Now that the Presidential election is over, I have scaled back my coverage of day-to-day politics somewhat and have been writing more on enduring issues -- issues that are more general and which will probably be with us for a long time. As I see it, Obama definitely does not want to be a one-term President and knows he has to stay pretty centrist to achieve that. His appointments so far certainly suggest that. So I am sitting back to watch with amusement the attempt by the Democrats to run America in a non-disastrous way. They have in fact inherited some difficult problems so their struggles should be fun to watch. There are some blessings in being out of power. It is more relaxing. Whatever happens will not be the fault of conservatives. So I have the leisure to think big thoughts.
Some of the things I have written recently have pushed right to the boundary of what may permissibly be said by civilized people -- but I have always run that risk. It is no accident that I am the proprietor of the Tongue-Tied blog. I am an instinctive anti-authoritarian. If someone tells me to do something, my instinct is to do otherwise. And if someone tells me not to do something, my instinct is to do it. I am in other words quite happy to be a rebel against the orthodoxy and am rather supported by the certainty that the orthodoxy of today will be the absurdity of tomorrow. So pushing against speech limits is, I hope, a service I can render to the advancement of knowledge and understanding.
What I will almost certainly be accused of below is "blaming the victim". I am in fact not blaming anyone, merely trying to understand -- and I accept no limits on what I can say or think in that quest. So I hope that no minds will snap shut before they read the whole of what I write below.
So what I want to say a few words about now is that everlasting issue: Jews. How awful it must be to be born into a group that is a perennial source of at least controversy and often hate. I am sure many Jews must pray for Jews to be simply forgotten. But their God seems to have doomed them not to be. I admire Jews in many ways but I am glad that my heritage is less horror-filled. Mind you, as a middle-class WASP male, I too belong to a much reviled group. But we are not as targeted as the Jews, mainly because there are more of us, I imagine.
And that leads into my point: Their small numbers reveal Jews as a biological failure. Reproduction is the prime imperative in biology and reproductive fitness has to be judged by reproductive success. I have always admired the wisdom of Gideon but from a biological viewpoint, strength is in numbers. So the roughly 10 million Jews in the world today is not impressive. If the Iranians were to sail two ships carrying nuclear devices into both New York harbour and Tel Aviv harbour at roughly the same time with some jihadis aboard to detonate them, there would not be much left of that 10 million.
By contrast, there are around one billion Christians in the world. So why have Christians flown so far ahead of Jews in reproductive success? Originally, there were a lot more Jews than Christians. The obvious answer, of course, is that Jewish numbers have been kept down by persecution. But that just leads to the very vexed question of why people have been persecuting them from the Pharaohs on. There are many answers to that but I want here to look at just one.
The contrast between Jews and Christians is all the more surprising when we look at the doctrinal similarities between them. After the destruction of the Jerusalem temple by the Romans and the subsequent diaspora, the Judaism of the Old Testament simply died. Most of the instructions in the Old Testament were predicated on Jews having and ruling their own country and that was no longer the case. So the commands given in the Old Testament no longer COULD be obeyed: No animal sacrifices at the temple etc.
In response, two reworkings of traditional Judaism emerged: Rabbinical Judaism and Christianity. And they were surprisingly similar. It was no longer feasible to stone to death such evil-doers as homosexuals so that was no longer expected of believers. St. Paul simply pointed out that such offenders were still abhorrent but left punishment of them to God. And the Rabbis had to rule similarly. The major differences between the two new versions of Judaism was that the Rabbinical Jews were gene-preserving while Christianity was open to all and actively sought to embrace all men (and women). So Christians rapidly lost any Jewish identity.
So where did the more traditional Jews go wrong? I am going to be blunt. I think that there must be something in Jews that predisposes them to political stupidity. How else are we to explain their ending up on the wrong side of just about every ruler from the Pharaohs to the Babylonians to the Romans to the Popes to the Tsars to the Nazis? I can't be sure what that thing is but it is still in full bloom today. Both in Israel and in the USA Jews tend heavily to lean Left -- at a time when the Left are having a romance with the sworn enemies of the Jews: Muslims. How stupid can you get? Jews just don't seem to be able to see who their friends are. Just about their ONLY friends in the modern world are American evangelical Christians but the actions of the ADL and much else reveal most Jews as despising American evangelical Christians.
And contrast that stupid behaviour with one of the world's most successful ethnic groups: The British. As Winston Churchill said, not for a thousand years has Britain seen the campfires of an invader. While the rest of Europe was tearing itself apart with internecine wars, Britain was securing for itself a couple of continents (Australia and most of North America) plus some rather nice Islands (The British Isles and New Zealand, for instance). And their progeny populate those places to this day.
So how did the British do it? Basically through just one strategy: Allies. The British have always sought allies. That has long been the dominant aim of British foreign policy. Britain never goes it alone. They will even enter wars that really concern them little just in order to preserve alliances (WWI and the Iraq war, for instance). So any description of a war in which Britain has been involved has always been between two sides: "The Allies" and the other guy. But to achieve that, you have to be great compromisers and great propagandists. And the British always have been both. Even Hitler admired British WWI propaganda. But above all you have to VALUE potential allies. And as far as I can see, Jews generally don't. They value their enemies instead. The Iranians may get them yet.
So do I have a clue about what causes such a brilliant people to be so stupid politically? I think I do have a clue. If you read Moses and the Old Testament prophets, you will see that they often describe the Israelites as a "stiff-necked" people (Which I take to mean proud, obstinate, unwilling to bow down to anybody. A more pejorative definition is here). I suspect that Moses and the prophets were right about their people and that enough of the old genetic material has survived in Jews to make the same thing true of most Jews today. St. Luke certainly seemed to think it was hereditary (Acts 7:51) and modern-day Sabras are certainly not often shy and retiring people. Maybe in fact you have to have some of that genetic material to identify as a member of such a reviled group. Such a difficult inheritance seems a pity to me -- from my ethnically British standpoint with its devotion to compromise and the "fudge" (scroll down) as a solution to difficult issues. But I am glad that there are still some people who take on the great burden of being Jews -- given the immense contribution that Jews have made -- and continue to make -- to civilization. And I am sure that I am pretty stiff-necked myself. I would probably not be writing this otherwise.
I look at the issues I have touched on above at much greater length here.
Posted by John Ray. For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. For a daily survey of Australian politics, see AUSTRALIAN POLITICS Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me (John Ray) here