January 20, 2008

Jacob Heilbrunn's "They Knew They Were Right"

I've just started reading They Knew They Were Right: The Rise of the Neocons by Jacob Heilbrunn, a senior editor at The National Interest. It traces neoconservatism back to the storied Trotskyite alcove at the CCNY cafeteria in the 1930s, but this section on p. 11-13 jumped out at me:

"The neocons claim to be an intellectual movement with no ethnic component to speak of. But neoconservatism is as much a reflection of Jewish immigrant social resentments and status anxiety as a legitimate movement of ideas. Indeed, however much they may deny it, neoconservatism is in a decisive respect a Jewish phenomenon, reflecting a subset of Jewish concerns. ...

"As the children of immigrants who came to the United States from Central and Eastern Europe, the original neoconservatives were steeped in the ideological feuds of the past and present. As Jews, they were exquisitely attuned to the social exclusion and WASP snobbery that their fathers experienced in the early part of the twentieth century -- an attitude they carried with them through the debates of the cold war and the halls of power after 9/11. ...

"At the same time, the neocons are apoplectic about the allegiance of American Jews to liberalism. Irving Kristol made a useful distinction in 1979, trying to account for why so many American Jews, as he saw it, retained lingering socialist sympathies. His explanation was that they were drawn to the prophetic mode of Judaism rather than the rational one that emphasized adherence to orthodox laws. Socialism became a secular prophecy, the new civic religion of American Jews, who embraced secular humanism. ... But Kristol's conceit can also be turned on the very movement that he himself has headed for several decades. The neoconservatives themselves have veered between the prophetic and the rational schools. A good case could be made that they have now gone astray in indulging their own prophetic tendencies. ...

"That [neoconservative] mentality is ineluctably Jewish, immigrant, and conditioned by a highly selective and moralistic view of history as a drama of salvation and idolatry. ...

"[N]eoconservatives are less intellectuals than prophets. They tend to be men (and women) of an uncompromising temperament who use (and treat) ideas as weapons in a moral struggle, which is why the political class in each party regards them with a mixture of appreciation and apprehension, even loathing.

"That temperament is hardly confined to Jews, and it is often objected that not all neocons are Jewish. That is, of course, quite true. ... Despite the fervent protestations of its founders and adherents, then, it is anything but an anti-Semitic canard to label neoconservatism a largely Jewish movement. I hope it's clear, however, that I am talking about a cultural proclivity specific to America Jews of a certain generation, not about something that is "essentially" Jewish in either a religious or a racial sense. The best way to understand the phenomenon may be to focus on neoconservatism as an uneasy, controversial, and tempestuous drama of Jewish immigrant assimilation -- a very American story. At bottom, it is about an unresolved civil war between a belligerent, upstart ethnic group and a staid, cautious American foreign policy establishment that lost its way after the Vietnam War."

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

55 comments:

William said...

[Neoconservatism] is about an unresolved civil war between a belligerent, upstart ethnic group and a staid, cautious American foreign policy establishment that lost its way after the Vietnam War.

Wow. Well, it's a good thing we have the steady hand of neoconservatism to guide us through the tempestuous days post 9/11. I mean, how would we keep our wits about us without them? Without them we might do something rash.

Anonymous said...

Dumbest thing I ever read. Ronald Reagan was Neocon #1. Hardly Jewish of a certain generation. You can draw a direct line from Reagan's "Morning in America" to Dick Cheney's neo-conism in response to 9/11 (i.e. someone's ass needed kicking and he was the guy to direct it).

Guys like Podhoretz the Elder were along for the ride. In the back seat. They didn't drive or own the car.

William said...

Ronald Reagan was Neocon #1. Hardly Jewish of a certain generation.

If Reagan was a neocon, then Truman was, too. Therefore, Reagan could not be Neocon #1.

Americans during the post-war years took an interest in defeating the Soviet Union for a lot of reasons, primarily because they were enslaving Europe and because they were exporting their ideology to lots of countries, including America.

There is a big difference between that and the neocon policies of open borders and "reforming" the Middle East. Islamofascism travels well only because we allow it to.

quo vadis scipio said...

[Neoconservatism] is about an unresolved civil war

yes. neoconservatism is one front in the *battle for america* otherwise known as the culture war.

Ronald Reagan was Neocon #1.

no. reagan wasn't himself a neocon. but he did end up surrounded by them. the neocons hated reagan. they still do, but only in private. although bill kristol just came out with an article with a title that suggested ditching "sentimental" attachments to reagan.

Ben Franklin said...

Reagan a Neocon? Well, there is an argument about it, but in his actual foreign policy, Reagan was surely no Neocon. In fact the Neocons attacked Reagan during the 1980s for his increasing “softness” toward the USSR, and more to the point, his lack for force on behalf of Israel. I’m sure you can find an essay by Norman Pod in Commentary attacking Reagan’s foreign policy during his second term.

In his diary Reagan called Ariel Sharon the “bad guy who wants a war.” Recall also that Reagan called Begin to demand an end to the Lebanon war, especially the bombing of Beirut.

Dick Cheney was of course Gerald Ford’s chief of staff, and it was Ford Reagan ran against in 1976. Irving Kristol endorsed Ford in 1976.

Reagan was far to the right on domestic issues very much including social issues as compared with the Neocons in the 1960s. Recall that it was during Goldwater’s race in 1964 that Reagan rose to prominence among conservatives. And in 1964 the Neocons went all the way with LBJ (a prototype of the Neocon president).

quo vadis scipio said...

btw steve, drudge is linking to an article on the sibel edmonds nuclear espionage story. too bad it's not in an american paper.

FBI denies file exposing nuclear secrets theft

but at least drudge is linking to it.

daveg said...

Guys like Podhoretz the Elder were along for the ride. In the back seat. They didn't drive or own the car.

Yes, and our foreign policy was much better back then.

It is quotes like these that make it hard to take people seriously.

We could go over all the differences between Reagan and Bush I and the neocons, the difference between the struggle with the Soviet Union and radical Islam, but to make such obviously bogus statements is just an attempt to try and cloud the waters and cover up the tracks of people who have committed serious mistakes and hurt a lot of people largely due to their own ethnic bias and blind spots.

Deal with it.

bjdauble said...

The best book on this is by JM Cuddihy, the Ordeal of Civility. It's about the conflict between the outsider and insider Jews, between Abbie Hoffman and Judge Julius Hoffman. The neo-cons belong with Abbie on the outside, attacking the amorality of the Realpolitik of the foreign policy establishment.

http://www.markrudd.com/home/why-were-there-so-many-jews-in-sds/

More than twenty years ago I read a book called, “The Ordeal of Civility: Freud, Marx, Levi-Strauss and the Jewish Struggle With Modernity.” The author, an Irish-American sociologist named John Murray Cuddihy, advances a fascinating theory on the origins of Marxism and Freudianism. Jews were newly emancipated, that is, given legal and political rights, in Western Europe in the mid to late nineteenth century. But even bourgeois Jews were still excluded from civil society by customs and especially by manners. As Jewish (or formerly Jewish) outsiders ostensibly allowed in, but not really, Marx and Freud brought critical eyes to European bourgeois society. Marx said, in effect, “You think you’ve got yourself a fine little democracy here, well let me tell you about the class exploitation and misery that’s underlying it.” . . .

We Jews at Columbia—and I would guess at colleges throughout the country—brought the same outsider view to the campuses we had been allowed into. We were peasant children right out of the shtetls of New Jersey and Queens screaming, “You want to know the truth about Columbia University, they’re a bunch of liberal imperialists! They claim to be value-neutral but when we asked them to stop their research for the Vietnam War and their racist expansion into the Harlem community, they not only ignored us, but they called out the cops to beat us up and arrest us. Up against the wall, motherfucker, this is a stickup!” Morally and emotionally we could not fit into the civilized world of the racist, defense-oriented modern university. Such was our ordeal of civility.

David said...

Sounds anti-Semitic, Steve. Jews never join or do harm. They aren't even Jews (until they are).

eh said...

"That [neoconservative] mentality is ineluctably Jewish, immigrant,...

Another reason be against immigration. As if I needed one.

johnt said...

I RECENTLY WATCHED THE NEOCONSERVATIVE BEN WATTENBERG'S THINK TANK PROGRAM ON PBS. HIS GUEST WAS THE RESPECTED SCHOLAR JAMES WILSON, WHO YOU HAVE PRAISED IN THE PAST. ASKED TO NAME AN EXTREMIST ON THE RIGHT, WILSON NAMED PAT BUCHANAN FOR HIS "BIZARRE" VIEWS. MOREOVER, HE DESCRIBED THE AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE, WHICH HE IS AFFILIATED, AS HAVING NO POSITION ON THE IRAQ WAR! IN THE NEOCON WORLDVIEW, BUCHANAN IS AN ISOLATIONIST FOR STRONGLY OPPOSING AN UNNECESSARY WAR THAT HAS COST THE LIVES OF THOUSANDS OF AMERICANS, HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF IRAQIS, AND COST OVER $1 TRILLION.

fifi said...

I heard that neocons like entertainers are often manic-depressive which goes a long way towards explaining their foreign policy. Invite the world in a delirious fit of magnanimity then invade the world due to extreme paranoia. Can anyone confirm this?

Bipolar disorder might also explain Freud's dark fantasies about the typical middle class European family. Or maybe it was just him projecting his own demented desires.

Martin said...

"quo vadis scipio said...

no. reagan wasn't himself a neocon. but he did end up surrounded by them. the neocons hated reagan. they still do, but only in private. although bill kristol just came out with an article with a title that suggested ditching "sentimental" attachments to reagan."

I've recently been reading "Arsenals of Folly" by Richard Rhodes, which is mostly about the nuclear disarmament talks of the 1980's. This book largely bears out what you say.

Neoconservatives like Pearle and Wolfowitz thought Reagan was a chump, for believing that the time had come for negotiating with the Soviets (after Gorbachev became first secretary). In this, of course, they were not alone: I believe that William F. Buckley and company expressed much the same opinion (although perhaps a little more respectfully of the old man).

I should point out, that I don't entirely trust this book. Although I liked Rhodes' previous two books about nuclear weapons: "The Making of the Atomic Bomb", which was outstanding, and "Dark Sun" which was pretty good, in this one, Rhodes wears his liberal sentiments on his sleeve. Although he admits that Kennedy bears much of the blame for the massive expansion of nuclear arsenals, whereas Eisenhower was always a force for restraint, he still manages to never critizice Kennedy, and yet never say anything good about Ike. He also lays all of the credit for the post-1986 cold-war thaw with Gorbachev, making Reagan out to be a completely passive player.

The most interesting thing I found in this book was mention of an obscure book from the 70's which predicted the economic, and demographic, collapse of the Soviet Union - "The Final Fall", written by french demographer Emmanuel Todd, and published in 1976.

Svigor said...

"[N]eoconservatives are less intellectuals than prophets. They tend to be men (and women) of an uncompromising temperament who use (and treat) ideas as weapons in a moral struggle

Yes! But, this is a Jewish trait, not a neoconservative one. I've experienced this firsthand again and again. It's a crucial trait, seeded as it is amongst "the other fella has a point of view" suckers like whites, who can't even recognize that they're in a conflict.

I don't want to go so far as to state that this trait, now manifestly baked into liberalism (where it counts, of course), is of Jewish origin, though it's not unlikely.

SFG said...

True, but liberal Jews, who are, you know, most of the Jews, were against the war. The neocons are actually a pretty small group.

Donald Douglas said...

I've thought about this a bit, for I don't myself look at neoconservativism through the lense of faith. I see neoconservatism as more an ideology (although so far Heilbrunn's discussion has avoided that label).

Moreover, despite the slurs, some of the most influential neocons in American foreign policy have been non-Jewish: Bill Bennett, Jeanne Kirkpatrick, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and Michael Novak. Some top neocon heavyweights - President Bush, Vice President Richard Cheney, and former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton - aren't Jewish.

Certainly, though, identification with neoconservativism - irrespective of religion - correlates with support for Israel. I think in my case, after September 11, when I really started paying attention to the radical diatribes against American foreign policy, I gravitated toward neoconservative ideology, and its identification with the survival of the Jewish state.

American Power

anony-mouse said...

If a Jew can write a book critical of neoconservatism and its links to Jews (of course not all neocons are Jewish),---

do you think an anti-Jew can write a book critical of paleoconservatism and its link to anti-Jews (of course not all paleos are anti-Jewish)?

Fair's fair.

Anonymous said...

Wow, lots of Jew-hating here.

Reagan certainly *WAS* a neocon. Truman-Eisenhower started containment, and JFK-LBJ continued that. It was NIXON who started (under Kissinger) Detente and Ford-Carter who continued that policy.

Reagan and Reaganism was a reaction to Detente and a deliberate attempt to end the Soviet Union. Through a combination of military spending, diplomacy, and pressing the Gulf states to pump out oil and impoverish the USSR. Prominent neocons included Bob Casey, Caspar Weinberger, George Schultz, and Ollie North.

Guys like Podhoretz, Goldberg, Kristol (not Jewish btw) after 9/11 simply took Reaganism and applied it's principles: aggressive action on all fronts to defeat the enemy, and aggressive promotion of American Democracy as the substitute for the enemy's ideology, to it's logical conclusion.

While these guys had some influence, Cheney, Bush, Rice, Rumsfeld were the core neo-Reaganites/neocons. Unless they had evil mind control rays it's hard to see how their articles competed with the legacy of Ronald Reagan.

What the neocons did not do was conduct "secret wars" in Central America, propose deals with the Iranians (sure to be betrayed by them), argue that "running away" ala Beirut was cost-free. The Cheney Neo-con argument was the Reagan in those areas was not "Reagan enough" and more Reagan principles was good for what ailed America.

[Reagan was also Open Border -- 1986 Amnesty anyone? Neocons like Bush are also in that vein.]

fifi said...

"Wow, lots of Jew-hating here." - anon

Anytime non-Jews seek to fight relentless ideological imperialism of a kind common among a Jewish cohort, they are attacked as anti-Semitic. It gets tiresome. It's just another mode of attack in the pursuit of conformity. I myself loathe much that is neocon and have never been that much of a Reaganite though I was glad to read that he wanted to build bonds with Russia after bankrupting them. However, I would be perfectly willing to date a Jewish guy of suitable political beliefs who was also single, unmarried and not in a serious relationship with anyone else...

Anonymous said...

anony-mouse said...

If a Jew can write a book critical of neoconservatism and its links to Jews (of course not all neocons are Jewish),---

do you think an anti-Jew can write a book critical of paleoconservatism and its link to anti-Jews (of course not all paleos are anti-Jewish)?


Your comparison betrays your obessession, like most neo-cons, with Israel (not Jews per se).

Paleos are obsessed with America, and what's best for Americans. Unfortunately, this makes them seem like anti-Israel to the very powerful Jewish neocons who believe uncritical support of Israel is America's main raison d'etre.

A more apt, and less veiled, comparison would be:

Can an American gentile write a book critical of Paleoconservativism based upon it's link to American gentiles?

The answer is yes, and quite a bit have been written along this line, especially since the 60s. That is, elite liberal Whites basically attacking Paleos and conservatives in general. Go to most any University or MSM outlet and you'll find a lot of the authors of these kinds of books.

Justin said...

"Wow, lots of Jew-hating here." -

Pathetic! It is all too much to bear. I see no Jew hating whatsoever. How is seeking to understand the world analagous with Jew hating? Are all Jews the best, most caring people, incapable of ever subordinating the rights of another person or their country?

Bill said...

SFG said...

True, but liberal Jews, who are, you know, most of the Jews, were against the war. The neocons are actually a pretty small group.


I'm not sure I believe that. My memory may not be what it used to be, but I think I remember some polls before the invasion that suggested otherwise.

If you look at the war from a Jewish perspective, it seemed like a righteous cause. Saddam was paying suicide bombers' families, had fired missiles at Israel and made a lot of noise about the Jews.

I think part of the problem is that Jews instinctively hide their own perspective (I think it's culturally ingrained from centuries of practicing taqiyyah, or dissimulation) and try to come up with rationales that they think will be more acceptable to others.

The more I learn about Christianity and Judaism the more apparent it becomes to me that the most important division and conflict between Jews and Europeans is religious rather than racial, so this passage, which comes close to labeling neoconservatism as a Jewish sect, makes good sense to me. Also, if you take a close look at the Gentiles who adhere to neoconservatism, you might get an idea of how Judaism proselytized in premodern Europe.

Martin said...

"SFG said...

True, but liberal Jews, who are, you know, most of the Jews, were against the war. The neocons are actually a pretty small group."

Certainly all of the jews I know are rather liberal, and they all despise George W. Bush, and his war.

Here is a question I have had for sometime. Certain neo-conservatives who are jews supported the war in Iraq, and even advocated toppling Saddam Hussein back in the 90's. They are viewed by some as having done so out of loyalty to Israel, a country not technically their own.

But what do Israelis think? It seems pretty clear to me now that Israel was much better off with Saddam Hussein in power. He has two attributes which make him desirable as the head of an enemy nation - competence as a tyrant, and incompetence as an agressor. He maintained a monopoly of power, which prevented anybody in Iraq from fomenting jihad against Israel. But as a military leader, Saddam Hussein was far the inferior of Mussolini. He might lob a scud or two, but to no great effect.

I don't buy the line that the neo-cons conned the Bush administration into going to war for Israel. Bush and Cheney seemed quite willing to make war on their own initiative. And historically the Bush family hasn't been a great friend of Israel. The Israelis didn't much like Bush the elder or James Baker. And Bush the younger has pushed "democracy" in palestine, which brought Hamas to power.

The one country that Bush and Cheney definitely are in the tank for is Saudi Arabia (well, Mexico too). I find it far more likely that they're doing the Saudi's bidding than that of Israel.

TH said...

Anonymous neocon apologist said: "Guys like Podhoretz, Goldberg, Kristol (not Jewish btw) after 9/11 simply took Reaganism and applied it's principles: aggressive action on all fronts to defeat the enemy, and aggressive promotion of American Democracy as the substitute for the enemy's ideology, to it's logical conclusion."

When the US was attacked by Islamic radicals, it was not logical for the US to attack Saddam Hussein, who was an enemy of Islamic radicals, too. The fact is that the neocons had yearned to invade Iraq long before 9/11, and the attacks by the largely Saudi Arabian terrorist group provided a (poor) excuse for the neocon's long-planned war.

Reagan did NOT engage in "aggressive promotion of American Democracy as the substitute for the enemy's ideology". See Iran-Contra affair for details. To say that Reagan was not "Reagan enough" in some areas is beyond ridiculous. He was not some intellectual grounding his actions in some coherent theory; Reaganism is what Reagan did.

In what sense is Bill Kristol not Jewish? His parents Irving Kristol and Gertrude Himmelfarb are certainly Jewish.

Fred said...

"do you think an anti-Jew can write a book critical of paleoconservatism and its link to anti-Jews (of course not all paleos are anti-Jewish)?"

An anti-Jew certainly could write such a book, but I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for that to happen. Not every group is as prone to objective self criticism as American Jews.

"Your comparison betrays your obessession, like most neo-cons, with Israel (not Jews per se)."

Actually, anony-mouse didn't even bring up Israel in his comparison. Since you bring it up though, it's worth noting that the Paleos' negative attitude toward Jews predated the establishment of the State of Israel, let alone America's close involvement with Israel, which didn't start until the mid-1960's.

"Paleos are obsessed with America, and what's best for Americans."

This sounds more like a description of Sailer's "Citizenist" position, than the Paleo position. Paleos haven't evinced much concern for Americans qua Americans as they have for their narrower definition of "real" Americans. Of course, the irony that many of them would have fallen outside 19th Century nativists' conception of "real" Americans is usually lost on them.

cyrus said...

"What the neocons did not do was conduct "secret wars" in Central America"

Does the name Elliot Abrams ring a bell?

icr said...

The "liberationist" school of anti-communism dates back to the early days of the Cold War and the works of James Burnham-it was not invented by the neoconservatives. Have the Kristols and Podhoretz ever cited Burnham as one of their intellectual influences? Not that I can recall.

In 1983 Reagan awarded Burnham the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Sam Francis on Burnham:
http://www.vdare.com/francis/burnham.htm
(...)
Although immigration and the movement toward a globalist "One-World" order in which the nation-state no longer exists and borders have vanished were not major issues during Burnham's writing career, much of his work focused on the early manifestations of such thinking and warned against it, while explicitly defending the concept of the nation.

"In real life," Burnham wrote in 1967, "men are joined on a much less than universal scale into a variety of groupings -- family, community, church, business, club, party, etc. -- which on the political scale reach the maximum significant limit in the nation. Since there is at present time no Humanity or Mankind (socially and historically speaking), there cannot be a World Government - though conceivably there could be a world empire
(...)

The International Jew said...

Bill - (I think it's culturally ingrained from centuries of practicing taqiyyah, or dissimulation)

Nice try, but taqqiyah is an Islamic precept.

bd7191 said...

"In what sense is Bill Kristol not Jewish? His parents Irving Kristol and Gertrude Himmelfarb are certainly Jewish." I think he was thinking of Jonah Goldberg who takes his mothers religion of Episcopalianism.

Half Sigma said...

Lots of unintelligible babble here.

All political movements attract high-IQ people. Ashkenazi Jews are disproportionately represented in all political movements because the average Ashkenazi Jew is 15 IQ points smarter than the average gentile.

The only political movement where Jews are absent is the Christian-right, and that's because Jews aren't Christian.

People seriously need to stop looking for Jewish conspiracies where none exist.

Bill said...


Nice try, but taqqiyah is an Islamic precept.

-The International Jew


Ah, but if it were also Jewish that's exactly what you would say, right? So you prove I'm correct.

hehe

Actually, deception is permissible in Judaism, and in Islam as well, but not in Christianity. Many of the martyrs in Spain under Islamic occupation were Christians who simply refused to dissimulate, even when that's all that was expected of them, under pressure from Islamic law. Then, after the tables were turned, the Inquisition was set up to root out taqqiyah practiced my marranos, moriscos and eventually Christian heretics.

You see the fundamental philosophical difference? This might explain the higher degree of religious conformity in Europe when compared to the Middle East.

Svigor said...

I'm not sure I believe that. My memory may not be what it used to be, but I think I remember some polls before the invasion that suggested otherwise.

Yes, Jews polled in favor of the war, a few points behind the general public. Once it became fait accompli, approval trended steadily downward.

But organized Jewry was and is fully in favor.

Svigor said...

All political movements attract high-IQ people. Ashkenazi Jews are disproportionately represented in all political movements because the average Ashkenazi Jew is 15 IQ points smarter than the average gentile.

Nah. Jews are a lot more political than non-Jews of similar IQ. Jews are also attracted to some very specific fields, an attraction not seen in similarly-gifted non-Jews. There are way too many smart non-Jews for your explanation to hold for the media, for example.

The vaunted Jewish IQ is almost totally absent from anything that could be construed as working for European EGI, for example. Where are the Jewish counter-movements to those elucidated by MacDonald? There isn't even one.

People seriously need to stop looking for Jewish conspiracies where none exist.

If they stop looking, how will they know whether they exist? What's next? People should stop watching for muggers where none exist?

Why is it hunkey-dorey for liberals to yakk about the WASP power structure, but not hunkey-dorey for me to yakk about the Jewish power structure?

tommy said...

do you think an anti-Jew can write a book critical of paleoconservatism and its link to anti-Jews (of course not all paleos are anti-Jewish)?

Sure. They talk about it all the time.

tommy said...

All political movements attract high-IQ people. Ashkenazi Jews are disproportionately represented in all political movements because the average Ashkenazi Jew is 15 IQ points smarter than the average gentile.

That doesn't explain why Jews lean left or why Jews are so much less prominent among the field of paleoconservatives versus neoconservatives.

manindarkhat said...

Lots of unintelligible babble here.

Unintelligible does not mean the same as unintelligent. The clue is in the suffix.

All political movements attract high-IQ people. Ashkenazi Jews are disproportionately represented in all political movements because the average Ashkenazi Jew is 15 IQ points smarter than the average gentile.

They're not disproportionately represented in the anti-immigration movement or any other movement seeking to defend the interests of gentile whites. Nor does their higher average IQ account wholly for their success: things like ethnic nepotism and aggression are also at work.

People seriously need to stop looking for Jewish conspiracies where none exist.

People seriously need to stop thinking a bit of hand-waving will make the facts go away. Neo-conservatism clearly seeks to serve Jewish interests as a certain group of Jews conceive them to be. Being pro-Israel and pro-immigration is one example. And what's your ethnicity, Half-Sigma?

anony-mouse said...

Anonymous (well one of them) said: 'Paleos are obsessed with America and what's best for Americans'

Why would European paleos think this way?

Anonymous said...

"That doesn't explain why Jews lean left or why Jews are so much less prominent among the field of paleoconservatives versus neoconservatives."

Tommy,

The reason why there aren't many (if any) Paleo Jews is because we aren't welcome in that crowd. The reason many Jews (though not today's generation of neocons, most of whom, unlike their fathers, were never leftists) lean left is because Judaism traditionally inculcated a concern for justice, and, in the first half of the 20th Century, many Jews saw the liberals as being on the side of justice (e.g., the struggles for worker's rights, civil rights, etc.). Nevertheless, Jews can be found at different points along a broad political spectrum in the U.S. today. Some examples:

- Liberal populist: The late Sen. Paul Wellstone.

- Mainstream, antiwar Democrat: Sen. Feingold, one of the first Senators to call for withdrawal from Iraq.

- Right-wing anti-immigration traditionalist: Radio talk show host Mark Levin.

- Left-wing anti-Western, anti-capitalist, anti-Israel: Noam Chomsky

und so weiter (as your ancestors in the old country would say).

tommy said...

The reason why there aren't many (if any) Paleo Jews is because we aren't welcome in that crowd. The reason many Jews (though not today's generation of neocons, most of whom, unlike their fathers, were never leftists) lean left is because Judaism traditionally inculcated a concern for justice, and, in the first half of the 20th Century, many Jews saw the liberals as being on the side of justice (e.g., the struggles for worker's rights, civil rights, etc.).

Thanks for providing a theory. I don't know that I agree, but I certainly appreciate it more if you had simply said that you can find Jews of all stripes since the same could be said of any group and that doesn't explain why some groups lean further in one direction or another.

If Jews wanted to support paleoconservative policies they certainly could. It could be argued that traditional mainstream conservatism hasn't been particularly welcoming toward Jews. That hasn't stopped the neocons.

Anonymous said...

"If Jews wanted to support paleoconservative policies they certainly could."

Some do, e.g., Mark Levin. But Paleos have a group identity that doesn't include Jews, so there is no room for Jews in that club. It's like asking where are the Jews in Germany's Christian Democrats party.

Big Bill said...

Half-sigma:
"All political movements attract high-IQ people. Ashkenazi Jews are disproportionately represented in all political movements because the average Ashkenazi Jew is 15 IQ points smarter than the average gentile.

The only political movement where Jews are absent is the Christian-right, and that's because Jews aren't Christian."

You are correct, as far as you go. Think of us gentiles as black Africans and Jews as European settlers. European settlers will always be in charge of the high-IQ political movements because European settlers are very smart. But because they are a minority, European settlers will always feel fundamentally insecure and inevitably protect themselves first.

And when for some strange reason black Africans throw off the hegemony of European settlers, the settlers will stand in shock and horror, telling the black Africans that they will never survive without the guidance, technology and education that settlers provide. And it will be heartfelt ... and no conspiracy required.

And for some strange reason the black people of Africa will always prefer to do things themselves (and even make a mess of it) rather than live in perpetuity as second class citizens.

And no conspiracy is required.

Being dominated by another changes one's culture inevitably and inexorably ... and no conspiracy is required.

I believe the Israelis have a name for the phenomenon: the Demographic Problem. The only difference is that the Israelis are fearful of being overwhelmed by majority of Arab votes and not a minority of Arab smarts.

Anonymous said...

There have been a few Jews in paleocon circles, such as Paul Gottfried and Jacob Neusner, so it is not as if they unwelcome. Jews just don't seem to find anything that smacks of nationalism to be attractive. Maybe they just don't find traditionalist Gentile concerns to be of much interest to them.

Compared to other causes there are very few involved in so-called anti-immigrant movements. Prior to immigration becoming a big issue on the right Jews were virtually non-existent among such movements.

I don't think there are many Jewish "isolationists" either.

I've thought about this a bit, for I don't myself look at neoconservativism through the lense of faith.

Jews are an ethnic group.

Alex said...

"All political movements attract high-IQ people. …The only political movement where Jews are absent is the Christian-right, and that's because Jews aren't Christian._"

I can think of at least one: that crazy guy Michael D. Evans, author of books like Showdown with Nuclear Iran and The Final Move Beyond Iraq. Although a Christian minister, he’s of Jewish descent and identifies as such.

And though he’s not a convert to Christianity, I kind of think Michael Medved should count too.

So, while clearly at a lower rate than other political movements, even the Christian-right attracts some Jews. Although my examples may be exceptions to your high-IQ point.

mik said...

Why is it hunkey-dorey for liberals to yakk about the WASP power structure, but not hunkey-dorey for me to yakk about the Jewish power structure?

Because your IQ is less than your shoe size and you think that the Jew doctors cut your penis too small?

David Davenport said...

But Paleos have a group identity that doesn't include Jews, so there is no room for Jews in that club. It's like asking where are the Jews in Germany's Christian Democrats party.

Check this:

The Jewish Confederates (NS) by Robert N. Rosen (Hardcover - Oct 2000)
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Get it by Thursday, Jan 24 if you order in the next 5 hours and choose one-day shipping.
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Excerpt - page 44: "... the Library of Congress.) (Right) Map of Charleston showing key Jewish Confederate sites. ..."
Surprise me! See a random page in this book.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw/104-6120669-7562316?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=jewish+confederates&x=18&y=29


History trivia question: who was Judah C. Benjamin?

.. Both Chompsky and his protege, Norman Finkelstein, like to make the point that, prior to about 1967, many or perhaps most Jewish Americans wanted to be assimilated Americans.

Svigor said...

The reason why there aren't many (if any) Paleo Jews is because we aren't welcome in that crowd.

The world heavyweight champions of political activism don't go paleocon because they get the cold shoulder from non-Jewish paleos?

Intelligence-insulting facile argument #335211; Jews need no one's approval to do what they want politically. They start movements at the drop of a hat. But we're supposed to believe that the group who gave the world the word chutzpah suddenly turn into shrinking violets when it comes to real conservatism?

Gimme a break already. Who comes up with this drek?

Svigor said...

There have been a few Jews in paleocon circles, such as Paul Gottfried and Jacob Neusner, so it is not as if they unwelcome. Jews just don't seem to find anything that smacks of nationalism to be attractive.

Israeli Jews seem to be all over it like a cheap suit. American Jews seem all over Israeli nationalism like a cheap suit.

Maybe they just don't find traditionalist Gentile concerns to be of much interest to them.

They seem to find them interesting, but in the wrong direction.

Anonymous said...

"History trivia question: who was Judah C. Benjamin?"

Are you equating Confederates with Paelocons? That makes no sense. Paleocons are Republicans, and one of the key planks in the Republicans' platform in Benjamin's time, of course, was their opposition to slavery.

".. Both Chompsky and his protege, Norman Finkelstein, like to make the point that, prior to about 1967, many or perhaps most Jewish Americans wanted to be assimilated Americans."

First, there's no "p" in Chomsky. Second, nearly all American Jews want to be, and are, assimilated Americans. In fact, they are so assimilated that half of them marry non-Jews. There are exceptions among the ultra-orthodox, who embrace the freedom America has given them to live in their own communities, but they are no less American (and are less isolated) than traditional Amish or Mennonite communities.

Anonymous said...

Are you equating Confederates with Paelocons? That makes no sense. Paleocons are Republicans

You obviously know nothing about paleocons. (Maybe you think Newt and Rush or paleos? LOL) Go to their websites - Chronicles, Conservative Times, Taki, - and read what they have to say about the GOP and The Great Liberator.

Svigor said...

nearly all American Jews want to be, and are, assimilated Americans. In fact, they are so assimilated that half of them marry non-Jews.

Jews have far lower intermarriage rates than other groups. All the yakking Jews do over having the lowest intermarriage rate of any group (certainly any white group) just serves to prove how much less they are intermarrying, and how much they oppose intermarriage.

Anybody know the interracial marriage rate for Jews? I suspect I don't, after years of reading about this sort of topic, precisely because Jews don't want me to know.

Paleos have a group identity that doesn't include Jews, so there is no room for Jews in that club. It's like asking where are the Jews in Germany's Christian Democrats party.

When Jews are excluded from something they want to do, they do it on their own. Just come out and admit they don't want to be paleos; you'll get points for honesty, at least. This shrinking violet thing is laughable.

Francis Salvador said...

"When Jews are excluded from something they want to do, they do it on their own. Just come out and admit they don't want to be paleos; you'll get points for honesty, at least. This shrinking violet thing is laughable."

Why would we want to be Paleos when Paleos like you give us the finger? Paleo-populism is, like all forms of populism, an ideology for economic under-achievers. We Jews tend to be empathetic and philanthropic to have-nots, which is why we often support policies to help other groups (e.g., Civil Rights for blacks) or those which go against our economic interests (progressive taxation and generous social spending for the poor). But if you hate us, why would you expect us to go out of our way to advance your agenda? We're not shrinking violets, but were not all masochists either.

fifi for nationalism said...

"Paleo-populism is, like all forms of populism, an ideology for economic under-achievers. We Jews tend to be empathetic and philanthropic to have-nots..."

Two points.

Paleo-populism is about having a manufacturing base in this country so that those who aren't among the educated elite will have access to jobs other than waitress, retail clerk, or car washer.

Donating or redistribution of income to have-nots wouldn't be necessary were you to support policies that keep jobs from going overseas (see above).

I know you like to feel good about yourself that after impoverishing the former middle class with your globalist corporate agenda you provide them welfare but it makes you no less guilty.

Francis Salvador said...

Fifi,

American manufacturing exports are at record levels today. Great American manufacturing companies like Boeing, John Deere, United Technologies, GE, etc. are booming, supplying demand for infrastructure and heavy equipment in the developing world. Like all successful American industries though (e.g., farming), American high-tech manufacturers are more efficient today and thus require fewer workers to produce more output. So like everyone else in the workforce, manufacturing workers have to compete for these (typically high-paying) jobs.

Paleo-populists look back on the glory days post-WWII when the factories of Europe and Japan had been smashed to rubble, leaving so little competition for American manufacturers that they could afford to pay lavish wages for life to workers who failed out of high school. The saga of the UAW sucking our big-three auto makers dry shows what happens when you try to continue those policies in a competitive world.

Sorry you have to hustle to get a good job, but so do the rest of us. Deal with it.

Svigor said...

Why would we want to be Paleos when Paleos like you give us the finger?

The question is irrelevant. Jews don't pursue Paleoconservatism because it's not in their interests. Jews aren't worried about anyone giving them the finger. What are we to think chutzpah is - a myth?

Paleo-populism is, like all forms of populism, an ideology for economic under-achievers.

Oooh, wicked burn! Is your point that economic under-achievers shouldn't pursue their own interests, or that normal people should avoid the politics of economic under-achievers, lest they catch the same disease, or both?

We Jews tend to be empathetic and philanthropic to have-nots, which is why we often support policies to help other groups (e.g., Civil Rights for blacks) or those which go against our economic interests (progressive taxation and generous social spending for the poor).

Jews tend to be less empathetic toward outgroups than most groups - this is part and parcel of high ethnocentrism. See the historical role of Jewries as exploiter-middleman (Soviet Union, Soviet satellites, Medieval Europe, etc.) for good examples.

Jews advanced civil rights for their own ethnic interests, not out of any sense of generosity. They favor progressive taxation because they know those who pay the biggest bribes stay closest to the king's ear. Philanthropy toward fellow Jews is of course written into Judaism, and by extension modern Jewry, but I've never seen a scintilla of evidence that this crosses the ethnic divide.

It might not be a proxy for empathy toward outgroups, but it's in the neighborhood: Jews are drastically less trusting of outgroups than any other European denomination:

[148] Just how distrustful Jews are has been calculated in a survey conducted by the National Opinion Research Center for Dr. Melvin Kohn of the National Institute of Mental Health. In this survey, Jews almost leaped off the chart in terms of their intrinsic distrust of others. That survey, reported by the center's Andrew Greeley in his book That Most Distrustful Nation, attempted to assess various white ethnic groups' comparable levels of distrust. The scale went from Plus 4--most trusting--to Minus 4--least trusting:

GROUP ORDER AND SCORE
Irish Catholic 2.506
Scandinavian Protestant 1.583
Slavic Catholic 1.481
German Protestant 0.767
German Catholic 0.757
Italian Catholic 0.502
White, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant 0.242
Jewish - 3.106


Do you have any data on Jewish philanthropy to outgroups, vs. non-Jewish philanthropy to outgroups? How about Israelis? Any data on them? Do they seem to be worried about the wellbeing of outgroups around them? In my experience, Israel (i.e., Jews on their own) seem to travel in the opposite direction.

But if you hate us, why would you expect us to go out of our way to advance your agenda? We're not shrinking violets, but were not all masochists either.

There was lots of animus against Jews prior to their march through the institutions, rise to financial prominence, etc. Why didn't they wilt in the face of all that? Hell, the left seems to be trending toward "anti-Semitism"; why aren't Jews trending right just as quickly?

This whole conversation is stupid, really. I feel like a sucker for even entertaining this nonsense.

JH said...

Heilbrunn's book is very good in its analysis of the neocons' relationships to Jewishness and modern Jewish experience. He's right on the money. Otherwise, his book is quite fatuous. The neocons are irrelevant, fighting the battles of the past. The idea that a group of crazy Jews (and Heilbrunn clearly regards them as rather crazy ('fanatics', 'extremists', he calls them)) took control of American foreign policy through 'prophetic bravado and savvy street-fighting skills' is, well, crazy, and a good example of academic detachment from reality. The establishment used the neocons for whatever they were worth in rhetoric and theatrics, but, despite what the necons or anyone else may claim, never included them in central decision-making. That is a fact. (Of course, Bush et al. must have enjoyed the Left's squirming under the potential charge of antisemitism due to its unsuccessful efforts to control itself from seeking to discredit the neocons on the basis of their Jewisness alone. THAT would be must illiberal. Are Jews open season for the Left if they leave the Left? Tsk. Tsk. What a laugh!)