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The Real Reason Jews Are Liberal: They Are Educated and Smart

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Meshuga Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-14-09 07:56 AM
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The Real Reason Jews Are Liberal: They Are Educated and Smart
By MJ Rosenberg

"The ridiculous Podhoretz polemic excoriating Jews for remaining liberals will produce lots of verbiage on the subject.

As I've written before (no big insight here), Jews are liberal because they -- unlike conservatives -- understand that no matter how well they may be doing, their good fortune will be impacted if others are in trouble. It's from the Torah: 'Do not separate yourself from the community.'

But there is another reason: Jews are not idiots. In fact, Jews are the most highly educated segment of the American population. Accordingly it would be anomalous if they were NOT liberals. The election returns show it every two and four years: the more highly educated one is, the more likely he is to be liberal. "
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question everything Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-25-09 10:54 AM
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1. And a reveiw of his book in the WSJ
SEPTEMBER 25, 2009

Chosen People, Choosing Left
In the presidential election, Barack Obama won 78% of the Jewish vote.


In a conference call with more than 1,000 rabbis before Rosh Hashanah, President Barack Obama encouraged the religious leaders to use their sermons on the Jewish New Year to promote health-care reform. It is more than ironic that liberal Jews, who call for a complete separation of church and state, saw nothing wrong with the president scripting their sermons. The reason may be that the script came from a modern sort of Jewish holy book, what Norman Podhoretz calls the "Torah of liberalism."

"Why Are Jews Liberals?" is a fine and bracing examination of a question that has vexed Mr. Podhoretz for decades. He displays, along the way, the skill for supple reasoning and pugnacious argument that was the hallmark of his long editorship of Commentary magazine. Mr. Podhoretz grew up on the political left and remained there until the late 1960s, when he moved to the right. In "Why Are Jews Liberals?" he ponders, with a sense of deep frustration, why so few other Jews have made his journey.


It will be dangerous to the Jewish future, Mr. Podhoretz says, for Jews to continue down the path of reflexively supporting not just Democrats but also the party's liberal wing. Unlike every other ethnic or religious group, he notes, Jews do not become more conservative as their income and wealth rise. The reason for such steady liberalism, it is often claimed, is that Jews care about those who are marginalized in America, as Jews themselves were once marginalized both here and in other countries. But Mr. Podhoretz maintains that Jews are voting against their own interests. Jews advanced in America in the mid-20th century when the meritocracy took hold, individual effort and achievement were rewarded, and group quotas, which limited Jewish educational opportunity and economic advancement, were eliminated. How odd, then, to see Jews aligned with the party that embraces identity politics, affirmative action and quota-driven policies. Democrats also favor higher taxes and more government regulation, neither of which tends to produce the sort of economic expansion that benefits everyone, including the marginalized.

Another danger to the Jewish future, Mr. Podhoretz says, is the commitment of Jews to secularism and social liberalism. Jews are the least religious group in Americajust 16% of Jews attend services at least monthly, and 42% of Jews attend not at all. Even those Jews who do go to synagogue often find a way to remain comfortable in their political beliefs: Mr. Podhoretz describes how liberal Jewsrabbis and worshipers alikeroutinely cherry-pick passages from the Torah to buttress favored social policies. The Hebrew word for charity, tzedakah, he says, has been seized on by liberal Jews over the years to promote FDR's New Deal, Lyndon Johnson's Great Society and "social justice." Mr. Podhoretz quotes a professor of modern Jewish history who said the Torah's instruction made voting for John McCain last year impossible because he had opposed raising the minimum wage.

As Jews have traded Judaism for secularism, their birth rate has fallen well below the replacement level. As Mr. Podhoretz observes, this is only part of the new demographic reality. Fully half of Jews who marry these days choose a non-Jewish spouse, and a majority of the children in these marriages are not reared as Jewish. Not surprisingly, the Jewish population in America has begun to decline. Over the past 60 years, while the U.S. population doubled, the number of Jews has at best remained steady at about six million. Orthodox Jews, whose politics tend toward the conservative, have accepted the biblical directive to be fruitful and multiply. Their share of the American Jewish population is rising, and now stands at about 10%. But the demographic time bomb among non-Orthodox Jews, Mr. Podhoretz says, may be unstoppable.


Mr. Baehr is the chief political correspondent for the online magazine American Thinker and a Distinguished Fellow of the Jewish Policy Center.

Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page A13
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rockymountaindem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-27-09 12:13 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Well Podhoretz' argument as outlined there makes sense
if you accept the right-wing ideology that it is predicated on.
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marybourg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-27-09 01:19 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. Mr. P. may be the only one remaining who believes that
Rupublicans "produce the sort of economic expansion that benefits everyone, including the marginalized." Not in my lifetime (and I remember Harry Truman).
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