Bret Stephens writes an op/ed in the NYT sure to irritate everyone who is not, like Stephens himself, a secular Jewish neocon.
Though I have no illusions about where Stephens stands, his column is a tremendous conversation starter. As such, it was immediately subject to relentless attack in corporate and social media. The contemporary meaning of “conversation” is not a form of interactive communication. It is instead a novel blend of the traditional definitions of the words “monologue”, “lecture”, and “sermon”.
Before apologizing a bit for Stephens, I’ll pile on by pointing out an unfortunate lack of self-awareness. Stephens lauds Jews:
If the greatest Jewish minds seem to have no walls, it may be because, for Jews, the walls have so often come tumbling down.
And then, just a few paragraphs later, laments antipathy for… the modern world’s most effective wall builders!
It’s no surprise that Jew hatred has made a comeback, albeit under new guises. Anti-Zionism has taken the place of anti-Semitism as a political program directed against Jews.
There is also the chutzpah of a man who recently wrote “Israel will not be safe in an America First world” telling Americans that Jews, on account of being the ultimate outsiders, quintessentially represent what it means to be a true American:
At its best, the United States can still be the country that respects, and sometimes rewards, all manner of heresies that outrage polite society and contradict established belief. At its best, the West can honor the principle of racial, religious and ethnic pluralism not as a grudging accommodation to strangers but as an affirmation of its own diverse identity. In that sense, what makes Jews special is that they aren’t. They are representational.
Ashkenazi Jews might have a marginal advantage over their gentile peers when it comes to thinking better.
I guess it depends on what “marginal” means. From the GSS, mean IQ estimates converted from Wordsum scores assuming a non-Hispanic white mean of 100 and a standard deviation of 15 by educational attainment among Jews and gentiles in the US:
Jews are more highly educated than non-Jews, but even among those of similar educational attainment, Jews are more intelligent than non-Jews (verbally, anyway). It is thus not surprising, as Stephens alludes to, that Jews are significantly overrepresented among the ranks of both the world’s greatest heroes and its worst villains.
GSS variables used: WORDSUM, BORN(1), RELIG(1-2,4-13)(3), DEGREE(0-1)(3)(4)