One of the funniest aspects of conservative thinking on issues of racial and ethnic justice is that they appear to actually not know what racism or bigotry actually are. Thus, NRO’s Kevin Williamson, who I was praising just yesterday today writes that I “should be considered a bigot” for having written that Jonah Goldberg and Eric Cantor get my goat in part because “there’s something unseemly about seeing fellow Jews turn into rightwingers.”
Williamson’s argument takes the form of a diatribe about how some people who aren’t me regard Clarence Thomas as inauthentically black, which I believe I’ve never done, followed by a challenge to engage in some Torah scholarship: “I’m no Torah scholar, it is true, so perhaps somebody could explain to me why being Jewish precludes a belief in limited government, individual rights, free enterprise, traditional morals and manners, etc.”
So to clarify what I was actually saying, it was just this. The problem with being a conservative isn’t that it contradicts Jewish precepts. The problem with being a conservative is that conservative ideology is mistaken and the conservative movement is pernicious. Which isn’t to say that conservatives are always wrong. Oftentimes individual conservatives write insightful articles, often on the subject of how the mainstream conservative take on something is mistaken (which it usually is). Just yesterday, for example, Williamson himself was pointing out that conservative tax policy is largely woven out of myths. But as a progressive, I think conservatives are wrong. Separately from that, I’m also Jewish. And as a Jew, I’m not immune to a bit of communal pride in the fact that Jews are overwhelmingly progressive and that very few Jews choose to sign up for the wrongheaded and pernicious conservative movement in the United States. But some Jews buck the trend and undermine my effort at communal pride, which I find annoying over-and-above the fact that conservatives are just wrong generally.
To draw an analogy, nobody should be eating bad bagels, but it’s especially sad when you see Jews do it.
Separately, Jonah Goldberg himself chimes in to be fake-dismissive of me pretending to “often go months without even thinking about the guy or hearing his name” when he mentioned me by name in his recent Commentary feature and again in his last BHTV appearance.