Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Four Reasons Why Jews Are Leftists

Glenda writes:

>My Israeli girlfriend was here this weekend and I practically grilled her about why so many Jews were leftists. She isn't but if the O was pro Israel she might be.

My response:

I have four points about why Jews are leftists. The first point is the social structure in Europe. Conservatism in Europe, especially eastern Europe where most of the Jews lived, was virulently anti-Semitic to the point of frequent open murder in places like Poland and Russia. In Europe few by the late nineteenth century understood Lockean liberalism and freedom and in eastern Europe those ideas were never known. The two choices were state-based conservatism or state-based socialism. Those were the only two known alternatives in eastern Europe and largely are in Europe to this day. Hence, a large percentage of Jews were communists or leftists in response because that was seen to be the only alternative.

Second, Jewish leftism is due to lack of understanding of freedom (called "liberalism" before 1900). Most of the Jews who came here after 1880 were badly educated eastern Europeans who had suffered considerable discrimination under the Russian Czars. They arrived here at the same time that American elites such as Theodore Roosevelt had dropped belief in freedom and were advocating the welfare state of Bismarck. About 10,000 American graduate students (at a time 5% of the population went to college) attended graduate school in Europe after the Civil War and before World War I. These came back and founded the most important of the American graduate schools. They also came back advocating "Progressivism".

Culturally, the Jews focused on education, and by the early 1900s the American universities were increasingly advocating Progressivism. The German Jews who had been living here since the 1820s or 30s followed the Progressive bandwagon of Roosevelt, and they were an influence on the eastern European Jews (the New York Times is an example of this). No one ever taught the Jews about Locke or freedom and there was nothing in their culture to teach them. American institutions by the early twentieth century had already swung toward statism and Americans were willing to accept the idea that the radical ideas of Lockean liberalism were "conservatism" and the mercantilist/socialist ideas that were a reinvention of manorial feudalism were "Progressivism".

I have European students at Brooklyn College today who come here believing in socialism or statism and no one teaches them otherwise, except for me. Their ideas are scarcely different from those of their peasant ancestors ten generations ago. The last country to finally end manorial social structures was Sweden. There were remanants of serfdom in Sweden until the 1950s in the form the "bruk" system. The Swedes today are, of course, the leaders of socialism. They never left the Middle Ages.

Third, many Jews believe in charity and the idea of what today is called "liberalism" or "progressivism" claims to be charitable. Because they have been badly educated, many Americans, including many Jews, are not aware of the violent nature of government redistribution or the secondary effects described so eloquently in Henry Hazlitt's "Economics in One Lesson". Many Jews believe that the socialist systems that caused anti-Semitism are more humane than the free market system, but lack the imagination to realize that the countries that their ancestors fled were largely socialist and the country to which they fled was based on Lockean individualism and freedom. Because they have been badly educated, It does not occur to them that the economic opportunities here were due to the economic system. Since they've been ideologically lied to in school and in college, they cannot figure out that the freedom they enjoy here and the economic opportunities were due to freedom, and as they attack freedom they are killing the economic opportunities and ending the tolerance (which has not happened yet but will if things continue on their current national socialist course).

Fourth, many Jews who arrived here after 1900 were faced within 30 years with the Great Depression. Although we now know that the Great Depression was caused by the Fed, it was blamed on free markets. This added to their emotional insecurity about freedom, an idea to which the Jews were never exposed and so fear. The fault is in large part with the Progressives of the early twentieth century. The German Jews, especially Adolph Ochs and the New York Times and also the progressive builder of New York City, Robert Moses, and progressives like co-founders of the New Republic, Walter Lippmann and Walter Weyl, played no small role.

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