Friday, February 17, 2017

The Socialism of Fools, Part 2: The Logic of Antisemitism is the Logic of Identitarianism

Previously: The Socialism of Fools, Part 1: Antisemitism and Malcolm X, Derrick Bell, and Louis Farrakhan


“Antisemitism is the Socialism of fools.” —a saying of German social democrats at the end of the 19th century, attributed by August Bebel to Ferdinand Kronawetter

Third wave feminists and antiracists believe white Americans are privileged because they are on average wealthier than black and Hispanic Americans. This ignores the fact that Hindu and Jewish Americans are the richest religious groups in the US, which means that everything identitarians say about white Americans logically applies to American Jews.

Being a socialist, I reject this logic. People of every race, ethnicity, and gender can be found in the working class, and therefore I will do all I can to support all of them. This is why socialism is so prominent in the histories of feminism and civil rights.

But if you see power in terms of social identity, you should believe:
1. American antisemites aren't racist because "racism equals prejudice plus power". Jewish Americans as a group have far more economic and political power; therefore antisemites can't be racist.

2. Jewish Americans are racist because they grew up with Jewish American privilege.

3. When Jewish Americans lecture people in a condescending way, they're Jewsplaining. Antisemites can't antisemitesplain because antisemites don't have equivalent power.

4. Jewish Americans should shut up and listen when antisemites explain how Jewish privilege works in America.

5. American Jews who say not all Jews are rich or racist should be mocked as "special snowflakes" who think they're exceptions to the truth antisemites see.

6. American Jews who get upset when presented with examples of Jewish privilege should be mocked for their "Jewish tears".
This is the insane logic of people who accept superficial explanations. The reason Jewish Americans are disproportionately wealthy is simple: The first wave of Jewish immigrants were wealthy, which explains the disproportionate number of Jewish slaveowners—when slavery was part of our economy, slaveowners came from every group, including rich black women like the Widow C. Richards. The second wave of Jewish immigration brought many poor Jews who were fleeing persecution, but it also included wealthy ones, so Jewish immigrants in general continued to have more resources to start businesses than other groups.

But understanding the reasons for disproportionate ethnic wealth calls for understanding history and capitalism. Identitarians on the left and right are content with a shallow understanding of both.