There is, indeed, a religion, I can hardly describe it differently, among most Jews that they are right. So it is not easy to have a rational discussion with a moderate Jew about what is happening in the Middle East. It is a very emotional issue.
Naturally, he's apologized since then. That's what you do when you say what you're thinking and wish later you'd kept your mouth shut. We've done it a lot in a lifetime that is characterized by seldom being wrong, so we are sure others do it way more than we.
We won't comment on de Gucht's antisemitism or note how his outlook remains a nasty part of European culture. We prefer instead to comment on the widespread habit of accusing other people of thinking that they're right and being stubborn about it.
This blog, of course, is titled with a parody of such attitudes. We ridicule this point precisely because it is universal.
As was famously pointed out in Episode 1 of the celebrated television drama House, it is impossible to operate on the premise that one is mistaken. We assume we're right all the time, and when we believe we're wrong, we change our view and then think we're right again.
Well, our un-SWNIDish interlocutor counters, a person ought to be humble about it--open-minded, not stubborn. Sure, we agree. We ask, just who is it who determines the open-mindedness of others, and by what standard? In our experience, urgent moral exhortations to open one's mind are generally poorly veiled calls to abandon one's conclusions and adopt the point of view of the speaker, whose conclusions are themselves the demonstration of open-mindedness. Presumably, merely by changing one's mind, especially from a position aligned with one's social class or upbringing, one demonstrates the elusive "open mind," not a credulity, gullibility, weak will, the desire to please people, or even, depending on circumstances, an inclination to sacrifice principle for self-indulgence.
Further, is it humility to use one's humility as an ad hominem recommendation of one's views, or is it a cravenly passive-aggressive ploy to subvert other argumentation?
So back to our Belgian friend, do a lot of Jews think themselves right, and hold to their views stubbornly? We think this truth is self evident. Substitute any human individual or group for "Jews" in the previous sentence, and the truth value is the same. All de Gucht really said was, We European bureaucrats are right, and Jews ought to agree with us.
So, our rejoinder to de Gucht:
There is, indeed, a religion, I can hardly describe it differently, among most EU officials that they are right. So it is not easy to have a rational discussion with a moderate EU offical about what is happening in the Middle East. It is a very emotional issue.