"Why Are Jews Liberals?" Symposium
By Bryan Caplan
The highlight of this symposium on Norman Podhoretz’s Why Are Jews Liberals? comes from Michael Medved. It’s almost Hansonian in its crude reductionism, and fits the facts better than the other stories:
For most American Jews, the core of their Jewish
identity isn’t solidarity with Israel; it’s rejection of Christianity… 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.”
…In an era of budget plane flights and elegantly
organized tours, more than 75 percent of American Jews have never
bothered to visit Israel. The majority give nothing to Israel-related
charities and shun synagogue or temple membership. The contrasting
components of the American Jewish population connect only through a
point of common denial, not through any acts of affirmation.
Imagine a dialogue between Woody Allen and a
youthful, idealistic emissary of the Hasidic Chabad movement–who might
well be the proud father of nine religiously devout children. Both the
movie director and the Lubavitcher may be publicly identified as Jews,
but they share nothing in terms of religious belief, political outlook,
family values, or, for that matter, taste in movies. The one area where
they find common ground–and differ (together) from the majority of
their fellow citizens–is their dismissal of New Testament theology,
with its messianic claims for Jesus.
Personally, though, I’d rather talk about why the most influential libertarians of the 20th century were disproportionately Jewish. By my count, it’s five out of six: out of Mises, Hayek, Rand, Friedman, Rothbard, and Nozick, Hayek’s the only gentile.