Friday, September 11, 2009

A Jew Asks Why Are Jews So Liberals?

Tough question. Norman Podhoretz tries to answer this question in an article recently published in the "Wall Street Journal".

Like many other Jewish intellectuals (Bernie Goldberg, Michael Medved), Podhoretz moved from left to right more than four decades ago. Like many other Jews (your humbled blogger, included), he's been hoping for many years that our fellow Jews would come to see that in contrast to what was in the past, our true friends are now located not among liberals, but among conservatives.

Since 1928, the average Jewish vote for a Democrat in presidential elections has been an amazing 75% (far higher than that of any other ethno-religious group). In 2008, 78% of the Jewish vote when to Obama. Except for blacks, who gave him 95% of their vote, Obama scored better with Jews than with any other ethnic or religious group. What makes this even more unbelievable is that despite McCain's long history of sympathy towards Israel and Obama's atrocious associations with outright haters and anti-Semites like Rev. Wright and Rashid Khalidi, Obama beat McCain among Jewish voters by a staggering 57 points!

Today, the Jewish commitment to the Democratic Party has become an anomaly. While other ethno-religious groups have followed the rule that increasing prosperity generally leads to an increasing identification with the Republican Party, Jews still remain heavily committed to the liberal agenda. On abortion, gay rights, school prayer, increased government spending, expanded benefits to the lower classes, greater regulations on business, and the power of organized labor, gun control and assisted suicide, the survey data show that Jews are by far the most liberal of any group in America.

In the conflict between Judaism and "Jewish values", on one side and liberalism on the other, it is the liberal creed that prevails for most American Jews. Which is to say that for them, liberalism has become more than a political outlook. It has for all practical purposes superseded Judaism and become a religion in its own right.

Many such secular Jews, when asked how they would define "a good Jew," reply that it is equivalent to being a good liberal.

In Podhoretz's view, when they look at America, liberals see injustice and oppression of every kind—economic, social and political. By sharp contrast, conservatives see a nation shaped by a complex of traditions, principles and institutions that has afforded more freedom and more prosperity to more of its citizens than in any society in human history. It follows that what liberals believe needs to be changed or discarded—and apologized for to other nations—is precisely what conservatives are dedicated to preserving, reinvigorating and proudly defending against attack.

As such, the Jewish experience in this country bears testimony to the precious virtues of the traditional American system. Surely, then, Jews ought to be joining with conservatives against those who are blind or indifferent or antagonistic to the moral values and the socioeconomic institutions of the traditional American system.

Obama ran on the premise that the American system is seriously flawed and in desperate need of radical change—not to mention a record indicating that he would pursue policies dangerous to the security of Israel. Because of all this, we hoped that our fellow Jews would finally break free of the liberalism of the past. It didn't happen.

The encouraging signs that more and more Jews are showing signs of "buyer's remorse", is perhaps one of the reasons Podhoretz hopes that the exposure of Obama as a "false messiah" will open the eyes of fellow Jews to the falsity of the political creed to which they have for so long been so misguidedly loyal.