In any experiment, the most difficult part of the exercise is getting the timing right. And the more complicated the recipe and the more explosive the reactants, the more important the timing. Burn me once, shame on you, burn me twice, shame on me, doesn't apply. In this experiment if you get it wrong the first time you die. This is the global warming argument. There is no control. We only get one shot.
And this is Israel's dilemma, the dilemma of all western nations. Gaza is a test case for how we will coexist with masses of people we deem to be incorrigible. The Israeli's saw how effective a self-run prison city could be in the Kurt Russell film, Escape from New York, and adapted a real-world, uncivilized approximation.
But what is civilized? I say we really don't know. We imagine we do, but until circumstances present us with the unique challenges of an age, we are only as civilized as we perceive the justness of our cause, since civilization and justice go hand-in-hand. And if we cannot convince people to accept justice, the justice we as the powerful offer, how can we get them to accept the fruits of our civilization? We can't.
So the experiment, the great purpose of the great experiment is to figure out how to get people who have lived so long without justice to want justice, and not just for their cause, but a greater sense of justice, the ideal of western, liberal democracy, where people share rights based on law, on the concept of the fair exchange, and the transparency of opportunity, not the limitations of tradition and superstition. And after defining what this justice will entail, its obligations and limitations in the peculiar realities of the societies to which it is adapted, allowing the most basic will of the people to be satisfied, the basic foundation for the development of a civilized society will be established.
Practice is a necessary evil. By failing we come to terms with the limits of the experiment. By altering the proportions, working in new ingredients, we discover new possibilities. But in playing with the recipe we risk leaving a worst taste.
This is the quandary of the experiment we're in. We know we need to practice to be better at this, but the petri dish available for our existential manipulation is a complicated and dangerous collection of volatile ingredients and remixing haphazardly has the very real potential to explode again in our collective faces. Look at the Arab Spring and how that turned fungal. Look at the liberated East, it's a jungle.
We see men, women, children, boatloads of them streaming out across treacherous waters seeking escape from the grip of destruction and deprivation, as terrorists make headway into our western strongholds, using planes, trains, and automobiles (trucks), rocks, sand, and spit, admit, they scream, admit what you have done and let us punish you. An eye for an eye. Aye, aye, I say. Right, like that will ever happen. You could never be so calloused.
The truth is that in this experiment we're in we deserve punishment. I have been part of the life style made possible by Middle Eastern oil. I have some hand in the way those people were treated, defeated, and cheated. It's a small hand, a teeny-tiny hand, a hand I am easily able to ignore. It might have been better if we'd done nothing, just sit on our hands and wait, but we didn't and in this experiment that's all that matters.
What can I do now, right now to help the world? I know that all change starts with personal responsibility. I know that justice starts with a voice raised in protest of abuse. I know that a better world starts with better people. I know that better people acknowledge where they've failed, even though they're not exactly sure why they failed to get the results anticipated. It's just one of the mysteries of life, the best made plans of mice and men, as we correct our experimental apparatus and begin another run.