Sunday, January 18, 2009


[“Politics” by Korn]

The presidential inauguration which will take place in a few days will mean probably the most drastic change in Americans politics in many years. Mr. Obama, whom I voted for incidentally, campaigned with a slogan of “change”. It is hard to imagine an American leader much more different than his predecessor, President Bush.

This has caused me to think a little bit about some common political ideas.

Politicians are usually described as “liberal” or “conservative”. The Republican Party is conservative while the Democratic Party is liberal. What does that really mean?

Liberalism seems to mean one simple thing: Always favor the weak. A liberal believes in helping the poor, the oppressed, the blacks, the gays, the homeless, the handicapped, women, Hurricane Katrina survivors, Palestinians, a criminal on death row, endangered species, people in Africa, people with AIDS, basically anyone who can claim to be a victim. This seems to be based on a residual Judeo-Christian belief in the virtue of helping the poor. My impression is that most liberals are actually very cruel in their personal lives, cheating on spouses, dumping lovers, abandoning children and aborting fetuses and in order to soothe their guilty consciences, they will go to a demonstration to save the life of a prisoner awaiting execution or to save the whales. Liberals tend to be young, urban and secular although not necessarily. Communism was a liberal movement because it championed the poor. Liberals in the 1960’s favored Israel, because Israel was portrayed as being weak while the Arabs were strong. Today, liberals favor the Palestinians, who are portrayed as being weak compared to the Israelis.

Conservatism is little more complex. Conservatives support the strong, such as the wealthy, management instead of labor, the established church and monarchy, if there is one in their country. Conservatives also support tradition and prefer to see things done the way they always have been. Conservatives tend to be older, rural and more religiously observant. The Nazi party was conservative in the sense that it promoted obedience to authority and respect for strength. Darwinian evolution, which teaches that the dominance and survival of the strong and the destruction of the weak causes life to advance, can be used to support a deeply conservative political philosophy.

Political beliefs are similar to religious beliefs. Generally they are based on the opinions of teachers, parents and friends, on personal priorities and on emotions. They are usually not based on logic and facts. For many people, their political beliefs almost are a religion. Therefore political discussions often become angry and irrational.

Orthodox Jews cannot really be defined as necessarily conservative or liberal. Orthodox Jews in America will generally support liberal candidates because those candidates will usually support social programs for the poor which many Orthodox Jews benefit from. I think in presidential elections, Orthodox Jews will more often vote conservative because they want to see a foreign policy supportive of Israel.


Anarchist Chossid said...

Real Orthodox Jews base their decisions on Torah and tzaddikim.

Torah prohibits robbing. Liberals are in favor of robbing (not even stealing — robbing). Therefore, no real Orthodox Jew can be in favor of liberals.

There have been precedents of Gedoilim urging to vote against liberals. For instance, Rebbe Rashab of Lubavitch urged his chassidim to vote against Bolsheviks.

jewish philosopher said...

I think the Skverer Rebbe recently endorsed Hillary Clinton for NY Senator.

Yeshivish Atheist said...

Conservative and Liberal? that's it? What a dichotomy!

DrJ said...

A thoughtful post (except for the part on liberals being cruel), although no big surprises here.

For a more complete understanding of the psychology of politics, see Steve Pinker's book The Blank Slate.

jewish philosopher said...

I do think that many liberals are over compensating for their personal behavior. "OK, I just dumped my girlfriend of three years and threw her into a major depression because she keeps asking me to marry her. But I'm a really good person because I'm going to go out and demonstrate for the oppressed Palestinians."

Avi said...

I think the Skverer Rebbe recently endorsed Hillary Clinton for NY Senator.***************************

jewish philosopher said...

Bleeding heart liberals come in handy sometimes.

Anonymous said...

I know its slightly off topic, but I think that this is interesting.

It seems that Stalin based a lot of his political philosophy on Darwinism. So Darwinism led to Nazism, and Stalinism. Wow! One little theory did so much damage.

Yeshivish Atheist said...

Actually, Stalin rejected neo-Darwinian evolution in favor of Lamarckism.

Stalin subscribed to the ideas of Trofim Lysenko, a pseudo-scientist and rejected the works of real scientists, such as August Weismann, (who later disproved Lamarckism) for ideological reasons.

Mendeleyev's "periodic system of elements" clearly shows how very important in the history of nature is the emergence of qualitative changes out of quantitative changes. The same thing is shown in biology by the theory of neo-Lamarckism, to which neo-Darwinism is yielding place. -(Stalin 1906, 304)

This was because of several reasons:

1) Genetics, implying that traits were fixed at birth, contradicted the ideal of molding and improving traits. Stalin proclaimed genetics a capitalist pseudo-science.

2) The class struggle of Marxism contradicted the individual competition implied by natural selection.

jewish philosopher said...

The truth is that Darwinism should logically lead to a deeply conservative political point of view. Darwinism teaches that the success of the strong and the destruction of the weak causes improvement. This had a strong influence on Nazism and I have little doubt will influence future extreme conservative movements.

I have read however that as a teenager Stalin switched from Christianity to atheism after reading "Origin of Species". The atheistic implications of evolution do appeal to the left.