Harvard's Jews

There is a long article by Martin Perez that charts the Jewish presence at Harvard from its beginnings to fairly recent times. Link below:

And what it vividly catalogues is how influential Jewish thinkers were in the social sciences during that time. Virtually all the big ideas in that field came for a long time from Jewish thinkers. And broadly Leftist ideas became chracteristic of them

During my own academic career I encountered those thinkers obliquely. To do social psyhology or sociology was to engage with Jewish thinkers. Social science was simply Jewish with all the notable writers being Jews. But the writers concerned rarely mentioned their Jewishness. From a casual perpective they were just smart Americans.

I was a long way from Harvard but the Jewishness of the writers was still plain to me and I occasionally made cautious mention of it in my own writings.

Where the Jewishness of the writer was not openly acknowledged, I was usually still aware of it. I knew German, so Ashekenazi surnames stood out. I knew, for instance, what strangely derisive surnames like Goldberg and Finkelstein meant. They were mocking names given by Prussian border guards to refugess from Eastern European pogroms. So if you knew German, most American Jewish surnames shouted of their Jewishness. Some names were a bit of a puzzle. "Kren" for instance did not seem at all Jewish -- until you realized that it was Southern German dialect for horseradish. Yes. Some German Jews walked around being known as "Mr Horseradish".

And in my own research and writing I focused on another Ashkenazi body of thought -- not principally the Harvard authors but rather the group of very Marxist refugees from Germany's prewar Frankfurt school. I took an interest in their "authoritarianism" theory, principally authored by Theodor Wiesengrund, aka Adorno. It was a theory taken with great seriousness by most social psychological thinkers at the time and still has some following to this day.

But it was a total absurdity. It said that authoritarianism was fundamentally derived from conservatism. The huge example of authoritarianism on the world scene at the time was the Soviet union, which was undiputably Leftist. Yet authoritarianism was somehow conservative to most American Jewish scholars.

I spent a a lot of time pointing out the flaws in that theory in my writings but I was largely wasting my time. Leftist theories are reality-blind. If it sounds good to them it is true, pesky evidence regardless.

So my reflection on the history that Martin Perez has put out is great sadness: So many smart people were so foolish. The Jewish influence was great but produced so little of abiding worth. The attractions of Leftism neutered some great brains

I am pleased to note however that time seems to have had a corrective influence. Articles that I wrote as far back as 1970 are now widely read and favorably commented on -- though not usually by Jewish authors. Realism seem to be slowly replacing delusion. My British empiricism may eventually win the day -- JR.


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