Frank Maguire
Netanyahu pragmatist, non-conservative?
By Frank Maguire
November 21, 2010

2 Kings 19:31 (NIV) 31 For out of Jerusalem will come a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.

"An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping that it will eat him last." Winston Churchill Reader's Digest, Dec, 1954

For a despot, the appeaser is the appetizer prior to the entrée. Frank Maguire Nov. 2010

"We shape our buildings: thereafter, they shape us
." Churchill, Time, Sept. 12, 1960

"I would remind you that extremism in defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue." Barry Goldwater

"A government that is big enough to give you all you want is big enough to take it all away." Barry Goldwater

Moshe Phillips is obviously firm in his position, and no doubt knows what an insider knows. As you can see, if you read on, Phillips article has prompted me to re-evaluate my own experiences, in light of his own premises.

Churchill was correct in his analysis of Hitler, et al, and he spoke consistently and forcefully that Great Britain could never reconcile with tyrannies (Churchill had contempt for President Roosevelt's naïve notion that he held "Uncle" Joe Stalin right in the palm of his hand) and keep its liberty. It was only after Hitler's actions proved Churchill to be correct that the British people found it exigent to put the sometimes obstreperous Churchill in charge. The Brit's determined that Churchill knew the enemy.

Netanyahu the soldier and now prime minister also knows the enemy well (although more threatening nations and quasi-national entities [terrorist groups] have joined the anti-Israel axis). It seems to Moshe Phillips, as it seems to me — a confessed sciolist, though in regard to Israel, I am a constant student — that Netanyahu should be one of the last persons on the earth to think that some accommodation can be reached between Israel and its historic enemies.

Phillips contrasts Netanyahu's alleged "pragmatism" with what he alleges is the real conservatism of Winston Churchill and Barry Goldwater. I offer that one can never completely know what is going on in the mind of a pragmatist because the pragmatist plays his cards close to his vest. It is when the "pragmatist" is forced into action that we can know that which he has probably held from the start.

Israel stands, essentially, alone. Is the U.S. a reliable ally? Well, we do "offer" Israel money, weapons, and gratuitous "advice," but what is our pragmatic quid pro quo? If the geo-political fortunes change, and Israel becomes politically/economically an expendable liability, will the U.S. still be their ally? I don't think so. Remember, it was Great Britain that promoted the first Israeli State, and, then, within a very few years took the land that was given to Israel and gave a majority of it to the importuning/threatening Arabs as soon as the Arabs put pressure on the British politicians. There was also a historical hatred in Anglo-Saxon England for the Jews, which Hitler thought to be exploitable.

Should Israel really trust anyone? There is SomeOne whom they must trust, or else. The same SomeOne we should trust.

Phillips can describe Churchill and Goldwater as conservatives if it satisfies him, but though I admired both leaders, and was generally in agreement with their policies involving military matters and economic philosophy, by my standard they were not social conservatives.

I do agree with Phillips that most persons would identify Churchill and Goldwater as having been conservatives. In matters having to do with national defense and opposition to communism, both were implacable foes of the Soviet Union. Churchill was contemptuous of the ersatz-liberal comm-symps in Olde Blighty, such as the con-silly-asst Fabians. Goldwater was an outspoken opponent of such as the "Wobblies" (Industrial Workers of the World — IWW) in the U.S., the Wilsonian Progressives, and the Roosevelt New Dealer Welfare-Statists.

In "The Churchill Wit" (1965) Sir Winston wrote "There is not one single social or economic principle or concept in the philosophy of the Russian Bolshevik which has not been realized, carried into action, and enshrined in immutable laws a million years ago by the white ant." In this analogy, the lampooning Churchill equates the enthusiastic energy of Bolshevik zealots with the observed and consistent activities of the productive ant. Witty Winston draws no equation for clearly the white ant far surpasses the helter-skelter brain-storms of the utopian meliorists.

I find additional ironic humor in this quote from "The Churchill Wit." Had I written, wittily, about "immutable laws" and "the white ant" I would have pointed out that there are laws that have withstood the legitimate efforts of scientists to confirm and, perhaps, even improve or disprove the natural laws presumed to be immutable. But any theories about evolving white ants over millions or even billions (so far) years is nescience, a "science" engaged in by those who live by the grants provided by sympathetic foundations or by the tax-payer — grants mistakenly referred to as "government" grants.

One other "conservative" concept of Sir Winston I find problematical: "Of this I am quite sure, that if we open a quarrel between the past and the present, we shall find we have lost the future." Rhetorically and politically, this pull-quote from a speech he made in the House of Commons on June 18, 1940 is impressively concise. But it doesn't bear close scrutiny, especially when pronounced by one who is regarded a conservative.

I would have asked the proficient orator, "Who defines the past? Creator God, or His consequent creations?" My point, here, is that a selective and secular defined "past" that deliberately excludes "other" pasts, specifically Scriptural history, must be "quarreled" (who would consider it to be a quarrel?) about because how we accept the past could seriously misdirect our journey into the future. Predictions about how the future will "progress" would seldom advance us upward, being more likely to "progress" us downward. Our excursion into the future would be vagarious...capricious and erratic.

Barry Goldwater's conservative conscience also requires, I believe, some defining as to what his conservative qualifications were. I remember Goldwater's run for the presidency which was nuked by the peace-promoting Democrats. It really was malicious campaigning overkill, for Arizonan Goldwater had little chance of defeating the Big-State political machines.

Also, I lived and worked in Scottsdale, AZ, and had some familiarity with the Goldwater family. I had been asked, on more than one occasion, to attend a party at their palatial home on Camelback Mountain. I had always declined because there were associations that family members held to be legitimate which I found inimical to my beliefs.

I know that within families, different values can be held by family members. Since I never was privy to any family conversations, the only evidence I have to go on in my analysis of Barry Goldwater is that usually "silence implies agreement." The Senator was very outspoken in his approval of the economics espoused by the atheist Ayn Rand in her "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead" and of his related hatred of Progressivist Socialist non-economics. Though Goldwater was often referred to as "Mr. Conservative," I knew a number of Goldwater supporters, and they were Libertarians. Some to the degree of being virtual anarchist and libertine!

Were I to name someone who fit my standard as a "conservative," it would be Ronald Reagan. I shared his values as to that which he believed must be conserved. I know that at one point, Goldwater and Reagan were political allies. It was at this time when I wrote to Senator Goldwater asking for his opinion on some pending legislation. He wrote back, personally, and very graciously gave me his views.

Sometime later, when Reagan was considering national office, I wrote to the Senator again. I told him that I was hopeful that either he or Reagan might be victorious. I did not hear from Goldwater after this letter. I found out, later, that there was a political clash going on and the Senator did not like the challenge from Reagan. Oh well, I told myself, this is typical in politics. I let it go with that.

As a Bible-reliant Christian, I am a conservator in the manner of G. K. Chesterton. This makes me a "radical" as opposed to a "conservative," since "radical" means "root," and Jesus Christ is the Root for me and millions of other disciples of Christ. I concur with that written by G. K. Chesterton that "The fatal metaphor of progress, which means leaving something behind us, has utterly obscured the real idea of growth which means leaving things inside us."

So, readers, in my hopefully prudent and polite response to Moshe Phillips' obviously provocative article, I've tried to indicate what "pragmatism" might or might not mean in reference to Benyamin Netanyahu, and what conservatism might have meant to Winston Churchill and Barry Goldwater.

I admit to an amateur awareness of the inner workings of Israeli government, so I defer to Phillips' knowledge, when proper. I do try to write about that which I know from direct experience. I, also, adhere, humbly, to the wisdom of Benjamin Disraeli who wrote, in "Contrarini Fleming" (1832), "The profound thinker always suspects that he is superficial."

© Frank Maguire


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Frank Maguire

(Frank Maguire passed away on May 19, 2021. His obituary can be read here.

Frank Maguire was born in Dorchester, MA, 1938, attended schools in Massachusetts, California, and Arizona, where he completed degrees in music and English writing/Journalism. Frank has been married to Helen Isabel Maguire Estevez of Culver City, California, since 1957. They have six children, 14 grandchildren, and 17 great-grandchildren.


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