Monday, May 12, 2008

More of the Same Brain-dead Idiocy from the Yeshiva World mailbag

Dear YWN,

With the political campaigns starting to heat up,


I wanted to bring to the forum something that troubles me about some frum people’s political leanings. As religious Jews, I would think it would behoove us to try and support politicians that represent conservative values.

WHY? I presume the letter writer believes that Toras Rush and Toras Moshe are ideologically the same, but this is demonstrably false. Liberal values, such as a love of justice and charity are Torah values, too. More importantly, it is liberalism, and the freedoms that liberalism guarantees, which allow Orthodox Judaism to flourish. I'd rather have a government that abstains from making moral choices than one that attempts to impose its own morality on the rest of us. Wouldn't any Jew?

Whether abortion, immoral marriages, and all of the other “party line” issues, I would think that the orthodox vote would be 99% in favor of Republicans.

WHY? The republican position on "party line issues" does not align with the view of Orthodox Judaism. We're more lenient on abortion, gay marriage, and everything else. If the republican position on these issues were to become the law of the land, our freedom to practice Orthodox Judaism would be affected, in some case, because (in the case of abortion especially) the Republicans would prohibit what the Torah permits.

However it seems this is not the case. Many people get benefits and government handouts from the more socialist leaning Democrat Party, as they tend to tax the rich and give to the poor.

Given that most Orthodox Jews are poor shouldn't we expect an Orthodox Jewish voter to support politicians who favor policies that will help the poor? Take a Jew in New Square, for instance, or even Boro Park. He's probably "learning" and therefore unemployed. Or, he's finished learning, but not having gone to college, or even a decent High School, he lacks the skills to find himself a good-paying job. His wife probably works a menial job for a bad wage. The kids keep coming, and, god bless them, they want things like food and clothing and more. The food stamps, and other forms of government support are the only things keeping his family above water. The fact that gay marriage and abortion are legal hasn't affected his life; he and his kids likely aren't going to experiment with either. (after all, pork is legal too, but the Orthodox Jews manages, for the most part, to stay away from it). However, if some fat cat republican cuts his benefits this Jew from New Square and his family are sure going to feel it.

In the book What's the matter with Kansas Thomas Frank argues that lower and bottom class Americans have been deceived by their pastors, Rush Limbaugh and the villains at Fox News into voting against their own economic interest. They'd rather vote against abortion, then vote in favor of policies that might actually improve their own lives. This doesn't happen in New Square, in part because pastors and Rush have little reach in those precincts. Moreover, the leaders of the modern shtetele understand that they and their people have more to gain from Democratic "socialism" than from the fascist imposition of questionably valid morality, which is why the sound trucks and pashkevils that besiege hard-core Hasid neighborhoods at every election are most often working to support the Democrat.

While I’m sure it is tempting, and maybe even necessary to try to ensure oneself with some “freebies” from the government, I’m afraid that the money association with Liberals, eventually influences people in the form of their ideals. Someone even commented to me that Spitzer shouldn’t resign because, after all, “it’s a personal matter.” Is this not morally corrupt- to not demand that our politicians (at least in the public) be upstanding individuals!?

Why does Yeshiva World continue to print these poorly written, poorly reasoned know-nothing rants? Is it possible that the whole purpose of the Yeshiva World website is to make the Yeshiva world look stupid? If so, the editor is succeeding.

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