The great Jeff Dunetz has produced another piece of brilliant commentary that should be on everyone’s reading list today. In observing the herd mentality on the political persuasions of many different American groups (African-Americans voting Democrat, evangelicals voting Republican, etc), Dunetz explains why the liberalism of American Jews just doesn’t make much sense. Dunetz uses Jewish history, tradition and religious belief to prove that it would be far more philosophically consistent for Jews to support conservatism as opposed to their illogical support of the liberalism and the Democrat Party.
This post isn’t a prediction of where the Jewish vote will go in 2016, but where IMHO Jewish law teaches they should go.
As one of the few Jews willing to admit to a politically conservative slant, I get asked the same question all the time, “How can you be both politically conservative and a Jew?” Most of the questioners are either liberal Jews who consider me something of a heretic, or a non-Jewish fellow conservative who is shocked at the rare find of a conservative who is a Jew.
My response to the query is usually “How can a Jew not be politically conservative?”
Conservative principals such as limited government, individual responsibility, and traditional morals are all deeply rooted in Jewish tradition. Even the fact that America’s founders intended for the county to be led by people who based their political decisions on religious values (something that scares the heck out of most liberal Jews) complements Jewish tradition.
The creation narrative in Genesis explains that man is created in God’s image…
Because we all are created in God’s image, Jews believe that “All men are created equal.” This means we all have the same ability to be infinitely good or wicked, or to forge a relationship with God regardless of intellectual capability, social background, physical strength, etc. It does not mean, as the liberals ascribe to, that when it comes to talents, predilections, or natural abilities we are all equal. Nor does it mean we all should have the same big screen TV, wireless internet, or savings account balance. Just as Jefferson meant when he wrote those words, we all should have the same right to be as good as we can be with the cards we have been dealt.
Jewish tradition takes a positive view of both the institution of ownership and the accumulation of wealth. It respects economic success, so long, that is, as it is obtained honestly and proper respect is shown for the social responsibility that comes with it. That social responsibility is an individual duty and a job for the community led by its religious leaders, but not for the government. That doesn’t mean it’s wrong for the federal government to provide a safety net, but the primary responsibility is the individual and the local community….
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