Friday, November 16, 2012

Why Jews vote for Democrats: Part 5

Yesterday, American's Worst Rabbi today gave seven reasons why Jews vote for Democrat, each of which I will address in turn.. In this installment, we'll deal with the claim that Jews vote Democrat because we don't know anything about Torah, and hate tradition. [Other installments can be found here.]

We join Pruzansky already in progress...

But most Jews are widely estranged from their faith – fifth reason – and do not perceive their Judaism as shaping or influencing their world view, except insofar as they distort the Torah’s values and ideas and assume they correspond to the NY Times editorial page. 

You're contradicting yourself, Rabbi. In Part 1 you told us Jews vote for the Democrats because, thanks to their tradition, they care about the fate of the most vulnerable, and  (correct or not) they perceive the Democratic party as being more concerned about that segment of society. Now you're claiming Jews who vote for Democrats don't know the first thing about their tradition and they vote for Democrats because they are wrong about what the tradition says. Well, which is it? 

Most can speak of Jewish values only in the most amorphous terms – and perceive as uniquely Jewish the platitudes (“be a good person!”) that are common to every religion. Most have limited exposure to Torah. That is why the Orthodox voting patterns are almost the complete opposite of the non-Orthodox.

No, that's not why. The reason for the difference in voting pattern is this: Orthodox Jews care about looking frum. That's why they pick up new chumrahs at the drop of the hat, indeed that's why they wear hats: So everyone will know just how frum they are. And thanks to the religious right, you can't look frum without being a hardliner on abortion, homosexuality and the rest. In short Orthodox Jews vote for Republicans because they have been ingrained to believe that there is something frum about it.

Another explanation:  Demographically, Orthodox Jews are a better fit with a party that panders to white, wealthy people.  Also (elephant in the room) Orthodox Jews tend to be more racist than society as a whole. They tend to dislike black people, Hispanics and Arabs more than the average American. This also tracks well with the lilly-white Republican party

 The closer one is to tradition, the more one will gravitate to conservative ideals. 

This is so stupid it drools. In a very famous series of posts, I attempted to determine which party would be more likely to introduce and support  a particular commandment as a matter of policy. (I'm rather certain Pruzansky has never seriously considered such an exercise, which alone disqualifies him from making political claims on behalf of the tradition.)  

Though you should read the introductory post about the fallacies inherent in the exercise, I found that more of the commandments are likely to be supported by Democrats. 

But this is the point that really matters: Most of the commandments have nothing to do with the daily life of the typical voter (You'd be surprised how many of the 613 relate to agriculture or temple services.) In fact, only about 90 of the 613 commandments are relevant to the positions of either party, leading me to conclude that the idea that any one part is more bible-based than the other is absurd

But does any of this stop Pruz from making sweeping claims on behalf of the tradition, claims he makes no effort to investigate or substantiate. Of course not. 

No comments: