“Whoever is kind to the cruel will end up being cruel to the kind” is a well-known teaching from the Midrash (ancient commentary written to summarize specific parts of the oral-Torah)
Citizens living in free countries; Left or Right, Liberal or Conservative, we all agree that freedom is better than slavery, tolerance and love are superior to hate, and it’s always better to choose kindness over cruelty. How do we know these seemingly obvious nuggets of truth? One of the greatest mysteries, to me, is how so many humans seem to be born and raised without what many of us take for granted.
In a July 24, 2008 Wall Street Journal op-ed by Andrew Klavan:
“Leftists frequently complain that right-wing morality is simplistic. Morality is relative, they say; nuanced, complex. They’re wrong, of course, even on their own terms. Left and right, all Americans know that freedom is better than slavery, that love is better than hate, kindness better than cruelty, tolerance better than bigotry. We don’t always know how we know these things, and yet mysteriously we know them nonetheless. The true complexity arises when we must defend these values in a world that does not universally embrace them – when we reach the place where we must be intolerant in order to defend tolerance, or unkind in order to defend kindness, or hateful in order to defend what we love. When heroes arise who take on those difficult duties themselves, it is tempting for the rest of us to turn our backs on them, to vilify them in order to protect our own appearance of righteousness. We prosecute and execrate the violent soldier or the cruel interrogator in order to parade ourselves as paragons of the peaceful values they preserve.”
In our modern world, filled with innovation and technology, it often seems that society has regressed in other areas. America, the historical leader of freedom, truth, and justice for all, is not the same America that our ancestors cherished. Judeo-Christian values are no longer a standard. Appeasement and taking on guilt and responsibility for the uprising of hatred and terrorism have replaced the once invincible strength that so many died fighting for.
Divergence and perception are crucial in interpreting and translating what is truth and what is false in an era of instant communication and constant documentation of events via smartphones, internet, and CCTV. Big Brother is watching and recording yet, so many accounts of events on earth, in the media, and social media are distorted. Individuals are lost and abandoned to explore and discover relativity where it simply doesn’t exist. Not all people, not all plights and circumstances are comparable.
We live in a world where we are faced with mainstream tolerance of terrorist groups whose main cause is to destroy all that is modern from sea to sea. After the unimaginable massive attacks of September 11, 2001, American children learned that their Western culture is to blame for the oppression and occupation of the downtrodden underdogs of the world. “Occupiers” like Israel and wealthy White privileged Christians and Jews of the Western World are to blame for the creation of terrorists; “freedom fighters”.
We live in a world where days before Holocaust Memorial Day, the honorable and revered Pope Francis called refugee and migrant centers in Europe “concentration camps”, exemplifying moral equivalence.
This is an example of showing cruelty to the kind; desecrating the magnitude of the Holocaust.
Modern tolerance gave birth to countless “lone-wolf” attacks on innocent civilians and “alleged” terror attacks around the world. The abhorrence of possibly being called any type of phobic is indeed empowering terrorists and enemies of freedom and democracy.
Israel and the Jews are vilified for pursuing security and protection of the tiny sliver that remains of an ancestral land, not only historically and Biblically Jewish, yet also secured by many battles, fought and won, against the enemies who aspired to colonize the Jewish People of Judea. The Israeli Army, governed by morality and sanctity for human life is regularly called a “Nazi regime”. Hitler’s name is used to identify Israeli Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu and the irony is completely lost on self-proclaimed humanitarians who vilify a moral and commendable entity to preserve their imaginary righteousness.
Not all despicable circumstances are the same. A present day example is the horrific situation in Syria, which is full of cruelty and has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives but it is not the Holocaust. Israel is not the nation who stood by and allowed the Holocaust to happen. Imagine that you lived in the pastoral countryside; within view and scent of Auschwitz or any other concentration camp during World War II. Those people, living near multiple death camps, not only witnessed the daily envoys of tortured, malnourished Jews, they heard the gunshots, they saw the smoke and smelled the decaying and burning bodies of millions of humans. The cruelty is that those neighbors, those people did nothing to fight the evil and sent no aid. Israel shares a border with Syria, a self-sworn enemy of Israel and the Jewish People. Syria, like many of Israel’s surrounding enemies, seeks the death and destruction of the Jewish People, and to wipe Israel off of the map.
Naive or evil, it makes no difference when moral equivalency is an acceptable standard. There is no justice in comparing Bashar Al-Assad with Hitler or the Syrian war with the Holocaust. We now have absolute proof and documentation that countless citizens and powerful leaders knew – yet did little to stop the cruel and evil beatings, rape, torture, execution, gassing, and murder of MORE than 6,000,000 innocent, unarmed, civilian men, women, children and babies for the crime of being born to at least 1 Jewish grandparent. If we don’t learn from history we are doomed to repeat it.
On the flip side, an example of reacting and remembering history #NeverAgain – Israelis send aid to Syrian victims, IDF forces are on alert while clandestine operations against the atrocities have been going on for years. Israel calls it what it is: murder and genocide of innocent victims. The State of Israel is doing more than most countries to fight the atrocities in Syria since 2011. Israelis treat the wounded, donate money, and take in orphans and refugees. There is no truth to any attempt at moral equivalency. The Syrian war is NOT the Holocaust yet on the one day of the entire year dedicated to the memories of more than six million Jews who were murdered, many people focused on other atrocities and equated them with the Holocaust. Many people, including young Jews and Israelis, complain about the “political use” of the Holocaust by Jews and Israel to oppress and occupy the “downtrodden misplaced palestinians”.
Some of us are thankful for inborn competence to make distinctions between truth and false, cruelty and kindness, and right from wrong. Distinctions are crucial to our interpretation of truth or false. As members of the Human Race, each and every one of us has a moral obligation to distinguish between the cruel and the kind. Without wisdom and deliberation it’s impossible to define what is cruel and who is kind. Cruelty is not bred from annoyance or boredom. Cruelty and evil are the fermentation of fear, hatred, and entitlement to inflict pain and suffering on those who dare to disagree. Cruelty can only be defined by the code and conduct of the enemies of truth, morality, and freedom – the same values and morals we must stand for and defend.
It’s become mainstream for the highest institutions of education and elite universities to side with the cruel. Welcoming supporters of hate and terrorism into society and providing them with podiums from which to spread cruelty, lies, and hate is malicious and barbaric, and an example of misplaced compassion. Humans, with good intentions, make terrible choices by treating cruelty with kindness. Misdirected meddling leads to misery and suffering.
There is undeniable evil in the world. I don’t believe that the average human desires to be cruel, but sometimes it’s required of us to defend goodness, morality, truth, and values. When our nation’s existence, freedom, and constitution are endangered, when our lives and existence are at risk, we don’t aspire to be cruel. If the Human Race is determined for goodness to prevail, there is no alternative. Destruction of evil isn’t cruel. Fighting and eradicating evil is one of the ultimate acts of kindness that a human may commit.