Thursday, February 9, 2012

Jews, Politics, and Conformity

Party identification for Jews has changed by 9 percent since 2008, according to Pew Research.
Jews who support or lean Republican jumped from 20% in 2008 to 29% in 2011. And Jews who support or lean Democratic fell from 72% in 2008 to 65% in 2011. The 2011 study has a 6.5% margin of error.
I know what you are thinking.  What took them so long?

What took them so long is that humans are social animals.  They are powerfully drawn to think and act like their kind. Abraham H. Miller:
Most people come to their politics the way they come to their religion. They’ve been socialized into a political belief system. They learn about politics as accepted behavior. They learn what newspapers and magazines to read, what media to watch, and what clichés they can utter among their friends for which they can receive social affirmation.
For years and years, Jewish Americans have been taught to fear the Christians and to hate the WASP establishment.  And left-wing secular intellectual Jews put a heavy stamp on Jewish opinion.  But now American Jews have to accept that the Democratic Party in America is not friendly to Israel and not friendly to Jews.  It's not that Democrats are necessarily anti-Semitic.  But Democrats operate according to an iron law of values.  Democrats privilege certified victims.  Back in the 1930s the certified victims were working stiffs.  Then they were African Americans.  Now they are illegal immigrants.  And, of course, Palestinians.

There was a time when American Jews were victims.  As they struggled off the boat from Russia in the early 20th century they were thought to be stupid.  So stupid that by 1920 they were applying to Harvard in disturbing numbers.  The WASPs of the era put a quota on Jews in the Harvard student body just like liberals play quota games with minorities today.  And they kept Jews out of their neighborhoods and country clubs.  It was a natural for Jews to join the Democratic Party.

But now, of course, Jews are prominent in the conservative movement.  In the 1970s Jewish intellectuals "mugged by reality" became "neo-conservatives" and made a big contribution to the Reagan era.  Today Jews are all over talk radio--Medved, Levin, Prager, Savage--and they aren't neo any more, just conservative.

For Miller, the 9 percent shift in party identification towards the Republican Party is a big deal.
The 9% movement among Jews into the Republican camp means far and away more than what can be assessed by that number. It means the beginning of a critical mass so that liberal Jews will no longer be free to mouth political banalities, leftist clichés, and Democratic talking points without challenge. They will no longer be able to rely on social pressure to both stifle dissent and to promote political conformity among the vast majority of people whose political interests invariably align with what is socially palatable. They will no longer be able to be arrogant in their ignorance, because their ignorance will no longer be socially shared.
 The big problem for the conservative movement today is that "leftist clichés, and Democratic talking points" still get a free ride in education, in media, and in movies.  It would be a big deal if a critical mass of Jews came over to the conservative side and dialed down the volume on the liberal Musak that we all hear as part of the background music of life.

Also, of course, the Democrats are going to run out of other people's money.  The tell-tale indications of this are cropping up all over.  A big one is that the Democrats in Congress aren't interested in passing budget resolutions they are required to pass by law each year.
The Senate last passed a budget 1,106 days ago—that would be almost three years—and now the White House is telling Democrats not to bother this year either. Harry Reid will be pleased, because last week the Majority Leader said he had no plans to do so.
Democrats passed the Budget Act in the 1970s are a way to ride herd on the hated Richard Nixon.  But now they don't want to pass budget resolutions because they show more clearly than they would like to admit that their spending programs are steering the US towards the rocks of debt and default.

No doubt voices will soon be heard on the left complaining that the Jews are leaving the Democratic Party because they are more interested in their money than in justice and compassion.

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