Commentary’s weird, closed world of Jewish self-regard

The December issue of Commentary features the article, “Higher Immigration, Lower Crime,” in which Daniel Griswold argues (I kid you not) that mass illegal Hispanic immigration has the effect of reducing crime in the United States.

Right below the link to Griswold’s article at the Commentary website’s main page is this “web exclusive”:

In “Jew Be Not Proud,” David Gelernter addresses criticism engendered by his new book, Judaism: A Way of Being, and defends its central thesis: “Judaism is the most important intellectual development in Western history. The best ideas we have come straight from Judaism.”

Do those “best ideas” in Western history that have come from the Jews include open borders for Third Worlders and the destruction of the white West?

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Rick Darby writes;

My public library carries Commentary for circulation and I read most issues. The magazine puzzles me.

Its writers are intelligent (not necessarily wise, but intelligent); the articles are literate and polished; they have a fine cultural critic in Terry Teachout; Joseph Epstein’s essays and short stories are almost always worthwhile.

Yet I often get the feeling I am reading ideology as ironbound as that of the Soviet Union. Whatever the subject, I know what Commentary will say. They may say it elegantly, but never concede an inch to deviationism.

Last year they adopted a new graphic design scheme. What had previously been no more than dull is now proudly ugly. The main change has been to use blocks of a single second color, such as a garish red. Doesn’t anyone on Commentary’s super-educated staff have a visual sense?

All that intellectual candlepower casting so little light.

LA replies:

I think Rick Darby’s comment captures the strange personality of Commentary.

The jazzed-up, ugly layouts on the cover, plus additional annoying graphics inside, such as title pages of articles in which the letters are so bold they hurt your eyes, are the most noticeable changes since John Podhoretz became editor. Plus more and shorter articles, with more contempporary sounding titles. But I haven’t read it enough to have an opinion on the overall editorial quality and direction under John P.

Perhaps it will undergo an evolution like NR under the equally undistinguished Lowry, in which the online version of the magazine has most of the life, such as it is, and the print magazine becomes largely irrelevant.

LA writes:

Oh, and what about the belief that all people everywhere especially Muslims desire and are capable of maintaining democracy, and that all we had to do was overthrow Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi people would spontaneously adopt a democratic, liberal form of government? Are those among the “best ideas” in Western history that have come from the Jews?

After a period of seven years in which ideas pushed principally by neoconservative Jews have led to such disasters and have been so discredited, for Commentary to boast blandly that the best ideas in Western history have come from the Jews is an index of how enclosed in their self-regard the neocons really are. Truly Psalm 17, verse 10 applies to them: They are locked up in their own fat.

LA writes:

However, I must respectfully disagree with Mr. Darby about Terry Teachout. I think he’s a terrible critic, lifeless, lacking any capacious feelings, repeatedly showing a lack of taste and of sound judgement; a classic example was when he completely dismissed Bernard Shaw, one of the world’s greatest writers, because he was a socialist and in his later years supported Stalin. Teachout is the perfect house critic for the neocons, who have no taste, and no larger vision. Invariably when the neocons utter an opinion about any cultural or literary matter they get it wrong.

This wasn’t always true, or not entirely true; Norman Podhoretz in his heyday was a good literary critic. I’m speaking of the decline of neoconservatism over the last twenty years into a narrow minded, self-serving clique.

December 29

Vincent Chiarello writes:

Daniel Griswold is a member of the “Open Borders” crowd at the Cato Institute, who believes that just about anyone who wishes to come to this country, legally or not, should be allowed to do so. After reading the article (Here I must admit that I was, until recently, a subscriber to Commentary), I thought of writing a letter to correct Griswold’s errors, but it has been my experience that anything that contradicted the neo-con line on immigration is summarily dismissed by the editors.

Ironically, just about the time that Griswold’s article appeared in print, Steve Camarota and Jessica Vaughn of the Center for Immigration Studies released one of their research reports, Immigration and Crime (Nov. 2009) concerning the the nexus between illegal aliens and crime. Much of this information is already known, and I cannot help but believe that Griswold knew, for example, that more than one-quarter of the inmates in Federal penitentiaries are foreign born; in Maricopa Country, Arizona, 20 percent of all felons are illegal aliens; in Collier County, Florida, 22 percent of all felons are illegal aliens, and the list goes on.

But there was another intriguing aspect to the report. The authors claim that, since the 1970s, the rate of increased incarceration in this country ” … has grown almost exactly in proportion to the share of the population that is immigrant.” With the specter of another bill seeking amnesty for millions here illegally, the criminal consequences of such a disaster passing are not to difficult to imagine.

LA replies:

I haven’t read the Griswold article yet, but want to, to see his argument that increased illegal immigration reduces crime.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at December 28, 2009 03:46 PM | Send

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