Tuesday, November 09, 2004

FISKING BURRY KATZ

BURRY KATZ, THE ANGRY BLOGGER ON BROOKLYN-JEWISH-LIFE STUMBLES OUT OF HIS COMFORT ZONE.

I hate to fisk Burry. And I really don't want dovbear to become all fisking, all the time. I also hate long posts. I don't like to read them, and I don't like to write them. But, again, duty calls. (If you have any feelings about this, by all means use the comments. Dovbear is reader responsive! Conservative readers (ie: Biur and Mo) I especially want to hear from you)

Today Burry decided not to attack rich Jews and their Rabbis. He took a day off from blasting black-hatters, yeshivas, and Brooklynites. He had nothing bad to say about Hasidim. Instead, Burry turned on Liberalism, and with hilarious results.

Here is his post, with my commentary interpolated.

It seems to me that most liberal shittahs are against the Torah's way of thinking. Let's examine a few: Issue #1 - Abortion: Halacha states, in no uncertain terms, that abortion is assur. Sure, there are exceptions...

Wrong. There are all sorts of questions surrounding this. You mention a few, but not nearly all of them.

The liberals call themselves pro-choice, but anti-life is more like it.

Wrong. It may be clear to you and to me that a fetus is a life, or that life begins at conception, but the left (not the liberals, the left) don't agree. The left define life differently. Absent Eliyahu, how can you be sure that you are right and they are wrong? Anyway, you can't say that the left are anti-life, if they don't think the fetus is a life.

The conservatives are anti-abortion, which is more consistent with the Torah.

The issue is much more complicated than you allow. The Torah and the Christian Conservatives don't see eye-to-eye. Consider this: (1) If a pregnant woman commits a capital crime, does a Jewish court wait for the child to be born before killing the woman? No. (2) If you slaughter (shecht) a pregnant cow, does the calf inside need to be shected, too? No. (3) If a bas kohen loses a baby within the first 40 days of her pregnancy can she continue to eat Trumah? Yes (if the baby was lost 40 days she can't) (4)After a first-pregnancy miscarriage within the first 40 days, is the first child born a Bechor regarding inheritance and Pidyon? Yes. (If the miscarriage was after 40 days, the fist child loses his status)

All of this suggests that life begins at a point later than conception; all of this suggests that the Torah, unlike your friends the Christians, does not consider abortion to a be murder if it occurs at every stage of a pregnancy. All of this is a reminder that on matters of religion we needn't be concerned with out-doing the Christians. We have an oral law, and a tradition of argument and dissent. We have a tradition of opposing views. We have a tradition of humility, of uncertainty. Nothing is clear, and nothing is final until Eliyahu gets here.

Issue #2 - Money: The liberals love raising taxes and think that it's unfair that some people are richer than others

Wrong. First no one "loves" raising taxes. Are you trying to be levelheaded or are you playing games? Second, the Democrats were clear that they wouldn't raise taxes. You're confusing democrats with Liberals. They overlap, but every Democrat's policy isn't nec. Liberalism. Third, fairness has nothing to do with it. Liberals (and not nec. Dems) are concerned with freedom, and will use the tax code to increase freedom when possible. Liberalism hold that poverty (and other disasters they aren't of our own making) are obstructers of freedom (in that they may deprive the individual of the possibility of making significant choices) and must therefore be controlled by constituted authority. Liberalism fights poverty for the sake of freedom. Not justice.

The Torah does not believe in an equal distribution of wealth

Neither do Liberals. You are confusing us with communists. Please stop listening to Rush. It will clear your head.

So the notion that everyone is created equal is untrue

Of course. But freedom has nothing to with equality. Remember, Liberals aren't trying to make everyone equal. They are trying to make everyone free. And poverty (among other things) interferes with freedom because it prevents us from making signifcant choices. (How can I be a good citizen if I am starving?) Judaism doesn't disagree. The world's first welfare programs are iterated in the Torah. Jeremiah and other prophets publicly defended the poor. Why? Because the Torah, like Liberalism, is concerned with freedom.

Issue #3 - Attitude Re Religion: We know what the liberals think of religious people - that we're dumb, that our faith is totally illogical

Let's leave Judaism aside, after all we're only 2 percent of the populace. Instead let's talk about the majority: Christianity. You're a Jew, Burry, am I right? Don't you agree that the Christian faith in a man-god is “totally illogical?” If not, the Rambam would like to speak with you. In fact, most of the major theological views held by the religious people in the country are inconsistent with Judaism. Above you are ready to pillory abortionists and Liberals for being inconsistent with halacha. Why a free pass for the Christians?

and that we don't need God to tell us what to do and what not to do.

God hasn't said anything to a human being in about 2000 years. Right now, Gd isn't telling us what to do. Man is, in God's name. And forgive me, but man's track record (as you have documented on your own blog!) is rather lousy so I'm not too inclined to rely upon Man, if I can avoid it. The founding fathers knew this, which is why they instituted all sorts of protections. I can't believe that someone as critical of Brooklyn rabbis as you are, is ready to put the country into the hands of clerics. In post after post you slam them for not looking after the little guy - and worse. Now you want to put the country into the hands of their Christian counterparts? Truly bizarre.

The conservatives, however, believe that religion plays an integral part of our daily lives, and that one of the reasons the US is great is that it was founded on Judeo-Christian beliefs.

This is absolute hogwash. The country was founded on Enlightenment beliefs about the nature of man, and the role of government. If you don't believe me, where did our branches of government come from? Is any of that biblical?

Hey, these guys want to take God's name out of the Pledge of Allegiance!

Again, you are confusing two groups. Those are lefties, not nec. Liberals. And, truly, so what? Why does God's name belong in the pledge? It’s not in the national anthem. Should we be mobilizing to change the words of the star spangled banner?

Now most neo-conservatives are libertarians

Ok, libertarians and neo-cons are two different branches of the GOP. They are not the same. This is what we call a schoolboy howler.

they don't try to impose their beliefs onto others, and frankly, don't care how others lead their lives

Another howler. Have you met the evangelical right? The paleo cons? They aren't libertarians. They aren't neo-cons. And they very much wish to impose their beliefs on us all.

But to eliminate religion altogether?

No one wants to eliminate it. Not Liberals. Not Dems. No one. Just keep it in private.

To mock President Bush for saying that he communicates with Jesus? Come on, people!

Um... Burry, precious Burry. Talking to Jesus is anti-halacha just like Liberalism is, in your view. So why the hatred for one, and love for the other? You're a Jew. Jesus isn't god. He has no power. People who talk to him are delusional, because Jesus isn't real. Get with the program Burry. Are you Jewish or not? Why the free pass for Jesus worship? It is illogical and osur, and therefore deserves your scorn.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

on the topic of dissent, clarity and halacha...i appreciate your desire to keep religion separate from politics and to refrain from tooting our shofar at the world...yes, it can only lead to tzoras. however, there are issues on which the torah speaks in clear terms. we do not need eliyahu for everything.

MoChassid said...

DB:

I can't believe you took angry Burry seriously and wasted so much ink responding. Get on your bike and chill, brother.

And, by the way, while I may be a conservative Republican, I don't blog politics.

Adam Ragil said...

MO, man. Burry's post was full of mistakes, among them the mischarecterization of Liberalism and the insistance that the idol-worship that is Christianity deserves a free-pass. I couldn't stay silent.

The torah doesn't say hate the private, closeted, homosexual and love the proud and public idol worshipper. In fact, regarding idol worshippers, it says very much the opposite. I don't understand why conservative Jews bash Liberalism for being "anti-torah" but refuse to say the same thing about the conservative, christian right.