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The problem of "benevolent projection"?

Reader comment on item: Israel's Unnecessary War in Lebanon

Submitted by PRODOS (Australia), Jul 18, 2006 at 18:30

It's always a pleasure to read Daniel Pipes' views.

Betsy Speicher, A good friend in the USA (I'm in Australia) once described to me what she referred to as "benevolent projection".

One of the traps that good, moral people fall into is that they project their own decency and honesty onto those who have none.

Because a good person believes in keeping his word, he assumes that others will. Because a good person believes in getting on with life and seeking happiness, he assumes that others will. Because a good person, when he makes a mistake, tries to correct it, he assumes that others will. Because good people value life, they really can't conceive that anyone could praise death.

The citizens of Israel and the USA (and Australia) too often treat their enemies as if they're like themselves but perhaps gone astray a little - gotten off track. That they're good, nice people somewhere deep down who have some gripe, and are overreacting - perhaps out of pain. They wrongly believe that patience, goodwill, benevolence, and a bit of give-and-take will ultimately solve all problems.

It's very difficult - almost impossible - for decent people to accept the reality of evil. And even when they do so, it's a brief experience.

After the immediate problem is seemingly dealt with, they look at the world again and see only the sun shining, the birds singing, the pretty girls, the charming lads, the emails from their friends, the smell of coffee. The good life! The sweet things!

Meanwhile ... Iran, Hamas, Syria, etc., etc. really ARE planning to wipe them off the face of the earth.

This is a difficult problem.

Best Wishes,



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