Skip to main content
content roundup header
Written by Jason Montoya on . Posted in Content Roundup.

October 2023 Roundup: Nuanced Gaza Analysis, Modern Morality Clarity, & an Insightful Documentary

I expect 2024 to be a wild year for our country, so I'm reviving the content roundup blog where I share links and quotes I've consumed.

In this post, and the next, I'm still rounding up worthwhile shared content from 2023. This post is focused on resources I shared publicly in October 2023.

If you don't want to wait for these posts, be sure to join me on Upcarta or follow me on Facebook.

You can view past content roundups here.

Discovered Resources & Stories

These are worthwhile resources, I've discovered and collected.

Articles & News

On Strategy, Law, and Morality in Israel’s Gaza Operation

By Benjamin Wittes

If there is only one article you read about the situation between Israel, Palestine, and Hamas, make it this one.

An incredible, sharp, nuanced, and insightful piece.

Modern Morality Prioritizes Avoiding Evil

By Erik Torenberg

“While traditional morality identifies the highest good and worships it, modern morality identifies the deepest evil, and curses it. Modern morality holds that it’s more important to avoid evil than pursue the good, the beautiful, and the true…

And this explains our malaise. A culture that prioritizes avoiding evil will not be able to pursue the good. A culture that prioritizes raising the floor will not be able raise the ceiling. A culture that is defined by a negative morality rather than a positive morality creates a spiritual gap that needs to be filled. Culture wars happen when no real culture remains.”

Our Ultimate Refuge: A Commentary on Job

By Oswald Chambers

"One thing the war has done is to dispel all such shallow optimism as telling people to "look on the bright side of things"; or that "every cloud has a silver lining": there are some cloud that are black all through."

"The man who knows that there are problems and difficulties in life is not so easily moved."

"Job is facing a thing too difficult for him to solve or master; he realizes that there is no way out."

"The war has proved that the basis of things is what Job discovered it to be — tragic, and men are being driven to realize the need for redemption... Imagine a man seeing hell without at the same time perceiving salvation through Jesus Christ — his reason must totter."

Movie Recommendation

The Surge: The Whole Story

By Benjamin Wittes

How do we, as a society (versus individually), deal with extremism (on the radical left and right in America, or overseas like Hamas)?

I watched The Surge: The Whole Story when it came out. I revisited it during America's social chaos in 2020 and it has provided multiple helpful insights, of which I've quoted below. 

"You gotta deny the fundamentalist, the extremist on both sides access to that moderate population. You have to demonstrate to the moderate population that there is an opportunity to influence their own future." --- Somehow we had to stop the cycle of violence and the only way we were going to do it, get off the fob, live out there among the Iraqi people, partner up with the Iraqi security forces and fight these guys, and demonstrate to the Iraqi people that we're on their side." - Col. J.B. Burton Brigade Commander - Northwest Baghdad

”the absolutely fundamental prerquesitie to counter an insurgency is either to control the population or earn their support.” Cop Peter Mansoor

"In order to protect the population, you have to form a relationship with the population. That was the fundamental difference in how we addressed counterinsurgency in 2007. We had to develop a close relationship with the Iraqi people." - Col John Charloton, Brigade commander, Raamadi, Al Anbar Province, 2007

"The idea is to get every capable American soldier off his base and off with population to do good."- General David Petraeus, Commander, Multi-national force Iraq"

The first 30 days were the most contentious because the bad guys tried to overrun the COPS with a barrage of mortars, machine gun and RPGs and wave of 10-15 guys. After that, we'd get an occasional attack but they couldn't afford much more." - Col Ricky Gibbs, Brigade commander

Youtube Videos Worth Watching

The Problem in Our Politics | Michael Wear

"One inescapable conclusion of this extraordinary command is that Christians are obliged to work for the benefit and flourishing of all people whether or not they see the world as we do or agree with us in any way.

A Christian's obligation is not to their tribe, but to their God. A God who cares deeply for all people.

And if a Christian's political ideas and actions are not intended toward the good of their enemies, then their political witness is not Christian in its character. When it is, everyone benefits. " - Michael Wear

How Hamas Turned an Israeli Music Festival Into a Massacre | WSJ

Over 250 people were killed at the Tribe of Nova Festival in Re’im, Israel on Saturday – one of the deadliest sites of Hamas’s surprise attack on Israel. The festival took place just three miles from the Gaza Strip. Many attendees were also taken hostage and brought back to Gaza.

WSJ breaks down how the attack unfolded.

Extreme Ownership Versus Extreme Blaming: Which will you choose?

Mini-Blogs & News Commentary

These are mini-blogs and news commentaries that are too small to make into a blog post.

Doubling Down on Deception

The tribal landscape before us...

  • There are people in positions of power who have unresolved grief, hatred, and/or contempt (towards God, reality, themselves, someone else, etc..) and are saying, at best, incomplete, or at worst, deceptive, things.
  • Then there are people in positions of influence who are fearful or ideologically driven that trust those people in positions of power and are propagating their message, because it aligns with what they already believe.
  • And then there is the audience who receives that message but is not testing the source and truth value of the information they’re receiving. They say and act from this information as if it is true, but they are broken too and they become cruel to the targets.
      And everyone who participates is then caught in the tribal fight and feeding their pride.

      And when I’m wrong, and I side with wrongdoing, my pride is unbearably difficult to overcome so I can easily double down instead of having humility. I need someone who cares about me to remind me or point it out and I have to be open to hearing that.

      The more we practice our deceptive roles in this system, the easier it is to participate in it.

      Of Rockets and Hospitals

      Want to learn how to effectively think through confusing news reporting, with involved power players and disinformation at play, to find the truth?

      The following article on the Gaza hospital bombing (who did it?) is such a great example of what I call "glass-box thinking" (revealing the sources, demonstrating interpretation, and clarifying claims in a transparent way).

      "If one blindly believes one side or the other, this is a simple problem: the bad guys did it and are trying to shift the blame to the good guys. For the rest of us with more critical minds, we want to know if this is something that can be teased apart to reveal the truth." - William (Chip) Sayers

      This habit is something we naturally tend to do with our rivals and enemies, but we fail to do with our allies and selves. This mistake is usually based on a bad assumption that mistakes, at best, and evil, at worst, are only in our enemies and not in ourselves or our allies.

      But we are dependent rational animals (affiliate link). And that means our rationality is dependent on others. Isolation leads to delusion.

      This is the difference between conforming ourselves to reality versus shaping our perceptions of the reality we want or need (due to fear, allegiance, or ideology).

      By making our argument in a transparent way, we can put it out there for critique so that we can get the full story. What are we missing? It requires being vulnerable and courageous, as going public with our thinking is to subject our ideas to scrutiny. But I believe scrutiny makes us better and improves our understanding, while also revealing our blindspots.

      Together, we can build and update the best model for making sense of reality. But, it will require letting go of hard-earned understandings that have helped us get where we are in life now.

      What else? Did I miss some great worthwhile content? Shoot me a message here.

      Help Make This Content Engine Run

      I'd like to spend more time on creating, curating, and sharing powerful resources. If you find value in these resources and want to help make them happen, please consider sending me a few dollars to help keep the engine running.

      Click here to send a donation.

      Or, consider buying one of my freelancing and small business books and courses.

      Created on January 22, 2024.
      Last updated on January 22, 2024.