Appoint A King Over Yourselves? Not so Fast!

The Role of Government in Israel: Almost Nothing, or Absolutely Nothing?

“You shall surely place a king upon yourselves, one that Hashem your God has chosen…”

~Deuteronomy 17:15

We are told in this week’s Parasha that we are required to place a king upon ourselves. From here it is assumed that the Torah supports the idea of monarchy. It’s not that simple.

There are two main tanaitic positions regarding this Pasuk. The more familiar one originates from the Tanah Rebbi Yehuda Bar Ilai. He holds that having a monarch is a positive mitzva. If so, what are the monarch’s responsibilities?

According to the Rambam, Hilchos Melachim 4:10, the only areas of jurisdiction he has are defense and courts. Nothing else.

Not education, not welfare, not culture, not price controls, not central banking. In libertarian terminology, we would call this the minarchist position, meaning absolute minimum government.

But there is another position, that of the Yerushalmi Rabanan. Says Midrash Rabba Shoftim:

“Say the Rabanan: Said the Holy One Blessed Be He: In this world you requested kings and kings from Israel rose up and killed you by the sword. Saul killed them at Mount Gilboa…Ahab stopped the rain…and Zedekiah destroyed the Temple.

“When Israel saw what happened to them during the reign of their kings, they all started screaming: We do not want a king from Israel! We want our original King! (Isaiah 33) For God is our Judge and our Legislator. God is our King and our Savior!

“Said the Holy one Blessed Be He to them: By your lives! This I will do!

“As it says (Zechariah 14) ‘And God will be King over all the Earth etc.’”

The Rishonim Abarbanel and Ibn Ezra agree with this second position. Says Ibn Ezra:

“A king is only an option. Only a prophet or the Urim and Tumim may choose one. The people may not elect one themselves.”

So much for democracy.

Abarbanel says explicitly that the minarchist position is incorrect and that the pre-Monarchic regime of the Shoftim was preferable. Essentially, appointing a king was therefore an option, but a mistaken one.

Let’s not forget that this pasuk about a king has been abused by evil people like Rav Shlomo Aviner who defended the expulsion of Jews from their homes on the grounds that the government is like a King and must be obeyed.

The most important thing though is that the machlokes in Halacha on government’s role is between absolute minimum government as per the Rambam (courts and defense only) and no government at all, as per the Ibn Ezra and Abarbanel.

Whichever side you fall on, there is no legitimacy to the government doing anything else whatsoever.

Mohamed Ali, A Personal Hero

I don’t love everything about Mohamed Ali. I don’t like everything about anybody. But he was a good man fundamentally, though confused about some things. He taught everyone that while being a jerk for entertainment may have been distasteful and annoying, being a decent human being where it counts is what really matters.

He was a fighter for entertainment. Fighting with people who agreed to fight him back. A boxer in words and fists. And he stood up against the US Government and he would not let them take him to Vietnam to go kill a bunch of Asians and burn their children.

Politicians are all polite and decent in their external, superficial personas. Deep down they all have evil souls. They will go after UFC fighting rings like John McCain and call them “human cockfighting” and try to pass a law saying it is “indecent” while they go around authorizing more bombing campaigns to kill millions.

Boxers like Mohamed Ali are not polite and decent superficially. They are trash talkers but only superficially, because that’s the entertainment they provide. But when it comes down to what really matters – are you going to kill people or not, people who did nothing to you – he stood up to the State and said no. He would not. He would rather go to prison. And so would I. And so he did. And he lost his sport, his livelihood, his reputation for a while, but in the end he won that greatest of fights, too. Not in the ring with another boxer, but in the global ring with the government – he fought and he won.

And he didn’t let all the academic bull about patriotism and duty and American the Great and Beautiful confuse him. America is not great and beautiful. Only some individuals are. Some are not.

Ali was wrong about the enemy being the “white people” obviously. The enemy is the State, which grinds races against one another by taking money from one to give to another. But for his absolutely courageous bravery in standing up to the warmongering politicians, he is my hero.

I love Mohamed Ali, and the world is worse off without him in it.

יהי זכרו ברוך.

Why Adele is Just as Awesome as Amy Lee

A few months ago I wrote a post about Amy Lee, praising her for her music but most of all for being a normal person.

Adele fits that category too. I’ve known about her for years but her latest single Hello got me interested in researching her a bit. Apparently, she’s pretty freakin’ normal too. She’s engaged with a kid at 25 (she had a kid at 25, she’s older now), she’s plus size and not a perfect music star body type, but she has lost significant weight since whenever it was she came out with Rolling in the Deep. So it’s not like she’s let herself go or anything like that. Her soon to be husband looks like a fun character goofball type.

You can tell her hair is usually crazy and requires a lot of taming for the stage. Everyone in my family has crazy hair, except me because I cut it off and my son doesn’t have any hair.

When she gets on stage she just sings. She doesn’t womp around on stage, and she wears very nice dresses. She’s a talented enough singer that she doesn’t have to distract you with dance moves. It’s rare that a singer just sings these days. Her performance is almost entirely in her face. The entertainment is to just listen to her and watch how her own music affects her and let it affect you. She feels like a throwback to the 20’s or 30’s with a modern twist. Just beautiful music.

Most importantly, she’s considered a recluse among the famous people community. She doesn’t want anything to do with that and would much rather just live a normal life.

This quote, for example, is gold:

“I think it has a lot to do with becoming a parent,” she added. “When I was turned 25 I was quite shocked. I didn’t think I was old or anything like that, I just couldn’t remember where the last five years had gone. I think it’s the same that happened with every area of my life: My real life, my career, obviously becoming a mom, and stuff like that. It was not remembering very much of it because so much happened and it frightened me.”

The 27-year-old singer also shot down claims that she was a “recluse,” instead revealing that she just won’t give into the Hollywood spotlight.

“I’m not blinded by the persuasion of fame,” she said. “Fame is not real, so how am I suppose to write a real record for anyone to enjoy if I’m living a very fake life?”

Wow is that relatable or what? Also a wysiwyg woman, which is obvious from her stage name, just Adele. She was discovered after she put a demo on Myspace in 2006. (What the heck is Myspace? Hehe…)

I’m more into the louder rock/metal music but I recognize her songs are great. So I searched around for metal covers and I found this TOTALLY AWESOME GUY from Norway. His facial expressions are so nuts it’s great! Cracks me up…

My Reaction to the Supreme Court Jerusalem Ruling

I wrote this on Facebook just now, in a comment:

I don’t understand why anybody cares what a bunch of deadbeats on a bench think of what should accepted as the “capital” of another group of deadbeats in the knesset. Well, I understand it. People think the deadbeats’ opinions matter and have some cosmic meaning on something. I just think it’s stupid, and it won’t affect anyone’s life, and people can still (!) amazingly, consider Jerusalem the capital of the universe if they want to, and politicians, whether they are on the bench or in the knesset or in jail or on the moon, don’t matter.

The Best Lines from Dave Barry’s 2014 Thunderous Bidet Year in Review

Just reading this now. Dave Barry is my mentor in writing. He doesn’t know that, but I’ve always looked up to him. Before I got all libertarianish and serious and fiery I was primarily a humor writer. You can see my old college stuff here.

Dave Barry, I am convinced, is a libertarian at heart. For the whole review, click here. Here’s my favorite part (so far, I haven’t finished reading yet):

In Washington scandal news, the Internal Revenue Service, responding to a subpoena, tells congressional investigators that it cannot produce 28 months of Lois Lerner’s emails because the hard drive they were stored on failed, and the hard drive was thrown away, and the backup tapes were erased, and no printed copies were saved — contrary to the IRS’s own record-keeping policy, which was eaten by the IRS’s dog. “It was just one crazy thing after another,” states the IRS, “and it got us to thinking: All these years we’ve been subjecting taxpayers to everything short of rectal probes if they can’t produce EVERY SINGLE DOCUMENT WE WANT, and here we lose YEARS worth of official records! So from now on, if taxpayers tell us they lost something, or just plain forgot to make a tax payment, we’ll be like, ‘Hey, whatever! Stuff happens!’ Because who are we to judge?”

…President Obama announces that the U.S. military, which finally, with much fanfare, managed to get out of Iraq after a long string of operations including Operation Desert Fox, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn, is commencing an operation in … Iraq. This new operation — against a group called “ISIL,” an acronym that stands for “ISIS” — is hampered when a technical glitch causes the Pentagon’s Operation Name Generator to spew out a string of unacceptable candidates, including Operation Staunch Bedspread, Operation Iron Tapeworm and Operation Thunderous Bidet. While technicians work to solve the problem, the military is forced to refer to the new operation as “Bob.”

In military news, the Pentagon announces that it has finally come up with a name for the current U.S. actions in Iraq and Syria: “Operation Inherent Resolve.” Seriously, that is the actual name. They should have gone with Thunderous Bidet.

In sports, the top college football teams play in the traditional year-end bowl games, including the TaxSlayer Bowl, the Bitcoin Bowl, the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl, the Duck Commander Bowl and the Thunderous Bidet Bowl. All but one of these are actual bowl games.

Feiglinites, It’s time to Separate the Men from the Boys

Writer’s stream of consciousness follows! Reader beware…

Alright, this post has been a long time coming but I’m fired up as all hell. I’m totally psyched to leave Likud, I feel invigorated and awesome, and RELIEVED that I don’t have to deal with Netanyahu’s bullshit anymore, or anyone else in that cesspool of political poisonous slime. No more looking at, no more arguing with fellow Likudniks about Moshe, no more of this crazy whacknut disgusting crap about the Likud Constitution and going to court and getting mitpakdim and blah blah blah all this politics has been driving me mad since I joined up!

It’s done! Sweep it aside! Let all the politicians, from the ones in the Knesset to the ones in the Mercaz to the ones that are just Likud Members that spend their free time analysing the moves of asinine schmucks have their little baseball diamond and WE will move forward to the nation itself, the ones in the stands! The bleachers outnumber the players what, 2000:1 on on average day?

Everyone from Tzipi Hotoveli, who I ALMOST respect, but not quite, to Tzachi HaNegbi, who I love with all my heart and sarcasm the depths of which I have never anchored so DEEPLY, to Binyamin Netanyahu. I love you man. You are the most wonderful POLITICIAN I have ever had the honor to fight. Really, on the political front, there is no better one than you. You are an absolute master at politics. As the ancient Greeks used to say, may you live forever. We are nothing but a bunch of amateurs running on “principles” that don’t “break”. There is a lot of sarcasm in this post, but I mean that seriously. You, Bibi, are the best politician in all of Israel, ever, bar none. And you beat us.

Too bad for you that most Israelis hate politicians, and when presented with an alternative, will abandon you with zero hesitation.

But all that is not the purpose of this post! Not at all!

Here’s the point people. It’s time to separate the men from the boys. Or in relevant terms, it’s time to separate the fake Feiglinites from the real Feiglinites. In other other words, it is time to separate the petty racist Arab-hating nationalist right wingers from the true liberty lovers, those who hold freedom close to their hearts and believe in the right to live without being forced into one way of life or another.

Being a Jewish nationalist is great. I am one as well. But I am only a nationalist insofar as I believe Jews have a religious obligation to voluntarily do Jewish things like live in Israel, visit Har Habayit, give Tzedaka, keep Shabbat an Kashrut etc.

Feiglinites who are pissed that Moshe is leaving without joining any other “right wing” party, as I predicted in a previous post and which turned out to be true: Why are you so angry?

Because there are, and always have been, two types of Moshe Feiglin supporters, until now. The first are the petty nationalist “Right Wingers” who believed, until now, that Moshe is just another Michael Ben Ari, no matter how many times he’s said he is not. Moshe is NOT simply a Jewish supremacist who hates Arabs and really wants them expelled, and is just using Likud as a tactic, and is essentially the same is all the other “Right Wingers”.

Now, when push comes to shove, when he has to make a move because the Likud tactic is over, the Right Wing Jewish Supremacists who thought Moshe was only about Right Wing Jewish Supremacy with a different tactic, are all expecting him to join another right wing party and “unite the right”.

But that is not what he is doing, and now they’re all pissed as hell and can’t understand why we don’t join with Ben Ari, Bennett, Yishai, or the other “right wingers” that stand for NOTHING BUT POLITICS. Which group to give tax money to, settlers or NGO’s, how much, and other gross nonsense. Some people just never learn.

And that’s all well and good, because we were never going to get to the Prime Minister’s office with the support of a bunch of Right Wingers.

Moshe is, and always has been, the Liberty candidate. The one who stands for freedom. Most right wingers have this infantile fantasy of a Right Winger forcing Torah on everyone. They should leave. We don’t need them anymore because we are not in Likud, and we are going after the young people now. All over the country. Secular, religious, Haredi, it doesn’t make a bit of difference.

We have exited the Likud womb, as Moshe said in his speech, and gone out into the world of the majority of Israelis, who want a place to live at a reasonable cost, the government off their backs, and freedom to do what they want, and we trust in God that they want to be Jews.

It’s time to separate, for real, from the so-called “Right Wing” and become the true Liberty Wing that we’ve always been, that only a few people have ever realized until now. Shed the right wingers and bring in the young people. They will come.

And the funny thing is, when the right wingers see that Moshe is winning in the polls, even they will come back and vote for Moshe Feiglin when push comes to shove.

Now let’s move forward.


Feiglin’s Next Move: What NOT to Expect

A lot of speculation going on now about what Feiglin plans to do, what’s he going to say tomorrow at Binyanei Umah in Jerusalem. Join with Bennett? Join with Yishai? Form a new party and “unite the religious zionists”?

Even the most diehard supporters, it seems, do not understand at all what Moshe Feiglin stands for or what he’s trying to do, no matter how many times he says it.

Though I have no exclusive insider information any more than anyone else has, I can say with certainty that there is no chance in hell – not one out of a hundred, not one out of a million in Dumb and Dumber terms – that he will join forces with any other politician of any other party, period. Doing that would negate everything he has built over the last 20 years of his political career since Zo Artzeinu.

It will not happen, and I am so sure of it that if it does happen, even I will break ranks with Manhigut Yehudit and stop supporting Feiglin. And that says a lot, given that this movement has been one of my three obsessions that now take over my entire life. (The others are libertarianism proper and Austrian economics.)

Why will this not happen? Saying it one more time probably won’t make any of those who still don’t understand it any clearer, but here goes. Feiglin’s goal is not, and never has been, to unite a sector, to influence government, to get a Knesset seat, or to stack his men as Ministers of Whatever. His goal is to lead the nation as Prime Minister and kick off a real revolution that will change the entire country to the core.

Bennett’s goal is not to be prime minister. It is to hold on to a seat of power and influence something, get his hands on a fist full of tax dollars and distribute them to his supporters, be they in Judea and Samaria or wherever else. He does not see himself as the leader of the nation and he never has. The Jewish Supremacists like Ben Ari, Eldad, and whoever else likes to yell and march in Um el Fahm to piss off a few Arabs for shits and giggles, have an even stupider goal in mind – to yell and scream and vent their hatred.

Join Bennett or Ben Ari or for that matter any other politician at all, and Feiglin’s whole essence, his entire message of leading the country, will be absolutely destroyed. It will undo everything he has done in shifting the consciousness of this nation to redemptive terms and we will be back at square one.

Also, do not expect him to go out attacking Netanyahu or any other politician. They are all irrelevant.

Do not expect him to sit down with all the politicians in the Nationalist Camp in private backdoor meetings and make a deal for some giant party or whatnot. He will not be uniting parties in some kind of “Bennett gets the 2-slot, Ariel 3, Yishai 4…” and so on. It will not happen.

If he does start his own party, it will be open to anyone who has libertarian values, or חירותי as the term is being coined in Hebrew. Not necessarily anarchists like me, but all those who hold liberty dear to their hearts for real. Secular, religious, Haredi, even Arab, it makes absolutely no difference.

The goal, once again, is not to unite the religious zionists, not even to unite the right wing. It is to unite those who believe in liberty to lead the country.

How on Earth is he going to become Prime Minister if he starts his own party?

First of all, his 20 years in Likud have convinced the country that he wants to lead, and he’s not just another side-guy who wants a ministry. 2 years in the Knesset have convinced many people that he is true to his values and cannot be bought.

Now is the time to see how much the nation really does see him as a leader, if they see him as different from the other sectoral warlords.

Will he run this election? I doubt it. Slim chance, not impossible, but I doubt it. The crisis has to hit first before he can really take the helm. And it’s about to hit this year. It’s best he not be part of it when the whole system comes crashing down.