Wednesday, August 08, 2007

(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.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

A simply outstanding post,spot on. Y'yasher cheylekh.

11:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Only one comment!? Come on people this happens to be an excellent blog. Ben Chorin - keep up the good work. I thought the joke was great.

5:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ben-loved the joke. My son became bar-mitzvah in parshat V'ethanan and I used the joke in drashot that I made. It tied in beautifully with the parsha because of the RAMBAN's view of the pasuk talking about Benei Israel inheriting houses "full of good things" when they conquer Eretz Israel. He says it means they are allowed to eat non-kosher food they find there, l'chathila (unlike the RAMBAM who says only that soldiers in battle can eat the stuff). Thus we can contrast your "apikorus from Lodz" who is full of mitvot but without emunah, with the RAMBAN's man who is full of emunah but is allowed to eat non-kosher food!

8:24 AM  

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