What Would King Solomon Do?
The most well-known historical record in the world holds a wealth of information and among the annals, one can find the wise dealings of King Solomon. One particular story, known as the Judgment of Solomon, details the ancient king’s approach to a dispute; it is a timeless tale, and its lessons can be applied to current circumstances. From Wikipedia:
The Judgement of Solomon is a story from the Hebrew Bible in which Solomon ruled between two women who both claimed to be the mother of a child. Solomon ordered the baby be cut in half, with each woman to receive one half. The first woman accepted the compromise as fair, but the second begged Solomon to give the baby to her rival, preferring the baby to live, even without her. Solomon ordered the baby given to the second woman, as her love was selfless, as opposed to the first woman’s selfish disregard for the baby’s actual well-being.
This chronicle provides us with two takeaways. The first is that it takes us to the heart of many modern political problems; the traits expressed by the illegitimate “mother” in Solomon’s day are the same traits burdening societies today. At the societal level, we lack the ability to be impartial and just while living with a nature that is inherently self-absorbed and unconcerned with objectivity. It’s natural to see things in the context that most closely matches our needs and desires, and it’s completely unnatural to put aside our biases in the search for truth and justice.
Secondly, the schism we now have in America is just like Solomon’s call to judgment: many Americans are unable to tolerate leadership that is cutthroat yet wise. It may not appear to be as dramatic as the threat of a bisected baby, but it is. Despite that, it should be evident by now that we must prioritize the need to find common ground where we can—but finding common ground is not the same as compromising away what’s right and what’s wrong, although unfortunately it does often become a moral quicksand.
Historically, we as Americans have come together during times of crisis, especially wartime. We wage war, but now, it’s in a compartmented and somewhat sanitary way that most of us don’t see or feel beyond reading about or seeing on TV. We have moved from sharing in the painful sacrifices, like in WWII, to a guns-and-butter mode that tends to shelter those in the homeland from the horrors of war. Our modern military conflicts are seemingly never-ending as we don’t have defined enemies, and they are far too easy to ignore being in faraway lands. Out of sight, out of mind.
I’m neither a dove nor a hawk. The reality of war is that when you wage it, it needs to be brutal and unrestrained; that’s the fastest way to a resolution. A radical suggestion? Wouldn’t some say the same about Solomon’s judgment? Half measures in war cost lives and treasure, and prolong suffering. We no longer conduct war as the zero-sum game that it is, which is why we’ve lost all our recent wars while never losing an actual battle.
The controversial issue of whether or not to supply cluster munitions to Ukraine is an excellent example of the failure of a weakening U.S. policy, and where it inevitably leads; Ukraine is shaping up to be another “forever” war. Consider these facts:
Russia is the aggressor.
Russia is already using cluster munitions in Ukraine, primarily on civilians.
Ukraine will use U.S.-supplied cluster munitions on Ukrainian soil and against the Russian military only.
Cluster munitions could end the war sooner, on terms favorable to Ukraine, thereby saving lives.
According to the Pentagon, U.S.-designed “bomblets” have a low dud rate, unlike Russia’s. Therefore, post-war clean-up would be much easier, at least considering U.S. supplied munitions, allaying some concerns about accidental civilian casualties.
The wrong issue is that some have moral qualms about doing what we must do to win and get out. The correct issue is that wars are far too easy to get into in the first place, setting us up for the same problems we’ve had since Viet Nam. Engagement in war can’t be left up to fickle public opinion.
Case in point, look at Europe and its reluctance to defend itself. Only three of 31 NATO countries now pay the minimum of 2% of GDP that NATO nations set as the self-imposed minimum financial contribution level. For comparison, the U.S. spends 3.5% of its GDP. Most of Europe today is a paper tiger. Living for two generations under the protection of America has encouraged their social spending to explode. More importantly, European reluctance to confront evil has emboldened our joint enemies. What European leader in their right mind would allow Russia to become Europe’s primary source of natural gas? Yet they did. This was a recipe for disaster, and that’s precisely what happened; European governments were forced to ration heat, and its citizens were abused by extortion-level energy costs. This was entirely foreseeable.
Back to old King Solomon and his wisdom. He did not consult his subjects on the issue between the women, he simply made the hard but tough call. Whether we are speaking about NATO or our own country, weak leadership wants to split the baby rather than face complex realities that require strong governance.
Remember the old adage “pay me now, or pay me later”? That’s exactly how our country works today. To placate American citizens, our political leadership astutely figured out that a significant degree of legerdemain is in order in such an environment as this, as citizens are split on so many issues, with a decent portion intolerable to harsh but wise commanders.
Since our institutions’ moral authority is cratering and our political leadership’s weakness is on full display, an unspoken mode of operation has developed with crisis management at its core. Sadly, we have adopted the opposite strategy that King Solomon employed—we split the baby daily and pay a terrible price for our cowardice, narcissism, and the slavish devotion paid to winning the political game at all costs, while little to no attention is given to the long-term ramifications of current policy.
Were Solomon to rule us, he’d clean up this mess, and were we a moral society, great leadership like that of Solomon wouldn’t be so controversial.
God Bless America!
Allan J. Feifer—Patriot, Author, Businessman, and Thinker. Read more about Allan, his background, and his ideas to create a better tomorrow at www.1plus1equals2.com.
Image: Free image, Pixabay license, no attribution required.