Politics Is Not Pragmatic

The media would frequently ask Ron Paul why he was running for president when victory was highly unlikely. Are you in it to become president or “just to spread your ideas”? The gist of his answer was that is a false dichotomy; he was aiming for both. Moshe Feiglin’s Zehut is trying to do the same.

You cannot aim for both using rhetorical compromise, however. Rand Paul and America’s “Libertarian Party” do this all the time, only managing to arouse distrust and loathing in both anarchists and authoritarians.

Question: Whose vocation is politics?

Max Weber answers:

Only he has the calling for politics who is sure that he will not crumble when the world from his point of view is too stupid or base for what he wants to offer. Only he who in the face of all this can say ‘In spite of all!’ has the calling for politics.

Whom does this quote describe? Who never crumbles? Ron Paul. And maybe Feiglin (a little).

When Rafi Farber decided to run, I wrote it sounds like “he’s asking to be electrified (metaphorically?)” – God forbid! Farber is astute, though. He says the same here himself:

The question can be raised, why even attempt anything with Zehut? The answer is for the same reason that I am running on its ticket. Because we have a religious obligation to try, and leave the rest up to God. I’m running for religious reasons, not for any practical reason. I will vote Zehut for religious reasons, not for practical ones. If God wants us to succeed, we will, but not if we give up or don’t try. … When a regime is really threatened, all the meaningless politician talk goes out the window and they start beating you.

Fine. But then no rhetorical compromise, otherwise you aren’t causing any Kiddush Hashem thereby, no matter what! (One may omit less central aspects of the message for the sake of instilling more central aspects, though, just as men do in all communications.) If you don’t clearly announce Whose sake it’s all for, what honor would He get by helping you succeed?!

Rabbi Yitzchak Brand once footnoted this in regards to Feiglin; I suspect his essay was subsequently deleted, as his support for Feiglin weakened with time – so, no link.

“Lost Causes Are the Only Causes Worth Fighting For

So say it: We believe in Hashem! We are Jews! The land is ours! We oppose democracy! Knesset Members are all the same! And keep going…

And, as Feiglin has shown many times over, steadfast “Zehut” (identity) is also the pragmatic choice.

The problem is, most people cannot be so “suicidal” in so seductively practical-seeming an arena as democratic politics. Far better therefore, for most, to avoid full-time politics. That is why I wrote this post over here. My counsel isn’t “give up” or “don’t try”. I say go for a bully pulpit without a baton. Translation: private influence.

Then, unless you see a burning bush, stay far, far away from the palace!

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