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Culture War Roundup for the week of April 24, 2023

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Most western intellectual movements have been disproportionately jewish, including fascism at one point.

The most parsimonious explanation is that they are a small enough group that any significant representation is over-representation, combined with (in the Ashkenazi wing of judaism) higher average IQ and disproportionate representation in intellectual pursuits. New political movements come out of a very specific demographic, upper-middle-class intellectuals who view their lack of power and authority as an indictment of society, hence the drive for change. Jews in the west are highly overrepresented in this class, and thus in most political movements.

They are also over-represented among conservative intellectuals, anarchy theorists, communists, anti-communists, dadaists, SocJus inquisitors, etc. Pretty much any intellectual fad popular with that demographic is going to be "disproportionately jewish".

I really think that the motte-and-bailey of many (often bad faith) questions like this is that "Jewish" is both a faith and several ethnicities.

Imagine if worship of Greek gods had survived to the present day--a religion of, say, 20 million, with half living in Greece but the other half in various diasporas around the world. In that hypothetical world, who is plausibly "Greek?"

Only the people who live in Greece? But, despite the ethnic cleansing of Turkey, presumably many Turkish people are ethnically Greek even today, at least arguably--it was only in the early 20th century that the purest of the Greeks were expelled. Besides, surely the Greek god worshippers would say "we're Greek too!" And what about people whose great-great-great-grandparents were Greek, and who still like to make pitas for lunch? Are they Greek, too? What if they insist that they are Greek? Also Greece has a long and storied intellectual tradition. The whole edifice of Western academia is literally named after an Athenian hero, because Plato's Academy was the Academy. Is academia "disproportionately Greek?"

In a way, the present day status of Greek versus Jewish (both ancient traditions and peoples!) is an interesting illustration of the costs and benefits of being cosmopolitan and culturally promiscuous, versus being insular and protectionist. Greece and Israel have similar populations today, both ethnicities have been subject to (differently executed, but nevertheless) centuries of subjugation, exile, and ethnic cleansing. Greek philosophy has arguably conquered the world; they literally invented formal logic, which no other culture ever independently accomplished, and laid the foundations of all modern sciences, including social sciences like politics and psychology.

(Indeed, Ashkenazi Jews--the Jewish ethnicity most often associated in popular perception with disproportionate intellectual prowess--are the Jews whose ancestry comes predominantly from southern Europe!)

And yet there are no grand conspiracy theories concerning Greek influence (though I admit I have never been to Turkey, maybe they have such things there?). Greek people in America are just treated as "white" people--even if they, as southern Europeans with noticeable genetic overlap across the Mediterranean, are suspicious about that classification! Meanwhile Jews of plainly and overwhelmingly European descent are often given a pass for claiming to not be white. That insularity and ethnic conservatism comes with a price (in particular, the kooks who allow Jews to live rent-free in their heads) but also with clear benefits.

(This same pattern can be observed about American culture in the era of mass media. Cultural differences, including linguistic accents, do continue to exist in the U.S., but American culture has become surprisingly homogeneous, historically speaking, given the size and population of our country--and much of the world has been caught in that phenomenon through mass media, as evidenced by e.g. people in the U.K. and (especially) Ireland participating in bizarre "Black Lives Matter" protests. Cultural "assimilation" or "integration" are interesting topics to me, I guess is what I'm saying here.)

Anyway, my main point is just that "disproportionately Jewish" is an easy target to hit in part because "Jewish" sounds to most people like a group with clear boundaries, but in fact it definitely isn't. It's a historical accident that they get any attention at all; Christianity started as a sect of Judaism, too, so arguably Jewish ideas have also conquered much of the world. But it's not at all clear to me how a question like "what would feminism look like without Christian (or Greek) influence" helpfully informs us about, well, anything.

as evidenced by e.g. people in the U.K. and (especially) Ireland participating in bizarre "Black Lives Matter" protests

While I agree that 'Black Lives Matter' makes little sense in a domestic context, protesting about American racial politics something the Irish left were doing decades ago, and it's no further from home than tagging along with the 'Free Palestine' (still a staple of Irish protests), 'Free Tibet' or 'End Apartheid' movements.

What's new is that while Israel, South Africa and Tibet are clearly foreign countries, Black Lives Matter has developed a cottage industry of finding racial injustic within Ireland. Their high points have been getting statues of Egyptian princesses removed a hotel because they mistakenly thought they were slave girls (the council later returned these statues to their plinths), protesting the shooting of a knife-wielding black man by police as if it were evidence of pervasive racism (given how scarce police shootings are this might be the first black man ever shot dead by police here), and calling for an end to the 'Direct Provision' system of processing refugees as the movement's Achilles heel is there not being many black people here in the first place.

It's a strange thing to look at. All of the infrastructure for making race an issue is ready to fire, the NGOs, the university professors and the street protesters, but with Ireland's immigrant population mostly consisting of Slavs (who don't really care about Irish politics and dream of going home) and well-paid Western Europeans whose only complaints are rent and petty crime, there is a severe shortage of discontented minorities. Give it a few years I guess.

They can’t just declare the travelers oppressed? Hispanics broadly not cooperating with left-wing socjus posturing doesn’t stop it over here, and it can’t exactly get dumber than posturing over the plight of mostly non extant black people in Ireland.

They can’t just declare the travelers oppressed?

You mean traveller gypsies? They have done that, but travellers are a very unsympathetic people and there's no European or American scale media/activism working in their favour to overcome that issue.