Should we follow the Pope’s advice and make it illegal to drive to church?

“Pope Francis: A Crisis Reveals What Is in Our Hearts” (NYT):

With some exceptions [here’s looking at you, Sweden!], governments have made great efforts to put the well-being of their people first, acting decisively to protect health and to save lives. The exceptions have been some governments that shrugged off the painful evidence of mounting deaths, with inevitable, grievous consequences. But most governments acted responsibly, imposing strict measures to contain the outbreak.

Yet some groups protested, refusing to keep their distance, marching against travel restrictions — as if measures that governments must impose for the good of their people constitute some kind of political assault on autonomy or personal freedom!

(Imagine a healthy 21-year-old believing that being locked into his/her/zir/their apartment is a reduction in his/her/zir/their personal freedom! He/she/ze/they is free to sit in any room in the apartment, watch any TV show, and eat anything/everything from the fridge.)

If we take the Pope at his/her/zir/their word, after coronaplague is a distant memory shouldn’t it be illegal for people to drive to a Catholic church? When it is quite easy for people to participate via Zoom, if “protecting health and saving lives” is the #1 goal, why let anyone subject themselves and others to the risk of an accident on the roads? A person killed from a car accident is just as dead as a person killed by COVID-19 (and, in fact, the loss of life-years is likely to be much higher due to the much younger age and better health of the average car accident victim).

God is everywhere, according to the Catholic religion. If we #FollowThePope, why shouldn’t the government protect health and save lives by forbidding anyone from driving to church in order to find God?

Related:

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When someone pleads ignorance regarding the Holocaust, fire him twice!

“Florida Principal Who Wouldn’t Call Holocaust ‘Factual’ Is Fired Again” (NYT):

A high school principal in Florida whose refusal to acknowledge the Holocaust as a “factual, historical event” in an email led to a national backlash, his firing and then his rehiring has been fired for a second time.

The Palm Beach County school board on Tuesday voted 7 to 0 to fire the principal, William Latson, who was removed from his post last year at Spanish River Community High School in Boca Raton, Fla., after a 2018 email exchange with a student’s parent became public.

What did the guy say?

“I can’t say the Holocaust is a factual, historical event because I am not in a position to do so as a school district employee,” Mr. Latson stated in one of the emails, which were obtained by The Palm Beach Post. Mr. Latson said he had to stay “politically neutral” and separate his personal views about the Holocaust from his job as a public school official.

“I do allow information about the Holocaust to be presented and allow students and parents to make decisions about it accordingly,” he wrote. “I do the same with information about slavery.”

His answer would have been perfect for a deposition. He wasn’t alive in the 1940s. He is not a historian. He doesn’t have any better information regarding what happened during the 1940s than anyone else. Being a school system administrator does not qualify him to offer a history lesson. Also, he did clarify his personal beliefs regarding this period of history:

“I am not a Holocaust denier,” he says in the video. “I have never been a Holocaust denier. I am sorry that my comments caused people to think that.”

What was the point of firing this guy (twice!)? Just to show that even a hint of dissent cannot be tolerated?

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Catholic priest at MIT fired for not following the state religion

“Catholic chaplain resigns over email responding to Floyd killing” (the Tech):

Rev. Daniel Moloney, MIT’s Catholic chaplain, resigned June 9, according to a statement by the Archdiocese of Boston. The Archdiocese asked the chaplain to resign after Moloney sent an email to the Tech Catholic Community (TCC) in response to the killing of George Floyd and the subsequent protests.

Moloney wrote in the email that while Floyd should not have been killed by a police officer, Floyd’s killing was not necessarily “an act of racism.” Moloney added that “people have claimed that racism” is a “major problem in police forces. I don’t think we know that.” He wrote that the police officer had “acted wrongly” and that “it is right that he has been arrested and will be prosecuted.”

Moloney also wrote that Floyd “had not lived a virtuous life,” stating that Floyd had committed sins, “but we do not kill such people” and instead “root for sinners to change their lives and convert to the Gospel.”

Suzy Nelson, vice president and dean for student life, wrote in an email to student and faculty leaders June 12 that MIT senior leaders and the Bias Response Team had received reports about Moloney’s email. Nelson wrote that Moloney’s message “contradicted the Institute’s values” and “was deeply disturbing.”

According to Nelson’s email, all MIT chaplains sign the Office of Religious, Spiritual, and Ethical Life’s “Relationship with Affiliated Organizations and Representatives” agreement, which states that chaplains should demonstrate “respect for the dignity and worth of all people and a sensitivity to the beliefs and cultural commitments of others” and that “actions or statements that diminish the value of individuals or groups of people are prohibited.” Nelson wrote that Moloney’s email did not “live up to these expectations.”

We still have the First Amendment, sort of (not the right for healthy young people to assemble, for example). Is it fair to say that, from a functional perspective, we still have the First Amendment right to freedom of religion in the same sense as subjects of the Roman Empire? Conquered people could keep their religion and continue to worship their gods so long as they also respected and worships the Roman gods. Maybe this is why almost every nominally Christian church in Massachusetts has a BLM banner and a rainbow flag.

Related:

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Wicked Swedes and Righteous-but-imperfect Americans forecast to have same coronaplague death rate

The wicked Swedes who refused to lock themselves down, refused to pull their children from schools, refused to follow WHO advice (the latest advice, that is, not the June 4 advice) to wear masks, and refused to stop going to work will suffer 5,754 deaths from/with Covid-19 through October 1, 2020, according to the prophets at IHME:

The infidels who refused to accept the true Church of Shutdown will lose 0.056 percent of their 2019 population of 10.23 million.

The latest (June 24) IMHE prophecy for the U.S. is that 179,106 residents will die from/with Covid-19 through October 1, 2020:

Compared to the 2019 U.S. population of 328.2 million, that’s a rate of 0.055 percent.

In other words, the U.S. and Sweden will have almost exactly the same death rate from coronaplague.

Yet for Americans believers in the Religion of Shutdown, Sweden remains the touchstone example of disastrous “experiment” and folly. (It is not an “experiment” to lock people into their apartments for three months in hopes of stopping a viral plague, nor to shut down K-12 schools nationwide for the first time in U.S. history. These are examples of wisdom and being “conservative”.)

An example from yesterday, by a Harvard Law School professor, “Is Digital Contact Tracing Over Before It Began?” (Medium, June 25):

The first scenario is roughly the same as Sweden’s approach: re-open all but the most high-spreading services and events; ask people to exercise social distancing where they can; have people wear cloth masks to minimize the spread of the moisture in their breath to others; and try to make available testing so that people who wish to know if they’re infected can find out and then self-isolate if they test positive or show worrisome symptoms. We might call this the YOLO scenario.

This approach risks lots of preventable misery, and death, should hospital capacity be exceeded, or the disease affect far more people than it would if we were able to mitigate spread before a vaccine or treatment is available. (The architect of Sweden’s YOLO plan has expressed some regrets over it, though the numbers appear to be attenuating at the moment.)

The author simply neglects to mention that the death rates in the U.S. and Sweden are on track to be within 3 percent of each other. For the American readers, this isn’t necessary because, to the extent that Americans die it will be because we are imperfect creatures. We try to follow the God of Shutdown, but sometimes we slip and need to ask forgiveness of Him/Her/Zir/Them.

(The article also shows the American faith that the God of Shutdown will protect the righteous and punish the wicked among us:

With the President resuming his campaign rallies, the line between partial re-opening and full re-opening may become quite blurred.

I.e., a Trump rally will spread coronaplague among the stupid/racist/sexist Deplorables, but the virtuous BLM protesters who gather in similar numbers will be protected by their faith.)

From across the river, a former Harvard Med School/School of Public Health professor writes “A Warning From Sweden’s Coronavirus Response” (Forbes, June 4):

Sweden now has among the highest per capita death rates from Covid-19 in the world. Why?

The answer is simple. Sweden was lax in its implementation of protective measures in the face of the outbreak, refusing to implement broad stay at home orders for residents, or to enforce recommendations to wear masks or social distancing measures.

Sweden’s story is a lesson for all of us around what happens when we pull back on social distancing and prudent epidemic control measures.

… one can’t help but wonder if perhaps the plan is to pin all hopes on a vaccine rather than use the public health tools we know can work to control the pandemic. If that is the case, we should be aware that our hope in a vaccine is far brighter than preliminary public data suggests it should be. The current generation of vaccines are likely to offer only partial protection, and likely only to some of us not all. With the new vaccines will come new risks, and unknown safety profiles.

The guy who looked at numbers for two decades at the School of Public Health can’t be bothered to compare the forecast death rates from Covid-19 for Sweden and the U.S., plus add to the U.S. numbers all of the deaths going forward from weight gain during lockdown, lack of exercise during lockdown, alcoholism and drug addiction acquired during lockdown, lack of education during lockdown, rioting as we emerged from lockdown, etc.

(He also sounds like an anti-vaxxer! “New risks” and “unknown safety profiles” from the rushed-to-market vaccines?!? So… if we aren’t going to have an effective or safe vaccine, doesn’t that make the Swedes ever smarter? Are we capable of staying shut down for 10 years?)

I still think that, 10 or 20 years from now when the U.S. has finally figured out how to deal with coronavirus (maybe just a psychological adjustment, as we’ve had to make for influenza, the common cold, and most other viruses), the most interesting writings on this period will be from scholars of comparative religion.

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Doom for the wicked Swedes is always three weeks away

Massachusetts Facebook friends were gleefully discussing the wave of death that is pummeling Sweden, over a link to “I Just Came Home to Sweden. I’m Horrified by the Coronavirus Response Here.” (Slate) As part of strategy to be defriended by everyone, I responded with

Maybe the Swedes would appreciate some advice … on the Massachusetts secret to managing Covid-19. I am sure that they are curious to know how we managed to achieve 2X the Swedish death rate while shutting down schools, offices, restaurants, and gyms (all places that Swedes are still going).

The Church of Shutdown members have a ready answer to this:

And in Sweden, the infection rate continues to grow, while in Massachusetts it is shrinking slowly. MA hasn’t done a great job, its biggest mistake being that it did nothing until the rate was high, but its future looks better than Sweden’s.

Me:

You’re proving my point about the Church of Shutdown. Our religion says that we should be rewarded for our social distancing. Instead, however, we see Swedes partying and Danes sending their children to reopened schools. At some later date, however, (“the afterlife”) everyone will get his/her/zir/their just reward. The Swedes will be killed for partying continuously. The Danes will be killed for abandoning the sacrament of school closure before Jan 2021. The righteous of Massachusetts will be spared both infection and death in this afterlife, though it may look dark for us right here and now.

Righteous:

No, in MA we have the opportunity to get the infection rate down to a level where testing and tracking can keep it under control. No need to wait for an afterlife. The IHME model gives June 22 as the date. There’s reason to hope our new mask order will accelerate this process.

This prompted me to look at the IHME prophecies. On April 12, in “Everything the gleeful journalists said would happen to Sweden has happened… to Massachusetts”, I wrote “The University of Washington right now says that doom is in store for Sweden. They’ll have 13,259 deaths through August 4, 2020. They’ll have 79 ICU beds and need 3,378(!).” and included a screen shot indicating that peak demand on Swedish health care would happen on May 3 (today!).

Are they, in fact, 3,300 ICU beds short? They have had a total of only about 2,000 critical care “sessions” total for 1,500 patients (official data). ICU occupancy has been steady at roughly 500 patients for the past few weeks.

What do the augurs of University of Washington now say?

Although nothing regarding Swedish policy has changed, despite hundreds of American newspaper articles telling the Swedish how wrong they actually are, the God of Shutdown is now coming for the Swedes on May 22, at which point those who failed to worship Him/Her/Zer/Them will be short 3,711 ICU beds.

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After spreading without being constrained by the Miracle of Shutdown since mid-January in Sweden, Covid-19 will finally get organized to kill the unrighteous in Sweden in late May:

(Look at the error bars! They’re fairly confident that on May 23, Sweden will have between 11 deaths and… 2,789 deaths.

You’d have to be “anti-science” to deny that the number of Covid-19-tagged deaths in Sweden on May 23 will fall somewhere in between 11 and 2,789!)

Separately, how do we enter the Promised Land of “testing and tracking” that has been promised to the Church of Shutdown faithful? The 22 million undocumented will answer their phones and open their doors when the friendly government agent calls or shows up to ask a lot of questions about exactly where they’ve been? Healthy 20-year-olds will meekly submit to being stuck with needles and swabs? What’s in it for them? A resident of Massachusetts can terminate a 23.99-week-old pregnancy (political logic: had the pregnancy terminated in a birth at 22 weeks, for example, taxpayers via MassHealth would have paid $5 million or more, if necessary, to preserve the 22-week “child” rather than paying $1,000 to abort the 23.99-week-old “fetus”), why can’t a resident of Massachusetts say “my body, my choice” when the helpful government shows up with needles and swabs?

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YouTube casting out the physician-heretics

I found a fun illustration of my theory that American attitudes toward coronaplague are primarily religious. Two physicians in California would ordinarily have been celebrated as heroic “frontline” workers. But then they made heretical statements in a YouTube video, e.g., that the death rate from Covid-19 was about the same as for a bad influenza (what the former chief scientist of the European CDC estimated as well) and that shutting down society and the economy was irrational.

YouTube cast out the heretics, which didn’t surprise me, but sampling the hour-long video (still available on the web site of the doctors’ local ABC broadcast(!) TV station), I was surprised at how mild-mannered the doctors are.

The efforts that elite Americans, such as the executives at Google/YouTube, are making to suppress heresy, all the while claiming that their religious beliefs are based on “science”, would be comical if not for the high stakes in terms of lives. Astronomers don’t spend a lot of effort trying to remove astrology videos from YouTube. People don’t feel that astronomy is threatened to the point that they post on Facebook #BelieveAstronomy and #RejectAstrology.

Related:

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Is the face mask the Church of Shutdown’s hijab?

Our town, which has a 2-acre zoning minimum, has imposed a rule requiring the “Use of Face Coverings”, starting today. People cannot be out of their yards without a mask:

Roads, sidewalks, bicycle paths, and trails: Walkers, joggers, cyclists, inline skaters, and skiers must wear face coverings when approaching or overtaking other persons. When no other person is nearby, the face covering may be worn under the chin in a position from which it can be quickly pulled up over the nose and mouth when needed. When approaching or overtaking another person, both parties must move off the path to the side to establish at least six feet of separation.

Most of the roads don’t have sidewalks, so this means people who are separated by the width of a two-lane road have to be masked. “Skiers” are mentioned, so it seems that the Church of Shutdown is preparing for a full year of worship.

Given that no effective masks are available for purchase in Massachusetts, the good news is that one can comply with this rule by wearing “scarf or bandana.” But aren’t those essentially useless against tiny particles of virus escaping into the air? If we can agree that bandanas and scarves are not adequate functional substitutes for surgical masks, is it fair to consider them religious symbols, i.e., the Church of Shutdown’s hijabs?

(Of course, it may also be impossible to buy a bandana:

Can the police arrest and/or fine people for failure to possess what cannot be purchased?)

Readers: What kind of evidence is there that a suburban street or sidewalk with a handful of walkers per hour, or a trail in the woods where people pass each other every 10 minutes (for example), will make any difference to whether a Covid-19 outbreak is sustained? (Separately, in what American suburb has a Covid-19 outbreak ever been sustained, despite up to two months of pre-shutdown spreading? For example, have we heard of a case of someone traveling from a St. Louis suburb to New York City for a Broadway show in February and then returning home to infect neighbors on the other sides of the white picket fences? The NYT map below doesn’t suggest that the fabled exponential growth has occurred anywhere in the U.S. other than a few cities.)

Related:

  • “The case for reopening America’s parks” (Vox): Another Chinese study looking at 318 outbreaks featuring three or more Covid-19 cases adding up to 1,245 total confirmed cases across more than 100 cities found just one instance of outdoor transmission.
  • Governor’s state-wide order on face masks: This applies to both indoor and outdoor spaces. … A face covering can include anything that covers your nose and mouth, including dust masks, scarves and bandanas. … make sure you wash the cloth mask regularly. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after touching the mask. [i.e., use the hand sanitizer that you can’t buy after touching the bandana that you can’t buy]
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CEO of global real estate empire tells others to host migrants

“In Christmas Day Message, Pope Francis Shines Light On Migrant Suffering” (NPR):

In his annual Christmas Day address, Pope Francis offered a message of hope and a call for kindness to migrants around the world.

“May the Son of God, come down to earth from heaven, protect and sustain all those who, due to these and other injustices, are forced to emigrate in the hope of a secure life,” the pontiff said from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica.

“It is injustice that makes them cross deserts and seas that become cemeteries,” he said. “It is injustice that turns them away from places where they might have hope for a dignified life, but instead find themselves before walls of indifference.”

Pope Francis runs an enterprise that owns roughly 177 million acres of land around the world (source). Is he offering to host migrants either in Vatican City or on other church-owned land?

Separately, why the emphasis on helping those who are young, healthy, and fit enough to migrate? If the goal is helping the unfortunate, shouldn’t priority be given to those who are too old, sick, or out of shape to trek across continents? Wouldn’t the true humanitarian send an Airbus A380 out to scoop up those whom migration would help the most?

Finally… Happy Kwanzaa!

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White men correctly perceive American Jews as their enemies?

The Jew-hater-in-Chief is back in the news for his purported Jew-hatred:

The existence of white men who express hostility to American Jews is cited as proof that Trump is responsible for this hostility (and all of this is additional evidence for Trump’s proven stupidity, since only the dumbest of Jew-haters would choose to live in Manhattan and Palm Beach; Wikipedia: “The population of Palm Beach County is 20% Jewish, which makes it by far the most Jewish county in the United States. ‘To find a more densely populated Jewish community, you’d have to go to Israel,’ says Richard Jacobs, vice president of community planning for the Boca-based Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County.”; NYC has the largest Jewish community outside of Israel).

But what if a white guy’s perception that American Jews are his enemies is accurate?

Suppose that a low-to-medium skill white man wants to earn money via working. This article by a Harvard economist says “The total wealth redistribution [due to low-skill immigration] from the native losers to the native winners is enormous, roughly a half-trillion dollars a year.” What political party promotes the low-skill immigration that will take money away from this white man via lower wages and higher rent and give it to rich Americans (they enjoy paying lower wages for their service workers and receiving higher rents for the apartment buildings that they own)? The Democrats. Although only 71 percent of Jews voted for Hillary Clinton (Wikipedia), groups that claim to be “Jewish” constantly remind Americans that adherence to the modern version of the Jewish faith compels them to vote for Democrats, support immigration, etc. (example: “The Jewish Case for Open Borders”, which notes “Jews have been especially active in this mobilization, driven by their social liberalism, their sense of religious duty, or both. Synagogue networks sprang up to offer aid to refugees, while groups like Jews United for Justice and Jewish Voice for Peace have been a visible presence at protest rallies.” (it would be interesting to run an experiment in which physicians and lawyers from around the globe show up and are immediately eligible to practice medicine/law in NYC, Los Angeles, DC, and Miami, then see whether “religious duty” compels Jews to support open borders!)).

An Orthodox friend expressed fears several years ago that the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (now “HIAS“) would lead to anti-Jewish sentiment in the U.S. The group started out by taking voluntary donations to help Jews settle in the U.S. Today they take taxpayer dollars (partly collected from low-to-medium-skill white men) to help “refugees” take up residence in corners of the U.S. that are far from the organization’s suburban Washington, D.C. and Manhattan offices. The organization also lobbies to demand that the government admit more refugees (which would translate into more revenue for HIAS). My friend pointed out that these refugees compete with natives for jobs and housing and that one day either a refugee or a child of a refugee brought in by HIAS might participate in a domestic jihad (see Omar Mateen, child of Aghan immigrants, Syed Rizwan Farook, child of Pakistani immigrants, and our local asylum winner: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev).

In October 2018, a 46-year-old white guy killed 11 mostly elderly Jews in Pittsburgh after their synagogue promoted its support for HIAS. The organization’s web site shows numerous recent articles doubling down on the idea that bringing more migrants to the U.S. is a specifically Jewish mission, e.g., “Jewish Groups Rally to #CloseTheCamps” (“Jewish groups across the country marked Tisha b’Av, the traditional Jewish day of mourning, on August 10-11 with vigils and protests to demand an end to the mistreatment of immigrants and refugees.”), “More Than 1500 Jewish Clergy Sign Petition to Protect Asylum” (“‘This country is a nation of immigrants, our story is one of immigration and travel from one place to another,’ said Rabbi Elyse Wechterman” (#SoBrave, but how many Hondurans are qualified to take her job?)), and “The Pittsburgh Attack: One Year Later” (“We cannot disentangle white nationalism, anti-Semitism, and anti-immigration sentiment because they are all bound together by hate” — but what if it was HIAS itself that bound together anti-Semitism and anti-immigration sentiment?).

Suppose that a white man is in between jobs. What political party advocates the continued legality of discrimination in employment such that he will be hired only if no acceptable applicants identifying as “women” or non-white are available? Again, the Democrats and again, publicly supported by people who call themselves “Jews.” (See also, the Anti-Defamation League supporting race-based college admissions; the 2018 “Reform Jewish Movement Condemns Decision to Roll Back Federal Affirmative Action Guidance”; a 2017 article noting that “Most mainstream Jewish organizations still support affirmative action.”)

American Jews are more likely than non-Jews to benefit from a larger government. Jews are over-represented in medicine by 7X (source, a bit misleading since I don’t think this is adjusted for the fact that median age among Jews is older than the U.S. median and an older person is more likely to have completed medical school). For anyone working in health care, the river of government cash that started flowing in the 1960s (Medicare and Medicaid) has been wonderful. Jews have more years of education than the average American (Pew) and therefore are more likely to get jobs at universities, which have been supported by federal student loan subsidies (and soon, loan forgiveness in Queen Elizabeth Warren’s jubilee year!), tuition grants, and research grants. Jews living in larger cities (that may be 97 percent of us) have benefited from the fact that a big government builds most of its lavish facilities in big cities. I don’t want to take the risk of being lumped in with the Jew-haters by implying that there are Jews who work in finance, but if there are indeed any Jews in this sector of the economy they’ve been advantaged by government policies favoring Wall Street. Jews tend to hold the credentials that qualify them for unionized government work, e.g., school teacher, social worker, etc. So they benefit when government payrolls are fattened and expanded.

Jewish Democrats will tell you that they’re voting for a bigger government not in order to line their own pockets, but because of their commitment to social justice, which they say may be inspired by their Jewish faith and identity. But what stops a white man who can’t access these rivers of government cash from resenting these Jews and disbelieving their claims of altruism? (When queried, my coastal-dwelling Jewish friends simply dismiss the possibility that there is anyone who could have voted against the Democrats for reasons of rational self-interest; in their view, Trump voters, for example, are stupid and short-sighted, and fail to realize that they are stupidly voting against their own self-interest, e.g., because Planet Earth will be destroyed by climate change without the Democrats in charge of the federal government.)

Hypothetical: Suppose that the coastal elites forgot to take away the right of the non-elite non-welfare-collecting Americans to vote. And then a candidate who promised to advocate for the interests of those who weren’t poor enough to collect welfare and weren’t credentialed enough to get on the government payroll actually became President of the United States? Then a bunch of Jews simultaneously showed up to Congress to try to get rid of this person? Would a non-elite white guy then be irrational to perceive Jews as his enemies?

Reality: “Three of the impeachment witness lawyers were Jewish, and it matters”:

And while the officials who appeared before Schiff’s committee were fact witnesses who described the events surrounding the Ukraine scandal, Judiciary Committee chair Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., brought three witnesses — all constitutional scholars — that he hoped would outline a theory of impeachment.

All three witnesses are Jewish: Noah Feldman of Harvard, Pamela Karlan of Stanford and Michael Gerhardt of the University of North Carolina. So are Schiff and Nadler, and so was the Democrats’ counsel who directed the first 45 minutes of questioning, Norm Eisen.

I.e., if you were a Trump voter watching the above on TV and someone called from the kitchen to ask what was going on, you would be literally correct in saying that “a bunch of Jews are trying to undo my vote”. Of course, it wouldn’t be correct to say that “all Jews are trying to undo my vote,” but that’s a logical correction, not an emotional one.

Maybe the majority of American Jews do wish to continue their efforts to harm the interests and undo the votes of roughly 25 percent of Americans (i.e., the white men who voted for Trump). But is it then reasonable to cry “anti-Semitism” if the non-elite white men object to being harmed and disenfranchised?

Readers: What do you think? Given the increased power of government, the dramatic effect of government policies, and the tendency of American Jews to support a particular party/platform, is it possible that the irrational anti-Jewish sentiment of the 19th century has been replaced by rational anti-Jewish sentiment, motivated by anger at the reported actions of Americans who identify as Jews (and are willing to go to any length, short of practicing Judaism, to maintain that identity!).

Separately, could the relationship between Jews and those who currently experience anti-Jewish feelings be repaired? I think so. After 56 years and 50 states (see Travels with Samantha for some of these conversations), I can’t remember meeting anyone in the U.S. who hated Jews as individuals, even those who expressed negative views about the actions of Jews in politics, Jews in media, and/or Jews in finance. Suppose, for example, that in response to any question on low-skill immigration, upper-income degree-holding Jews said “We don’t have any special insight into migration-into-a-cradle-to-grave-welfare-state issues as a consequence of our Jewish heritage and therefore we should let the low-wage native workers who will bear the cost decide policy.” Suppose that Jews quietly voted their self-interest by voting for bigger government, but didn’t use Jewish-owned media (NYT!) to broadcast “anyone who disagrees that the government needs to be bigger is a moron and/or immoral.” Suppose that Jews who are passionate about social justice used their own money to fund private efforts to accomplish social justice goals, e.g., building homes for the homeless, rather than using the political process to try to force people who don’t agree that these goals are appropriate targets of government efforts to pay higher taxes. Given that lobbying the government is the most lucrative investment an American can make (Heritage Foundation), it is a big ask to request that Jews with political connections do something other than politics, but maybe they could try to avoid all showing up at the same time to the same hearing as they did recently?

Related:

  • this Showtime clip (“Look at that fine-looking Jew” (towards end))
  • “Donald Trump Is Bad for the Jews” (Paul Krugman): “this particular anti-Semitic cliché — that Jews are greedy, and that their political behavior is especially driven by their financial interests — is empirically dead wrong.” The brilliant economist notes that some high-income Jews vote for Democrats, which he credits as altruistic due to the potential for higher tax rates, but never considers that these Jews may derive their income from government spending programs and/or regulatory regimes that Democrats promise to maintain and expand. A physician earning $300,000/year from Medicare and Obamacare may have different interests than the owner of an aircraft repair business who earns the same $300,000/year (see also “Paul Krugman: The Economic Fallout” from 2016: “If the question is when markets will recover, a first-pass answer is never.”).
  • “The epidemic of bomb threats against
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Believing in both a benevolent God and Trump in the White House

A virtuous Facebook friend posted “Have We No Decency? A Response to President Trump” from three reverends (Right, Very, and Plain) at the National Cathedral.

The content is conventional:

The escalation of racialized rhetoric from the President of the United States has evoked responses from all sides of the political spectrum. On one side, African American leaders have led the way in rightfully expressing outrage. On the other, those aligned with the President seek to downplay the racial overtones of his attacks, or remain silent.

But the authors are presumably believers in a benevolent and omnipotent God. Here was my response:

If God hates Trump (and why wouldn’t she?), why did God allow Trump to be elected?

I’m wondering how it is possible for this trio of reverends to simultaneously believe in their powerful and benevolent God and also in the existence of President Trump.

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