(I have the feeling that many people missed the point of my previous Noah Feldman post because I hid behind some jokes. Here’s another go.)
Somehow everybody’s got things exactly backwards. The fact is that when it comes to assessing our relationship with the rest of the world, Liberal Jews are the true believers and Orthodox Jews are the dissidents.
Orthodox Jews are convinced that (in some sense, on average) they are morally superior to most goyim and that many goyim hate them for this. There are empirical grounds for such claims. But these claims violate two fundamental orthodoxies of Liberal Jews, one incoherent and the other demonstrably false. The incoherent liberal orthodoxy is that no group is morally inferior to any other, except for those who choose to deny this orthodoxy. (The “choose to” is important because groups that are sufficiently pathetic to be patronizable by liberals, i.e. Muslims, get a free pass; their behavior is treated as entirely deterministic and involuntary.) The demonstrably false liberal orthodoxy is that goyim hate Jews because too many Jews take their own culture too seriously; it’s not because the goyim who hate them take their own culture too seriously. By liberal lights, every Orthodox Jew is a closet fascist and every Muslim fascist is a closet democrat.
The lesson that Orthodox Jews learn from their experience is the need for tribal loyalty – including preferential treatment for those in the tribe – as a survival strategy. The consequence – actually, the purpose – of liberal orthodoxy is freedom from such loyalty. Liberal demonization of Israeli militarism or Orthodox particularism is not subject to debate; it’s simply the catechism of the disloyal.
In a culture dominated by liberal orthodoxy, Jews are tolerable as long as they don’t take their own culture too seriously. If they dare to do so, the true believers will out them as heretics.