“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Nation Or Government?

with 8 comments

Colin Shindler’s letter in the Guardian highlights some of the dodgy thinking behind the Guardian editorial which uses the phrase:

“Both events in London and Washington are the marks of an arrogant nation that has overreached itself. “

Arrogant nation?

Not as Shindler points out Government or administration (if we were discussing North America), but the Guardian editorial writer chose to use the words “arrogant nation”

That says to me that he or she has wider problems with the very notion of Israel, and not the actions of a particular administration.

The Guardian editorial will have been the product of much discussion within that newspaper, and the writer will have been a highly educated individual, lucid, experienced and in command of his or her words, so the choice of “arrogant nation” is particularly revealing of their underlying psychology, or should that be complex.

Written by modernityblog

25/03/2010 at 11:56

8 Responses

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  1. The entire discussion was explicitly about the Israeli government and in particular its dipolomatic and security services. You and your esteemed friend are engaged in taking quotations out of context.

    I believe you chastised me before about making presumptions about what you were saying in relation to a particular individual. Yet do do the very same yourself. Such a pity.


    25/03/2010 at 15:02

  2. If as you say “The entire discussion was explicitly about the Israeli government” then using the expression **nation** (meaning the whole people as well), was entirely clumsy if not stupid.

    I fully accept that there are many possibilities, other than being mendacious or embodying unconscious anti-Jewish racism

    Stupidity and a less than perfect grasp of the English language *might* explain it as well, but I somehow doubt it, as an editorial writer would be required to have an excellent, above-average, some might say stupendous grasp of English and be able to express themselves with pitch precision, but in this case that didn’t happen, and you have to wonder why?

    Plus the fact that the Guardian has a very clear anti-Israeli “line”, this is evidenced in publishing any salacious nonsense, questionable scholarship as long as it has a quick dig at Jews (see the coverage of Sands book, etc), and daily, hourly outpourings of anti-Jewish racism which is found comment is free.

    So you can draw what conclusions you please.


    26/03/2010 at 01:32

  3. Thanks for this piece and picking up the letters and editorial, MB. Colin is incredibly perceptive and I don’t doubt that he too, like you, sensed a double meaning going on here. I doubt that when we knocked off three IRA terrorists in Gibralter there was outrage at the british “nation”. At least they printed Colin’s letter and I wonder if they are suitably embarrassed.


    27/03/2010 at 01:00

  4. I’m not sure, Richard.

    I used to read the Guardian, but even I have been astonished at the disgusting filth that can be found on its web site and associated entities.

    I doubt if journalists at the Guardian could be embarrassed over nearly anything, and certainly not when it comes to anything to do with Israel.

    Quite frankly, I feel they are shameless.


    27/03/2010 at 01:20

  5. Seriously, read the article, it’s all about the Israeli government.

    I think the use of the word ‘nation’ is quite common, especially when talking about government’s you dissapprove of, or where policy is fairly consistent between governments. So I can imagine similar terms being used of the US, Iran and others.

    But all that aside, you’re right that it is unwise, if not wrong, to use the word ‘nation’. However, and you do this quite a lot, the insinuation in your last sentence was unfair. I might have interpreted it wrongly, but in that case, you should speak plainly rather than leaving things to my imagination.


    29/03/2010 at 13:52

  6. I try not to belabour my points if I can avoid it, nor do I wish to spoon feed people.

    I will let others make their own minds up on this poor choice of words.


    29/03/2010 at 14:06

  7. Well that’s all very well, but if you’re imprecise, then you can’t complain when people interpret things differently from how you’ve intended.

    For example, you had a post on Stephen Sizer which I interpreted to be saying that he was anti-semitic. And you criticised me for putting words in your mouth. Had you been precise in what you were accusing him of (insensitivity as I recall) then we wouldn’t have come to blows over it.

    It’s not about spoon-feeding or dumbing down. Precision is actually quite a skill – one well worth cultivating.


    29/03/2010 at 15:44

  8. But then again I am NOT a leader writer at the Guardian, nor the product of an Oxbridge elitist educational system.

    Frankly, I expect a bit more from people that have been thru it 🙂


    29/03/2010 at 22:20

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