How the Bible Inspired the Social Contract

March 17 2021

Much of modern political thought—and especially the Anglo-American strain that shaped the United States—is rooted in the idea of a social contract uniting the rulers and the ruled, in which the government’s authority ultimately rests on the consent of the governed. At first blush, nothing could be further from the Hebrew Bible, where God appoints prophets, judges, and kings to rule over the Israelites, and legislation comes from God Himself. But Kyle Swan believes there are in fact deep similarities: first and foremost, the relationship between God and Israel is at its heart a covenant into which both parties entered voluntarily, based on mutual and complementary expectations. Swan explores these ideas in conversation with Dru Johnson. (Audio, 40 minutes.)

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Read more at Biblical Mind

More about: Covenant, Hebrew Bible, Political philosophy

 

How European Fecklessness Encourages the Islamic Republic’s Assassination Campaign

In September, Cypriot police narrowly foiled a plot by an Iranian agent to murder five Jewish businessman. This was but one of roughly a dozen similar operations that Tehran has conducted in Europe since 2015—on both Israeli or Jewish and American targets—which have left three dead. Matthew Karnitschnig traces the use of assassination as a strategic tool to the very beginning of the Islamic Republic, and explains its appeal:

In the West, assassination remains a last resort (think Osama bin Laden); in authoritarian states, it’s the first (who can forget the 2017 assassination by nerve agent of Kim Jong-nam, the playboy half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, upon his arrival in Kuala Lumpur?). For rogue states, even if the murder plots are thwarted, the regimes still win by instilling fear in their enemies’ hearts and minds. That helps explain the recent frequency. Over the course of a few months last year, Iran undertook a flurry of attacks from Latin America to Africa.

Whether such operations succeed or not, the countries behind them can be sure of one thing: they won’t be made to pay for trying. Over the years, the Russian and Iranian regimes have eliminated countless dissidents, traitors, and assorted other enemies (real and perceived) on the streets of Paris, Berlin, and even Washington, often in broad daylight. Others have been quietly abducted and sent home, where they faced sham trials and were then hanged for treason.

While there’s no shortage of criticism in the West in the wake of these crimes, there are rarely real consequences. That’s especially true in Europe, where leaders have looked the other way in the face of a variety of abuses in the hopes of reviving a deal to rein in Tehran’s nuclear-weapons program and renewing business ties.

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Read more at Politico

More about: Europe, Iran, Israeli Security, Terrorism