Sailer on Podhoretz on the Jews
Steve Sailer writing at Vdare has a long review of Norman Podhoretz’s boring- and unimaginative-sounding book, Why Are Jews Liberals? Sailer makes a variety of good points, but the article as a whole is so disorganized and undisciplined that it produces in the reader the intellectual equivalent of car sickness. It is also marred by Sailer’s repeated cheap shots against Israel and those who defend Israel against a world that is either seeking to destroy Israel or facilitating those seeking to destroy it, a campaign the existence of which Sailer never acknowledges.
My belief is that criticism is good for you. (I’ve personally experienced a lot of it.) In contrast, people who are treated as being above criticism tend to behave more badly over time.This is what I’ve said all along. Between anti-Semitism on one side and the ruthless suppression of all criticism of Jews on the other, there is the mean, which is rational criticism of Jews when they deserve it. America’s white gentile majority needs to criticize the Jews as Jews, and even express righteous indignation against them, when they go too far—when, for example, they claim that their Jewishness requires them to promote open borders and support minorities against the majority; or when they speak of white Christian Americans, the most philo Semitic people in history, as though they were all Nazis under the skin and argue that the only way to make Jews safe in America is to reduce white Christians to a minority via Third-World immigration. Jewish intellectuals and spokesmen have gotten away with these vile attitudes for decades, in some cases perhaps not realizing how vile they were, because no one ever criticizes them for them. Let the criticism begin.
But is Sailer, who consistently exhibits a bigoted animus against the Jewish state, in a position to engage in such good faith criticism? And is Vdare, a site that has among its regular contributors America’s leading anti-Semite, Kevin MacDonald, and the lunatic hate-monger Paul Craig Roberts, the place to propose such a program?
At the end of the article, Sailer writes:
Jewish demonization of immigration reform patriots … is the single most important reason that America’s immigration disaster is still above criticism, long after it has become obvious that it is a disaster, and despite the fact that an overwhelming number of Americans are strongly opposed to it.If this is an example of the salutary “criticism” of Jews that Sailer proposes, then my point about his lack of qualifications for the task is made. To say that the Jews are the primary force that is suppressing the supposed immigration restrictionist sentiment of the overwhelming majority of Americans, to suggest that but for the Jews the non-Jewish majority would have ended America’s mass Third-World immigration policy by now, goes beyond valid criticism. It is a bigoted statement, expressing, and intended to invoke in others, animus against Jews as Jews.
If paleocons are going to make rational criticism of Jews, and not just use the word “criticism” as a cover for their anti-Semitism, they need to remove the anti-Semites from their ranks, and the anti-Semitism from their own minds and hearts.
Michael Hart writes:
I think your piece is excellent.Bruce B. writes:
You wrote:LA replies:
As part of my effort to identify situations in which it is unassailably legitimate to criticize Jews as Jews, and not just as generic liberals, I have argued in the past that when Jews specifically identity certain objectionable positions—such as siding with minorities against the majority, such as favoring the diversification of America, such as supporting open borders, abortion, homosexual rights—as Jewish positions, then that is an absolutely clear cut case in which it is legitimate to criticize Jews as Jews. I’m not saying that is the only type of situation in which such criticisms can be madeBruce B. writes:
Not to nitpick but I just checked and Brimelow publishes MacDonald irregularly (12 times in 6 years at irregular intervals). You’re right about Roberts, he publishes him regularly. Something else that’s related on my mind. Just an idea. The MacDonald-ites say it’s all about sociobiological competition as if Jews don’t really believe liberal ideas. We say it’s all about liberalism/leftism. A third cause had occurred to me based on something I saw in pop culture, specifically, the phenomena of Jews of the past feeling excluded from the mainstream American holidays.LA replies:
Up through the 1950s, American Jews gave their children ordinary American names. Then in the Sixties, with the rise of ethnic consciousness, and the attack on, and internal collapse of, the majority culture, they began giving them distinctively Jewish names.N. writes:
Apropos of the article by Steve Sailer on Norman Podhoretz’s book, and the fact that it is not possible in the modern USA for anyone to criticize Jewish people no matter how obnoxious they are, I bring to your attention this latest example of the boffo humor of Larry David. Har. Har. Har.:LA replies:
You write:Boris S. writes:
If I hadn’t already known Sailer to be an obsessive anti-Semite, I would have drawn that conclusion on the basis of that VDare article alone. When he thinks of Jews (and he does a great deal of thinking about Jews), he invariably imagines not flesh and blood human beings, but sinister intellectuals, high-ranking Goldman-Sachs employees, Forbes 400 CEOs and influential pundits. Altogether absent from the awareness of Sailer and his ilk is the great mass of Jews, who are ordinary, down-to-earth people. What I got out of his article is that, (1) “The Jews” are to be held responsible for America’s, if not indeed the world’s problems, and (2) Jews lamentably have it too good in America regardless of the party in power. Some of the logic he uses in the article, e.g., “it does not matter to Jews which party is in power because Goldman-Sachs has done well under both,” is worthy of an intellectual sub-normal. Or consider his equal part sinister and equal part laughable mischaracterization of Leon Trotsky as a “mass murderer” (if Trotsky is simply a murderer, then so are Napoleon and Cromwell—as a concise depiction this is so tendentious and so off the mark that it is, as Lee Smolin said of string theory, “not even wrong”). His claims regarding Israel likewise tend to be as stupid as they are bigoted, such as his statement that Israel’s security was “assured” after the Six-Day War. Perhaps he forgot that Israel was nearly destroyed just six years and four months later. Sailer is quite mistaken when he thinks that he has the right to use the word “complicit” and be taken seriously when talking about “the Jews” and the pre-war Soviet Union. In short, everything about his article, every paragraph, nearly every sentence is filled with drivel. Sailer certainly didn’t disappoint.EK writes:
THE AMERICAN JEW HAS LONG DISAPPEARED VIA ASSIMILATION. Intermarriage is in itself a form and a result of liberalism. Liberalism in its original form was formerly called socialism in which assimilated JEWS WERE ALSO VERY ACTIVE. It has nothing in common with original unhomogenized Judaism.LA replies:
EK’s comment fits with my idea that Christianity, unlike traditional Judaism and Islam, does not provide and require a particular way of life and social organization, and therefore for Christianity to be sustainable and practicable in this world, it needs to be connected—and it always has been connected—with one or another non-Christian (or to be more precise, extra-New Testament), this-worldly tradition or organization, such as the Jewish tradition, the Roman law, the Roman Catholic Church, the Germanic tribe, the Frankish kingdom and empire, the feudal order, the Renaissance Italian city-state, the Puritan community of the elect, the modern nation-state, modern democracy and so on. The first such this-worldly partner with Christianity was the Jewish tradition. From the beginning,—in Jesus’ frequent quoting of the Jewish scripture, in the idea that Jesus had fulfilled various Old Testament prophecies, and in the fact that the first Christians were practicing Jews and members of the Jewish community—Christianity was profoundly rooted in the Jewish tradition, which, above all else, is the tradition and way of life of a people under God, living in this world, but in relation to God and under God’s law. The Jewish, this-worldly aspect balanced and held in check the pure New Testament aspect which, by itself, can become a rejection of life in this world or an expectation that this world is about to be changed into a wholly spiritual world, as is famously expressed, for example, in certain passages of Paul’s Letter to the Romans. From time to time throughout the history of Christianity, various Christian sects have thought that the world was literally about to come to an end, and it didn’t.October 30
William V. writes:
I’m curious as to why you let this incredibly vile comment by Boris S. through moderation and posted it without refutation:LA replies:
Yes, I remember being confused as to the meaning of that comment, but not stopping to do anything about it. The statement makes no sense to me at all. Surely Trotsky as one of the three top leaders of the mass murdering Soviet Communist state in its early years was a mass murderer. Also, he was the head of the Red Army, which I’m sure killed many civilians during the Civil War, though I don’t remember specifics. To put the classification of Trotsky as a mass murderer in the same category as string theory, a theory that relates to a phenomenon the existence of which is not even known, is bizarre. I agree that Boris’s comment is objectionable and I should not have posted it without further explanation by him.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 28, 2009 11:31 AM | Send