Blog or Not?

A statistically improbable polymath's views on politics and culture.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003
Andrew Sullivan's been collecting horror stories about moderate-seeming Muslims living in America who suddenly reveal themselves to be anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists. He's content to just point out the anti-Semitism, but I'd like to go a step further:

In history class today we were discussing Thucydides's assumption of the constancy of self-interest as the main facet of human nature and the main impetus for action; this led to whether historians must assume an unchanging human nature, whether human nature really does change or not, and (yes, I do have a point) how assumptions that self-interest is the prime motivating factor for most actions are critical during wartime. That is, if you keep bombing the hell out of a city, you expect it to eventually surrender. Somehow my mind wandered off to wondering about the present world conflicts, and then my thoughts strayed to the Sullivan bloglet I mentioned earlier. Wait a minute... there's a connection...

What if these "Jewish hegemony" conspiracy theories are based, in part, on what some in the Arab world think that they could do if they had the power that individual Jews seem to have? In the past century there's been a rising sense of Arab nationalism and pan-Islamicism--an idea that's based upon "tribal" identity of a sort. Thus some who have a tribal, instead of an individualist mindset (and thus feels that tribal self-interest trumps individual self-interest) may believe that their aggressor has the same sort of tribal worldview. So maybe some Arabs/Muslims/Iraqis/whatever secretly believe that if the Arabs/Muslims/Iraqis/whatever had the relative wealth/influence per capita of the aggregate Jewish community, they themselves would be secretly trying to take over the world. But--and here's the kicker--American Jews don't have a significantly greater "tribal feeling" then, say, the American Irish. They're too busy pursuing individual dreams. But I'm not sure that the anti-Semites realize that.

BTW, if there really were a Jewish conspiracy to control the world, how come George W. Bush got to be president? You'd think the world Jewish conspiracy would have wanted to have a Jewish vice-president--unless it turns out that the conspiracy is fractitious, ineffectual, or both. But why should anyone pay attention to a toothless conspiracy?

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