April 13, 2003

EUROPE'S PROBLEM -- NOT ENOUGH SALT?:

Anglosphere: Why do they hate us? (Jim Bennett, UPI, 4/12/2003)
Why do they hate us?... [I]t is worth considering the possibility that the root source of anti-Americanism in the world lies in the deep-rooted anti-modern tradition of Continental Europe.

[T]he broader anti-Americanism currently fashionable on all continents comes ultimately from what some have called the Industrial Counter-Revolution. This is a comprehensive category for the various reactions in Europe against ... liberalism in the classical sense -- individualism, free markets, and technological and social progress....

Continental European Jews, because they owed their very presence in the larger civilization to the values of liberalism and modernism, were one of the first and most obvious targets of the Industrial Counter-Revolution.... Those European Jews who were left alive at the end of [WW II] overwhelmingly desired to leave, and they left to two destinations: Israel, and the Anglosphere.

With this emigration, on top of the previous great Jewish emigration to London and New York in the late 19th century, much of the energy, creativity and contributions of European Jews were given to the Anglosphere rather than the Continent....

Gradually, however, Europe seemed to run out of creativity, in everything from arts, to academia, to demographic vigor, to the will to political reform.... It may be coincidence, but these new generations are the ones who grew up without the experience of studying, working and socializing with substantial numbers of Jews....

The modern world was first carried forward by two great civilizations. The Anglosphere was one. The dynamic industrializing culture of 19th century Continental Europe, to which the spark of the Judaeo-Christian encounter was so important, was the other. That culture committed suicide in the '30s. Perhaps its successor is not the revival of that culture, but rather its zombie....

And we should not be surprised if [modern Europeans] hate us.


Jesus said to an audience of Jews: "You are the salt of the earth.... You are the light of the world.... Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven."
Posted by Paul Jaminet at April 13, 2003 5:35 PM
Comments

This is just plain racism. Positive racism, no doubt

its promoters think, but racism anyhow.



Factually, it is not true that the U.S. had an

active Jewish minority for the past 200 years.

It was only 100 years ago we began letting

a few of them into the universities.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at April 14, 2003 1:13 AM

Harry:



That makes them no less active nor influential. The Founders were very conscious of being modern Israelites, establishing a new Promised Land.



PJ:



I think you overestimate Europe's importance down the road.

Posted by: oj at April 14, 2003 1:23 AM

I suppose this is trite; but if America is a great nation, it's because of the upward (as well as downward) mobility it enables, and the possibility, and environment, it offers its citizens to advance---to their own benefit and to society's. It is great because it (usually) rewards hard work and it's a place where one can fulfill dreams instead of futilely indulge in destructive fantasies (though I suppose there's ample opportunity to do that as well).



America, fortunately is not alone in this; any society that creates, nurtures and is able to sustain these conditions must necessarily succeed.



To generalize, a nation where a person like Patrick Daniel Moynihan can, from a shoe-shine boy, rise to become one of the foremost social thinkers and leading politicians of his generation is, for all its warts, a great nation. And he's one example among many. And for many to come, one hopes.



However, one can look at a lot of ethnic groups as examples of upward mobility within even a generation.



My own personal preference would be that one not focus on "Jews" for either good or bad. But on individuals whatever their backgrounds, whether they be Korean, or Pakistani, or Appalachian, or Irish, or African-American, or Jewish, etc., whatever hyphenations they might (or might not) prefer.



Though for some reason, as far as Jews are concerned, I don't expect that this will happen. Alas.

Posted by: Barry Meislin at April 14, 2003 2:16 AM

Harry - not racism; culturalism.



I'm of mixed minds on the culturalist argument. On the one hand I think there's strong evidence that the economic environment shapes the culture. On the other hand, culture in practice seems remarkably stable.



There's another possible explanation for Jewish influence - divine Providence. They are, after all, God's Chosen People. Might God want them to have influence?



oj - I agree that Europe will be poor. But did Attila the Hun and Genghis Khan have to be rich to wreak havoc? When the welfare runs out, desperate people may do desperate things.



Barry - Anonymity - to be one among many ethnic groups - may be comfortable, but at least to religious Christians the Jewish people will always be special in a way that Koreans and Pakistanis are not.

Posted by: pj at April 14, 2003 7:21 AM

The contributions they have made and are making to the USA have been and are astounding. I think the best thing that could happen to Israel, the USA and the world would be for them to sell Israel to the Arabs and we help move them here.

Posted by: Genecis at April 14, 2003 11:41 AM

Genecis - Doesn't the Middle East need help more than we do?



I like OJ's idea - first we fix the Supreme Court's interpretation of the First Amendment establishment clause, then we invite Israel to be the 51st state.

Posted by: pj at April 14, 2003 12:37 PM

OK, culturalism.



I disagree with Orrin on the fact. There

just weren't many Jews here in the

early generations.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at April 14, 2003 6:09 PM

The Jewish merchants of Newport, R.I. were important innovators in colonial America. But you're right, they didn't really arrive in large numbers until the late 19th century. Which is about a generation before America became a world leader in the arts, medicine, and other intellectual fields.

Posted by: pj at April 14, 2003 6:50 PM

I thought you knew economics. The US had

the largest installed steam horsepower by

1810 (yes, more than Britain); its medical

practice was atrocious but no worse than

Europe's up to 1880 or thereabouts, when

Johns Hopkins WASPs began importing German

practice; and for a smallish country, the US

was a great contributor in many fields. Not only Michelson-

Morley (you're a physicist, right?); but

the discovery of variation of latitude (without

which, no cruise missiles) by Seth Chandler

(anther WASP) in the 1890s; and many other

advances.



It is true that the US contributed little to

modern particle physics until the Jews arrived

(less than Hungary), but there was plenty

else going on.



I'm not denigrating the Jewish contributions, I

just say we were sailing along, beating the

world in ship construction, steel-making,

telegraphy and a great many other fields,

before the Jews got to lend a hand.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at April 14, 2003 10:29 PM

19th century America led the world in applied technology and engineering. But in theoretical science, there was no comparison to Europe. Edisons grew up here, but Teslas came from Europe. Likewise in literature there was Mark Twain, but other top American writers spent a lot of time in Europe, e.g. Henry James.



Be that as it may, I had no intention of attributing all intellectual progress to the stimulation of interactions with Jews. But it's plausible that a Jewish presence helps.

Posted by: pj at April 14, 2003 11:38 PM

Another thought occured to me: the Chinese diaspora in southeast Asia, the Phillipines, and Indonesia may play an economic role there comparable to the role the Jews played in Europe.

Posted by: pj at April 15, 2003 12:12 PM
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