Jewish Awakening, Jewish Ignorance: Columns from Mom, Son

Barbara Kay and Jonathan Kay are columnists for The National Post. Barbara is Jonathan’s mother. Barbara is a legitimate intellect with important things to say nearly every appearance. Jonathan’s columns are usually filled with trendy recycled conventional wisdom, puffed up with his own unshakeable secular-atheist prejudices. The past two days are a perfect illustration.

Today, Barbara Kay’s column reviews a new book by Jewish-Canadian poet David Solway, “The Big Lie: On Terror, Anti-Semitism and Identity”. Solway is part of a growing subculture of intellectuals schooled in the leftist morass of the 1960s and 1970s, who allowed themselves to open their minds after 9/11/2001. From a former lifelong member of the church of liberalism:

it took the events of 9/11 to rouse him from the “ignorance and laziness” of half a lifetime’s default identification with the leftist ideology his cohort internalized in the student-revolutionary sixties.

The Islamist assault on America plunged Solway into “a kind of Cartesian interrogation, a relentless scrutiny of the values and beliefs I accepted as gospel.” Six years on, this radical reappraisal of principles plus meticulous research has produced The Big Lie. The book is an idiosyncratically formatted polemic, composed of theme-linked literary and political sorties, and fleshed out by the poignant chronicle of Solway’s personal sojourn, from secular and even arrogant indifference to Israel’s fate toward a proud, informed and loving embrace of Jewish destiny.

I believe that a good part of the virulent hostility of today’s left towards the Jews stems from the leadership of the hated “neo-cons”, many of whom are former Jewish leftists who have “defected” (Irving Kristol, David Horowitz, Charles Krauthammer, Norman Podhoretz, to name a few). Barbara Kay understands this well, and is relentless in her attacks on leftists and antisemites who simply refuse to grow up and face reality.

Son Jonathan, on the other hand, mixes occasional good work (like his expose of the Liberal Party’s increasing ties to Jew-hating ethnic voting blocs a few weeks ago) with regular uninformed tripe. Yesterday’s column, “Jewish Brainpower is a Mixed Blessing”, is perhaps the most ignorant and arrogant column I have ever read by a Jew who professes to be on the right. His main point? That Jews are hated because they are more successful than other groups; and that this success is because of an evolutionary process that has given Jews greater intellect than other human beings. Like many of the liberal, atheist Jews I grew up with, Kay seems to take arrogant pride in his status as part of a super-intelligent tribe, and almost revels in the fact that he is hated out of smartness-resentment. From the column:

In a perfect world, it’s the sort of statistic that Jews might trumpet with unalloyed pride– the way the Dutch brag about their height (6′ average) or Kenyans from the western edge of the Great Rift Valley boast of their exceptional long-distance-running ability. But intelligence, unlike height and speed, is not an unmitigated asset — at least not when demagogues are afoot. What you or I might define as brainpower, others may define as cunning, shrewdness, guile. And to explain that such predilections originated naturally in the markets of Europe through a long history of money lending, deal-making and mercantile pursuits … well, you can see how that tends only to make matters worse.

Rhie Won-bok [antisemitic Korean artist whose work Kay used as a jumping-off point for the column] may not be much of a cartoonist or a thinker. But he’s unwittingly captured one of the sad truths of Jewish history. In peoples, as in people, great intellect can be a mixed blessing.

It is this type of ignorance and arrogance that gives Jew-haters everywhere the amunition they need to demonize Jews. Kay should know better, and I hope his mother gave him a good tonge-lashing over this one.

To correct Kay’s foolishness: Jews are not a race, so evolution cannot improve the intellect of “Jews”. Jews come from all racial groups, and there are plenty of learning-disabled Jews, brain-damaged Jews, mentally-retarded Jews, low-achieving Jews, and just plain stupid Jews to prove his race-based intellect theory dead wrong. Further, a father who becomes cunning in business cannot pass this acumen on to his children through genetics! There is no “business cunning” or “success” gene.

What Jews do have is a strong and enduring set of VALUES passed down from generation to generation for three thousand years. It is the values of personal integrity, community responsibility, concrete universal standards of morality, and individual cosmic accountability encoded in the bible that has allowed the Jews to survive and thrive as a tiny minority on earth. It is also this set of values that was passed on to Christianity that has allowed Christendom to lift the Western world to heights of prosperity and peace that had never before been achieved in human history.

To complete the circle: people like Barbara Kay, David Solway, and myself have come to understand that it is the superior VALUES of Judaism and Chritianity that have allowed us to live the comfortable and free lives we enjoy in this guilded age. It is the perverted values of Islam that poses a real threat to our freedom and prosperity. Jonathan seems to understand the Islamist threat; but until he figures out that it is our values, and not our intellect and success, that makes us hated, his commentary will just be flailing in the wind.



Filed under Judaism in Canada, Uncategorized

11 responses to “Jewish Awakening, Jewish Ignorance: Columns from Mom, Son

  1. I passed this on to Barbara Kay, who will no doubt be very pleased !

  2. I don’t think I have ever been so conflicted about such a lovely compliment in my life. 🙂

  3. A family row, right here! Blogging is more fun than I ever thought it would be.

    Sorry if I was too harsh on Jon, but I’ve been a daily National Post reader for six years now, and I just like to call it like I see it. But thank you both for helping make the Post such a fantastic paper. (Get Steyn back, already!)

  4. Monique David

    I feel “entitled” to chime in because I am also a continual reader of mom and son’s column. It’s not my intention to remove one inch of the tribute to Barbara as I am a fan of her columns, both for the richness of the content and the way it is delivered. It really is a weekly intellectual pleasure to read her.

    Being myself at the other extreme of what you would call an “atheist”, I don’t agree with the rationale of this comment, concretely taking VALUES as the ground to distinguish the value of one from the other.

    Many secular atheists and humanists profess the same values as believers. They actually wrongly often praise themselves of being the only ones to stand for personal integrity, community responsibility, universal common good, accountability, etc., as if it would be an enclosed garden entrusted to them.

    Values are a common ground for many people of all range of life and ideologies. What distinguishes atheists from believers is the way they look at the origin and the ultimate aim of the spectrum of values. The believer has discovered and accepted the divine origin of the basic code of law encapsulated in the Golden Rule of “do good and avoid evil” inscribed in the human heart, thereby giving legitimacy to the claim of supremacy and universality of its content and consequences.

    The ultimate aim of the believer’s profession of values is the realization that a life in conformity with this code of law has the capacity to let one enter in communion with God, as the author of the moral law.

    One final idea to “reconcile” mother and son: why separate developed intelligence and values? There is actually perfect continuity and inter-connectedness between them. Intelligence gives life and brings forth the potential of values and values enhance intelligence by raising it to a higher level.

  5. Thank you for your contribution, Monique. I agree with most everything you say. However, I was in no way trying to say that “mamma Kay” is somehow superior in values to “baby Kay”. Secular-atheists can indeed live by a set of high moral values, and for all I know, Jonathan does exactly that. My point was simply to say that it is a superior set of God-given values – and certainly not genetics, as Jonathan would have you believe – that has sustained Judaism, Christianity, and by extension, modern Western society for centuries, during an era in which countless other civilizations have become irrelevant or extinct.

    The problem with atheistic, or “humanist”, values is that there is nothing to say that they can’t change based on the latest fad, or simple day-to-day convenience. Judeo-Christian monotheism adds the elements of timelessness and supernatural accountability to the mix, ensuring that there are cosmic consequences to those willing to break the moral code.

  6. Monique David

    I agree entirely with you. This is why i think it is essential to deepen on the origin (human vs divine) and the ultimate aim (horizontal only vs vertical and horizontal) of the values. Furthermore, it is also interesting to consider, in the context of your second post, another distinction: a coherent believer knows that one needs to cultivate true humility to ask God`s help to live up to the standards.

  7. EmZi

    I guess I tend to agree with your post, but I would just like to point out that contrary to popular opinion or implication, Christianity is not a product of the West. It may have (partially) survived there, but it spread from the Middle East. Ironically, it can be argued that Christian values are actually more strongly adhered to there amongst its followers, even in that environment, than in the West, where the dominant “religion” seems to be atheism.

  8. The Essence of Islam

    Muhammad told the world that God is God and the Messiah is nothing more nor less than God’s servant. But Muhammad unequivocally identified Jesus as the Messiah. Thus, Muhammad contradicted Judaism in its absolute rejection of the “Messiah, Jesus” (Women 4:171). And he contradicted Christianity, which, by Muhammad’s time, had officially identified Jesus as the Second and coequal Member of a Holy Trinity of Gods.

    Nowadays, however, Muhammad’s confirmation of Jesus as the Messiah isn’t an Islamic teaching Muslims religiously convey to the world. In fact, the most publicly heard Muslims don’t even mention it! Evidently, they consider it an insignificant subject compared to the Koran’s directive to reward evil “…with like evil” (Counsel 42:40) — the teaching they practice with such devotion, outsiders could perceive it to be the primary message of Islam!

  9. MA

    If it had been any other columnist, I would have linked to this under “Refusal to Breed” because it’s further coverage of the rumblings of population control coming to North America…

    ….but even though I disagree with his assessment about values/brains, as you do, Flaggman, he’s right about this!

    I commend Jonathan Kay for sounding the alarm about this…and the people who created the paper trail to their suicidal, truly anti-choice philosophies (folks, *this* is what’s “anti-choice”, not respect for all human beings) as proof of their tyrannical craziness in the first place!

  10. Yes, Jonathan Kay is coming around a bit – perhaps because he has a young child now, whom he proudly displays on his own web site.

    The “85% population reduction” guy he quotes in the article, Paul Watson, may think he is simply looking out for the environment. But what he is really doing is giving cover to the worst genocidal murderers who want to eliminate people for other reasons. I can hear Ahmadinejad now – “I dropped the bomb on Tel Aviv and killed a million, to save the environment from that city’s carbon emissions.”

    When you start defining children as pollutant-emitters, as Watson has, you risk taking humanity to those dark, dark places only seen under the Nazis.

  11. Pingback: In HRCs vs. Neo-Nazis, some Jews choose Neo-Nazis « Flaggman’s Canada

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