Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Lessons from Waco

Excerpted from a piece - SACRED AND PROFANE, How not to negotiate with believers, by Malcolm Gladwell -  on Waco and the Branch Davidians:
That is standard negotiation practice, which is based on the idea that, through sufficient patience and reason, a deranged husband or a cornered bank robber can be moved from emotionality to rationality. Negotiation is an exercise in pragmatism—in bargaining over a series of concrete objectives: If you give up one of your weapons, I will bring you water...But, as the conflict-studies scholar Jayne Docherty argues, the F.B.I.’s approach was doomed from the outset. In “Learning Lessons from Waco”—one of the very best of the Mount Carmel retrospectives—Docherty points out that the techniques that work on bank robbers don’t work on committed believers. There was no pragmatism hidden below a layer of posturing, lies, and grandiosity. Docherty uses Max Weber’s typology to describe the Davidians. They were “value-rational”—that is to say, their rationality was organized around values, not goals. A value-rational person would accept his fourteen-year-old daughter’s polygamous marriage, if he was convinced that it was in fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. Because the F.B.I. could not take the faith of the Branch Davidians seriously, it had no meaningful way to communicate with them...

The West, Obama, Kerry, EU, Blair, et al., are stuck in the same mold of seeing the Arab animosity, hostility and rejection of Israel, Jews, Judaism and Zionism as a rational construction of claims for victimhood, of supposed real wrongs that were done to them.

That approach and outlook won't work. 

(thanks to EV)


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