August 12, 2008

Great -- one more thing for which to blame the Jews

The lawyer who successfully argued the recent Second Amendment Heller case was born in Israel. (h/t to Volokh.)

As a seasoned 40-something, I've often wondered why Jews often get such a bad rap. I just don't get it. Really. Maybe it's 'cause I grew up in an area with a higher-than-average Jewish population, meaning, (at the risk of sounding stereotypical myself) I knew many Jewish folks quite well. One of the four ushers in my wedding is a Jewish guy. Another very good pal of mine is a rabbi. One of my very good friends that I've known since first grade who lives out of state, but is one of the few out-of-staters I still keep in touch with, is a [conservative] Jewish girl. And perhaps most significantly, my only first cousin married a Jewish guy, converted to Judaism, and is raising her three children in the Jewish tradition. Her husband is a professor of computer science at a major university. He taught himself French and now speaks it fluently. The best students I've taught in my teaching career have been Asian and ... ready? Jewish.

So why the bad rap? Why do too many idiots rant and rave about a "Jewish neo-con conspiracy" to start WW III on behalf of Israel? That 9/11 was a Jewish/Israeli plot? Not to mention rattle off all the other negative stereotypes that have, unfortunately, survived over centuries? I've come to a fairly simple conclusion: Envy. Yep. [Many] people are envious of Jews, and this envy eventually turns to anger and then scapegoating.

Why the envy? Simple. Jews as a group are, and have been, very successful, not only monetarily but educationally. Don't believe me? Just check out this site. Just check out the Physics section. Recognize any of these names (DE Liberal writers/readers excluded; the only physics they can grasp is simple gravity):

  • Albert Einstein
  • Niels Bohr
  • Wolfgang Pauli
  • Max Born
  • Hans Bethe
  • Felix Bloch
  • Lev Landau
  • I. I. Rabi
  • Eugene Wigner
  • John von Neumann
  • Richard Feynman
  • Julian Schwinger
  • Murray Gell-Mann
  • Steven Weinberg

And consider these stats:

  • Jews make up 26% of the Nobel Prizes awarded in Physics.
  • Jews make up 51% of the Wolf Prize awarded in Physics.
  • Jews make up 53% of the Enrico Fermi Awards.
  • Jews make up 50% of the Atoms for Peace Awards.

And that's just in physics. Let that sink in.

Jews make up less than one half of one percent of the world's population. (There are approximately 14 million Jews in the world, the U.S. having the largest total Jewish population of any country.) Yet, their numbers in major fields of endeavor are, quite simply, staggering.

Not staggered yet? Take a gander:

  • Jonas Salk developed the first polio vaccine.
  • Leo Szilard developed the first nuclear chain reactor.
  • Stanley Mezor invented the first micro-processing chip.
  • Gregory Pincus developed the first oral contraceptive pill.
  • The two most prolific philanthropists in the world: George Soros and Walter Annenberg.
  • Famous Jewish actors: Harrison Ford, George Burns, Tony Curtis, Charles Bronson, Sandra Bullock, Billy Crystal, Woody Allen, Paul Newman, Peter Sellers, Dustin Hoffman, Michael Douglas, Ben Kingsley, Kirk Douglas, Goldie Hawn, Cary Grant, William Shatner, Jerry Lewis and Peter Falk.

I could make this post my longest ever if I continued. 'Nuff said.

So, when you consider many of the great accomplishments of humanity over the centuries, be aware that there's a very good chance a Jew had a hand in it. We Gentiles shouldn't be spiteful, envious and hateful towards our Jewish brethren -- far from it. We should be extremely thankful and grateful.

UPDATE: Soccer Dad sends an excellent addendum my way.

Posted by Hube at August 12, 2008 10:17 AM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

Thomas Sowell in his book "Black Rednecks and White Liberals" talked about this, and he chalked it up to the historic Jewish role as the economic middle-man who handled transaction between classes through much of Europe. He showed that this hatred of the ethnic groups responsible for financial transactions (loans, etc.) exists across cultures and ethic groups around their world. Jews, although bearing no responsibility for the economic situation, bore the brunt of the blame for it due to their relative prosperity, "self-ghettoization" (if that makes sense), different religion, and often being the bearers of bad economic news.

And, as a Christian, it's hard for me not to see the demonic in it. I have little doubt that Satan has a special hatred for God's chosen people.

And two other tongue in cheek comments:
1) I almost thought you were about to lapse into Adam Sandler's Hanukkah song.
2) Do you really think the Jews brag about William Shatner?

Posted by: Paul Smith Jr at August 12, 2008 10:39 AM

These are both (Hube and Soccer Dad) great articles. It serves as a wonderful reminder of how much science has improved our live, and some of whom we have to thank for it.

Good job, guys!

Posted by: Joe M at August 12, 2008 11:45 AM

Funny, I work w/ a number of south Asian guys (I am in IT you know) so they're sometimes make cultural jokes that I just don't get. One in particular that comes up often is "never trust a Sindri". One guy finally explained to me that the Sindri are a social/ethnic group that are vilified as dishonest traders in India much like Jews elsewhere. Everybody finds a scapegoat eventually.

Posted by: Duffy at August 12, 2008 11:58 AM

Hube, do all of the citations or criticisms to which you refer specifically slam Jews/Jewish people or Israeli's? See, I believe there is a difference...maybe because I have (what I feel to be) good reason. I've...many times...been accused of being an Anti-Semite. I'm far from that and certainly don't believe that to criticize the Israeli politics or government is the same as criticizing or hating Jews or Judaism. Now, if you want to tell me that every Jew in Israel believes in their government and it's actions...some of them questionable if not reprehensible...and that Jew-Judaism-Israeli are totally synonymous, that the religion cannot and will not be seperated from their politics or govt...then maybe I'm too idealistic. But let's not forget that while 'we' may complain and have distate for anyone who criticizes Jews "and gives them a bad rap" just as many do the same in regards to Muslims...just as unfair and uncalled for.

Posted by: Nancy Cleveland at August 12, 2008 04:36 PM

It serves as a wonderful reminder of how much science has improved our live, and some of whom we have to thank for it.

Yet the history of science shows that many try to divorce science from the minds that engage in it and speak of science as if it leads to improvement and progress as we know it. But science alone isn't linked to progress or improvement, nuclear energy and nuclear weapons can stem from the same knowledge.

History seems to indicate that those who seek a "pure" and amoral science which has no room for the intelligence and agency of sentient beings come out on the wrong side of progress as we know it. That shouldn't be surprising given that people of that sort have no ground to judge progress or improvement based on their own amoral view of science.

Unlike Islamists people of an immanent mindset have a history of having a rather visceral reaction against the creation story of the Jews which puts mind before matter. Whether it is a Nazi arguing that Jewish texts can be reduced to the superstitions of a group of wandering nomads or a Marxist arguing on supposedly scientific grounds that class warfare and racial holocaust is inevitable based on science the immanent mindset is the same. Given their mindset they cannot admit the possibility of language having a meaning which transcendences its communicator, instead they shift their focus to the supposed means of its production. Contrast that with the mindset typical to Jewish physicists and the general idea that a knowledge of the Mind of God can by seeking out the language of mathematics which specifies the way that the natural world operates and so on. Given this view there is a union of transcendence and immanence. It's also interesting to contrast the hard forms of science typical to Jewish physicists and so on with the pseudo-science typical to Nazis, Marxists and Darwinists.

It's almost as if a mind can only fall into insanity based on a radical focus on transcendence (as in Islamist ideology) or a radical focus on immanence (as in socialism and Darwinism).

Posted by: mynym at August 12, 2008 06:07 PM

Nancy: I am referring only to the ridiculous scapegoating of Jews for virtually any conceivable ill. I am not referring to legitimate criticism of Israeli politics or policy; however, when one refuses to recognize basic common sense security measures taken by Israelis, and/or puts all the blame on Israel for the numerous conflicts that country has had to engage in, then I think there's a little more there than mere policy disagreement.

And I don't completely share your view that Islam suffers the same fate Jewishness does. While Jewish belief has progressed,, Islam has regressed. I don't think it out of line to blast Muslim views on the utter subservience of women, for instance, or the desire to establish a repressive theocracy in any of the Arab states. Islam was much more enlightened (as Westerners define the term) in the year 1200, say, than it is at present in many respects. Nevertheless, you are indeed right that it would be reprehensible to view all/most Muslims as "terrorists," for instance.

Posted by: Hube at August 13, 2008 04:24 PM

Certainly I'd agree with you that in many aspects Islam was much more enlightened centuries ago, Hube...although I'd have to say that, let's say the instance you offered...the subservience of women...probably will never change until and unless the women themselves decide they've had anough and fight back. As to Israel...can't totally agree with you there re "the numerous conflictgs that country has had to engage in". That, somehow, gives them victimhood...something that country and it's politics sell very well on their own while, at the same time, victimizing others and, for the most part, the West buys it. For a country populised mostly by descendants of a heinous era of Jewish history and run by politicians of old men and women who lived the dreadful acts perpetrated upon them, they have done little better towards others in achieving what they want. Guess another "agree to disagree", Hube (though I give you not entirely...;)...)

Posted by: Nancy Cleveland at August 13, 2008 09:32 PM

they have done little better towards others in achieving what they want.

What, precisely, would be "achieving what they want," Nance?

Posted by: Hube at August 14, 2008 08:26 AM

Hube...you're a smart guy, you know your history and your politics. I think you have to know the answer to that one.

Posted by: Nancy Cleveland at August 14, 2008 07:41 PM

Thanks for the compliment, Nance. However, I'd really like to hear what it is that the Israelis "want," and what precisely they have "done little better" in attempting to achieve such.

Keep in mind that, by your "little better," you're actually attempting to equate Israeli actions to those of the Nazis. I really await your response -- will it be something really worthy of considering, or will it actually be what I just noted? (I cannot figure out any other analogy you were making, so I hope you prove me wrong.)

I'll save my gratuitous guffaws for the nonce, Nance.

Posted by: Hube at August 14, 2008 08:57 PM