Fred Reed and Me

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by Paul Gottfried by Paul Gottfried

Fred Reed and I have what seems to be a shared problem, receiving hallucinatory notes from anti-Semitic readers who insist, "the Jews are behind everything." Perhaps I should feel honored that despite my family’s flight from the Nazis, I have been taken into the confidence of non-Jews who have the same grip on reality as the authors of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Like Reed, I also feel impelled to let my correspondents know that they have their heads screwed on the wrong way. How can Jews, who account for less than two percent of the American population and for less than that in Europe, explain the Western world’s descent into multicultural lunacy, including the advocacy of open borders, the glorification of the Muslims as a peaceful and enriching presence, and the treatment of homosexual relations as a privileged human association?

If one subtracted the Jewish vote in New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, would these states be significantly less leftist in their politics? Most of the left-of-center votes (within our narrow party spectrum) cast in those states come from nominal Catholics, and these votes are given to social and economic leftists who are also usually self-described Catholics. Both the Eastern and Midwestern liberal vote is disproportionately Catholic and comes from non-Jews belonging to what used to be a very conservative confession. Unless shown differently, I shall have to conclude on the basis of my evidence that Catholics tend sharply toward the left in England and Canada as well as in the US. And, as far as I can tell, this trend has nothing significant to do with Jews inside or outside the media. I am also led to a similar conclusion about mainline Protestant church leaders, who sound politically and morally like Hollywood actors. Clearly these leaders are not imitating the politics of Michael Moore or Jesse Jackson because of their contact with Jewish journalists. Having just returned from listening to a Protestant convocation speaker at my college, whom most of my colleagues enthusiastically applauded, celebrating our "universal citizenship" and the imminent end of Western nation states, I am still searching for the smudged fingerprint of international Jewry behind these ravings. Those Jews who were present at the speech, one from Italy, were struck by the lack of reality of the speaker, who thought of himself as a "global citizen." Perhaps my correspondents could have traced for them the causal chain by which Jews had brought such madness to American Christians.

Where I differ with Fred Reed, whose irreverent humor I have long admired, is in his concern about not appearing anti-Jewish. Fred goes out of his way to prove that he adores Jews, including Jewish feminists, and he hopes that Americans never forget the contributions of those identifiably Jewish scientists who helped end the polio epidemic of our youths. One may need to bring up here the problem of ascribed national grace. Am I supposed to like Abe Foxman, who blames everyone and his cousin for the Holocaust, because of the scientific prowess of Jonas Salk? This is a bit like suggesting that Hitler shouldn’t seem so bad once we realize that the Austrians also gave us Mozart.

In any case it’s irrelevant whether Fred Reed is socially simpatico with Jews in and around the District of Columbia for understanding what needs to be emphasized, that our cultural and political degeneration as a constitutional society has occurred largely independently of Jewish influence. Most of what my anti-Jewish correspondents lament could be accounted for without considering the Jewish-controlled share of the media or the impact of Jewish votes. The number of Jews in Sweden is negligible, yet politically and morally it is a far more radicalized country than the US. Perhaps the reach and behavioral intrusiveness of Swedish socialism may have more to do with this situation than the presence of a small stable Jewish minority in the country.

The Germans for decades have been raised to hate themselves as a people, and when Daniel Goldhagen visited this guilt-obsessed country after arguing in a book full of factual errors in 1996 that Germans killed Jews because they had all been "eliminationist anti-Semites," he was wildly cheered wherever he went. The Germans have an organization "Anti-Deutsch," consisting of thousands of young Germans, that demonstrates in favor of the saturation bombing of German cities in World War Two. But this weird organization is not Jewish; in fact Germany contains a far lower percentage of Jews than the US. To the response that Jewish groups have succeeded in making Germans hate themselves, the counter-response is obvious: "Who the hell causes the Germans, except for the Germans themselves, to behave masochistically?" And who orders white Christian Americans to yammer about their social sins and about the supposed evil of their national and civilizational identity? As my recent books try to make clear, there is something gravely wrong with majority cultures that ostentatiously despise their inherited identity — and there is no reason to assume that it would not be there if Jews or blacks disappeared. Daring Jews, like Noam Chomsky and Israel Shahak, who have played up Jewish bigotry and ethnic nationalism, have been widely denounced as "self-hating Jews." But WASPs who dwell on their group’s prejudices and alleged hate-crimes can expect to be generally cheered.

I wonder whether my anti-Jewish correspondents have ever thought the obvious, that minorities often behave the way majorities want them to. America’s German and Sephardic Jews in the nineteenth century tried to model themselves on WASP high society, believing that they had to do so to move up socially and professionally. Today Jews who spew hate on gentiles also move up, because they are doing to Euro-American-Christians what the majority society wants, blaming that society for the ills of humanity and urging it to become a multicultural mess. This should not be read as a justification of the usual suspects but it is a reminder of why Dershowitz, Foxman, and Goldhagen make money and enjoy popularity among loads of Christians as well as Jews. Unlike nineteenth-century Germany or an older America, in our society it pays for bad-mannered, resentful Jews to exhibit their worst qualities. They are providing a morally confused and historically misinformed majority with what it craves.

August 28, 2004

Paul Gottfried [send him mail] is Horace Raffensperger Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College and author of, most recently, Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt.

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