By Nir Eisikovits (auth.)
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Additional resources for A Theory of Truces
The despot reviles the Jewish community living under him but admires their rabbi for his wisdom and erudition. One evening the tyrant summons the rabbi. “You are one of the smartest people around,” the tyrant begins. 20 A Theory of Truces “I don’t like you or your people, but I need help,” he continues. “See this dog at my feet – I need you to teach him to talk. If you succeed I will be kind to your people. ” The rabbi strokes his beard for a long moment. “Teach your dog to talk ... not easy ...
Such agreements matter less in dictatorial settings, where decision making proceeds largely by decree, or in societies so deeply divided along sectarian lines that the pull of ideology is too strong to split the difference. 12 Both flow from the liberal de-emphasis of questions about the nature and meaning of “the good life” in favor of more neutral, procedurally oriented political arrangements. Margalit’s aim is to legitimize a maximal range of compromises – especially when it comes to those that end wars.
The legal scholar Gabriella Blum has made a similar claim in her recent book Islands of Agreement. 3 Irreconcilable enemies don’t have to fight It is possible to avert war with those who will not make peace with us. Israel and the Hamas are genuinely irreconcilable. The Soviets and the Americans were genuinely irreconcilable during much of the Cold War. But the realization that others are radically, wildly different from us, that they see the world in terms that we can never accept, that they are, in principle, committed to our demise, does not have to lead to belligerence.
A Theory of Truces by Nir Eisikovits (auth.)