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Capitalism and “the Jews”
– The World According to Yaron Brook –
|A review of|
“Anti-Capitalism and Anti-Semitism”a lecture by
Yaron Brookhosted by
Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors
Los Angeles, March 26, 2014
“Anti-Capitalism and Anti-Semitism” is an interesting talk because the extraordinarily ethnocentric Mr. Brook really lets his hair down in front of the Jewish audience. CHILDREN OF JEWISH
... What’s his hair got to do with it? Was this a barbers’ convention?
Froggy, “let your hair down” is an idiomatic expression. It means to tell your innermost feelings and secrets, what you really think. The first thing you notice is the sign on the lectern (ellipsis in original):
HOLOCAUST SURVIVORSNEW HOLOCAUST RESISTANCEWe know how it ends . . .At any moment Americans will rise up and stuff them in an oven – it looks like they worry about that – even though in America white Christians, at least, are the Jews’ best friends.
Yaron Brook once told an interviewer: “we live in an irrational world in which anti-semitism exists. People hate the Jews.”  In the lecture Mr. Brook takes it for granted that Christians hate Jews. Indeed Christians invented the idea: in the Q & A he says, “I don’t think anti-semitism as a concept exists pre-Christianity. The Christians are the ultimate anti-semites.” In the talk he explains why.
Mr. Brook begins by pointing out that Martin Luther, Dante (in his Inferno), Shakespeare (in The Merchant of Venice), and Karl Marx all denounce banking – that is, loaning money and charging interest on the loan – and associate Jews with it.
“For Karl Marx the Jew was the symbol of capitalism. [In an essay written in 1843 Marx laments that]
the Christians have become Jews, and what he means ... is that the Christians have become capitalists. What we need, he says, is to emancipate society from Judaism ... in other words, to emancipate society from capitalism. ...
“So what Karl Marx does is he connects capitalism and Judaism, and that connection is with us every day today.”
Mr. Brook then argues as follows. In the Middle Ages, due to different Christian and Jewish understanding of the word “brother” in the Old Testament, Christians think charging interest on loans is forbidden, forbidden for everyone, while Jews think they can charge interest when lending to Christians. Thus Christians see Jews as evil for charging interest, and resent them. When Jews become prosperous lending money to Christians, Christians resent them even more. Christians never got over it (despite Karl Marx, apparently). Hence there is anti-semitism today. QED. Anyway that’s his argument.
Mr. Brook begins (grammar silently corrected):
“... one of the main causes of anti-semitism goes back deep into the Middle Ages, when Christians were banned ... from doing any money-lending ... from charging interest on money.
“... there’s a statement in the Old Testament where God tells the Jews: Thou shall not charge interest on debt from your brothers. So you’re not allowed to charge any interest on loans that you give to your brothers.
“Now the Jews of those times took ‘brother’ to mean ... other Jews. So Jews, said Yeah, we can’t charge interest of other Jews, but we can charge interest of the goyim, they’re not Jews, anybody who’s not a Jew we can charge interest.” 
So Jews view banking as a legitimate profession. It’s odd that Mr. Brook refers to non-Jews as “goyim.” In modern usage goyim doesn’t just mean non-Jews, it means non-Jews and more: contemptible, inferior, less than human. It’s a disparaging word. In the ancient Hebrew of the Old Testament it means “nations” or “peoples” without pejorative intent, but without particular reference to non-Jews either. Mr. Brook continues:
“Christians, though, when they hear ‘brother’ what do they mean? Christianity is a universal religion, Judaism is not. Judaism does not apply to everybody, it applies only to the Chosen People. Christianity is the universal religion, so ‘brother’ means everybody, Christian or not. So the Christian is banned from charging interest, the Christian is banned from being a banker.”
And so the bankers of the Middle Ages become the Jews. Later, approaching the Renaissance when economic activity increases, people need to borrow money. Eventually “the Christian is in an inferior position because he owes the Jew money now and needs to pay him interest.” To the Christian, charging interest is a mortal sin, so “the psychological resentment building up ... and the Jew is wealthy.”
“If you look at that period of time, the Jews dominate the financial industry, and not surprising they continue to dominate the financial industry, to some extent to this day.
“So all the grievances towards finance ... towards bankers ... towards the economic activity that is the financial world, is associated with Jews, and therefore leads to this deep resentment of the Jew.”
OK, Christians hate Jews and one reason is that bankers make money charging interest, which is forbidden by the Old Testament. Apparently Christians think all Jews are bankers.
Mr. Brook then asks:
A loaded question, based on a false premise. It’s true that when taking out a loan people seek the lowest interest rate available, but claiming they think interest per se offensive is ridiculous. In fact when they place their money in a savings account or certificate of deposit, they are the ones who get interest, from the bank. If you ask someone “Do you think banking is offensive?” you might get a complaint about service fees, or the difficulty in obtaining a loan these days, or how their local branch replaced the old tellers and put up signs saying Se habla Español, or about the low interest rate on savings, or even – heaven forbid – the high rate of interest on loans, but not about the idea of interest.
“What is it about money-lending, what is it about banking, that is so offensive to people? Because [that is, Mr. Brook asks because]
this is crucial, particularly in the modern world.”
Mr. Brook continues. Whenever there is an economic crisis people unthinkingly blame the bankers. He mentions the stock market crash of 2008 and the Great Depression of the 1930s. He has a point in that ultimately the government was responsible and most people are ignorant of that fact. But are bankers so innocent? Though in some respects the government unjustly restricts their action, in others they voluntarily collude with government to their advantage. Mr. Brook doesn’t allow himself to know this. Even after he points out that:
he continues talking about the all-encompassing goodness of bankers, as if there weren’t a revolving door between Goldman-Sachs and the Federal Reserve.
“Most serious economists today realize the Great Depression was caused by the Federal Reserve,”
By the way, you might want to think twice before criticizing Goldman-Sachs:
Anti-semitism at the New York Times, who would have thought.
“Every financial and economic crisis, who do we blame ...
? Who did the New York Times
blame, who did the Europeans blame, who did everybody blame, in 2008, 2009 immediately when the financial crisis [inaudible]
? ... It was bankers. Now they didn’t say Jewish bankers, because that’s not politically correct. But it’s Goldman-Sachs ... it’s Jewish bankers implicitly.”
We’re all anti-semites now.
Sometimes Mr. Brook sounds like he’s living in another country, because the one he talks about sure isn’t America. In what follows is “we” you or anyone you know?
Mr. Brook then says – and it’s true – that the purpose of business is to make money. Every shopping mall or marketplace is made of people, buyers and sellers alike, pursuing their self-interest, including bankers. “It’s about making money.”
“Bankers are always hated ... why? Why do we hate bankers, and therefore by extension, why do we hate Jews, so much?
“What is it about banking ... about charging interest on money, that is so despicable ... so horrific that ... we blame everything on them, and we extend this to the whole issue of anti-semitism?”
“And when I say banking’s about making money, we feel uncomfortable. When I say going to the mall ... is about self-interest, I want to make my life better, it’s uncomfortable. And that’s weird that it’s uncomfortable.”
What’s weird is that anyone would take this fairytale seriously. Again, who is this “we?” Eventually Mr. Brook answers his original – loaded – question: “Why do we hate Jews ... ?”
His answer is unreal. Despite all the leftist propaganda over the years, most Americans admire people who make lots of money – make as in create honestly rather than acquire through government grants, favors and regulations. It is the latter “moneytaker” who is hated, and if he just goes with the flow he damn well deserves to be. 
“We live in a culture ... that resents moneymaking, because it resents self-interest. It resents Jews because they are perceived to be moneymakers and self-interested.”
Another consideration is that some of the rich – the legitimately rich – at times act maliciously. Since Mr. Brook is hopped up on Jews, here are three I happen to have handy: Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Sheldon Adelson, who pay lobbyists to promote Congressional bills like the Rubio-Schumer amnesty / immigration surge bill. If, as Artistole says, justice consists in loving and hating aright, for that they ought to be hated.
The ought should be emphasized because the real point of Yaron Brook’s talk is to demoralize anyone who would criticize the crony capitalism of Goldman-Sachs or the role of Jewish groups in open immigration and other treasons. Mr. Brook would have them above criticism. If you criticize a Jew or Jewish group or anything about Jewish culture, you’re an anti-semite – and that’s evil. 
Despite Mr. Brook let’s forget about Jews for a moment. Consider bankers just as bankers. Who hates them in general? When a banker takes advantage of government guarantees and bailouts to enrich himself at the public’s expense, who wouldn’t hate him in particular? Can Yaron Brook tell the difference between all and some, between a class and a subclass, between constantly and sometime?
After a capsule history showing that capitalism rather than charity transformed the world for the better – and it’s true – he continues:
That is, inconsistent with being steeped in Jewish culture.
“What we have today ... is an ethic inconsistent with being a banker, with being a capitalist, with being in business, with being self-interested, with being according to Marx, a Jew.”
I’m reminded of a statement Mr. Brook made in 2007 while visiting Israel: “To the extent America abandons Israel, it abandons itself.”  Mr. Brook thinks America is about Israel, and he thinks self-interest and capitalism is about Jews.
At this point Mr. Brook begins Objectivist boilerplate on self-interest versus self-sacrifice, but someone in the audience immediately interrupts with a question about the superiority of the Judaic ethics over the Christian. He replies:
But, he continues, Judaism is irrelevant to this discussion because it’s an insignificant part of our culture. Furthermore, “Jews have become Christianized”:
“I think Judaism is night and day, pre-Christianity Judaism, is night and day better than Christianity, from a moral perspective.”
“The Jews feel more guilty about the wealth that they’ve produced than any Christian does. I mean, why are Jews so left wing? ... Because they bought into this. They feel guilty about their wealth.”
Later, in the Q&A, he elaborates:
Who apparently aren’t so intellectual and therefore don’t take their code so seriously. Thus Mr. Brook gives Jews a pat on the back and their inferiors a kick in the pants, while omitting that socialism enriches socialist leaders the most. (A better talk would be titled “Anti-Capitalism and Semitism.”) 
“... they have been focused on making money, on being successful, on being prosperous, and that clashes with their moral code. And Jews, because they are more intellectual, take their moral code more seriously. So they feel more guilty than anybody else.”
Right after “Why are Jews so left wing?” and so forth, Mr. Brook launches into an extended laudation of Israel. He begins by saying that before the Six Day War in 1967 Europeans loved Israel, yet afterwards they hated it. In what follows, when he says “we” he pretends to be speaking for Europeans:
Whatever Europe’s attitude toward Israel, the virtue of Israel is vastly overrated.  And it’s ridiculous to call Israel independent when its existence was – and is – dependent upon the U.S., which by 1967 had sacrificed many billions so Mr. Brook could thrive and be ungrateful ever afterward.
“You go to Europe, it’s awful ... it’s so anti-Israel. ... what happened in 1967 that made them flip? The Jews were not pathetic, miserable people anymore. They won! They were strong, they were capable. We don’t like strong, capable people. Because strong, capable people are ... self-interested. ...
“We resent success. And we resent Israel not for any vice that it did, not for any sin that it committed. The Europeans hate Israel now not because of any bad thing that it did. They hate Israel because of its virtues, because it’s strong, because it’s capable, because it’s able, because it’s independent. That’s what they hate about it. They hate it for its virtue.”
Mr. Brook continues, again without pause (his misspoken “what” for “why” silently corrected):
“And that’s why they hate the Jew, that’s why they hate the banker, because they’re capable, because they’re rich, because they’re successful, because they’ve created something.”
Then follows a long stretch of Objectivist boilerplate about the virtue of self-interest and the vice of altruism.
... Objectivist boilerplate?
I don’t mean to disparage Objectivist ideas, Froggy, rather the mindless, formulaic way in which Objectivist phrases are strung together in an argument – a rationalistic argument, seemingly logical but based on false premises – that ultimately has nothing to do with Objectivism.
One would rather hear Objectivist theory from someone who really understands it and is sincere. Mr. Brook might sound good – well, not sound good, his repulsively muscular, loud, pitch-changing voice, by turns pleading and derisive and extrovertly self-righteous, prevents that – but the seeming import of his words at times is good. The trouble is that altogether the words promote a malicious agenda.
Speaking of Shakespeare’s play The Merchant of Venice, here’s Antonio warning Bassanio how ...
The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
An evil soul producing holy witness
Is like a villain with a smiling cheek,
A goodly apple rotten at the heart:
O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath
Returning to Mr. Brook’s talk, he now begins the aforementioned lecture-within-a-lecture about the virtue of self-interest. Setting aside his purpose of whitewashing Goldman-Sachs and Israel it’s standard Objectivist fare.
He does stumble at one point when he says that he admires rich people for getting rich. As if we ought to admire scum like Michael Chertoff. It only undermines Objectivism to utter absurdities like rich people are good. There are, as Ayn Rand points out, the rich who would rule:
“... two groups ... are the main supporters of the statist trend: the very rich and the very poor – the first, because they want to rule; the second, because they want to be ruled. (The leaders of the trend are the intellectuals, who want to do both.)”
— Ayn Rand, not
Yaron Brook 
Toward the end of the Objectivist boilerplate, after discussing the value of reason and the mind, and a half-second passing nod to the Ancient Greeks, Mr. Brook revisits the idea of Jews and Israel as moral exemplars:
etc., and the Europeans love the Palestinians because they can’t.
“Israel is hated because it takes care of itself, because it’s strong, competent. Jews have been hated throughout history because they can take care of themselves.”
At one point Mr. Brook says that capitalism has been in decline over the last hundred years. That’s off by half a century because the Civil War was a major turning point towards statism, a hundred fifty years ago. (ARI thinks highly of that war, so one hundred may be the official line.) Then he says:
Part of the neurosis of Yaron Brook and his ilk is a siege mentality, they see anti-semitism everywhere. If capitalism has declined in the U.S. – and it has – where is the increase in anti-semtism? Where is the anti-semitism, period? Or is it anti-semitic to notice the harm some Jewish organizations have done to America – for example B’nai B’rith and its offshoot the ADL, or the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society ? We can criticize Christian culture, why not Jewish? Questions Mr. Brook avoids asking.
“... anti-semitism is strongest in countries that are the least capitalist.”
After more boilerplate he reaches the conclusion of his talk:
And by this time you know that means the ethics of Judaism.
“So if you care about anti-semitism you should be advocates of capitalism, and if you care about capitalism you should be advocates of self-interest.”
According to Mr. Brook Jewish culture considers self-interest a virtue. He insinuates that this self-interest, dating back thousands of years, is the same self-interest identified and illuminated by Ayn Rand, the self-interest that neither sacrifices you to your brother nor your brother to you. Mr. Brook takes advantage of the ambiguity in the word brother, meaning one thing in the ethics of Ayn Rand and something else again in the ethics of Jewish culture, which treats Jews and non-Jews differently, especially their interaction.  Even restricting the discussion of ethics to the Jewish community by itself, sacrifice to “the tribe” is the primary virtue in than community. [7 again]
Mr. Brook spends half his talk passionately declaiming Objectivist boilerplate about the virtue of self-interest and reason. Combined with the other half, his talk ends up being one long paraphrase of “People hate us Jews for being good.”
Always and everywhere. In the face of that ridiculous proposition it’s worth pointing out that now and then some Jews aren’t so good, and not just particular individuals but particular groups. Mr. Brook omits the role of some of his Jewish bankers in creating the Federal Reserve. He omits all history of thuggish Jewish behavior, such as the “ecstasy” drug trade, Murder Incorporated, and the Soviet Union. Read about the Bolsheviks or Béla Kun. (The Ukrainians and Hungarians haven’t forgotten what Mr. Brook never allowed himself to know.) Leon Trotsky commanded the Red Army, and for a year in the 1920s Lev Kamenev and Grigory Zinoviev shared the rule of Soviet Russia equally with Stalin. Genrikh Yagoda and Leonid Reichman ran the Soviet secret police (NKVD). Lazar Kaganovich led the Soviet enforced famine in the Ukraine. 
Mr. Brook omits the role of American Jewish organizations in passing the so-called Civil Rights Act of 1964 which ended freedom of association, their role in overturning the Immigration Act of 1924 which released a flood of non-white immigrants into America starting in 1968, and their role in promoting censorship legislation (so far unsuccessfully).
Mr. Brook speaks of Jewish culture and praises it. You’re allowed to do that, it’s politically correct. But if you speak of Jewish culture and criticize, even when it deserves the criticism you immediately get “anti-semite” in your ears.
To repeat, in some periods of history people had good reason to hate a number of organized Jews because of what they were doing. But Jewish culture maintains that Jews have always been benevolent, good and hated only for being good. Mr. Brook should have included self-deception as a significant part of Jewish culture. 
... OH MY GOD !!! Anti-semite! Anti-semite! Anti—
OK, Froggy, that’s enough. 
The take-home impression of the lecture: As a promoter of Objectivism Yaron Brook’s intelligence goes no further than being able to string Objectivist phrases into a rationalistic argument culminating in a foregone conclusion. His self-esteem is uncritical, unthinking self-esteem, like a robot playing pre-recorded messages. Yaron Brook and the others at ARI, boasting of being selfish, give selfishness a bad name.-oOo-
Mr. Brook has finished his talk and there’s now a question and answer period. The first question is about Israel, the Palestinians and Europe. In answer Mr. Brook says that it’s leftists who criticize Israel and that their motivation for doing so is evil.
Two comments: A man’s motivation for making a statement doesn’t determine the truth of the statement. For example, Noam Chomsky might say the sky is blue because blue is his favorite color, still the sky is in fact blue. Second, many critics of Israel are old-fashioned conservatives – paleoconservatives – not leftists. Rather than caring about Palestinians particularly, they care about Americans, and want their government to stop sacrificing them to Israel. (For ARI writers paleoconservatives simply do not exist.)
From the end of Mr. Brook’s reply:
I know, it gets tiresome after a while.
“... Europeans ... hate the Jews. They’ve always hated Jews ... They hate Israel because it’s successful. And they love the Palestinians because they’re the enemy of Israel. ... But they don’t care about oppressed people ... anywhere else. Why do they [the Left]
care about the Palestinians? Because they hate Israel ... Why do they hate Israel? Because they’re successful and powerful. 
But what really irks them is that they’re successful, powerful and they’re Jewish.”
Mr. Brook’s voice drips with derision as he gratuitously describes the Swedish physiognomy. No wonder ARI promotes open immigration. As for Scandinavians resenting the rich, it’s true among the bureaucrat class. Mr. Brook cannot be trusted so you’ll have to look into the rampant vandalism of the rich charge, the first I’ve heard of it. Is there rampant vandalism of the rich in Israel, which is even more socialist than Sweden?
“They hate successful people. People talk about Scandinavia, the utopia of Scandinavia. But ... If you drive a really nice car in Scandinavia, they’ll scratch it, they’ll vandalize it. These wonderful, calm, blond, friendly, blue-eyed Swedes, hate the wealthy.”
I’m no defender of the socialist aspect of Sweden but the country is not all bad. It has a manufacturing base even if it would be a lot more extensive and prosperous without socialism. Sweden receives no foreign aid nor asks for it. And the Swedish public has woken up to their immigration disaster. Back in 2010 The Guardian (a leftwing British newspaper that promotes multicult) quoted a Swede fed up with open immigration:
According to the article there are many such angry Swedes. 
“Even in the jungles of Africa, they don’t know where Sweden is, but they know they can come here, get money and not need to work.”
The second question in the Q & A is about what to call Palestinians. In answering, Mr. Brook soon becomes enraged and shouts: “That’s not the problem. The problem is they want to kill us. I don’t care what they call themselves.” After calming down:
Mr. Brook’s voice sounds sincere when he says this. Yet the truth is that Israel is not peace loving, it is less capitalist than Sweden, a Jewish state cannot allow in many non-Jews and remain a Jewish state, and Israelis would never sing Kumbaya with Arabs whatever their behavior. About that last: the campfire image is commonly used in Israel to make fun of the one state solution. Mr. Brook grew up in Israel. Who is he trying to fool here?
“If the Palestinians were peace loving, freedom loving capitalists then the solution to the Palestinian problem is a one state solution and let’s all kumbaya around the bonfire.”
He deceives himself, and/or would deceive you, that Jewish culture is about inclusiveness and universalism when it is not. For example, African immigrants, though their country is not at war with Israel, are routinely rounded up and deported. Immigration – open immigration – is not a Jewish value. Nor, if I may say so, should it be. 
Besides these Q & A and the ones quoted in our review of the talk proper, two others stand out.
In answer to a question Mr. Brook replies: “I didn’t say [the Muslims] weren’t anti-semitic, I said the Christians were worse.” After mentioning repeated persecutions of Jews in England and Germany: “The more objective we are about what the history actually says, the easier it is to fight our enemy.” That is, Christians. Given Mr. Brook’s support for Third World immigration (including Hispanics, most of whom are Catholic), “Christians” is a stand-in for the real enemy: white Gentiles. Destroy them politically and Jews will be safe – some Jewish leaders have made that creepy argument. 
In answer to another question (the past tense reference to Mr. Peikoff is as uttered):
“Jews lead every single intellectual movement on the planet, right, at least in the West, right, everything, right. From the Communists to the Holocaust deniers, is run by Jews, right. ... To neoconservatism, to Objectivism. Ayn Rand was a Jew, Leonard Peikoff was a Jew, I’m Jewi— I mean, in a sense of where we come from, culturally we’re all Jews. So, Jews lead almost every intellectual movement out there.”
Will official Objectivism ever recover from Yaron Brook?
Jewish culture does exist. Some of it is good, some bad, but by her own account Ayn Rand was not reared in Jewish culture. At least one person who knew her personally says Jewish culture was unimportant to her. There’s nothing of exclusively Jewish culture in her novels and essays, nothing in her posthumously published letters and journals. Were it not for the Brandens, in her lifetime the public wouldn’t even have known she was Jewish. Yet Yaron Brook tries to make her a poster girl for Jews.
Why? What is the point?
Behind the elision above (Jews lead every etc.) are yet more absurdities, which we leave to a footnote. 
The effect of Yaron Brook’s crazy Bible study session will be to alienate everyone except similar chauvinistic Jews. It won’t fool anyone else.
At the time of the talk Mr. Brook had been president of ARI for 14 years. His talk can serve as an object lesson on what a fraud that organization has become. In increasing degrees of focus the people at ARI are neoconservatives,  cultural marxists,  and Jewish activists.-oOo-
Froggy, what’s that hanging from your neck? It looks like some sort of pendant or medallion.
... It’s the Star of David.
What on earth for?
... I’m trying to pass for a Jew.
Whoever heard of a Jewish fr— listen, Froggy, take it off. And the wig too. I can’t have you looking ridiculous in front of visitors.
... No, I want to lead an intellectual movement. Somewhere on the planet.
Take it off, Froggy.
... Must I ?
... I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, insteadofa goy.
You’re just pathetic, Froggy.
1 For examples of Mr. Brook’s ethnocentrism see his entry in Who’s Who and “The Moral Case for Supporting Israel” on this website.
There needn’t be a contradiction between ethnocentrism and individualism, but Mr. Brook destroys himself – as a rational human being – by lying to himself and others to advance the “tribe.”
Preferences don’t hurt anyone. When someone’s ethnocentrism leaves you alone there’s no reason to object to it. But when his ethnocentrism starts sacrificing you to his interest group, it’s time to resist.
2 Yaron Brook made the “people hate the Jews” statement in an interview conducted by Orit Arfa on November 14, 2010. For more details see the entry for Yaron Brook in Who’s Who on this website.
3 In the Book of Deuteronomy God urges Jews (“thou”) to engage in usury to non-Jews (“strangers”) and forbids Jews to engage in it to fellow Jews (“brothers”). From the King James version:
“... thou shalt lend unto many nations, but thou shalt not borrow; and thou shalt reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over thee.” Chapter 23
“Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to in the land whither thou goest to possess it.” Chapter 28
“... thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow. And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath ... .”
So, the Old Testament God sides with the Jews, they can and should charge non-Jews interest on loans, and the head is over the tail where it belongs.
... Jehovah can take a hike. I’m not the tail at the bottom.
Well, Froggy, reading the Bible seriously will make an atheist out of anyone. To continue: Despite Mr. Brook (in his talk), the moral prohibition against usury goes back to the pre-Christian, Ancient Greek philosophers. The prohibition applied to everyone, no exception for Jews, of whom there were none there at the time anyway. Plato, in book 5 of Laws, circa 400 BC:
He better be a good friend. Apparently it’s investments only for Plato. And here’s Aristotle circa 350 BC in part 10 of Politics, where he speaks of different kinds of “wealth-getting,” some honorable, others censurable:
“... no one shall deposit money with another whom he does not trust as a friend, nor shall he lend money upon interest; and the borrower should be under no obligation to repay either capital or interest.”
Of course on this point these ancients are mistaken. Borrowing money at interest is similar to renting goods for a fee. (They differ in two respects. It’s impossible for a “banker in goods” – physical goods – to engage in the fractional reserve shenanigans that Federal Reserve bankers do: he cannot lend the same thing – say a car – to several different people simultaneously. And unless you lose or destroy the car, you cannot default on the loan, you always have it to return; whereas when you borrow money you can, and usually do, spend it in the expectation, not always fulfilled, of getting it back again.)
“The most hated sort, and with the greatest reason, is usury, which makes a gain out of money itself, and not from the natural object of it. For money was intended to be used in exchange, but not to increase at interest. And this term interest, which means the birth of money from money, is applied to the breeding of money ... of all modes of getting wealth this is the most unnatural.”
4 By “going with the flow” I mean unthinkingly taking advantage of, or even promoting, government favors. This applies to virtually all corporate welfare recipients. Conceivably a business could take advantage of a government favor while working to end it. (Even in that case they might be insincere by working too little or ineffectually.)
About hating the legitimately rich: most Americans do not, excepting intellectuals and Third World immigrants. From “A Nation’s Unity” Part III, The Ayn Rand Letter dated November 6, 1972:
“The American people, including the poorest, have never regarded themselves as humble mendicants waiting to be helped. Nor have they ever resented the rich and the successful; to most Americans, the successful are not objects of envy and hatred, but of inspiration. An American worker, properly, identifies with his boss, the industrialist, rather than with a welfare recipient.”
5 Jewish culture is broader, more inclusive, than Judaism. It’s possible to be a secular (that is, non-religious) Jew and still be steeped in Jewish culture. A useful concept for comparison would be the “secular Christian,” that is, an atheist who accepts some of the non-mystical aspects of Christianity.
The Jewish case is complicated by an ethnic component. An ethnic Jew might completely reject Jewish culture. (Yaron Brook is not one of them.)
A word is needed to describe criticism of Jewish culture. Something to think about: just as Ayn Rand co-opted the word selfishness and gave it a benevolent meaning, the same could be done for the word anti-semitism.
Criticism of Jewish culture could be called anti-semitism just as criticizing Christian culture could be called anti-christianism. Used in this sense, moral opprobrium would not be automatic. If the criticism were valid then the anti-semitism, as with the anti-christianism, would be correct. There would be no stigma attached to the word.
But of course the word anti-semitism isn’t used that way. Instead the word packages a negative moral evaluation with the criticism, whatever the criticism might be. And it’s used in an ethnic sense: the criticism must be of all ethnic Jews, they all accept the alleged part of Jewish culture being criticized.
The trouble is, the existence of the benign sense of the word is never acknowledged, either as the sense of “anti-semitism” or any other word. You simply must not criticize Jewish culture. If you do, you get the package deal.
Lumping all criticism, rational and irrational, into “anti-semitic” makes it a meaningless epithet more about the accuser than the accused. Calling someone an anti-semite amounts to saying “I don’t like you” – for which there is no defense.
If you criticize Jewish culture even when it is justified – for example the predilection to self-deceit (“everybody hates the Jews,” “throughout history Jews have been innocent,” “Israel is hated for its virtues,” etc.) – you get called an “anti-semite.” In that case you should use the word as your critics use it, and reply: Yes, I’m an anti-semite. What of it?
Their response is a good reason to use “anti-semitism” to describe your position. It annoys people who would gag all criticism of Jewish culture, just as “selfishness” annoys those who would deny the virtue of rational-self interest.
I referred to “Jews steeped in Jewish culture” because, of course, some Jews reject it completely. But beware in a debate. If you refer to red balls obviously you don’t mean all balls are red, but when the color is bad and the balls are Jews you’re a “vile anti-semite.”
6 Quoted in “You Don’t Fight a Tactic” by Orit Arfa, Jerusalem Post (July 12, 2007). The article begins, “Dr. Yaron Brook, 46, speaks and carries himself like a Rand hero.” Do airplanes still have those little bags in the pouch on the back of the seat ahead?
7 Mr. Brook’s view of Jewish versus Christian morality is an inversion of the truth. Throughout Judaism’s history it has been a group phenomenon where the rights of each Jew are subject to the interests of the tribe. Christianity introduced, even if inconsistently, the idea of individualism. See footnote 5 of Presidential Elections – ARI 2008 and footnote 39 of Birds of a Feather on this website.
8 Regarded from the American point of view Israel’s vices overwhelm its virtues. See This Is Our Ally? on this website.
9 The rich who would rule quote is from “Don’t Let It Go” Part II, The Ayn Rand Letter Vol. 1, No. 5 (December 6, 1971).
10 See the recent book Torat Ha’Melech by Yitzhak Shapira and Yosef Elitzur, a couple of rabbis. I’ve read only a translation of the first chapter. After tweezing apart their sacred texts the authors conclude that a Jew killing a non-Jew, though forbidden, isn’t a capital crime. The different treatment of the two is due to Jewish supremacy, which term only an anti-semite would use.
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef expressed a similar attitude to Shapira and Elitzur’s during a Saturday night sermon in October 2010, when in an unguarded moment he blurted out: “Goyim were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world – only to serve the People of Israel.” When Yosef died in 2013 his funeral had the largest attendence in Israel’s history (Jerusalem Post October 8, 2013). Benyamin Netanyahu called him “among the greatest rabbis of our generation.” ... “When I think of the chain of generations of scholars from Babylonia, to Spain, to Rabbi Karo, that is Rav Ovadia’s legacy – another link in the chain of love and learning of Torah throughout the generations.” Another link is Menachem Ben Yosef, a 19th century rabbi who wrote: “A Gentile does not have a heart though he has an organ that resembles a heart.” Etc. Such statements are legion in Jewish religious literature.
11 The Jewish Bolsheviks eventually “got theirs” – murdering thugs murdered by thugs.
See Yuri Slezkine’s The Jewish Century, reviewed in “Stalin’s Willing Executioners” by Kevin MacDonald:
And the chapter “The Red Terror – a Jewish Terror?” of Esau’s Tears by Albert Lindemann. Per usual the author insinuates that anyone who uses this history to criticize Jewish culture is anti-semitic.
12 From The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt:
She vastly overestimated Mr. Brook’s antipathy to chosenness.
“When this Jewish tradition of an often violent antagonism to Christians and Gentiles came to light [the general Jewish public was astonished], so well had its spokesmen succeeded in convincing themselves and everybody else of the non-fact that Jewish separateness was due exclusively to Gentile hostility and lack of enlightenment. Judaism, it was ... maintained chiefly by Jewish historians, had always been superior to other religions in that it believed in human equality and tolerance. ... this self-deceiving theory, accompanied by the belief that the Jewish people had always been the passive, suffering object of Christian persecutions, actually amounted to a prolongation and modernization of the old myth of chosenness ... .”
13 It’s easier than you might think to be an anti-semite. Mr. Brook in his Peikoff podcast of April 14, 2014:
“You see anti-semitism in some of the advocacy at universities against Israel and to sever the relationships of the universities with Israel, boycott certain products from Israel. And I think that is not just anti-Israeli, particular to Israeli policies, I think that’s an extension of anti-semitism.”
14 About the claim that Israel is successful and powerful see “The Moral Case for Supporting Israel” and This Is Our Ally? on this website.
15 “Sweden joins Europe-wide backlash against immigration”
by Ian Traynor, The Guardian September 24, 2010
An author in the U.S. asks, “How come the Swedes figured out the immigration-welfare curse, and we haven’t?”:
“The Toxic Loves of Jeb Bush: Amnesty and Crony Capitalism”
by Thomas Martel, Vdare Foundation April 21, 2014
“Is Immigration Really a ‘Jewish Value’?”
by Kevin MacDonald, Vdare Foundation April 5, 2014
Immigration shouldn’t be an American value either.
“Danny Danon: Send African migrants to Australia”
by Lahav Harkov, The Jerusalem Post June 30, 2011
“MK Danny Danon (Likud) asked Australian MP Michael Danby ... to propose, in parliament in Canberra, sending African migrants from Israel to Australia.
“ ‘The arrival of thousands of Muslim infiltrators to Israeli territory is a clear threat to the state’s Jewish identity’, Danon told The Jerusalem Post.
“ ‘The refugees’ place is not among us, and the initiative to transfer them to Australia is the right and just solution.
“ ‘On the one hand, it treats the refugees and migrants in a humane way. On the other hand, it does not threaten Israel’s future and our goal to maintain a clear and solid Jewish majority’, he explained.”
17 See the statements of Leonard Glickman and Earl Raab quoted in Open Borders and Individual Rights on this website.
The mentality described there is analyzed by John Derbyshire (Vdare.com September 23, 2016 emphasis removed and leaving off our external quote marks):
A subset of American Jews – ... a minority – suffer from a kind of psychological deformation that keeps them trapped in a particular, strangely atavistic type of paranoia, of victim mentality.
In this mentality, it’s always 1881 and we’re ... in Russia. The Jews are cowering behind their doors in fear as the Cossacks rampage through the town, or Christian peasants with pitchforks and flaming brands march on the Jewish quarter.
One side effect of this mentality [is] an unblinking vigilance, a hyper-sensitivity, towards the slightest tendency of the Gentile majority to drift Cossackwards. This easily ... slops over into – and I am speaking of a subset of a subset ... – a generalized dislike, a prejudice, against white Christians.
Another side effect [is] the feeling that, for an oppressed minority – ... remember: it’s always 1881 – there is safety in courting and joining with other outsider groups for solidarity against the dangerous, dominant Goyim. The great dream ... in fact, is to get enough of a coalition of outsiders together to outnumber the Goyim, the white Christians. That’s why so many Jews are so passionately committed to mass Third World immigration.
18 Including the sentence before the elision so it makes sense:
Three of Mr. Brook’s five claims about Chomsky: Chomsky is a “Holocaust denier,” that is, someone who questions the traditional account of the Jewish holocaust; Chomsky runs “Holocaust denial”; and Chomsky is “anti-semitic.”
“From the Communists to the Holocaust deniers, is run by Jews, right. Noam Chomsky is a Jew, right, the horrific anti-Israel, anti-semitic Noam Chomsky.”
The only basis for the first two claims is that in 1979 Chomsky along with several hundred others signed a petition in defense of freedom of speech for Robert Faurisson, a professor at the University of Lyon, France, who was being harassed by government officials and the courts. (A few years later Faurisson was beaten to a bloody pulp by Jewish thugs. In 1991 the French government removed him from his university position under the Gayssot Act.)
As for anti-semitic, that’s what critics of Israel are, get used to it.
19 Neoconservatives: Birds of a Feather on this website.
20 Cultural marxists: Immigration Enthusiasts on this website.