Sunday, April 1, 2012

Migron is an iceberg

An unintended consequence is a result that is not anticipated. For example, a hospital might develop a patient information system to enhance patient-care efficiency and reduce medical error. But these systems sometimes create the opposite effect; they reduce efficiency and increase error. That’s an unintended consequence.

How can our good intentions create negative outcomes? We are educated, experienced and smart. We know how to plan. We understand how to make decisions. The problem is, every decision-making process contains a flaw:  decisions are made by humans--and humans, by definition, make mistakes.

Our humanity limits us. Our hubris betrays us. We invent DDT to solve an agricultural problem and create an even bigger environmental problem. We create increasingly powerful drugs to fight disease and end up with bacteria super-resistant to those drugs.

 That man could mistakenly create undesirable outcomes appears counter-intuitive because we believe that man can control his environment. Man controls the world. Humanism has taught us that.  Man creates. Man is Master.

Because we believe so completely in Man, G-d gave us unintended consequences --to remind us that Humanism is wrong. The  ‘law’ of unintended consequences tells us that man does not control. Man is the worker, not the Master. He can plan. He can work. But when he thinks he controls, the result is often an undesirable outcome.

This is a lesson in humility that Mr Netanyahu dismisses. The moment he decided to govern by rejecting the Likud Platform he was elected to promote, he began to create his own version of unintended consequences. He has a big plan—to build power by rejecting Likud and embracing the Left. Big plans require big risks—and that’s the problem. Human nature is perverse: the more powerful you feel, the safer you feel; and the safer you feel, the more risk you take. Mr Netanyahu has become powerful.  He has begun to take risks.

So far, his plan seems to work.  He has created a political juggernaut that has sailed the Israeli political sea with impunity. Wherever this juggernaut goes, it dominates and controls. Even as it steers Left, it appears to maintain speed and balance. But when Netanyahu’s people corrupted the recent primary vote to beat Moshe Feiglin, they crossed a line: they chose corruption over honesty. The Man-made juggernaut had become so danger-proof it could alter election results without fear. The ship of State had become unsinkable: nothing could stop it; nothing (not even voters) could stand in its way.

Now, that line crossed, poor decisions will accumulate.  Thoughts of humility before G-d  evaporate. The juggernaut becomes pregnant with unintended consequences waiting to happen.

This is what makes Migron more than just a  ‘settler’ community. Migron is a small collection of homes in Samaria which could become for Mr Netanyahu’s ship of state what the iceberg was to the Titanic—an unexpected problem that creates the ultimate unintended result, the sinking of the unsinkable juggernaut.

Think about the Titanic. Compare it to Mr Netanyahu. The Titanic was the greatest ship of its day. It was powerful, perfectly designed.  Its captain assumed nothing could go wrong. If nothing could go wrong, where’s the risk?  Ignore passenger emergency drills. Forget basic sailing values. We’re safe. We are danger-proof. There are no risks. We can do as we please. Only we control our destiny.

Pregnant with unintended consequences waiting to happen, the Titanic set sail on its maiden voyage. Soon, sailors on night-watch spotted icebergs in their shipping lane. It wasn’t a problem. Icebergs at that time of year were considered too small to threaten; and besides, the Titanic was so strong,  brilliantly built and  powerful, no iceberg could stop her. Mr Netanyahu sees Migron the same way the Titanic’s captain saw that iceberg: it’s an annoyance—a phenomena with little risk.  But that iceberg wasn’t just an annoyance;  neither is Migron.

Migron is scheduled to be demolished, thanks to a High Court decision Mr Netanyahu supports. Migron would become the largest Jewish expulsion of Jews since the Gush Katif affair in 2005, when the IDF expelled Jews from Gaza. Israelis know what happened at Gush Katif—and what has happened since: placate anti-Israel hate and it grows ever more aggressive. Repeating that 2005 fiasco again at Migron will not sit well with a lot of Israelis who currently sit on the fence about the question of Judea/Samaria. Migron is not just a ‘settler’ issue.

Beware, Mr Netanyahu. Your success with the Left makes you fell unstoppable. You are indeed captain of a political Titanic. You believe you can proceed risk-free. Your corrupt victory over Feiglin proves your power-- but reveals your hubris. Power and hubris can undo you when you believe you have immunity from the law of unintended consequences.

Your Titanic is surrounded by icebergs.

1 comment:

  1. Aviela from MIGRONApril 1, 2012 at 12:56 AM

    Great point and well stated! Another point ignored is that the bulk of combat soldiers are now religious. The secular left wing has slowly stepped down from these positions. Once the right wing youth becomes entirely disillusioned, which many aren't far from anyway, who will be left to defend this country?