Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Isn't Brandeis a "Jewish" University?

Like Notre Dame is a "Catholic" university?  Anyway, I just can't fathom why Jews are such good liberals:
Brandeis University originally invited Ayaan Hirsi Ali to receive an honorary degree at its spring commencement, and created a storm of controversy on its campus. It has now withdrawn that offer, and may have created a storm of controversy outside of its campus as well. The former Dutch parliamentarian has long spoken out against the excesses of Islam, from her own painful personal experience to the radicalism that fuels terrorism and war. Apparently, Brandeis just figured this out...

So, first question: What did Brandeis intend when it offered Ali the degree in the first place? After all, her mission has been pretty clear over the last decade or so. There does not appear to be an alternate line of activism or scholarship taken up by Ali in the intervening time, so presumably Brandeis intended to honor her work in this field. Second question: What changed?

That brings us to the third question. Did no one at Brandeis bother to Google Ali before offering her the degree? Her speeches don’t pull punches about her perspectives on Islam and its practices. It’s a little late in 2014 for President Lawrence to be shocked, shocked at “certain of her past statements” in relation to the work that they apparently wanted to honor.

To answer the second question — because so far, questions one and three don’t lend themselves to answers other than incompetence – what changed is that the faculty erupted in outrage when it saw Ali on the list. Out of 350 faculty, “more than 85″ signed a petition demanding her removal from the honors list. The petition was started by the Muslim Students Association, which should have been easily foreseen by Brandeis in the first place. If popular opposition was enough to cancel the offer, then Brandeis shouldn’t have made it in the first place. Now, they look both incompetent and pusillanimous.
Yeah, I'm definitely going with "both".   Maybe throw in some raaaaaaaacism and some sexxxxxxism, too, just for good liberal measure.

Brandeis has a Muslim Students Association?  Brandeis?  They're so open-minded their brains have fallen out.


pseudotsuga said...

Train wrecks, all the way down.
These people are training our best and brightest?
No--it's just a 4 year indoctrination camp.

allen (in Michigan) said...

Why Jews are such good liberals? OK boychik, I'll clue you in.

You see, we're God's chosen people which plays rather neatly into the tediously common human proclivity to assume superiority, generally in the absence of any supporting evidence. But we've even got supporting evidence. The cliche's supported by the reality that we are a disproportionately large percentage of a variety of high-prestige professions - doctor, lawyer, etc.

The unsupported, and quite often false, assumption of superiority underlies the actions and attitudes of the left. The need to maintain the delusion of superiority is why lefties are blind to the uniform failure of the solutions and, while it may seem a bit contrary, I find the same delusion in left wing Jews to be comforting. After all, if we really were superior in some substantive way we'd certainly, as a group, be able to understand, and reject, the seductive conceits of the left.

Be we don't in disproportionately large percentages so the evidence of superiority is neatly offset by evidence of inferiority.

As for the story about Ayaan Hirsi, lefties have glommed onto Islam as their new, you should pardon the expression, crusade.

The left's need to demonstrate their superiority requires novelty and Muslims supply that novelty. You'll notice that up until fairly recently about the only presence Muslims had in the left wing mind was as a bad guy due to things like female genital mutilation, slavery and religious bigotry. But the left wing conceit of superiority is a demanding master and Muslims have quite suddenly risen to the top of the left's list of phony, pet causes.

maxutils said...

Actually, no. Notre Dame announces itself as a Catholic school; Brandeis was founded by Jews, many Jews choose to go there, but it is not a Jewish school. From their website: "Brandeis University is a private, coeducational, nonsectarian institution of higher learning named in honor of the distinguished U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis. Founded in 1948 by members of the American Jewish community, the university today combines the breadth and scope of a world-class research university and the intimacy and accessibility of a small liberal arts college."

As to the issue at hand, though, first: honorary degrees , in my opinion, are stupid and should never be granted to anyone. With the possible exception of the honorary doctorate granted by Colgate to Bill Cosby. So I agree. they shouldn't have made the offer. But rescinding it? I think it was a hornet's nest they decided to stop kicking. What I did miss is whether she would still be speaking ...if she isn't, well ... then they are wussies. When I went to UCD, Henry Kissinger was invited to speak ... not exactly your liberal stereotype speaker. He sold out the Rec Hall, (for those of you not familiar, probably 8000) and was warmly received.For the larger question of why do Jews tend to be liberal (and I'm not Jewish, but my ex-wifew and therefore my kids are)? I don't know. I do have a suspicion, though: Conservatives tend to associate themselves with "Christian values"... and I think that Jews may tend to be suspicious of things like that, for 6,000,000 pretty good reasons. But again .. that is purely my theory.

Darren said...

How stupid. Hitler didn't promote "Christian" values--in fact, his regime was quite pagan. Most totalitarian regimes are anti-religious because the state *must* be the highest power.

maxutils said...

I may have not made my point clear enough. I was not suggesting a comparison between American conservatives and Hitler; I was posing a hypothetical answer to your question -- which is a good one, because in theory, one would expect Jews to identify more with conservatives. But, my answer at least sort of fits. And I know Hitler was not a Christian, (although I wouldn't go Pagan -- wasn't he Protestant) .. the point was, that liberals tend not to promote any sort of particular religion; Conservatives, mot all, but a lot do. And the religion they promote is NO Judaism. Can you possibly accept that that MIGHT be a reason why they might lean liberal? I hardly think that 'warrants' stupid. 'Wrong' perhaps, but not stupid. Wrong, sort of like someone referring to Brandeis as a Jewish university, say.

maxutils said...

allen - the reason why Jews claim to be God's chosen people is because the Old Testament/Torah says they are. Even if you're Christian, it's right there in the Bible. But ... no reason to be smug at the expense of the Jews ... don't most major religions claim to be the right one? I've read the Tao, and it doesn't, really ... but that almost make it not a religion. Buddhism, similar. As for Islam? I try tremendously to respect others' religions, and its hard, because I'm absolutely not religious. Female genital mutilation is horrible, but is not limited to Islam; slavery certainly wasn't. I think the focus should be on the fact that it's Muslims who tend to blow things up or fly planes in to buildings (and I'll give on the IRA-- the Catholics who ran that, definitely did similar things in Ireland) and want you to either convert or die. I know of no other religion like that ... so I'm cool with the Muslims who aren't trying to blow me up or convert me, but I have a fairly large problem with the others. Not sure how it's become a 'leftie' cause. But maybe.

Darren said...

Hitler, being raised in Austria, was raised Catholic. American Catholics, like American Jews, are overwhelmingly Democrat/liberal.

Your argument makes *no* sense to me.

maxutils said...

You're right about Hitler ... but my research which I should have done first, showed that he very much gave up his religion as an adult. Catholics being overwhelmingly liberal? That's a separate argument, one I don't have a guess for, at all. None of this changes the thrust of my argument, though: which I think does make sense: liberals tend not prescribe or even talk about religion very much. Conservatives do. And if my argument doesn't make sense to you, I can live with it. But it isn't stupid. And while we're talking about Catholics and conservatism? This doesn't defeat your argument, but our current supreme court has 6 catholics, only one of whom lines up as a liberal.

allen (in Michigan) said...

Jeez Max, trying to teach your grandpa to suck eggs? I'm a member of the tribe and I was raised with all that stuff. Yeshivah, bar mitzvah, the whole meggillah.

And yeah, I know pretty much every religion assures its adherents that they're God's special, little people and everyone else isn't so it's not big deal if you mistreat them given the opportunity. But as I wrote above, we've actually got a bit of a peg on which to hang our hat.

Bankers, lawyers, doctors, scientists - we show up in disproportionately large numbers in those categories so, says someone to themselves looking for unearned reasons to feel smug about themselves, we must be better then everyone who isn't us. But hey, what if you are better then everyone else or at least generally better off, generally better educated, generally considered to be smart? The facts then are more or less in service of the conceit.

Since the left's selling the idea that some people are better then others, and the better should be in charge, us Jews tend to fall into their clutches in disproportionately high numbers. Whatever modest advantage propels us to that disproportionate representation in high status professions is no shield against our own arrogance.

Just read your last comment Max, to which I'll respond with the observation that the inherent flaw of all religions, from a lefty perspective, is that they posit a higher power. Higher then the lefties anyway. But the superiority with which lefties imbue themselves admits of no higher power. They - lefties - are it.

maxutils said...

I reread all of our comments ... and, now that you have mentioned that you are part of the tribe, I realize that what I took as snark was an actual theory. I didn't mean to preach to the informed, which clearly I did, and I apologize. I'm not THAT well informed, being a goyum, myself, but having an ex-wife who was Jewish, and being through a Bat Mitzvah, with a Bar Mitzvah coming up ... I am not completely without opinion. I agree with up to a point: industries that have a disproportionate number of Jews are, a lot of times, one that require lots of education and inherent smarts (the other one ..would be entertainment, and it does not fit the pattern). I'm not prepared to go genetics with you: but I will go with culture. You want to pick out the two ethnic/racial groups that, overall, place the most importance on education in America (and elsewhere, frankly?) I'm guessing yours match mine. That's where it comes from. Strong family structure, and placing importance on the important. So again, I apologize for misreading your comment -- but I did so, at least in part, because you appear to be very conservative -- and that does not fit the Jewish stereotype. Never would have guessed. And that's my fault, for assuming.
I tend to agree with you on the aspects of higher powers. I mean, realistically, only one, at most, religion can be right -- as long as each claims exclusivity. And we have no way of telling which one is right. So, I'm with you, again.
What I don't agree with you is ... that the lefties are somehow similar in class to a higher power. But ... I sort of get your point. Liberals claim a higher ground because they tend to promote help for the little man; conservatives don't, because they tend to promote policies for that 'raise the boat for everyone' . Both could work, if they were done correctly.
Anyway ... I once again apologize for my misunderstanding. Being an agnostic who married a Jew whom I loved very much, and who had to synagogue shop to find a place that would marry us ... (and have close relatives of hers who still deliberately boycotted it) ... it's the one cause in religion I tend to defend.

Anonymous said...

Darren, Maxutils isn't the stupid one here, you made a mistake, he called you out on it, and then he gave the likely reason that Jewish people don't typically associate with overwhelmingly Christian political organizations. I remember when this blog wasn't a weirdly pro-Christian mess, what happened?

Darren said...

If you get "pro-Christian mess" from my taking offense at the suggestion that Hitler was a Christian and hence that's why Jews like Democrats--well, you're smoking whatever maxutils is smoking. I can't even follow all those leaps of logic.

As for Brandeis, the only people I've known who've gone to Brandeis have been Jewish. They also take Jewish holidays off school, like the rest of us get Christmas and Easter off. I'm sure you can pardon my misunderstanding.

maxutils said...

Anonymous, thank you for having my back ... but Darren was right about Hitler (although now we've switched from catholic to Christian, and he still lapsed.) Having experience with Darren, I can also say that he is, at least in his (and my) experience correct: a very large percentage of people who choose go to Brandeis are Jewish. My point was ... you can't compare it to Notre Dame. Notre Dame screams 'Catholic' , which is fine ... Brandeis tries to cater to everyone ... which is why a 'Jewish' university can have a Muslim population large enough to affect this decision. My only point one is sectarian, the other isn't. Doesn't mean that non-Catholics don't go to Notre Dame -- particularly if they play football well -- but it asserts its Catholicism.
Darren, you continue to misstate my point. Almost. You're the one who asked why Jews tended to be liberal ... a postulate which i agree with you upon. I suggested a cause: to Jews (and I didn't add this to my original post, and should have) religion is extremely important and preservation of the tribe (thank you, allen) tends to be very important. Perhaps citing Hitler was an overreach, but what I was getting at was ... not that Jews believed that conservatives wanted to gas them to death, which is ridiculous (although I would have thought it ridiculous the first time, too) but rather that they might be more partial to the party that was more open to religious freedom/parity/whatever you want to call it. It's a theory. And ... almost bizarre, especially in light of the fact that conservatives, at least recently, have been much stronger in their support of Israel. Particularly very recently.

allen (in Michigan) said...

Lefties aren't "similar in class to a higher power", lefties arrogate to themselves the perquisites of a higher power. Not a deity but a monarch. The problem with religions, from a lefty perspective, is that a higher power undercuts lefty presumptions of superiority to their fellow man. Comparatively speaking, whatever superiority lefties might claim would shrink to insignificance when measured against a universe-creator. Who needs that?

And yet the grand flexibility of human nature allows for doctrinally pure lefties who are also devout followers of Judaism. And Catholicism. Go figure.

Lefties are law-givers, but only to their inferiors. The laws they would lay down for the likes of me don't apply to them. That would be silly. Reasonable exceptions must be made.

You can see that particular trait in operation on college campuses which claim to be arenas for the expression and investigation of ideas that would be censored by society at large. That's where those ideas are supposed to be given free rein.

Yeah, right.

It's that conceit that I'm inclined to think is especially attractive to Jews since the assumption of superiority is clearly implied in our special status as God's chosen people. That special status is a basic part of our ethnic identity. I think it might then create a more compelling illusion of superiority then the assumption of superiority that's part of the general human experience.

As an aside, it wouldn't have been that tough to find some pretty well known Jews who wouldn't be comfortable at an "Occupy" rally. The name "Milton Freidman" comes to mind but there are bags of others.

With regard to why lefties claim the high ground, who cares? I can claim to be able to hover like a hummingbird but you'd probably want some verification before you hailed me as the wonder of the age. Lefties, I've noticed, aren't real big on verification. At least not when it comes to an examination their claims.

That's why lefties claim to promote help for the "little man" - and interesting choice of phrase in itself - but come up short when their claims are examined. To the best of my ability to determine, all lefty policies are similar in that regard - claims supported not by results but by rhetorical gymnastics and venom should anyone have the temerity to question those claims. To the best of my ability to determine, no lefty policy has ever made good on the promises made to promote the policy. Feel free to provide examples of lefty policies that have worked as advertised. Or at all.

maxutils said...

allen ... I deliberately left Milton Friedman out of the argument, because he is my all time favorite economist, and ... neither left nor right. He is a pure economic Libertarian ... and I love him for it. One of my greatest memories is having been able to see him speak ... at my very liberal college campus. (I also saw Hunter S. Thompson there, but that's an entirely different story.)
I really do get tired of the 'trying not to prove I'm not a lefty' argument ... and, I get your point. Liberals do tend to feel the need to impose regulations more than conservatives ... sometimes. Drug laws? Where are our conservative saviors there? And why do some states still have sodomy laws? There is plenty of blame to go around, and I look at each issue individually. There are plenty of liberal idiots, and plenty of conservative idiots.
I see your argument about Jews being largely liberal, and you might be right. I think mine has some merit, as well ... but then again, my ex-wife (Jewish) hated my possible explanation for the disproportion of Jews in the banking industry ... so maybe I'm an anti-Semite (although that reallly means anti -anyone from the Arabian Peninsula, not just anti - Jew.) I'll share it with you if you like, but won't if you don't. I don't find it negative towards Jews at all ... but damn did myex-wife and I get in to it. And ... she was a Sederday night Jew. Next year in Jerusalem, allen.

maxutils said...

As to policies? I hope I'm not promoting the idea that any federal policy has ever really helped. I can't give you one, because there isn't. That doesn't mean 'righty' policies have worked any better. Personally, I'd like to vote for the candidate that would go home and leave me alone.

allen (in Michigan) said...

Sorry bucko but you don't get to claim Milton Friedman.

Fiscal responsibility, an understanding and appreciation of the free market and an understanding of how dangerous the power of government can be to the fiscal health of a nation aren't exactly the sorts of views that'll get you on the board of To the extent either end of the political spectrum can claim Friedman the case is rather stronger for the right edge.

Your points about family structure and education are correct though. Both are obviously advantageous.

Muslims refer to us as "the people of the book" which is an apt description since we're supposed to study the law by which we're supposed to live. The strong implication isn't that we're supposed to be able to recite the law but we must be able to understand it and, to the extent possible, understand its purpose. The same tradition of study and interpretation also gives rise to self-indulgent excesses in which increasingly fine points of religious law result in increasingly arcane arguments until the original question is lost but that's just a point in favor of my view that whatever differences there are to which we may lay claim there's a whole lot of similarities.

OK, I'm interested in your explanation for why we, or anyone from the Arabian peninsula, have a disproportionate representation in banking. I was always under the impression that it was because prejudice, enacted into law, kept us from owning land and the guilds wouldn't have us so banking was more or less a default. Worked pretty well though given the emphasis we put on education though.

Some of the lefty policies I was thinking of were some of what's thought of as great successes of the left - Social Security, government-supplied housing, the War on Poverty, government mass transit, public education, the Environmental Protection Agency, welfare, Medicare.

I will admit, however, that I was being a bit tricky in that the desire of the populace to be taken care of has resulted in a Republican party that, in many respects, has become lefty-lite. They're not conservatives but pragmatists and the Tea Party movement's the retaking of the party, against the determined resistance of the current leadership, by conservatives in the older sense. So my idea of righty policies are all the things we shouldn't do and shouldn't have done.

I'm of the opinion that resisting, and hopefully defeating, the passage of ever-more laws to create ever-more reach and scope of government power is a policy and a pretty good one. I'm one of those obstructionists that the left's tried to so hard to portray as impediments to a glorious, government-modulated future.

maxutils said...

It's not about 'claiming' Friedman .. it's about him being my favorite economist, ever, and how I have found nothing that he has either said nor written with which I disagree. So ... you claim Friedman as 'yours' and I'll just be happy he lived.
As I've mentioned ... my ex-wife is Jewish, so I do have a background ...and despite being completely non-religious, I respect the idea of questioning. That's virtually the theme of the Seder "Why is tonight different from all other nights?" It's worth questioning everything.
Among your 'lefty policies ... each needs to b judged on it's own. Social Security? well intentioned Ponzi scheme. Should be phased out. Government supplied housing? no. Welfare and Medicare, likely better than the alternative. Mass transit and public education? Both necessary, in my opinion. How it is applied ... or charged ... open to discussion. EPA? might have taken things to far, won't argue. But you do realize that it was Nixon who created it, right? Not ... some liberal.
My thought on the number of Jews in banking ... and feel free to beat me up on this if it's a nonsensical opinion ...
Every major religion at the time described usury as a sin ... except Judaism. And usury THEN was defined as ANY rate of interest. Since Jews were not committing a sin, they were able to loan money ...sin free. Anyway... that's my understanding.

allen (in Michigan) said...

Welfare and Medicare both exacerbate the problems they were supposed to solve. Mass transit existed before government crowbarred private transit systems out of the way and not to the benefit of anyone but the employees.

Public education? A disaster from way back with the infusion of large amounts of money being the addition necessary to turn a barely functional, relatively inexpensive system into a decelerating wreck whose only saving grace is that it makes it increasingly difficult to ignore what a bad idea public education, as it's currently structured, is and raise the possibility of doing away with the public education system entirely.

Interesting notion about the Jewish association with banking but I can't give it too much weight. For one thing those proscriptions on charging interest are largely eye-wash. Muslims aren't supposed to charge interest but they do. I can't remember the details of the pretext but a refusal to charge interest means no credit, for all practical purposes, and that means an entirely cash-based economy.

Not only is that an impractical state of affairs, it would be so constraining that no trading nation could long operate under that constraint. So you come up with finesses to skirt the letter of the law while maintaining the illusion of obeying the law.

As for Nixon, he may have been a Republican but in terms of his actions he was very much a man of the left despite his hatred of Communism. It's the actions, where there are actions, that are definitive. I'm of the opinion that the EPA was just another of Nixon's authoritarian over-reaches and that the same goals could have been accomplished via state legislatures, the judicial system and the relentless progress of technology.

maxutils said...

allen ... it's really hard to argue with people whom you mostly agree with. So... short responses . Welfare and medicare are not efficient ... but they are good idea, kind of. They absolutely need to be changed to incentivize work. Public education? I am one of the most fervent voucher system advocates there is ... but it needs to b done correctly, and there needs to b some minimum standard, which makes it 'public'. It DOES NOT mean that government actually needs to run the schools. Nixon, you don't get to win on that one. He may not have envisioned the EPA going where he did, but he championed it. Lastly, on the banking thing? First, thanks for not yelling at me. Like my ex-wife did. Money lenders were sinners, according to Jesus, and I haven't read the Koran, but apparently Allah had a similar view (if I 'm wrong, please tell me) Jews, of course use the OldTestament/Torah ... so that SHOULD be the same criteria, but apparently not ... And, of course you are completely correct about credit ... without it, growth is impossible. It isn't a bad theory, though ... and it does combine with the ease with which Hitler was able to demonize Jews ... their economy was a total failure, and it was an easy finger to point.

allen (in Michigan) said...

I wouldn't go as far as saying we mostly agree; we agree on a few things but there seem to be rather wide swaths of disagreement as well. Also, could you please hit the "enter" key a bit more often? Those one-big-block-of-text posts are tougher to get through then they would be with a bit of non-racial white space in them.

It might be a nice if generosity could be provided by government but that inevitably makes a virtue into a political football to the detriment of the virtue and the target of the programs. When we're all generous, under force of law, the very real temptation is to defer all generosity to government and that would paradoxically make this a meaner, more hateful nation. Fortunately, there's a widespread and proper skepticism of the efficacy of government which is why non-governmental generosity is such a huge element in the lives of many poor people.

Public education? Doomed to extinction.

I know that sounds (reads?) like crazy talk but look at the political implications of vouchers. Charters as well.

Rich people won't stop trying to give their kids an advantage. If they can't do it via the public education system, which was part of the intent of the system, they'll go elsewhere. In droves. But without the rich the system will be seen as a poor second best fit only for the poor. Or the middle class depending on how high taxes are kept.

While all that's occurring technology's dropping the cost of education, Khan Academy, Sugata Mitra's Granny Cloud/Hole in the Wall etcetera, so even the poor will be able to access education outside government's offerings.

The upshot of all this political and technological disorderliness? The emergence of a market in education, rather then the current patchwork of fiefdoms, and with that market, market-based, i.e. bottom-up, voluntary standards. The demands of consumers will be never-ending and always-varying. The option to ignore those demands, as the current system allows, will be gone with the advent of widespread choice. Schools that don't meet those demands, as district schools won't, will lose out and shut down.

And sure I get a win on Nixon. He was a lefty in many of his political positions with the EPA not necessarily being the most glaring example. A Republican president, supposedly conservative, invoking wage and price controls? What's that make Nixon?

Plenty of Republicans were seduced by the dark side of the Force, are to this day. They had Reagan bemoaning the fact that he could do business with Democrats but left-wing Republicans were unmanageable.

Oh, and no need to thank me for not going off. I'm a Golden Rule guy. Treat me civilly and I'll happily, and civilly, disagree with you all day. Whatever your arguments may be they'll be poked with sharp implements in a search for soft spots and if found will be highlighted. But maybe you're right about something. I won't come to that admission easily since I subject my own views to the "sharp implement" treatment but every once in a while an angle on a subject's revealed that I hadn't considered or hadn't weighted properly. It happens.

I'm not so much disagreeing with your hypothesis about the reason for Jewish presence in banking as I am unconvinced it played a big role.

Commonly, as I wrote above, we were restricted in the purchase of land and were rejected by guilds. Those were the obvious sources of wealth and were coveted by their current owners.

That left, by default, those professions which required neither land nor guild membership but did require substantial knowledge. The requirement for education folded neatly into the requirement that we study our religious laws so as to better obey the word of God, i.e. be better Jews.

In the grand tradition of free markets the lemon of religious bigotry was turned into free market lemonade. Julian Simon would be proud. Hell, he probably was proud.