Monday, March 6, 2017

The answer

 Sar Shalom

 In response to my earlier post, the one answer was one of envy. This gets at part of the answer, but leaves out why exactly the speaker's envy was so extreme as to cause such a reaction. What would have been interesting would be if someone had given the liberal cognitive egocentric answer for this reaction, which would be along the lines of that the object that envy was somehow responsible for the speaker's inability to afford proper clothing for her children and through that action gained the means to afford her fine clothes. That answer is of course wrong, however, in being wrong demonstrates the fallacy of liberal cognitive egocentrism.

The correct answer can be ferreted out from the words just before the main quote:
"What!" she resumed, "that horrible, beautiful young lady, who gazed at my daughters with an air of pity,--she is that beggar brat!"
Some background for those who don't know the story of Les Misérables, early in the story, Fantine had left her daughter with the Thenardiers, innkeepers in the Paris suburb of Montfermeil, as she went to look for work in her more conservative home town. The Thenardiers accepted the money from Fantine to do so, but exploited Cosette mercilessly while doting on their own daughters. Eventually, Fantine's daughter was discovered and she lost her job as a result. But when the owner of the factory learned of Fantine's plight, he resolved that he would rescue Cosette from her situation. After Fantine's death, Valjean did so and settled in Paris with Cosette. Several years passed and the Thenerdiers lost their inn and moved into Paris where they eked by on whatever they could get from others, whether legitimately of illegitimately. During this time, Valjean distributed some of his savings from when he ran his factory to the poor of Paris, which led to his encounter with the Thenardiers as described in the quote.

Now for why this whole vignette is relevant to this blog. The motive for saying "Oh! I should like to kick her stomach in for her!" is not that far off from what would motivate one to say "Stab! Stab! Stab! Stab! Stab! Stab! Stab! Stab! Stab! Stab!," which is to say, the Palestinians. However, in the case of the Palestinians, the popular explanation in the West for their enmity is the liberal cognitive egocentric explanation that Israel is responsible for the Palestinians' misery and profiting off of the acts that cause that misery. However, a true understanding of the Palestinians' motivation would require a looking at the history of the Jews in the southwest Levant on a larger historical scale, like in Einat Wilf's and Adi Schwartz's article in The Hill. The key description of the conflict is:
As far as Muslim theology and Arab practice were concerned, the Jews were non-believers, only to be tolerated, never as equals. They should have never been allowed to undermine Muslim rule over the lands, which the Jews claimed as their homeland, but the Arabs viewed as exclusively theirs since conquering them in the seventh century.
In other words, the Palestinian national movement has historical memory of Jews living in its midst as the slave-girl Cosette lived in the Thenardiers' inn and came to believe that that state was the natural and proper order of the universe. However, their current reality is that they are like the Thenardiers in Paris and the Jews have developed the way Cosette did since the Thenardiers lost their inn. However, they capitalize on the fact that the liberal cognitive egocentrists only see that the Palestinians are in "misery" and the Israel is living well and swallow the narrative hook, line, and sinker that there is a connection between the two. We must confront those liberal cognitive egocentrists with the prehistory of the conflict.


  1. Very good, Sar Shalom.
    Also thank you for the link to Einat Wilf's and Add Schwartz's article as well as to Dr. Richard Landes' work.

  2. A good explanation of the emotions behind antisemitism. Jews are not supposed to prosper.