Theodore Dalrymple, discussing academic British anti-Semitism, thinks so. I’m not so sure. Dalrymple says, “Socialist and anti-Semite alike seek an all-encompassing explanation of the imperfection of the world, and for the persistence of poverty and injustice: and each thinks he has found an answer.” Well, all-encompassing explanations are pretty popular all over the spectrum; I myself spend half my waking hours looking for them. Evangelical Christians find theirs in godlessness, and my friends the Objectivists find theirs in altruism.

Dalrymple continues, “The liberal intellectual who laments the predominance of dead white males in the college syllabus or the lack of minority representation in the judiciary uses fundamentally the same argument as the anti-Semite who objects to the prominence of Jews in the arts, sciences, professions, and in commerce. They both assume that something must be amiss a conspiracy if any human group is over- or under-represented in any human activity, achievement, or institution.” The same objection to Jewish prominence also manifests as good old-fashioned envy, which drives resentment politics both left and right. Genteel academic anti-Semitism is the poison of choice in Britain, whereas in America there’s a long tradition of vulgar backwoods Jew-hating of the Ku Klux Klan/Father Coughlin variety. (Pat Buchanan is the latest lightning rod for this sort of thing.) In short, Dalrymple understates the cultural factors. But the piece is interesting.

Oh God. Do I sound like a liberal? Somebody please slap me.

Aaron Haspel | Posted August 6, 2002 @ 9:23 AM | General

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