Archive for December 11, 2019

Future of One Ethno-Religious Group in USA is Not Looking Bright: 2

December 11, 2019 26 comments

In the previous part of this series, I made an observation that the general public perception of a certain ethno-religious minority in this country has gone down rather considerably over the past decade. More troublingly, this trend shows no sign of stopping, let alone reversing. While some of the reasons for this trend are secular (connection to neoliberalism and performative “wokeism”), other reasons are.. should we say.. a bit more self-inflicted. Ok.. more than a few of reasons are self-inflicted. And yes, some are intimately associated with the historical trajectory of this group. Isn’t this going to be an interesting series..

3] Obsession with control of public image, over longer timespans, is counterproductive. While it is perfectly understandable that organisations such as the ADL etc arose in 20th century, especially given the very real social discrimination against said group- we no longer live in 1913, 1933, 1945 or even 1979. Unless you are talking about some very isolated parts of flyover states, discrimination against this group in any manner is virtually nonexistent throughout this country. Now this does not imply that everyone loves them, but they are not actively hated, shunned and despised like they often used to be prior to end of WW2. In other words, they are no more hated or disliked than anybody who openly profess their Italian, Irish, Greek or another ethnic European ancestry. In fact, lilly-white Mormons are seen as more weirder than this group.

The vastly improved public acceptance of said group in this country after WW2 has, however, not translated into them being more comfortable in their skin. So what do I mean by that? Well.. even though membership of the Mafia never accounted for than a tiny percentage of Italian-Americans, there is no shortage of movies and TV shows in which they are depicted as mobsters. Curiously, the vast majority of modern Italian-Americans are not especially offended by such movies or TV shows. How many movies or TV shows have you seen in which a stereotypically Jewish person is depicted in a less-than-favorable manner, you know.. like Italian-Americans being depicted as mobsters. Some might say that it has to do with history.

Well.. let us talk about history. Aforementioned group cannot claim that it was the only group subject to genocide in modern times. Apart from what happened to the native inhabitants of the Americas and Australia, a number of other groups such as Armenians, Assyrian and Romani can make almost identical claims. And let us not forget that Generalplan Ost, if successful, would have resulted in the deaths of tens of millions (more) in Slavic countries. Did I mention that they too were targeted because of racial and ethic considerations. My point is that, in this day and age, the attempts of one group to keep claiming monopoly over past suffering due to racial or ethnic considerations is a bit odd- especially when most of its members have done pretty well for themselves. Doing so, ends up making one look like an imposter.

4] Religion, and Nationalism, is a bad mix. The other 800-pound gorilla in the room is how this religion has mixed with nationalism in a certain part of the Middle-East. After WW2, a part of this group decided to go all out and claim a piece of land in that region based on their scriptures. In hindsight, we can understand why so many did not want to be in continental Europe after what occurred there between 1993-1945. It just so happened that the borders in that region as drawn by western colonial powers after 1918 were a recipe for perpetual conflict. In any case, the state for the “chosen” people got itself off the ground and for the first 2-3 decades (of its existence) it seemed as if that country would end up resembling another European country- albeit in an unusual geographical location. But reality has a mind of its own..

Since the 1980s, this country has increasingly come to resemble its geographical neighbors. What started out as a quasi-socialist liberal state has now become a garrison reactionary state run by people who sound a lot like the very people their ancestors escaped from. As Nietzsche wrote.. “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.” I am NOT saying they have finally become exactly what their ancestors feared. For example- the Nazis clearly had way more photogenic uniforms and were very open about their plans for lebensraum. But the train of history is clearly moving in that general direction. But why does this matter to us?

Well.. because the past two decades have also seen very vigorous attempts in this country to conflate the religion (Judaism) with the nationalist ideology (Zionism). What makes this especially problematic is that the country in question is also trying to start numerous wars in that region and somehow suck this country into them. It does not take a genius to figure out that a large war in the Middle-East (say.. with Iran) which cannot be won in a decisive manner, in addition to causing a large bunch of undesirable global downstream effects, will be rather unpopular in this country. While the politicians in this country are beholden to organisations such as AIPAC and many pro-Israel billionaires, it remains to be seem how they will behave once those positions become unsustainable with their constituents. And this situation might be reached much sooner than any of us would prefer.

In the upcoming part of this series, I will write more about why conflating religio-cultural identity with nationalism has a tendency to end badly and why the secondary and tertiary downstream effects of such a disaster are much bigger than most people realize or want to believe.

What do you think? Comments?