March 30th, 2010

The common denominator

Here’s a comment from a piece at PJ:

I hope the Jews who voted for this POTUS are just tickled by this guy’s hopey changey for Israel. James Baker in 1992: F**k the Jews, they don’t vote for us anyway; the Obami in 2010: F**k the Jews, they’ll vote for us anyway.

The common denominator?: F**k the Jews.

41 Responses to “The common denominator”

  1. Occam's Beard Says:

    Yup, but the other common denominator is that being of certain and predictable allegiance removes all leverage.

    Those on the fence, the wobblers, have leverage because both sides have to compete for their support.

    In fact, this is precisely the problem with proportional representation: all too often the swing vote between two large parties is some whacked-out extremist party which thereby gains influence wildly disproportionate to its representation or support in the electorate.

  2. Paul Snively Says:

    Clowns to the Left of me, jokers to the Right, here I am, stuck in the middle with Jews. :-)

  3. csimon Says:

    Not so tickled pink here! I’ve noticed all my friends — who robotically voted for the Democrat — despite warnings (Obama used that smooth tongue of his to soothe all those wealthy donors at PAC meetings). They wanted to believe, so they believed. Now G-d Forbid the word Israel is used in a sentence, they change the subject, no matter what it is! (which doesn’t say much for their commitmet — to Israel, that is — to begin with, does it?

    My Dad & I discuss this all the time — the automaton Dem. voters, the status they have achieved being huge Dem donors, and especially Obama donors. Boy were they proud of themselves last summer! They’d couldn’t stop telling you how smart they were.

    Funny thing is (not so funny), it’s hard to get them to talk at all these days. In my Dad’s set, it’s more like ”shaddup and play cards!”

    …and Israel’s out there hangin’ in the wind while Iran revs up those damn centrifuges, and Obama sits in the White House and chuckles w/ Valerie Jarrett and disaffected Jews like David Axelrod.

  4. Mrs Whatsit Says:

    Paul Snively has already won the thread — not to mention caused that doggoned song to get stuck in my head for who knows how long.

  5. Perfected democrat Says:

    “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.”

  6. Scott Says:

    By nearly all accounts, Obama gives more weight to the advice he receives from the “inner circle” of Rahm, Axelrod and Jarrett than to his own cabinet.

    2 of the 3 are jews. They either agree with the policy or they don’t disagree with it enough to resign.

    Plus, there’s a large and vocal far left, “enlightened” American Jewish community who are critical of Israeli settlement policy (i.e., Norman Finklestein, Roger Cohen of NYT, etc.) and Israel’s response when it is attacked by Palestinians. As a far left ideologue himself, Obama probably sympathizes with the far left’s criticiism.

    As weak as Obama is, I doubt he would pursue this policy if he were getting tons of opposition from either the far left American Jewish community or from Rahm and Axelrod.

    So, in a sense, it’s as much about a segment of the American Jewish community saying F**K Israeli Jews as it is about Obama saying that.

  7. expat Says:

    Occam’s,

    You are spot on about proportional representation. The 10% groups lke the Greens here in Germany push for their key issues within the coalition regardless of what the other 90% of voters think. They make it very hard to set national priorities and develop consistant policy. Also, they are represented in every talk show so you see the idiots on TV all the time.

  8. neo-neocon Says:

    Scott: yes, for many American Jews their liberal and/or leftist politics trump any consideration of their Jewishness and the fate of Israel. It also protects them against the commonplace charge of dual loyalty. Almost all of those Jews are secular Jews; religious Jews tend to feel quite differently and are far less willing to throw Israel under Obama’s big bus.

    Rahm Emanuel is somewhat of a puzzle, however. He is said to be rather religious (not sure whether Axelrod is a practicing Jew; my guess would be not). But I get the feeling that Emanuel has been somewhat marginalized lately by Obama in terms of advice; not sure what his position on Israel is. I don’t think he’s commented on the treatment Obama gave Netanyahu (if you find a quote, let me know).

  9. Artfldgr Says:

    On the Jewish Question is a work by Karl Marx, written in 1843, and first published in Paris in 1844 under the German title Zur Judenfrage in the Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher. It was one of Marx’s first attempts to deal with categories that would later be called the materialist conception of history.

    then wiki has this funny sentence..

    Though Marx was of Jewish ethnicity himself, On the Jewish Question was accused by some commentators of being anti-semitic.[4]

    here is the end part..
    The chimerical nationality of the Jew is the nationality of the merchant, of the man of money in general.

    The groundless law of the Jew is only a religious caricature of groundless morality and right in general, of the purely formal rites with which the world of self-interest surrounds itself.

    Here, too, man’s supreme relation is the legal one, his relation to laws that are valid for him not because they are laws of his own will and nature, but because they are the dominant laws and because departure from them is avenged.

    Jewish Jesuitism, the same practical Jesuitism which Bauer discovers in the Talmud, is the relation of the world of self-interest to the laws governing that world, the chief art of which consists in the cunning circumvention of these laws.

    Indeed, the movement of this world within its framework of laws is bound to be a continual suspension of law.

    Judaism could not develop further as a religion, could not develop further theoretically, because the world outlook of practical need is essentially limited and is completed in a few strokes.

    By its very nature, the religion of practical need could find its consummation not in theory, but only in practice, precisely because its truth is practice.

    Judaism could not create a new world; it could only draw the new creations and conditions of the world into the sphere of its activity, because practical need, the rationale of which is self-interest, is passive and does not expand at will, but finds itself enlarged as a result of the continuous development of social conditions.

    Judaism reaches its highest point with the perfection of civil society, but it is only in the Christian world that civil society attains perfection. Only under the dominance of Christianity, which makes all national, natural, moral, and theoretical conditions extrinsic to man, could civil society separate itself completely from the life of the state, sever all the species-ties of man, put egoism and selfish need in the place of these species-ties, and dissolve the human world into a world of atomistic individuals who are inimically opposed to one another.

    Christianity sprang from Judaism. It has merged again in Judaism.

    From the outset, the Christian was the theorizing Jew, the Jew is, therefore, the practical Christian, and the practical Christian has become a Jew again.

    Christianity had only in semblance overcome real Judaism. It was too noble-minded, too spiritualistic to eliminate the crudity of practical need in any other way than by elevation to the skies.

    Christianity is the sublime thought of Judaism, Judaism is the common practical application of Christianity, but this application could only become general after Christianity as a developed religion had completed theoretically the estrangement of man from himself and from nature.

    Only then could Judaism achieve universal dominance and make alienated man and alienated nature into alienable, vendible objects subjected to the slavery of egoistic need and to trading.

    Selling [verausserung] is the practical aspect of alienation [Entausserung]. Just as man, as long as he is in the grip of religion, is able to objectify his essential nature only by turning it into something alien, something fantastic, so under the domination of egoistic need he can be active practically, and produce objects in practice, only by putting his products, and his activity, under the domination of an alien being, and bestowing the significance of an alien entity – money – on them.

    In its perfected practice, Christian egoism of heavenly bliss is necessarily transformed into the corporal egoism of the Jew, heavenly need is turned into world need, subjectivism into self-interest. We explain the tenacity of the Jew not by his religion, but, on the contrary, by the human basis of his religion – practical need, egoism.

    Since in civil society the real nature of the Jew has been universally realized and secularized, civil society could not convince the Jew of the unreality of his religious nature, which is indeed only the ideal aspect of practical need. Consequently, not only in the Pentateuch and the Talmud, but in present-day society we find the nature of the modern Jew, and not as an abstract nature but as one that is in the highest degree empirical, not merely as a narrowness of the Jew, but as the Jewish narrowness of society.

    Once society has succeeded in abolishing the empirical essence of Judaism – huckstering and its preconditions – the Jew will have become impossible, because his consciousness no longer has an object, because the subjective basis of Judaism, practical need, has been humanized, and because the conflict between man’s individual-sensuous existence and his species-existence has been abolished.

    The social emancipation of the Jew is the emancipation of society from Judaism.

    http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/jewish-question/index.htm

  10. Artfldgr Says:

    Just so you know… the fight against capitalism, is also the fight against Christianity and Jewish life… as they presume false origins of human interaction.

    this is why, the more power they have, the more anti religion, and anti Jewish they get.

    its FOUNDATIONAL..

    and it also explains the different acts of germany and russia… germany was socialism for germans.. and so they attacked internal people based on beliefs.

    why?

    bcause being concerned with germans, the only groups to fight were internal divisions. they were NATIONAL..

    Russia on the other hand, had many more countries under her, and so, she could designate the dysgenic not only by religion, but by WHERE they lived.

    in this way, they could destroy a village, but not be blamed for exterminating the jews, as it was a village… (who was 98% jewish)… or slavs… (slaves), or czechs… etc.

    this is why our version of communism is so nationalistic in its race assumptions. (like all whites being a part of slavery when the majority of whites in the world had never even been to America)

    the truth is that german socialism was not racist… they did not try to exterminate the blacks of north africa, or the Muslims… they went after jews and indigents and gypsies, etc. american nazi is racist..

    on the flip side… we think the opposite of the other socialism.. that it wasnt racist… except that we didn’t notice that it was Russian whites, against all other whites and races. each country they took over they removed at least 1/3rd the population and replaced that with ethnic Russians.

    in this way, they could use race games and such to always take over a county they lost control of. (stalin is an interesting read).

    and in this way, they can still seek and end to Jews, but not by saying they don’t like Jews, but by playing games over race and land.

    but the people no not the logical formula of oppressor oppressed dialectics…

    if they did, the behavior in that land makes perfect sense!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. J.L. Says:

    The common denominator?: F**k the Jews.

    The first thought that came to mind was: I hope that Obamacare has a provision for lubricant… theyre going to need it.

    But I cringed when I thought that. The truth is I have great sympathy for the Jews and Israel, and regret that the political barometer for so many American Jews is permanently stuck on left/liberal.

    God help Israel.

  12. mizpants Says:

    There is a left-liberal wing of observant Jewry — the TIKKUN, Michael Lerner gang. TIKKUN, I read somewhere means something like “to repair the world.” I don’t think they’re exactly anti-Zionist. Their attitude about Israel is highly ambivalent — a kind of visceral attachment, but deep shame about what they see as its trespasses.
    Maybe that’s where Rahm comes from.

  13. Tatyana Says:

    The dichotomy of “religious Jews: pro Israel vs. secular Jews: against or indifferent” is too generalized, not to say “flawed”, as is the case with majority of similar dichotomies.

    Rahm and/or TIKKUN are not so much a puzzle, as an indication that the world is not so black-n-white.

    Otherwise, where on this board game is a place for us: secular Jews, very much pro-Israel, libertarian, neo-con, pro-capitalist, classic liberals, right-wing, atheists, pro-gun, pro-military, & & &?

  14. Bill West Says:

    I am reminded of an exchange in the movie Bullworth with Warren Beatty, playing a liberal senator. He demonstrates the contempt with which the Democrats take for granted their loyal constituencies.

    Angry black woman: Are you sayin’ the Democratic Party don’t care about the African-American community?

    Bullworth: Isn’t that OBVIOUS? You got half your kids are out of work and the other half are in jail. Do you see ANY Democrat doing anything about it? Certainly not me! So what’re you gonna do, vote Republican? Come on! Come on, you’re not gonna vote Republican! Let’s call a spade a spade!

  15. Promethea Says:

    mizpants . . .

    Michael Lerner is a self-appointed rabbi who hates Israel. He’s in the same antisemitic camp as Marx and Axelrod.

    I don’t know where Rahm E. fits in. He’s probably just insanely power hungry. Rahm pretended to be a big Zionist hero during the Lebanon War, but the truth is that anyone (who’s vetted as not being antizionist) can volunteer for Israel. It’s no big deal.

  16. Promethea Says:

    Re my comment above . . .

    There are many antisemitic Jews. My grandfather, my uncle, and an uncle by marriage were both antisemitic.

    I come from a very strange family, as I’m sure many Jews do. Neo mentioned one of her crazy antisemitic uncles in a post once.

    Someone should take a poll sometime: How many Jews who love Israel have family members who hate Jews and Israel? It would be very interesting.

  17. Promethea Says:

    Tatyana . . .

    I like your analogy to a board game. Yes, that describes Jewish opinion.

    Another point I should make: being Jewish is also a matter of ethnic heritage. For example, part of my family is from Lithuania, but we would never say that our forebears were Lithuanian. No, they were Jews or “Litvaks.”

    A non-religious Jew may have no feeling whatsoever for Judaism or Israel. This group will probably disappear in another generation or two. The intermarriage rate is huge.

    In 100 years, most American Jews will be either absorbed or religious.

  18. Tatyana Says:

    Promethea:
    Litvaks! That’s how my grandma used to call her neighbors (she was from Poland herself, from a place that is in Belorussia now).

    I have to disagree about non-religious Jews being overwhelmingly anti-Israel. There are many (I even think, close to majority) secular Jews in Israel itself – or maybe not completely secular, but not extremely religious, either.
    It is not necessary to connect your country with religious component; it’s just your country. Like Italy for Italians no matter what denomination, or US for all kinds of denominations: it’s our country, we love it, some just immigrated in, others are third or 8th generation born here. Same in Israel, like everywhere else.

    A non-religious Jews in officially atheist USSR did not loose their Jewish identity, even after 80 years of state efforts to the contrary and 2 huge purges, by Hitler and Stalin. True, some were holding on to their religious beliefs, and many think Judaism was the thing that sustained them and gave them will to survive. Some were also covert Zionists and fought for their right to leave the SU for Promised Land. But others, being totally atheistic, however remained Jewish. Here’s that duality again…

    As to intermarriage and total absorption of Jews – I see a lot of fashionable married couples on the streets of NY: he, and obvious observant Ashkenazi,
    in yarmulke – and she, a petite Asian woman, rolling a stroller with a pretty baby. Two weeks ago I was helping a couple to pack for a move (from Brooklyn to Princeton): he, an orthodox Jew, with full 3-bookcase collection of Judaica books, and his pregnant wife, a Slavic Russian blonde. Her parents were also present – both wearing gold crosses and fawning over her and her husband…

    The life is not so black and white, again.

  19. neo-neocon Says:

    Promethea: actually, my uncle was a leftist/communist, but he was not anti-semitic. He was a leftist back in the days when, for the most part, leftists were pro-Israel. He identified quite strongly as a secular Jew.

  20. G6loq Says:

    There are people who act and look like they WANT to get fucked …

  21. neo-neocon Says:

    Tatyana: Here’s an interesting post that touches on some of these questions. The author doesn’t cite the source of his statistics, but he says that 85% of observant Jews vote Republican. That seems high to me. But the point is just that secular Jews are more likely to be leftist (and Israel-bashing) than highly observant Jews are. How much more likely, I have no idea.

  22. Tatyana Says:

    Neo,
    The author is a religious Jew and naturally, somewhat biased, don’t you think?
    However, I agree that generally Jews who are Left politically are more likely to be secular.
    Also, for people “on barricades”, so to speak – I mean in Israel, surrounded by the enemy with decidedly medieval attitude to religion-Islam, it is important to show adherence to their own religion, Judaism.

    I think in their transformation from orthodoxy lefty Jews started from a right point – liberation from religious dogma, classic liberalism and enlightenment of the 18th-19th cent. But then they got seduced by socialism which an idealistic mind can mistake for logical continuation of classic liberalism, and moving in that direction they came to a point of contradiction and dissonance. But being a stubborn people (I can say that being stubborn in my principles myself) they can’t step aside and look critically at their beliefs; they are too invested into their new – leftist – dogma. Morally, intellectually and even materially.

    In any case, sorry for the long-winded comment, I’ll shut up shortly… After I say also that this tendency might apply to US in general, but is not so straightforward in NYC (and my experience is more or less limited by NY). There are many temples and synagogues here, and their patrons are lefty Jews – they gotta be, by the way they vote.

    And I was shocked to learn that orthodox and Hasidic community of Borough Park, the most religious of religious, have been electing Democrats in City Council for decades.

  23. Artfldgr Says:

    As someone who experienced real government-approved anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union, I am amazed by the obliviousness of American Jews, the most fervent supporters of left-wing politics.

    They support a party that is obsessed with pitting one group against another, and that incessantly plays on envy and hatred for bankers, rich people, big business and doctors.

    They fail to notice that the success of Jews, as well as other minorities, in the sciences, business and arts is directly correlated to their freedom from oppressive, centralized control. American Jews who support big government do not understand what their ancestors escaped from.

    Persecutions of Jews throughout history all have one thing in common: a centralized power that manipulates and directs people’s anger away from themselves onto an easy target.

    No matter how much Jews align themselves with the power structure and work for noble causes, they will remain an easy target.

    As they said in the Soviet Union pertaining to Soviet Jews: They don’t beat your record; they beat your face — meaning that no matter how much you try to assimilate, no matter how many good deeds you do, the centralized power can direct populist anger toward you and crush you when it suits them.

    When the Bolsheviks took power after the 1917 proletarian revolution, their first steps were to take control of the banks and the media.

    Of course, it is not fair to compare our current American democratic leaders with the Bolsheviks.

    Yes, they both use the same slogans in their speeches.

    Yes, they both stir up envy and class warfare to distract from their failures.

    Yes, both political movements sought control of the banks as the foundation for their new egalitarian vision.

    And yes, they are both opposed to free speech, as was made clear by the reaction of American leftists to the recent Supreme Court decision.

    But you would never find a Czar anywhere in the Soviet government. By SVETLANA KUNIN

  24. Tatyana Says:

    Great quote above.

    I search for Svetlana Kunin and here’s a list of her articles for Investor.

    Just one tiny correction: the expression she refers to is They don’t beat you on [your] passport, they aim for your face.

  25. Bob From Virginia Says:

    I cannot begin to guess about the attitudes of the majority of American Jewish community, how any polls would be reliable is beyond me, but I can testify that there were a great many US Jews in Israel. We can assume they have extended families and communities so there is going to be more than just a polite ethnic connection. Combined with memories of one holocaust and fears of another and it’s the SOB Obama and his magic ego are endangering those we love.

    Perhaps Obama’s threats to Israel will be the catalysis for a Jewish reawakening; as in a date with the hangman tends to concentrate the mind.

  26. betsybounds Says:

    Well, I don’t know. The Jews have been, and voted, liberal for a long time, now. When I was a young girl, my best friend was Jewish, and her mother was very taken by Adlai Stevenson. I later (much later, in the event) learned that, when Adlai Stevenson the intellectual died, the single book on his bedside table was The Social Register. Some intellectual.

    Thomas Frank recently published a book about Kansas, based on the premise that the conservative rubes in Kansas (and elsewhere) are too stupid to understand their own self-interest. One wonders whether the Jews may be equally obtuse. Norman Podhoretz recently published a book asking why the Jews are so reliably liberal in their voting. I don’t think he answered his own question, but he presented some interesting food for thought.

    I think the Jews will be the focus of the last, best, fight. We do not, of course, know when it will come. But we should recall that, as Corrie ten Boom’s father said, they are the apple of God’s eye.

  27. Bob From Virginia Says:

    Just read at RubinReports that the administration has some sort of crack pot idea on engaging Hizbollah.

    Somebody else is going to have to make an insightful comment about that, calling O and his team names has lost its therapeutic benefit. Now all I want to do is shake my head in disbelief and wonder what the world will look like without the US.

  28. Perfected democrat Says:

    “… they are the apple of God’s eye.”

    Surveying several thousand years of history, actually, and getting generically and intellectually rational for a moment, apparently not…. On the other hand, neither are they, or have been, generally, mass murderers on the scale we know of several other cultural/political/ethnic/religious groups in history. However, the 78% that voted party first as dogmatic Democrats, knowing what we all knew; especially those who are still loyal Obamatoads, are certainly flirting with fratricide. I’d hate to have that on my conscience, a kind of volunteer kapo with no significant intimidation… As part of the 22%, I now definitely include the 78% when I’m thinking about how I have nothing but contempt for loyal Dems, across the board…

  29. Boots Says:

    Perhaps these liberal Jews think the rest of the world will like them better if they join the rest of the world in hating Israel.

    Once Israel is gone, America is next.

  30. Richard Aubrey Says:

    IANAJ (I am not a Jew) but I know some. That good enough?
    One writer opined that going liberal for Jews is the equivalent of moving on up.
    He used two New York neighborhoods as if they’re a bit of slang. “From XXXX to YYYY”, from poor to respectable or wealthy.
    The observant Jews are not as wealthy, don’t send their kids to camp in the Berkshires or give them thumpingly Anglo-Saxon or Viking names or dress out of L.L. Bean on the weekends.
    It would be the same as claiming that only Warrior Port will do, as opposed to Sheffield Tawny Port (sometimes available for under $6).
    Be a shame if real social and political damage came merely from social snobbery.
    Wouldn’t be the first time….

  31. J.L. Says:

    Well, at least one former Obama supporter has woken up.

    Ed Koch has come out against Obama, saying that his treatment of Israel is “shocking”.


    Prior American presidents, beginning with Truman who recognized the State of Israel in 1948, have valued Israel as a close ally and have often come to its rescue. For example, it was Richard Nixon during the 1973 war, who resupplied Israel with arms, making it possible for it to snatch victory from a potentially devastating defeat at the hands of a coalition of Arab countries including Egypt and Syria.

    President George W. Bush made it a point of protecting Israel at the United Nations and the Security Council wielding the U.S. veto against the unfair actions and sanctions that Arab countries sought to impose to cripple and, if possible, destroy, the one Jewish nation in the world. Now, in my opinion, based on the actions and statements by President Obama and members of his administration, there is grave doubt among supporters of Israel that President Obama can be counted on to do what presidents before him did – protect our ally, Israel. The Arabs can lose countless wars and still come back because of their numbers. If Israel were to lose one, it would cease to exist.

    Another quote:


    Supporters of Israel who gave their votes to candidate Obama – 78 percent of the Jewish community did – believing he would provide the same support as John McCain, this is the time to speak out and tell the President of your disappointment in him. It seems to me particularly appropriate to do so on the eve of the Passover. It is one thing to disagree with certain policies of the Israeli government. It is quite another to treat Israel and its prime minister as pariahs, which only emboldens Israel’s enemies and makes the prospect of peace even more remote.

    Good morning, Mr. Koch… I’m glad you now smell the coffee.

    See also this follow-up article by Michael Goodwin .

  32. Richard Aubrey Says:

    J.L.
    It would be interesting to add some sodium pentothal to Koch’s morning coffee and ask him how come he believed in the first place.
    Samantha Power? Rev. Wright? Jesse Jackson?
    Those folks chopped liver?
    I’d really like to know why Koch believed, or why he thought it useful to pretend to believe.
    Thinking about it, Koch is too smart to have believed. He had to know better. I’d like to know why he thought he had to lie. Until it was too late.
    “Darn. Such a mistake. Stupid me.”

  33. neo-neocon Says:

    Richard Aubrey: I don’t think it has a thing to do with social snobbery. At least, not for the people I know.

    Most of America’s Jews are descended from eastern European immigrants, mostly from Poland and Ukraine. I am generalizing, of course, but a great many of the latter came over here in the early part of the 20th century, not long before the revolution. Almost all of them were poor. Some of them were quite religious but their children in this country were not. But a goodly number of the immigrants were not religious; political activism and interest had replaced religion, and the politics was leftist.

    Virtually all of these people were poor. Their descendants did a great deal better financially. But instead of adopting more conservative politics, they stuck to the old liberal/left line. That’s why it is sometimes said that Jews earn like Presbyterians but vote like Puerto Ricans.

  34. will Says:

    Obama shouldn’t mistake his lack of response to a viable threat, with that of Israel’s. I’ve lived long enough to know that. He cannot manage what he’s got on his plate now, never mind another theater of war.

    Sure hope the GOP is working on a strong candidate for this next election, this is bad news for the country.

  35. Daniel in Brookline Says:

    The question of why American Jews are so consistently liberal is a very interesting one.

    One possible answer, which I don’t believe has been addressed yet in this thread, is the very strong Jewish cultural tradition toward education, toward social justice, and toward charity. The aforementioned TIKKUN is named after tikkun olam, literally “fixing the world”, which is usually taken to mean “doing your part to make the world a better place”; this is something Jews expect other Jews (and themselves) to do. Charity (called tzedakah in Hebrew, from the same root as the Hebrew word for “justice”), is likewise expected; in fact, it’s an obligation, a mitzvah.

    Put all this together, exaggerate it a bit for stereotype’s sake, and you get an interesting image: the egghead academic who is obsessed with giving to charity and agitating to improve the world. (Does this sound familiar?)

    The Jewish trend toward political conservatism, in my humble opinion, goes against the grain, and is largely in response to oppression — when Jews needed to worry less about fixing the world and more about their own personal survival. I’d wager that many conservative American Jews today would give a similar reason for their conservatism — that liberalism is nice, but that the dangers are just too great to be able to afford niceness.

    “The pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, an almost fanatical love of justice, and the desire for personal independence, these are the features of the Jewish tradition which make me thank my lucky stars I belong to it.” — Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

  36. M.G. Prime Says:

    Perhaps a twofer: A failure of imagination – usually a failing of the right. Plus the usual irresponsibility – a congenital failing of the left. The remaining 78 Percenters simply do not believe that Israel’s existence is “in play”. Warnings and alarms of an existential threat are discounted as, business as the usual, to-ing and fro-ing of partisan politics and, worse, counter productive. They cannot conceive that Israel can be destroyed. And emotionally recoil from such a thought. Repugnant choices can be delayed to another day

  37. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Neo
    Having been poor does not make one’s descendants immune to the calls of snobbery.
    Let’s take your Presbyterian-rich secular Jew.
    Suppose he got religion and started doing the observant thing pretty regularly.
    Invited to the same clubs?
    Would he–he shouldn’t–worry about being invited to the same clubs?
    Let’s say he didn’t get religion in the usual sense, but instead read Buckley et al and decided conservatism was the way to go. Same questions?
    Is liberalism a social signaling mechanism?

    Cruel joke in western Michigan, known for being conservative, especially in religion.

    Guy’s house burns partly. Next Saturday, all his buddies from the Dutch Reform Church show up with their pickups, their compressors, their saws, their hammers and miter boxes, the loads of lumber and pvc and somebody’s Bobcat. They stand in a circle with their arms over each others’ shoulders and pray that it goes well for Brother Bob and his family and that nobody gets hurt, for the glory of God and his son, Jesus Christ. Then they get’er done.

    OTOH, if it were Episcopalians, they’d show up with candles and hold a vigil.
    This is a bit rough on the Piskies, but would not be as funny if there were not just the hint of validity.
    Problem is, even being capable of gettin’er done has a slight blue-collar, negative, non-intellectual connotation.

  38. neo-neocon Says:

    Richard Aubrey: I never said or even insinuated that having once been poor would immunize a person against snobbery. It is irrelevant to my point—although I certainly agree with you that people who were once poor can become snobs later on (and people who were once rich and become poor can retain their snobbery).

    The Jews who are liberal now are mostly the descendants of people who were poor. Most present day Jews were never poor themselves.

    But their poor ancestors (especially the ones who were not especially religious, and there were many of those) were very often liberal or leftist themselves, if they were political at all. That is the point I’m making.

    For the most part, their richer descendants are not adopting a new position out of snobbery. They are mostly continuing the leftist tilt of their poorer ancestors, at least the ones who were politically active and involved.

  39. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Neo.
    Okay for “continuing”. What would be the social results of not continuing?

    I wish I could find the piece, but it was pretty clear that the writer–I believe a Jew–thought that being liberal was a matter of moving on up–or not moving down.

    Now, what about the descendants of energetically observant Jews who go liberal and secular? Will there be a change in their social stratum?

    Do liberal, secular Jews view observant, conservative Jews with disdain? Are they like rednecks, Sarah Palins? How do they refer to energetic defenders of Israel?

    What I’m getting at is whether there is a social disincentive–among all the other factors–to being conservative, defending Israel? If a lib started that, what would happen to him socially?

    Might’s well belong to Jews for Jesus or the Baptists. Anything like that?

  40. neo-neocon Says:

    Richard Aubrey: well, that was just one person talking in that interview; not sure how prevalent it is.

    However, now that the demographics of leftism have changed, I agree with you that it is now chic to be on the left, especially in academia and the professions where many Jews reside.

    When I say the demographics of leftism have changed, I am referring to the fact that, although for many years there has been a trend towards the left in academia, for most of the first half of the twentieth century there was also a robust working class leftism. Many of the immigrant Jews of that time (and some of their first-generation descendants) were in that tradition. Now the left is composed of some of the very poor (who are for the most part not ideologues; they want the handouts) and the rich, a U-shaped curve. The working classes and the middle class tend not to be leftist at all.

  41. Richard Aubrey Says:

    neo

    “The working classes and the middle class tend not to be leftist at all.”

    Good reason to remain lib. Otherwise you’d be identified with the working and middle classes.

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About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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