufactured mutual exclusion principle once and for all. As a lifelong supporter of the state of Israel, I had never taken a position on Palestinians. I have claimed to be “pro-Israel” but never thought beyond that. Of course, the alternative tend to pair “pro-Palestine” with “anti-Israel.” To this end, political rhetoric paints the pro-Israel side as anti-Palestine. They launch wars of words accusing Israel of imperialism, militarization, aggression, and more. Certainly anyone who supports Israel is standing in direct opposition to Palestinians. And anyone who truly supports Palestinians cannot support Israel. Or so they say.
Thanks to Passages, I had the opportunity to experience Israel for myself. In an action-packed trip, I was able to tour borders with Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, and the West Bank. I met Jews, Muslims, Christians, and more. I spent time in Arab towns and Jewish ones. And I learned about the government, politics, and culture of the people in the region. What I walked away with was a genuine heart for the people of Israel … and Palestine.
One particular lecture truly resonated with me. It was by a journalist living in Israel. The journalist is a Palestinian, an Arab Muslim who makes his home in the Jewish state. He expressed his worldview as pro-Palestinian, and shockingly enough, also pro-Israel. Filtering out the propaganda, rhetoric, and politics, it is easy to see that supporting one people group does not necessitate opposing another. I did not expect to walk away supporting the Palestinian people, but now, I cannot imagine why I didn’t before.
The state of Israel does not oppress Palestinians like media outlets lead people to believe. Even the Israel Defense Forces does not tyrannize Palestinians. Rather, Israel provides much needed economic, medical, and infrastructure resources for the Palestinian people. Even U.S. celebrities realize this when they make the trip. It is chiefly the Palestinian government that oppresses Palestinians. In Gaza, Hamas rules over the population with violence and fear, squandering aid money and preventing critical infrastructure developments. In the West Bank, the Palestinian Liberation Organization and Palestinian Authority exude corruption and are ineffectual in actual governance. They build statues of terrorists rather than fund education and rebuild cities. The Palestinian people are victimized first by their own leadership and again by the tyranny of enlightened western rhetoric.
By employing mutual exclusion, leftist media and relativist social justice warriors the world over have prevented genuine progress in Palestine. Rather than promoting the people of Palestine, this mutual exclusion principle causes pro-Israel Christians and Jews to be sheepish in support of the Palestinians, or outright opposed to them with no understanding of why. Removing the unnatural dichotomy, it is easy to see why one can in fact be pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian. If anyone supports justice and equality, there is no room for the language of mutual exclusion on this issue. Such distinctions only hide an issue from the public eye and force the oppressed to remain victims while the world is kept in ignorance because they are too afraid to take seemingly contradictory stances. Being pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian is common sense. Never let anyone set the narrative with their sleight of hand rhetoric. They might just be anti-common sense.
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