The Committee for the Defense of Bret Stephens meets at Politico. Political Observer comments

The defenders of Bret Stephens, in the American Political Gossip sheet Politico, are not just one of the authors of ‘Coddling’, but his fellow travelers, who inveigh against homegrown enemies ,of an enlightened political present, and the political cowardice of the New York Times : 

The same defenders and allies of that new manifesto of an ersatz centrism in ‘The Coddling of the American Mind’ , read the short version of this newest hysterical homage to its precursor ‘The Closing of the American Mind’ by another political hysteric Allen Bloom.

Note the fashion for publishing these condensations, that give birth to even more bloated Bestsellers: ‘Closing‘, ‘The Clash of Civilizations’ , ‘The End of History’ .

Not to forget that the co-author of ‘Coddling’ Jonathan Haidt is a New Democratic political operative, whose propaganda objective is to paint ‘dissidents’ as the enemy, in a lame pastiche of Carl Schmitt. Note the alliance between the Neo-Conservatives and the New Democrats as part of a toxic realignment in American politics.

Like the English and their ‘Civilizing Mission’ that rationalized their Imperialism, Mr. Stephens believes, even worships at the shrine of his ethnic exceptionalism: “The Secrets of Jewish Genius. This particular expression of exceptionalism allows Zionist Settlers to steal land ,destroy the houses, and crops, kidnap the children and murder at will the indigenous Palestinians. That is prima facie evidence of racism! 

It takes four people to author a defense of  Mr. Stephens? Better yet call it a Manifesto in defence of the indefensible. Carefully rationalized by ‘the real roots of Jewish achievement are culturally and historically engendered habits of mind.’

Stephens took up the question of why Ashkenazi Jews are statistically overrepresented in intellectual and creative fields. This disparity has been documented for many years, such as in the 1995 book Jews and the New American Scene by the eminent sociologists Seymour Martin Lipset and Earl Raab. In his Times column, Stephens cited statistics from a more recent peer-reviewed academic paper, coauthored by an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences. Though the authors of that paper advanced a genetic hypothesis for the overrepresentation, arguing that Ashkenazi Jews have the highest average IQ of any ethnic group because of inherited traits, Stephens did not take up that argument. In fact, his essay quickly set it aside and argued that the real roots of Jewish achievement are culturally and historically engendered habits of mind.

In sum, the exceptionalism of Mr. Stephens is rationalized by ‘the real roots of Jewish achievement are culturally and historically engendered habits of mind.’ Science is trumped by Belief ?

The closing paragraph is an exercise in self-congratulation. The reader can only wonder at a reply to those who defend Stephens: the rights of Palestinians to live and prosper within the framework of Stephens pronunciation of  ‘culturally and historically engendered habits of mind. The question might arise, how can the reader think about the Gentile culturally and historically engendered habits of mind? Superiority, no matter how it is inflected,  is always toxic. 

We strongly oppose racism, anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry. And we believe that the best means of combating them is the open exchange of ideas. The Times’s retroactive censoring of passages of a published article appears to endorse a different view. And in doing so, it hands ammunition to the cynics and obfuscators who claim that every news source is merely an organ for its political coalition. 

Political Observer





About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.'
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