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Spengler writes an open letter to David Brooks: Because you are a public intellectual of Jewish origin, though, your spiritual peregrinations are of broader interest. It may be chutzpah for me to offer you advice, but I could not help thinking of the case of Franz Rosenzweig while reading a post at Aletaia claiming that you may convert to Christianity. Rosenzweig, one of the great Jewish thinkers of the 20th century, had decided to convert to Christianity. Raised in a secular family and trained in the high tradition of German critical philosophy, Rosenzweig nonetheless thought that he should do so as a Jew. He attended the Day of Atonement services at a Berlin shtuebl with Polish Jews, and liked it so much that he not only remained Jewish, but devoted the rest of his sadly short life to Judaism.
Of course, you have attended Day of Atonement services (in fact, we have done so at the same Conservative synagogue in New York, Or Zarua, albeit in different years). My experience, though, was that my conversion to Judaism began after I left “Conservative Judaism” and began observing Shabbat, eating kosher and wrapping tefillin. In retrospect, it occurred to me that the rarified Judaism I encountered in the progressive Jewish world was really a strange form of Christianity, Methodism with a yamulka. There is a word for rarified Judaism, and that is Christianity: living in an ambient Christian culture, I could not help but bring Christian sensibilities to a Judaism without the commandments. In a sense I was a Christian, despite my best intentions, and had to “convert” to Judaism. I did this while an editor at First Things, then the premier Christian intellectual magazine in the United States.
I suspect that your experience is not too different, which is why I am kibbitzing. There is the matter of the bagel that you offered to The Forward’s editor Jane Eisner, in the middle of the Passover holiday, when Jews are forbidden any matter of leavened bread. Observing Passover is the first of all commandments, given to us the night we left Egypt, before the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai. To eat leavened bread on Passover (and to offer it to another Jew) suggests that there is not a shred of Jewish practice in your everyday life.
I find it hard to get worked up over reports that you might convert to Christianity. In a way, you (like me) were always there. I do not judge the religious lives of others — I am the last person who should, considering that I spent the first half of my life as the most egregious sort of atheist. But you might try Judaism. It’s well and good to read Joseph Soloveitchik’s “The Lonely Man of Faith,” an essay written for a Christian audience, and a marvelous book, but you should also keep in mind that Rav Soloveitchik supervised kashrut in Boston.
Why is it so fundamental to eat kosher? Permit me an almost-rational argument: There are things that Torah tells us, that no prior document in the whole history of humanity told anyone else, for example, to regard every human being as an image of God, with the attendant reverence. There is no philosophical justification for this: it is beyond reason. But (as Michael Wyschogrod argues) we are not wholly different from the animals. We recognize that in refraining from eating cats and dogs, for example. Which animals may we eat? That question is above our pay grade, and we accept a divine answer to that question (ruminants but not swine, for example). Precisely because we accept a divine mandate in the matter of meat consumption, we also accept it in the requirement to view human life as sacred, and each human as an image of God.
* I never think about life after death. I take it for granted that we will all get what we deserve. I don’t want grace or special treatment. I want God to give it to me straight. I want to experience all the unnecessary pain I’ve caused others and I want to experience all the good I’ve done others.
What happens after death has received almost zero attention in the
Judaism I’ve experienced over the past 25 years.
Judaism focuses entirely on this life with assurances that God will judge the Afterlife.
I think the last Jewish funeral I attended was for a pornographer, Marty (in 2009) and I ended up speaking words of praise for the guy. The bloke liked me, even when everyone else in the industry hated me.
I often overheard my father counseling people (it might go on in the
living room) and I was always struck by his wisdom.
* Organized Jewry has made it clear that to be anti-Israel is to be anti-Jewish, so it is in the Muslim interest to be generally anti-Jewish, I think. Probably the same goes for Arabs and for Gentile White Nationalists. Different groups have different interests that clash.
* A friend tells me that when he hears me talk about sterilizing everyone on welfare and disability, his heels start clicking.
* I told a friend a hilarious story with multiple layers of meaning and he replied, “It always comes down to f***ing with you.”
* It took me 15 minutes to give directions to some dummies. I just had to spell a simple word more than a dozen times for a low IQ couple.
* I am in what should be my peak earning years!
* Would you rather a private sex video you made go public or a private racist video you made go public? Please answer in complete sentences.
* “The more antisemitism, the more Jews will affiliate instead of assimilate,” says a friend.
* “One of the most humiliating things for the heimish is the slow realization that those they have always looks down on have a more powerful brilliance and focus than they have.” (Friend)
Chaim Amalek This is why it is a mistake for an ehrlicher (“true”) Yid to be able to read or write or speak the language of the goy, except perhaps in matters of business. The Holy Rebbis know this, and increasingly, do not teach such nareshkeit to the kinder. BH, the politicians are willing to look the other way!
Lilian D’Or I find most people who define themselves as Heimish, can’t define it when you ask them what it means to them.
* One reason we Jews believe in reincarnation, I learned this week, is so that people can come back and pay their debts.
Link: Jewish groups were generally pleased with the Supreme Court’s decision to deny states the right to upstage the Federal government in enforcing immigration policy. The American Jewish Committee (AJC) praised the Arizona vs United States decision, but expressed disappoinment that the Supreme Court let stand Arizona’s law allowing police to demand proof of legal status of those reasonably suspected to be undocumented. Richard Foltin, the AJC Director of National and Legislative Affairs, warned that the policy could lead to racial profiling and civil rights abuses.
If the heavens and earth and all of mankind are created by one G‑d, what does the Torah, G‑d’s instruction manual, tell us about One World–ism? Does it recognize national boundaries as legitimate?
In the poetic song of Ha’azinu, Moses proclaims:
When the Most High gave nations their lot, when He separated the sons of man,
He set up the boundaries of peoples according to the number of the children of Israel.3
It is clear that from a Torah perspective, national boundaries are both natural and providential. They reflect a divine purpose in the world, and therefore that purpose must be upheld.
Every nation differs from every other nation absolutely in several aspects: its land, its language, its clans and its peoples.4
Such national characteristics are easily observable, though it is morally important to recognize that such stereotypes do not dictate individual behavior. Japanese and Britons wait patiently in queues for trains and buses. Compare that to the scene in a New York City subway at rush hour, or at a crowded Tel Aviv bus stop when there are only a few seats left. The Italian language is melodic, and lends itself to romantic and passionate lyrics; the German language lends itself to scientific and philosophical precision, or to the epic and the serious in poetry and song. Such generalizations reflect some real truth, which the Torah recognizes. These national characteristics, and the distinct bounded lands that give rise to them, are part of G‑d’s providential plan.
Being satisfied that the Torah recognizes the concept of borders, we can now consider the reasons people have offered for supporting and opposing keeping those borders closed, as well as the Torah’s view on the subject
The proponents for open immigration in the United States point to (among other things) humanitarian concerns, the need for inexpensive labor or labor that most citizens don’t want to do, and the energy of the self-selected who choose to come to a country because they really want to be there.
On the flip side, the proponents for limiting or denying immigration point to security concerns, worries about societal and cultural cohesion, negative influence on the sense of national purpose, exploitation of government entitlement benefits, increasing unemployment of the native population, and causing a drop in wages by increasing labor supply.
It is true that often the reasons given in support of a certain position have only been rationalizations masking the proponents’ own bigotry. But, granted that sound arguments can always be misused—are the reasons given in the American debate ever justifiable in the light of Torah? Which reasons, in their best presentation, are deemed worthy of consideration by Jewish law and teaching?
Although the Torah’s focus is on Israel, and every country has its own unique challenges and concerns, one can nevertheless extrapolate the Torah’s view from there.
Commenting on the verse “Iron and brass are your locks,”5 which is part of Moses’ blessing to the tribe of Asher before his death, Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki (Rashi) explains:
The mighty men of Israel would dwell in the border towns and lock the frontier so no enemies could enter; it was as if it were closed with locks and bars of iron and brass.6
The borders posed a unique danger, and Jewish law mandated that authorities search out the real motivations of those who would enter the country. It cautioned that a deadly danger could lurk, and we should be wary of all who wish to cross it. So much so, that we are permitted to transgress the holy Sabbath for these security concerns. As the Code of Jewish Law puts it:
In a border city, even if the non-Jews approach you [ostensibly] regarding straw and hay, one must violate the Shabbat to repel them, lest they take over the city and proceed from there to conquer the land.7
Modern-day Israel, too, knows the need for stringent control of its borders. The construction of the wall separating the rest of Israel from the PA areas almost completely ended the spate of bombings that killed so many civilians a decade ago.
Obviously, the challenges facing Israel are not necessarily the same as those facing other countries such as the U.S., and they may require different and unique solutions. Mexicans and Canadians don’t pose the same threat to national security as do Hamas, Syria and Egypt. Nevertheless, the Torah recognizes that security is a real concern that needs to be addressed.
In addition to security concerns, Jewish law recognizes that there are ideological dangers as well. Expounding on the negative commandment of not allowing idol-worshippers a holding in the land of Israel,8 Maimonides writes:
When Israel [meets the conditions for observing the Jubilee], it is forbidden for us to allow an idolater among us. Even a temporary resident or a merchant who travels from place to place should not be allowed to pass through our land until he accepts the seven universal laws commanded to Noah and his descendants, as the verse states: “They shall not dwell in your land”9—i.e., even temporarily. A person who accepts these seven mitzvot is a ger toshav, “resident alien.”10
It is not foreignness per se that is the problem, but rather a certain pernicious foreign ideology that is typified by the name “idolatry.” The reason for this is that the Torah sees idolatry as the root of evil, and portrays its effect on the Jewish nation as thoroughly destructive.11
The acceptance of the seven mitzvot is clear evidence that a person has turned away from idolatry and now accepts G‑d’s governance. It is only then, accepting the Sovereign of the land, that he can dwell in the land or pass through it.
Rabbi Menachem Meiri (1249–c. 1310) further explains that we must take a very broad view of the definition of a “resident alien” in the light of the achievements of Abrahamic religion in civilizing the world and taking it beyond the idolatrous mindset. Though he does not name the seven mitzvot, he still insists that those who enter the Land must share a belief in G‑d and a disciplined lifestyle that flows from it.12
While it is clear that idolatry is antithetical to everything that Judaism stands for, what needs to be asked in the present debate is whether there is something that is equivalent to that today that in the US. Is there something today that is equivalent to idolatry, something that poses a legitimate threat and is not just the imagining of xenophobes?
With regards to charity when there are limited resources, Jewish law sets clear guidelines for our priorities. Poor relatives come before others, and the poor of our own city come before the poor of another city.13 It is implicit that this principle applies not only to charity but to other economic questions as well, for limited resources will always require tough decisions to be made. And for tough decisions to be made well, a sound order of priorities is needed.
Hopes were high that Congress might enact long sought reforms to the nation’s immigration system. Surveys showed that the Hispanic vote had grown to 10% of the electorate in the 2012 election and Conservative pundits opined that the Republican party needed to embrace measures it had opposed for years in order not to alienate that growing constituency. Writing in Commentary, Jonathan Tobin said that continued opposition was both policy and would “haunt the GOP for years to come” because the electorate will view the party as intolerant.
The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) launched a “We Were Strangers, Too” backed by dozens of group including ADL, AJC, BBI, Hadassah, JCPA, Jewish Labor Committee, NCJW, along with the Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist movements. They called for reform that would promote family reunification, create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, address migrant workers’ rights, provide support services to immigrants, and balance border protection/enforcment measures with economic development and individual rights. Twenty four Jewish groups sitting in the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable also campaigned for reform.
Ever since last November’s election, we’ve been hearing that Hispanics comprised a record 10 percent of the vote—which therefore obliges Republican Congressmen to pass “comprehensive immigration reform” a.k.a the Schumer-Rubio Amnesty/ Immigration Surge bill RIGHT NOW.
National exit polls showed that 10 percent of the electorate was Hispanic, compared with 9 percent in 2008 and 8 percent in 2004. … A growing perception of hostility toward illegal immigrants by Republican candidates is driving many Latinos to the polls.
[Growing share of Hispanic voters helped push Obama to victory, By Donna St. George and Brady Dennis, Washington Post, November 7, 2012]
But what if these nice, round turnout numbers provided by the Edison exit poll company weren’t true? What if the “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” clamor is based on exit poll error?
What if in 2012 the Sleeping Giant of the Latino Vote didn’t actually awake—but instead rolled over and started a new siesta?
In short, what if the Main Stream Media exaggerated the Hispanic share of the 2012 vote by a factor of almost 20 percent?
Well, we now have the numbers. We now know that the suppositions behind these awkward questions are true.
After every national election, the Census Bureau conducts a massive survey of voter turnout. Then it bureaucratically mulls over the results for months—while the conventional wisdom congeals around whatever slapdash numbers the exit poll firm emitted in the early going.
In contrast to the Census Bureau survey, though, exit polls aren’t designed to measure turnout. Heck, exit polls aren’t even very good at figuring out who won the election—just ask President John F. Kerry.
Exit polls can’t be based on the random samples that would be needed to measure turnout accurately, because the exit poll company has to bake a forecast of the electorate’s demographics into its plan of which precincts to send workers to cover. Not surprisingly, it tends to get back the results it anticipated.
Moreover, Hispanics are both of interest to sponsors and difficult to survey (they can need Spanish-speaking pollsters). So their needs are typically given more weight in planning the exit poll. The result: national exit polls have overstated the Hispanic share of the vote at least since 2000.
Now, finally, on May 9, the Current Population Survey division of the Census Bureau has issued its turnout report, scintillatingly titledThe Diversifying Electorate—Voting Rates by Race and Hispanic Origin in 2012 (and Other Recent Elections)[PDF]
Despite the title, it makes compelling reading.
It turns out that the official best estimate of the Latino share of 2012 voters isn’t 10 percent—but merely 8.4 percent:
Many of my Jewish friends would like the West to be free of Muslims, blacks and mestizo Mexicans. I am sure Muslims and many non-Jews in the world would like their lands free of Jews. I am sure that most Israelis wish that Palestinians would simply disappear and that Palestinians wish Jews would disappear from the Middle East.
I am not shocked and appalled by these sentiments. Different groups have different interests and these interests often clash violently.
I was just reading a Jewish historian write in the Washington Post:
The late Father Stanislaw Musial, a Polish Jesuit scholar, noted in the wake of the revelations about the mass slaughter of the Jews of Jedwabne that during the German occupation, many Poles believed that Poland had two enemies: an external one — the Germans — and an internal one — the Jews. He also believed that it was only due to Hitler’s unremitting contempt for the Poles that the Germans did not consciously seek collaboration on a national level. In other words, there was no inherent contradiction between Polish patriotism and participation in the plan to bring about a Poland free of Jews. Comey claims that “good people helped murder millions.” People who murder, rape and steal certainly cannot ever be called “good,” not even figuratively.
The modern state of Israel required murder, killing and stealing and many people regard the founders of Israel as heroic.
I take genocidal hatred for granted. It’s a normal part of the human condition. It is as present in Jews as non-Jews. It is not something weirdly confined to Germans or Poles or Muslims.
The hate that dare not speak its name.
* The press has a pattern of focusing on white crimes (UVA) while ignoring others, and of always taking the ani-white side in disputes (Duke Lacross, Ferguson.) This has the effect of demonizing white men. It’s not just that it paints a false picture of reality, it’s that it teaches people that it’s good and noble to criticize whites in an unfair manner. We see the results of this everywhere.
We can’t fight against this kind of anti-white bigotry unless we recognize it and name it, over and over again. Until the overarching pattern is documented, clear and undeniable.
Steve has the point that the left’s ideology is fringe vs core. But in practice, “fringe vs core” takes the form of anti-white bigotry. I imagine the typical journalist doesn’t wake up in the morning thinking to group libel whites, it’s more like they want to avoid “punching down” on a “vulnerable powerless minority.” But it is still functionally equivalent to anti-white bigotry, even if it’s not what they are consciously aiming for, even if they don’t realize they’re doing it. And it’s what we need to fight against.
And by doing so we can fight anti-core, anti-majority sentiment at the same time. We say anti-white bigotry is wrong at the same time we say anti-majority sentiment is wrong. Majorities have the right to be proud of their heritage, meaning whites have a right to be proud of their heritage. That majorities have a right to a home and to pass it onto their children, meaning whites have a right to a home and to pass it onto their children. The general principle is enhanced by its prime example, they fit together hand in glove.
* Why are jewish writers so obsessed with the misdeeds of white gentiles? They’re obsessed with chronicling, amplifying and broadcasting them. What gives? Weird.
* Is this really a thing: sleeping with men without having sex with them? Wasn’t “sleep with” a standard euphemism for “have sex with”? It seems like when I read about the campus rape crisis these days I keep hearing stories about some girl who sleeps with a guy but is shocked, shocked when he tries to have sex with her.
Anthropologist Peter Frost writes: A synthesis has been forming in the field of human biodiversity. It may be summarized as follows:
1. Human evolution did not end in the Pleistocene or even slow down. In fact, it speeded up with the advent of agriculture 10,000 years ago, when the pace of genetic change rose over a hundred-fold. Humans were no longer adapting to relatively static natural environments but rather to faster-changing cultural environments of their own making. Our ancestors thus directed their own evolution. They created new ways of life, which in turn influenced who would survive and who wouldn’t.
2. When life or death depends on your ability to follow a certain way of life, you are necessarily being selected for certain heritable characteristics. Some of these are dietary—an ability to digest milk or certain foods. Others, however, are mental and behavioral, things like aptitudes, personality type, and behavioral predispositions. This is because a way of life involves thinking and behaving in specific ways. Keep in mind, too, that most mental and behavioral traits have moderate to high heritability.
3. This gene-culture co-evolution began when humans had already spread over the whole world, from the equator to the arctic. So it followed trajectories that differed from one geographic population to another. Even when these populations had to adapt to similar ways of life, they may have done so differently, thus opening up (or closing off) different possibilities for further gene-culture co-evolution. Therefore, on theoretical grounds alone, human populations should differ in the genetic adaptations they have acquired. The differences should generally be small and statistical, being noticeable only when one compares large numbers of individuals. Nonetheless, even small differences, when added up over many individuals and many generations, can greatly influence the way a society grows and develops.
4. Humans have thus altered their environment via culture, and this man-made environment has altered humans via natural selection. This is probably the farthest we can go in formulating a unified theory of human biodiversity. For Gregory Clark, the key factor was the rise of settled, pacified societies, where people could get ahead through work and trade, rather than through violence and plunder. For Henry Harpending and Greg Cochran, it was the advent of agriculture and, later, civilization. For J. Philippe Rushton and Ed Miller, it was the entry of humans into cold northern environments, which increased selection for more parental investment, slower life history, and higher cognitive performance. Each of these authors has identified part of the big picture, but the picture itself is too big to reduce to a single factor.