In my last blog I suggested that the new elite will not be as prone to surrendering its position as the old one was. One big difference is that Jewish activist organizations go ballistic over any mention that Jews are a disproportionate portion of American elites–truth is irrelevant. Those who stray into this forbidden territory soon learn that their lives have just gotten a lot more complicated. The result is that people behave like well-conditioned rats in a psychology experiment and keep their mouths shut no matter how obvious Jewish overrepresentation is.
The latest instance is the reaction to Pat Buchanan’s column “Are Liberals Anti-WASP?” where Buchanan wrote: “If Kagan is confirmed, Jews, who represent less than 2 percent of the U.S. population, will have 33 percent of the Supreme Court seats. Is this the Democrats’ idea of diversity?”
Jewish activists immediately went to work. The National Jewish Democratic Council complained about Buchanan’s “over-the-top, conspiratorial screeds.” Abe Foxman was at his most colorful, calling Buchanan a “recidivist anti-Semite who doesn’t miss an opportunity to show his fangs.” Foxman also gave his expert, unbiased opinion that Kagan “is a highly qualified candidate for the judiciary, an exemplary Solicitor General and a great legal mind.”
Liberals are fond of making arguments that ethnic and religious diversity affect people’s judgments and therefore we should do everything we can to promote diversity. For example, Sonia Sotomayor’s famous “Wise Latina” comment was doubtless a huge asset for her among her liberal supporters. But Foxman is implying that Kagan’s Jewishness will have no influence at all on her judgments and anyone who says otherwise is a rabid anti-Semite.
Of course, this is ridiculous. There are a whole lot of reasons to believe that Kagan’s Jewishness will indeed affect her judgments. The fact that Elena Kagan is the product of New York’s Jewish leftist sub-culture makes a huge difference in what we can expect from her — particularly given her views on the First Amendment and executive power that are in line with the mainstream Jewish community. All the research shows that Jewish attitudes are far different from the American majority on a wide range of hot button issues, particularly social issues such as immigration, homosexuality, controls on sexual behavior, abortion, Christianity in the public square, and gun control. Particularly when there is such a thin paper trail (contrary to Foxman, there is no tangible evidence that Kagan has a “great legal mind”), the most rational expectation is that Kagan’s views reflect the views of the wider Jewish community.
Foxman is exercised because he is well aware that there is a recurring pattern in history in which Jews become highly overrepresented among elites. This then feeds into anti-Jewish sentiment from people who feel underrepresented, especially if they think that the elites are opposing their interests in other ways. Patrick Cleburne was hinting as much when he noted that “all three of Obama’s recent nominations to be Federal Reserve Governors were Jews, bringing their representation on that body to 5 out of 7″ (his emphasis). The Abe Foxmans of the world see this coming and hope to nip the process in the bud by squelching any mention of Jewish overrepresentation.
Notice that Foxman could have responded by saying “Yeah, three Jewish Supreme Court justices are probably a bit much, given that Jews are already vastly overrepresented among all American elites–media, academic, financial, etc. Kagan should discreetly take herself out of the process.”
But instead, the reflex is to suppress such expressions. The strategy is that people may well be thinking that three Jews on the Supreme Court is too much, but we will win if we can keep such thoughts out of the media.
Again, this is an old pattern. I collected several examples in Chapter 2 of Separation and Its Discontents. My favorite is from Joe Sobran, who lost his position with National Review because of his views on the influence of American Jews on U. S. policy toward Israel. Appropriately, he mentions Pat Buchanan:
The full story of [Pat Buchanan’s 1996 presidential] campaign is impossible to tell as long as it’s taboo to discuss Jewish interests as freely as we discuss those of the Christian Right. Talking about American politics without mentioning the Jews is a little like talking about the NBA without mentioning the Chicago Bulls. Not that the Jews are all-powerful, let alone all bad. But they are successful, and therefore powerful enough: and their power is unique in being off-limits to normal criticism even when it’s highly visible. They themselves behave as if their success were a guilty secret, and they panic, and resort to accusations, as soon as the subject is raised. Jewish control of the major media in the media age makes the enforced silence both paradoxical and paralyzing. Survival in public life requires that you know all about it, but never refer to it. A hypocritical etiquette forces us to pretend that the Jews are powerless victims; and if you don’t respect their victimhood, they’ll destroy you. It’s a phenomenal display not of wickedness, really, but of fierce ethnocentrism, a sort of furtive racial superpatriotism.
The result is that there is an ever increasing gap between people’s thoughts about Jewish influence and what they can say about it. It reminds one of the USSR where people were well aware that there were a whole lot of things that were routinely left out of the news.
I think there comes a point, however, where Jewish power is so obvious that people will start discussing it, at first furtively and anonymously. But the historical pattern is that eventually there is some push back.