Saturday, August 13, 2016

Jews and Arrogance

One line that we hear from “anti-semites” of all stripes and colors is, “What makes the Jews so special?”

Well I suppose what makes them think that they are special is their belief that they are the chosen people of God. This can of course lead to arrogance. But then the American doctrines of “New Jerusalem” and “manifest destiny,” the German doctrine of “master race” and the English doctrine of “the sun never sets on the English empire,” the Russian doctrine of being “the third Rome,” and the Muslim belief that they are the true followers of God and that everyone else is an infidel, aren't much better.

So that while many Jewish people are in fact arrogant, the Jews come nowhere close to owning arrogance, and many of their critics equal or exceed them in pride.

I have once heard a professor – who was not Jewish – tell his students that there is “good arrogance,” which he defined as believing that one can figure things out, and “bad arrogance,” which he defined as oppression. Probably the most destructive form of arrogance in history was practiced by the Spanish, who destroyed the magnificent Moorean, Incan and Aztec empires and plundered the Mayan civilization while not contributing much of anything to mankind. Whereas Jews have contributed vastly to the Western civilization and have not engaged in colonialism, genocide, conquest or slavery to anywhere near the extent of the Spanish, the English, the Germans, the Muslims or the Russians. And while many in these populations continue to make noises about Israel's overly militaristic policy, their own history is full of much greater aggression and genocide than anything that the Israelis have ever done.

By this standard probably the humblest populations in the world are the Hindus and the Chinese, neither of whom have ever pursued large-scale colonialism and aggression even though they were in a position to do so.

As for the “good arrogance,” there is such a thing as well. There are any number of people – and there were many more in the past - who see things such as science, technology, entrepreneurship and democracy as being arrogance. They are not arrogance; they are natural and constructive expressions of human intellect, ingenuity and willingness to work. The intellect, ingenuity and willingness to work, to which they owe everything that they have. And which qualities have vastly improved life for billions of people.

Which brings me to another subject, and that is that we see all the time described as arrogance all sorts of things that are not arrogance. The students who take studies in school seriously in much of America are seen as “know-it-alls” and believing that they “think they're better than everyone else.” No; they are simply kids who rightfully value learning. The women who want to be loved and cherished are seen as “narcissistic” or “vain.” No; they come from an understandable place of wanting to be rewarded for the colossal effort they put into being their best. In both cases, something that's good is portrayed as something that's bad. And that not only hurts the people who get attacked. It also denies others the benefit of what these people have to offer.

Are Jews arrogant? Some are and some aren't. But Jews come nowhere close to owning arrogance. Both the Muslims and the Europeans have perpetrated vast atrocities that far exceed anything done by Israel or by European or American Jews. And it is a far more destructive form of arrogance than anything of which the Jewish people have ever been guilty.


Blogger Zalman said...

Are Russians stupid? No, some Russians are stupid, but they don't come close to owning stupidity. Other nations are stupid or stupider.

Are Russians cruel? No, etc.

Are Russians thieves? No, etc.

Are Russians losers? No, etc.

Do Russians smell med? No, etc.

Are Russians the worst anti-Semites in the world? Well, they have higher levels of Antisemitism than any other nation other than the Ukrainians, but they're getting a little better from one century to the next and Hitler was more anti-Semitic.

Are Russians alcoholics? Yes.

Are Russian men lousy in bed? German men are certainly better.

Ilya, you're a nice guy and you mean well, but your thinking is childish. Stick to poetry and translations and keep your thoughts to yourself, particularly about the Jews, and I'd say the same to any Russian, Ukrainian or Pole who blabber about Jews.

4:50 AM  

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