Thursday, August 02, 2018

What's in play

Regarding this debate:

It may be in part a generational thing. I think religious Jewish conservatives of the Prager/Medved generation (as well as secular Jewish hawks like Henry Kissinger, Charles Krauthammer, and Richard Perle) are more cynical. They have lower expectations about politics and politicians. So they settle for less. They're more pragmatic. If you're too idealistic, you lose. You end up with nothing. 

A Jewish conservative of Shapiro's generation might be more confrontational. That may be in part because you didn't have the culture wars when Prager/Medved et al. came of age. I think culture warriors like Shapiro regard the more concessive strategy as a failure. When we compromise, the Left wins. So Jews like Shapiro and Levin (who's older than Shapiro but younger than Prager/Medved) are pushing back hard with all they've got. 

There's a parallel with the Holocaust. The old Jewish strategy was accommodation. Go along to get along. But the end of that road was the Shoah.

Younger Israelis look down on Holocaust survivors because they didn't fight back. They were too passive. Too nonresistant. 

Younger Israelis regard the Warsaw uprising as an inspirational model. If you're doomed, at least take as many of the enemy with you to the grave. 

I think that's why Israel breaks out the brass knuckles when necessary. Israel can't count on the "international community" to protect Jews. Indeed, much of the "international community" is rooting for the Muslims, or just doesn't care if Jews are wiped off the face of the map. So you have to be tough as nails to survive.  

Both sides have a reasonable position, and it's hard to say ahead of time which strategy will succeed or fail. A successful strategy at one time or place may be disastrous at another time or place. 

On the one hand, I agree with Shapiro that we always need to retain our critical detachment. We can't let political leaders be the ideological leaders. We need a definition of conservatism that's independent of political leaders.  

On the other hand, many on the Left who think social conservative are hypocritical for supporting the Trump administration don't know what hypocrisy is. They have no grasp of Christian ethics. They measure Christians by a yardstick that's not a Christian yardstick, then accuse Christians of inconsistency. 

Many of these critics are impervious to correction. They're fanatically invested in their narrative. Although we need to explain ourselves, it's futile to imagine that will win over all the critics. They demand nothing short of wholesale capitulation. 

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