Since nature abhors a spiritual vacuum, Podhoretz concludes that the religion of liberalism—that is, faith in the powers of government — has replaced Judaism in the hearts of Jews. . . .
Why, asks Podhoretz, do Jews cling to this belief if it no longer serves our interest? . . .
If I may be allowed so vast a sweep of generalization, Republicans, conservatives, are the party that feels comfortably at home. We need not attach a value to this observation; you may approve of this sensibility or not. But for Jews, unease is our mother tongue. . . .
– David Wolpe
Jewish liberalism endures, Podhoretz concludes, because turning conservative, in liberal eyes, is nothing short of heresy—or worse, apostasy.
– Jonathan D. Sarna
Most American Jews, on the other hand, seem to have learned from an early age that to be Jewish is to be a liberal Democrat, no matter what. . . . [T]he loyalty of American Jews to the Left has been unaffected by the failure of the Left to reciprocate that loyalty.
– Jeff Jacoby
In many cases, Podhoretz notes, left-wing politics took the place of a Judaism that felt to new American immigrants like a business suit on a beach: conspicuous, constraining, ridiculously out of place. . . . On this reading, emotional, facts-be-damned Jewish liberalism is a gravestone marking the death of religious faith.
– David Gelernter
But my own tentative personal resolution, reached after reading Why Are Jews Liberals?, is this: I’m going to stop worrying about American Jews. They’re not worth the headache. Either they’ll come to their senses or they won’t, and there’s not much I (or anyone else, I suspect) can do about it.
– William Kristol
For most American Jews, the core of their Jewish identity isn’t solidarity with Israel; it’s rejection of Christianity. This observation may help to explain the otherwise puzzling political preferences of the Jewish community explored in Norman Podhoretz’s book. Jewish voters don’t embrace candidates based on their support for the state of Israel as much as they passionately oppose candidates based on their identification with Christianity — especially the fervent evangelicalism of the dreaded “Christian Right.”
– Michael Medved
But what McCain writes himself is also worth noting:
Thus, for the past several years, we were treated to endless liberal jeremiads against “abstinence education,” as if the sex-ed curriculum in public schools were the single most important issue in national politics. The propaganda purpose of this liberal campaign was to suggest to people who think of themselves as sexual sophisticates that the GOP is actively promoting ignorance.
If you wish to identify the source of the Republican Party’s electoral weakness among under-30 voters, this is it — even though, as I say, this perception of the GOP as “anti-sex” (or “pro-ignorance”) is strictly a function of liberal propaganda. GOP leaders have failed to recognize the damage inflicted by this propaganda, have failed to clarify the policy issues involve and have, at times, unwittingly played to the negative stereotype of Republicans as uptight, repressed, and clueless about sex.
Depicting the “Christian Right” as an especially benighted and menacing component of the Republican Party has, as Medved notes, a particular value in discouraging Jewish Democrats from reconsidering their political loyalties. To any liberal, the conservative is always the Other. But by depicting the GOP as dominated by the “Christian Right,” the Otherness of conservatism is effectively doubled — if not, indeed, magnified exponentially.
Never mind that evangelical Christians are overwhelmingly pro-Israel and philo-Semitic. The liberal propaganda depiction of evangelicals as backward ignoramuses, taking their marching orders from a handful of TV preachers, accomplishes its intended purpose — to evoke a distinctive cultural revulsion among Jews, and to conjure up nightmare visions of an American Kristallnacht.
So, I think two of the problems are 1) religious bigotry and 2) fears of irrational policies. And I think I know how to fix that.
Where are the studies and arguments that socially conservative policies are actually good? Good for people’s happiness, good for reducing government expenditures, and good for individual liberty itself? I wonder whether any conservatives can even articulate the argument that strong families and abstinence are needed precisely to make sure that government doesn’t have to grow to deal with the consequences of family breakdown and pre-marital sex, such as violent children and STDs?
I have noticed the exact same thing that the article describes is happening with Hindus. A combination of religious bigotry and contempt for policy positions embraced on ignorance. It’s not the fault of Jews and Hindus – we in the conservative movement need to do a better job of explaining the reasons for our positions in non-sectarian terms. E.g. – if homeschooling really is better as a policy, then we should have the studies to show that it produces better grades.