Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Hasidim = socialism

When I read about the totalitarian systems that have been established in places like Kiryas Joel and New Square, two questions* come to mind:

- How can you say socialism is not a Jewish value?
- If you oppose socialism how can you dream of the day when Messiah arrives to impose it on us?

Allow me to elaborate.

Kiryas Joel is a place that should remind the honest observer of Soviet Russia. All decisions are made by a central, unelected authority. The center is all-powerful (and ever increasingly powerful). Loyalty to the center is promoted as one of the highest ideals. The Rebbe and his circle, like Napoleon and the other pigs, are represented as a near-deities who do everything for the community - oy, the mesiras nefesh! -  even as their own beds are feathered and their own bank accounts get padded. Cross the center and you risk exile, or something akin to a struggle-session - and more serious penalties are always a possibility.

The people themselves rely heavily on the government to provide them with their needs. Kiryas Joel has the highest poverty rate in the nation. More than two-thirds of residents live below the federal poverty line and 40% receive food stamps. In the true spirit of socialism, the citizens of Kiryas Joel demand more and more from the government while their own sense of responsibility continues to shrink. Do they pay taxes or have any sense of civic responsibility, or is it just about what they can get? Do the people of KJ owe anything to the government, or to the (mostly) gentile tax payers who sustain it?

If you're the sort of person who admires Hasidim, and believes that their way of life is authentic and deserving of emulation, doesn't it follow that you also admire the socio/economic system that keeps it going? And if you're the sort of person who thinks that we, ultimately, will become more like the Hasidim, doesn't it follow that you're dreaming of the day when King Messiah brings socialism to us all?

*I realize these question only apply to the sort of people I describe in the last paragraph  If you don't admire Hasidim you probably don't admire their economies or their totalitarian cult-of-personality culture either. 

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