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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Why So Liberal?

Timothy Birdnow

Writing in American Thinker, Ted Belman asks why a majority of Jews are so Liberal, and indeed, often Marxist.

The standard answer is that it is a reaction to past injustice, but Leftism is the king of injustice, both to the Bourgeous and the Proletariate. Rationality would have turned Jewish people away from this long ago. No, I don't think the answer lies there.

Looking to my own ancestry, I can make some sense of their liberalism; the Irish learned to suck what they could from their British overlords, learned to live off the public dole brought by the Brits. Indeed, at times like the great potato famine they HAD to accept public assistance, and living off the work of others becomes a habit. And why not take government assistance, if the government in question is imposed from without? You may as well grab what you can, because the "foreigners" appointed over you sure will. Ireland developed a character molded by subservience. Much like African Americans, they figured they should grab what they could of the leavings. This leads to advocacy for socialism, for the welfare state, for most left-wing ideas. Also, Ireland is an island, which means land is limited. This is important; if a man has three sons he either has to divide his farm among them, or give to one and leave the other two to fend for themselves. But in a place where there is no where else to go it becomes quite difficult to fend for onesself. Opportunities diminish as population increases - at least in an agricultural community. There was a reason why so many Irish immigrated to America.

Couple that with the endless civil strife, and the Irish tendency towards organized crime (born of the rebellion against foreign invasion, just as the Corsicans or Sicilians) and the desire for some sort of order leads to an acceptance of a political view that imposes order, nay, stasis, on the body politic.

So, the Irish, having accepted the welfare state, seeking a way to find opportunity in a world where he is unlikely to do so, and seeking some peace and stability, has often joined the ranks of the Left. They carried these tendencies to America, and now they are inbred. Just look at Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, etc.

Granted, the Catholicism of the Irish didn't help. Dependence on the Church, meaning an outside entity, acts to stress communal life rather than rugged individualism. Protestantism is more personal, more private, and means that it can be practiced in isolation. Catholicism requires a priest, a church building, and the willingness to accept outside authority.

Many Catholics tend to be liberal the world over. But that alone does not explain it.

The Jews clearly do not fit the mold of the Irish in any way. Judaism is not a centralized, apostolic faith. It more resembles the Protestantism of rugged individualism. Also, the Jews are not stuck in a state of isolation as were the Irish. And they have always been very self-sufficient so they have not learned to feed off the public trough.

The other part of my ancestory is German, and many Germans in the old country are quite liberal, although most in America tend towards conservative. Germany was, after all, the birthplace of National Socialism, and the Marxists almost proclaimed Germany a Soviet Republic (Philipp Scheidemann, one of the leaders of the Social Democrats, hearing a mob advancing on the Reichstag, simply went on the balcony and proclaimed a republic - later known as the Weimar Republic, then returned to his dinner inside.)

Germany has a couple of reasons for being liberal. First, Prussia stares into the gaping maw of Asia, with an enormous plain full of all manner of invaders. Prussia was at the edge of the Mongol no-man's-land; the Golden Horde, after conquering Russia, razed the lands between themselves and the West and maintained it in a state of destruction to act as a buffer. Poland, Ukraine (which actually means borderland) Byeolorus, Hungary, were all kept in a state of destruction, and there were occasional raids from Russia to keep them that way. Prussia, the eastern province of the Holy Roman Empire, was eternally in fear of raid or attack. What happened to the lands of eastern Europe were horrendous; once as civilized or moreso than the West, they were driven into near savagery for a time. Russia itself would adopt the statist ways of their overlords, and the east Europeans would end up as beggars, eager to feed on the table scraps of others. It's understandable why the eastern Europeans would find socialism appealing, coming as they do from that historical perspective. But why Germany? The east Germans militarized as a result. They accepted limits on their freedom so that they could defend their lands. They knit themselves together for the cause.

Later, Germany would become the home to a number of schools of thought involving various degrees of socialism, culminating in that son of the abyss, Karl Marx. Germany was the best educated land on Earth in the 19th century, and the German philosophers known as a sort of mirror of the Golden Age of the Greeks. Men like Nietchze had labored tirelessly to remove a belief in God, which opened the door to socialism and communism by making men the mere biproduct of mechanical processes. If Man is but a series of conditioned responses, and does not contain a special worth stemming from the Divine Spark, then he may be molded in any image he wished. Individuals no longer mattered; what mattered was outcome. The liberal concept of the inherent goodness of Man meant that the molding of Man can only be a good thing - even if some rather abusive methods must be employed.

It is no coincidence that socialism, atheism, and Protestantism were born in the same place. Protestantism had good aims and bore good fruit, but the success of Lutheranism taught a valuable lesson, that one could openly break with the past, with authority, and get away with it. Protestantism flourished because of the printing press (another German invention) and THAT lesson was not lost on the Left. The Protestants won the propaganda war with Catholicism, but would end up losing it with lefism. Removing the moderating influences of Christianity led to the darker impulses of human nature - and particularly of the German character born of warfare and the need to maintain their bloodlines against a string of potential replacements - and you ended with a land eager to accept the new gospel preached by Nietzche, by Shopenhaur, etc.

So why are so many Jews liberal? One answer may lay in the fact that most of the Jews who traveled abroad came from the lands heavily influenced by liberal thinking. Russia, German, Polish, they came to America and brought their thinking with them. Like Sicilians were inevitably followed by the Mafia, so too the Jews would be followed by the socialists. It was the way it was done before, and the notion that America is a new land, without the need for the old coping mechanisms, simply couldn't penetrate.

Then, too, the enforced communal nature of Jewish communities, where the Jews had to huddle together quietly in fear of a capricious and unfriendly Gentile majority, reinforced the notion that they were only safe and prosperous in communal settings.

I suspect there is much more to the story, and I am certainly no expert in this field. Any suggestions?

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