During my first months in the US Air Force, back in Korean War days, the Jewish chaplain addressed our small group and advised that it wasn’t going to be easy. We would be reminded of our "Jewishness" almost every waking hour. He was right. It was occasionally negative, but mostly good-natured bantering, and every airman, regardless of background, got his share.
There were times when the mental sexual imagery whirred along like a continuous motion picture rather than a clip every 30 seconds, and "Jewishness" ebbed and flowed with time and location. Most often, it was the folks encountered that brought it to the fore.
Weiss, Sobran, and Me
Frankly, I hadn’t been thinking about sex or Jewishness for quite a while until I read Philip Weiss’s "Jews in Bush’s Cabinet? Don’t Hold Your Breath" (New York Observer, December 22, 2001) and Joseph Sobran’s "An Anniversary" (Sobran’s, December 2001).
Mr. Weiss, the consummate New Yorker, has written frequently on the subject of Jews and their place in American society. In earlier pieces, he appropriately concluded that anti-Semitism in America is a ghost. But in this present article, he removes all inhibitions and proudly acknowledges that Jews have changed America.
In earlier times Weiss would have been dismayed at George W.’s failure to appoint any Jews to his cabinet. Not now. Weiss is so confident of Jewish potency, he says, “Remaking the American power structure without Jews is like remaking sports without blacks.”
Weiss details with pride Jewish influence in the civil rights movement, feminism, the media, popular culture, and law and finance. He tops off his sermonet by arguing that “the greatly diminished influence of the church on public mores wouldn’t have happened without secularized Jews gaining cultural power.”
This is not a social agenda shared by most Americans, or by all Jews for that matter. Where are the dissenters?
Well, Weiss accomplished one thing; he got me focusing on my Jewishness full-time. What the heck. Since I am now part of America’s power structure, I decided to enjoy it and bully my way around.
Unfortunately, when I started swaggering at my home or office as a sort of Jewish superman, nobody was impressed. In fact, everybody listened less than usual, and I had to commiserate with poor Rodney Dangerfield, who laments that "he don’t get no respect."
Joe Sobran is a dear friend and unique talent. LRC readers recognize him as one of America’s most brilliant essayists. In his “An Anniversary” piece, Joe wrestles with the issue that has bedeviled him. He states his respect for the ability and culture of Jews, but is convinced that they represent goals profoundly different from those of most Americans, since this is “still more or less a Christian country.”
All Joe asks is that any exchange on the subject be open. He insists, "I reserve the right to talk about [the differences between Jews and Christians] and take it into my calculations without being called a bigot."
Joe can count on me to go to the barricades with him on this point, but he, like Weiss, has me focusing once again on my Jewishness.
The Lone Eagle
The anniversary of Joe’s title involves Charles A. Lindbergh. His extremely dangerous solo flight across the Atlantic earned him the mantle of America’s greatest hero. He was an icon, the leading anti-interventionist of his time, and the star spokesman for the America First Committee, the two million-member organization committed to keeping us out of WWII.
Interestingly, September 11th, 2001, marked the 60th anniversary of Lindbergh’s famous speech in Des Moines, Iowa. He implored Americans not to succumb to the influence of "the British, the Jewish, or the Roosevelt administration," who were promoting our entry into WWII.
Lindbergh was vilified by the media and FDR for these remarks, and labeled an anti-Semite. The mythology of his anti-Semitism continues to reach beyond the grave. The smear against Lindbergh is an outrage: any objective evaluation of the man, his beliefs, and accomplishments shatters the lie. And as Joe notes, no one ever claims that these three groups were not pushing for war.
Joe, as usual, makes a rousing case, but in my view he becomes a bit one-dimensional in evaluating American Jews in today’s society.
Like Lindbergh, Joe Sobran has been constantly maligned and I recognize his frustration when he observes:
"Even Jews who neither believe nor practice their ancestral religion have been formed by it and are conscious of belonging to an ancient nation, compared with which the United States of America is a very recent (and probably temporary) upstart."
Joe, that’s an overstatement and I think you are wrong. I detect a hint of something akin to Original Sin. Yes, there are plenty of Jewish bad guys who by their actions or worldview threaten our American heritage and way of life. And they are powerful.
But, there are also Jews, religious or not, who are passionate about what America stands for, Jews who weep at the erosion of American values and struggle to stem that erosion.
I’m sort of tired being judged by some folks on only one aspect of what I am. “Blumert’s a Jew.” Sorry, that single word standing alone is not a true indicator as to whether or not I am a threat to your liberty.
We need more data. Have no fear. I have devised a foolproof test.
What follows is a broad formula designed to reveal an individual’s "Potential for Evil" (PFE), and I offer it to society at no cost. Here’s my methodology: I use five basic components to measure an individual’s PFE.
- Occupation. In almost every instance, what a person does for a living is the dominant factor in determining his PFE.
- National origin. As always in history, this is vital in determining PFE.
- Religion. It’s an even more passionate measure of PFE.
- Affiliations. Those interests that a person has aside from his occupation and religion also reveals his PFE.
- Geographic section of the US a person comes from.
Below I have assigned scientific value numbers reflecting the Potential for Evil. They range from 0 to 10. 0 is terrific, and 10 is bad news. Remember, the higher the number the greater the danger.
Government Employee 06
Military (Officer) 06
Blue Collar 03
Military (Enlisted) 02
High Tech 02
New England 06
Far West 04
Midwest Flyover 03
West Asia 06
American Indian 06
East Asia 05
Eastern Europe/Russia 03
Southern Europe 03
Western Europe 02
Political Activist 10
Pro-War Organization Activist 10
Legal Activist (ACLU) 09
Free Market/Freedom Organization Activist 02
Local Volunteer 02
Here are two hypothetical examples:
A Jewish (10) lawyer (8) whose ancestors came from Russia (3) and is a Sierra Club activist (8) reared in Boston (6). Score: 36. Watch out! This guy could be radioactive.
A Lutheran (02) with German roots (02), a software programmer (02) who contributes to the Mises Institute (02) reared in Mobile, Alabama (02). Score: 10. The sort of fellow who should be guiding a troop of Boy Scouts.
Our own Lew Rockwell is Catholic (04), with ancestors from the UK (06), reared in New England (06), employed by a non-profit (05), and affiliated with the Mises Institute and the Center for Libertarian Studies (02). Score: 25
Even worse, I am Jewish (10), my ancestors come from Eastern Europe (03), I am in finance (05), my affiliations are the Mises Institute and CLS (02), but I was forged in New York City (07). Score: 27.
Clearly an appeal mechanism is necessary. If you — like Lew and me — believe your PFE is too high, that you have overcome your background, and that you are not a threat to liberty, request a waiver. You’ll have to answer a few telling questions, however.
Who is H.L. Mencken?
What constitutes a just war?
Are you a regular visitor to LRC?
Well, add up your own score and see how you rate
25 or more: You may be the stuff tyrants are made of.
20—24: Don’t expect people to feel comfortable turning their backs to you.
15—19: People can be comfortable lending you their new car.
14 or less: You are a potential mate for the cherished child of an LRC reader.