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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The road to hell

There are two things you know about the road to hell.
1) we're on it
2) it's paved with good intentions

The second of these two things is not accidental and is not cheeky folk wisdom. It's the necessary result of a phenomenon called Moral Hazard.

This is a concept you'd better get familiar with because exploiting moral hazard is the core strategy employed by the apologists for terror and jihad.

Let's start with a simple example.
If insurance companies didn't investigate arson, there would be more fires.
This example explains both the concept and its source, as Moral Hazard is primarily an insurance and financial risk management concept. This fact is important, because it points to an underlying truth about western culture, namely, that we engage in and reward risk taking behavior. In a culture that rewards risk taking, sometimes to extreme extents, the practice of risk management also reaches high levels of refinement. You've experienced this first hand if you've ever actually read the find print on a contract.

Islamic cultures, in contrast, do not encourage risk taking (or individualism, which is just cultural risk taking). But cultures that discourage risk taking behavior also have fewer safeguards to prevent the exploitation of moral hazards. Besides being a moral hazard in itself, this fact helps to explain the heavy reliance on deception in the practice of jihad. They're used to getting away with it.

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Examples of moral hazard are everywhere. The abuse of trust in a religious setting is a stark example, as is the abuse of post colonial guilt in Europe.

Good intentions, for example the desire to make amends for the exploitation of the colonial period, lead to acts of good faith (good faith gestures) which are inherently risky acts. For example, during the Oslo period, Palestinians were constantly asking for good faith gestures on Israel's part in order that she demonstrate her desire for peace. These could be prisoner releases, softening of checkpoints or other measures. The idea was to use moral pressure to compel Israel to take unnecessary risks and especially unreciprocated steps, and the idea often worked.

Good intentions lead to risk taking without the benefit of risk management, in other words to moral hazard, which is certain to be exploited. The results of Oslo are a demonstration.

To wrap this post up, I'll bet you didn't know there's actually a moral hazard factory. There really is. It's in New York. It's right on the road to hell.

7 Comments:

Blogger Beach Girl said...

Good morning! How do I get on the blogroll? How do I get to post here? The web site/blog looks good/great. We are coming together. We will make a difference and we will be positive. For humor, see Gates of Vienna post on what the Danes are up to now. Maybe they have the right idea. Profitsbeard said "humor" is the key.

6:24 AM  
Blogger Beach Girl said...

One more note. I've always had a problem with the "guilt" thing especially when I'm supposed to apologize for my culture and the things some one may have done years ago that I did not create, cause, or perpetrate.

My own failings are plenty enough for me to have to take on the failings of others.

6:27 AM  
Blogger Beach Girl said...

One more - thank you for putting our mission in the sidebar.

6:29 AM  
Anonymous TalkinKamel said...

This web site looks great. I want to be part of it, if only to comment! Keep up the good work.

And I love the Phoenix logo.

6:08 PM  
Blogger aeneas said...

Abu Nopal said: “Good intentions, for example the desire to make amends for the exploitation of the colonial period, lead to acts of good faith (good faith gestures) which are inherently risky acts. For example, during the Oslo period, Palestinians were constantly asking for good faith gestures on Israel's part in order that she demonstrate her desire for peace. These could be prisoner releases, softening of checkpoints or other measures. The idea was to use moral pressure to compel Israel to take unnecessary risks and especially unreciprocated steps, and the idea often worked.”


There have been too many acts of good faith by the West; acts of good faith seem never to be reciprocated but seem instead to be treated as proof of weakness and a willingness to pursue a policy of appeasement. The West has done a great deal to improve the lives of people around the world. We give aid, we help countries that have experienced disasters, we give asylum to those who have been persecuted. However, in many instances we do not appear even to receive gratitude in return.

We are constantly made to feel guilty for colonialism, but as far I can see the people of many of the post colonial states seem to be worse off since the end of the age of empires. Postcolonial states might have liberated ruling elites, but have they liberated and improved the lives of the majority of people in them? Western civilisation might have been involved in the slave trade, but how many other civilisations have created movements committed to the abolition of this evil institution?

The West is a civilisation that the whole of humanity can be proud of and can still learn a great deal from. It might not be fashionable to say this sort of thing anymore, but we need to stop been ashamed of Western civilisation because it still has a great deal to offer the world. It is time to regain the moral initiative!

12:38 PM  
Blogger sharinlite said...

I have been saying the exact same thing for decades, except in the past several years I've added "the left's good...."

As a reminder, nothing is good that ends up badly because someone didn't take ownership and/or responsibility for vision.

6:59 PM  
Blogger Abu Nopal said...

and yet, it's not the left trying to fight terrorism by spreading democracy.

moral hazard traps are easy, for anyone, to fall into.

7:11 PM  

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