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A Reminder to American Jews: Civilization Is Fragile

Civilization is fragile because civilization consists of human beings, and human nature is profoundly flawed.
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October 6, 2020

The question I receive more than any other from non-Jews is: Why are so many Jews on the left?

The same question could be asked of Christians and other non-Jews. Why have so many mainstream Protestants and Catholics (up to and including the pope) embraced the left? Why have nearly all Black people, the majority of Latinos and Asian Americans — the most successful ethnic group in America — embraced the left? And, outside of the United States, why have most Germans, French, Canadians, Australians and others in the West embraced the left?

Nevertheless, it is valid to ask it about Jews because, if any group should be wary of dismantling a society, it is the Jews. The moment civilization begins to disintegrate, the Jews are the first victims — never the only, but always the first. That’s why Jews have so often been likened to the proverbial canary in the coal mine. 

That’s why decent non-Jews who don’t fight anti-Semitism don’t understand that anti-Semitism represents a mortal threat to them. Tens of millions of non-Jews were killed because decent non-Jews ignored Hitler early on, dismissing him and Nazism as a Jewish problem.

It is often asked how the most culturally advanced country in Europe could produce Nazism and the Holocaust. Or, as it is often put, “How did the country that gave us Bach, Beethoven, Heine and Schiller give us Auschwitz?”

One answer is that advanced culture and advanced morality are not the same. The Nazis loved classical music. The other, more important answer is that civilization is fragile because civilization consists of human beings, and human nature is profoundly flawed. Exceptional evil is as common as exceptional good. It takes a great deal of time and effort to make a decent society. But it takes little time and effort to destroy a society.

That most American Jews do not appreciate how extraordinarily decent America is — compared with other countries — proves the lack of relationship between education and wisdom and between intelligence and wisdom.

Civilization is fragile because civilization consists of human beings, and human nature is profoundly flawed.

The left in America is what it has been everywhere: a destructive force — in music, art, universities, high schools, elementary schools, economies, comedy, journalism, sports and, now, the sciences. In addition, everywhere the left gains power, it suppresses personal freedom, beginning with the most important freedom — freedom of speech. Every violent demonstration (also known as riots) over the past six months has been from the left.

Why, then, does this not frighten American Jews? Do they not know the more power the left has, the less freedom they and all other Americans will have? Do they not know how much Black Lives Matter, antifa and the rest of the left loathe Israel? Or do they not care? Increasingly, many American Jews do not care, especially young Jews, who have been raised by left-wing teachers and left-wing media. How do they not recoil when statues of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln are violently removed?

Do American Jews not know that the unique esteem in which they (and Israel since 1948) have been held in American society has been due to the Judeo-Christian roots of America’s values and its Judeo-Christian identity? Do they not know that in a post-Christian America, they will be just another minority and that, as the left gains influence, non-left Jews (specifically religious and pro-Israel Jews) will be singled out for opprobrium? Look at how Jewish students who publicly identify as Jews, let alone as pro-Israel Jews, are treated on many American campuses.

Conservatives know the answer to the question, “How did the country that gave the world Beethoven give the world Nazism?”

The answer: Civilization is fragile.

That was true in Germany, and it is true in America.


Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host, president of PragerU and author of “The Rational Bible.” Copyright 2020 creators.com. Reprinted with permission.

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