• Kunstler: The Jewish-American Dilemma

    November 4, 2023
    James Howard Kunstler

    By James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

    “In a world that is not conforming to the narrative of continuous Progress, the response from self-declared progressives has been to try to rewrite our past into the multicultural utopia that they wish to see realised. This will not end well. The war on reality cannot be won.”

    - Luke Dodson

    At this moment, when there is an awful struggle over the Hebrews’ place in the world - so dire that you’re waiting for World War Three to vaporize everything you’ve ever cared about - one observes the Jewish American scene with trepidation. Since I am a Jewish American, I’m just going to flop this one on the table like so much meat to see what kind of animals it brings out of the woodwork to fight over it.

    The Hamas war has exposed a deep current of animosity against Israel and against Jews generally world-wide, even here. This, you understand, is happening at a time of what we might call epic global political mental illness. A mass formation psychosis appears to grip many population groups, each in its own way, but often expressing itself as a longing for death, ranging from the economic suicide of Western Europe to the rise of Jihad to the desolate nihilism of American nose-ring youth.

    Jewish Americans have played a leading role in American intellectual and political life through the 20th century and into this one. We Jews increasingly dominated the arenas of literature, academia, medicine, law, news media, and show biz. Business and government, too. In America, we mostly overcame (or seemed to) the deep, old-world superstitions against us, thanks to successful near-total cultural assimilation. I, for example, came from a Jewish family far more interested in baseball than Talmud, who put up a Christmas tree in the living room, and ate sweet-and-sour pork frequently. Perhaps this made us “bad” Jews, but frankly, it was more important to be good Americans — that is, people who cared more about our country than our ancestral origins.

    American Jews have also been major players in the political Left through the past hundred-odd years, and especially within the Democratic Party.

    Lately, it appears that the Democratic Party is bent on destroying the country, so one is naturally left to wonder how this happened and what is the role of American Jews in this.

    I will offer a hypothesis.

    Old World Jews, scattered in diaspora among alien nations, were united for centuries by the longing to return to Jerusalem, the ancestral homeland. “Next year in Jerusalem!” is the toast that concludes each Passover seder. The modern activist manifestation of that, starting in 19th century Europe, was Zionism, the political movement to reinhabit the Bible land of the Middle East. The label Zionism has recently been confabulated with a notion that it stands for Jews wielding a disdainful sense of superiority against non-Jews.

    This is, of course, a false understanding. Mostly, it is an envious projection because Jews succeeded so well in America, and they succeeded, as I averred above, largely because they assimilated so completely. How else can you explain a Jew such as Samuel Goldwyn (born Szmuel Gelbfisz, later Samuel Goldfish) of Gloversville, New York, rising to run Hollywood’s MGM studio and turning out movies like Gone with the Wind that showed the rest of the nation what America was about? Or Irving Berlin who wrote God Bless America?

    Public Domain.

    For the Jews who arrived here in the late 19th and early 20th century, America became even more of a promised land than that sliver of Biblical real estate on the Mediterranean. They succeeded here beyond their wildest dreams. Why dream idly about returning to the Middle East when the USA turned out to be the real Land of Milk and Honey?  Hence, a revision in American Judaism became necessary. 

    Next year in Jerusalem was replaced as a central animating principle by an alternate shibboleth: tikkun olam.

    Tikkun Olam means repair the world.

    This has been driving American Judaism since the early 20th century. Meanwhile, the genocide of the 1940s gave new impetus to next year in Jerusalem for what remained of the European Jews, and thus you get the establishment of Israel in 1948 — notwithstanding the geopolitical legerdemain that actually brought it about.

    American Jews, while sympathetic to a fault with the founding of Israel, and deeply vested emotionally in its success, had a different agenda in the USA after World War Two. They endeavored to repair America. Tikkun Olam!

    Mostly this expressed itself in Jewish support and involvement in the Civil Rights movement, since the end of discrimination against anybody was considered a good thing for the Jews as well as humanity in general. The country needed a moral repair job, especially after defeating manifest evil in the big war. That effort climaxed in the mid 1960s with the federal legislation that ended Jim Crow policy in voting and public accommodations. Much of the actual on-the-ground work to make this happen was accomplished by Jewish lawyers. This is a fact, not an accusation.

    But then something happened. Several things. One was that not all of black America necessarily regarded the Civil Rights movement as the great moral victory it was touted to be. A lot of black youth in the 1960s opted out early on and went their own way in black separatist movements of various kinds. As a practical matter, it also slowly became obvious that the new Civil Rights laws did not raise up the black underclass out of poverty and misery. Jewish liberal apostates would even argue that the vast federal social safety-net program largess that accompanied Civil Rights Inc. only made the condition of poor blacks worse.

    This became a growing fiasco for American Jewish liberals, who, by the 1980s, then strove to impose another set of repairs (more tikkun olam) on American society: multiculturalismmeaning it was no longer necessary to promote a common culture that people would be encouraged to assimilate into, to join a consensus of values and behaviors. Instead, all cultures could behave according to their own rules.

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    That hasn’t worked out so well either, and the world repairers have lately had to resort to coercion such as tyrannical diversity, equity, and inclusion policies and the shoving aside of equal opportunity for enforced equal outcomes (“equity”). That business has only produced additional unintended consequences, such as the new epidemic of institutional incompetence and the resentment of at least half the population against new forms of counter-discrimination (cultural Marxism, in short).

    Another poorly understood byproduct of this failure to repair the world is the guilt and shame secretly experienced by the American liberal Left over the apparent failure of the Civil Rights movement they fought so hard for, and the subsequent failed efforts to tweak it and save it (still more tikkun olam). Thus, we see the absurd racist “anti-racism” of the universities, and so many other affronts to common sense and reality itself.

    But the worst byproduct of all this tragically misguided tikkun olam is that the main political vehicle for it, the Democratic Party, has gone so insane that it now devotes itself fanatically to the utter destruction of what remains of our country. This is most particularly true in the law, which might be considered the backbone of America. Lawfare attorneys such as Marc Elias, work tirelessly to turn American election law upside down and inside out so it becomes increasing impossible to know who is voting and if the ballots are legitimate.

    The Democratic Party has decided it’s okay to use the law in bad faith to persecute and jail its political opponents. The Democratic Party has destroyed American’s faith in the federal courts, the Department of Justice, and the FBI. The Democratic Party allows an invasion of millions of unvetted aliens across the border, quite a few of them possibly bent on making mayhem here as global tensions careen into hot war. The Democratic Party is still pushing Covid vaccinations that are well-understood at this point to be ineffective and unsafe. And the Democratic Party is doing everything possible (with help from RINO Republicans) to destroy our financial system. You could easily make the case that the Democratic Party is the anti-American party.

    If they really want to repair the world, it’s time for Jewish Americans to get out of the Democratic Party and re-assimilate into an American common culture - a consensus about reality - that is consistent with running a successful, orderly, and just society.

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