EppsNet Archive: Jews

Bernie Sanders is Wrong About Everything But He’s Raised the Intellectual Climate

4 Jul 2016 /
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont

Socialism has been discredited about as thoroughly as possible, but one thing I greatly admire about Bernie Sanders is this: He’s never made a political issue of the fact that he’s Jewish.

He doesn’t say “It’s high time we had a Jewish president.” He doesn’t say “If you’re Jewish, you should vote for me because I’m Jewish.” And most importantly, he doesn’t dismiss criticism or critics as anti-Semitic.

And because he doesn’t do any of the above, I don’t see his supporters or the media doing it either.

It would be easy for him to do those things because it’s what people expect. Political discourse in America consists mainly of people calling each other racists, sexists, homophobes and bigots. It’s hard to complete a sentence without someone taking offense to a trigger word, a microaggression or a dog whistle.

Abraham Lincoln once said this:

If you have ever studied geometry, you remember that by a course of reasoning, Euclid proves that all the angles in a triangle are equal to two right angles. Euclid has shown you how to work it out. Now, if you undertake to disprove that proposition, and to show that it is erroneous, would you prove it to be false by calling Euclid a liar?

Today people would be more likely to refute geometry by calling Euclid a racist or attacking his position on same-sex bathrooms, but Lincoln’s point remains valid, i.e., if you disagree with someone, make an argument and knock off the name-calling.

President Obama could have taken a Lincolnesque stand on this if he had wanted to — it would have been a valuable contribution to American life — but instead chooses to use ad hominem politics to his own advantage, to further the impression that there’s no legitimate reason for anyone to oppose his agenda other than the fact that he’s (half) black.

So kudos to Bernie Sanders for his efforts, however futile, to raise the American intellectual climate.


A Loser Mentality

11 Feb 2016 /

Don’t hesitate to vote with your uterus. — Hillary Clinton (paraphrased)

“Women should vote for women” is a loser mentality. I’m glad to see that it’s not working.

The Clinton camp is also tagging as “sexist” criticism that isn’t remotely sexist, just as criticism of President Obama is routinely tagged as “racist,” as though there’s no substantive reason why anyone would not like these two people.

I’m not a Bernie Sanders fan but I haven’t heard Sanders or anyone affiliated with him even one time mention that he’s Jewish, that he’d be the first Jewish president, that all Jews should vote for him or that criticism of him is anti-semitic.


In America, Anyone Can Be President … Uh, Not So Fast There, Mr. Antichrist

22 Jun 2012 /

While more than nine in 10 Americans would vote for a presidential candidate who is black, a woman, Catholic, Hispanic, or Jewish, significantly smaller percentages would vote for one who is an atheist (54%) or Muslim (58%). Americans’ willingness to vote for a Mormon (80%) or gay or lesbian (68%) candidate falls between these two extremes.

I fear that I won’t live to see a gay atheist in the Oval Office.

In other findings, far more Americans are open to voting for a black presidential candidate (96%) than for a Mormon (80%). Blacks also poll higher than women (95%), Catholics (94%) and Jews (91%), although those percentages are within the margin of sampling error.


God in America

28 Sep 2010 /
Martin Luther by Lucas Cranach. The Protestant...

Americans are by all measures a deeply religious people, but they are also deeply ignorant about religion.

The article describes a study in which researchers phoned up 3,400 Americans and asked them 32 questions about religion.

On average, respondents got half the questions wrong. Breaking down the results by faith (or lack thereof), the highest scores were registered by atheists and agnostics, closely followed by Jews and Mormons.

Some of the knowledge gaps are amazing:

  • Fifty-three percent of Protestants could not identify Martin Luther as the man who started the Protestant Reformation.
  • Forty-five percent of Catholics did not know that their church teaches that the consecrated bread and wine in holy communion are not merely symbols, but actually become the body and blood of Christ.

As Nietzsche used to say: If you want happiness and peace of mind, believe. If you want truth, investigate.

You can test your own knowledge of religious lore with an abbreviated, 15-question version of the survey, available here.