YOU ARE PREJUDICED
The usual argument might be very long, and may sport elaborate flowers and designs, but it can always be reduced to something like this:
"It is wrong to generalize about Jews. It is prejudice. It is bigotry. It is hate. I'm Jewish, I'm not rich, I'm don't support Israel, you misrepresent me personally, and your stereotyping is thereby evil in intent."
The fundamental basis in this kind of complaint is that generalizations are, as a genre, ethically bankrupt and have no verifiable basis in perceptual reality. There is an entire pantheon of codified terms (which have become -- themselves --stereotypical) that exemplify this terrain: "prejudice," "bias," "prejudgement," and the rest. These are words -- tools, actually -- used to assail and anesthetize negative (read CRITICAL) opinion. Ironically, there is a presumptive guideline (yes, a grim "prejudgement") that fuels this world view: that negative opinion (particularly of religious, ethnic, or racial peoples) is always wrong. More than that: it is obscene. Negative opinion is categorically considered to be baseless, even if it is based upon studious research or extensive personal experience -- experience which, if indeed negative, is deemed to be a skewed, inaccurate, slice of the real world. (* Note: the only exception to this rule is the "White"/"WASP" genre -- "White power," "Protestant establishment," etc., wherein a hostile opinion against this ethnicity has been popularly championed for decades now as an ethical endeavor of pan-human, universalistic leveraging).
By Orwellian design, we are all forbidden to address the world views of religious, racial, and ethnic communities unless we singularly express the moral and intellectual equivalent of a Hallmark Greeting Card.
We live in an age where four men with red caps in a sea of blue fedoras can indignantly claim that they are falsely misrepresented, declaring that even if 4,000 blue hats stuff a room like a block of ice, it is incorrect to state that it is a room of blue hats. If there are a few red exceptions to the verifiable norm, it is demanded that we MUST pay homage to this ANOMALY, wherein the minority --the EXCEPTION -- is afforded conceptual balance with the overwhelming majority. Sensitivity to the "minority," however conceived, becomes the Golden Rule of acceptable public perception. The anomaly thereby serves to PERCEPTUALLY DIFFUSE THE THRUST OF THE MAINSTREAM, causing a kind of inertia in beholding the central current. One cannot publicly act, in any sense, upon the room full of blue hats, unless the unique four are accommodated on equal terms as the other 4,000. This attitude is socially declared, and enforced, by our educational and legal apparatus, to be rational. To perceive the four red hats, conceptually speaking, as irrelevant to the implications of the central current of blue is declared to be a "biased," and, hence, irrational view. Noting the dominance of 4,000 blue hats is deemed injustice to, and misrepresentation of, the dissenting four. In political terms, this equates to an enforced impotence in engaging the real world.
In today's politically-correct scenario, the obverse of "biased/prejudiced" is "tolerance." Tolerance infers an openness to other peoples, no matter how peculiar or grating (or contempuous of others) their habits or customs. If someone spits on the tolerant person and the convictions he believes in (including the very precepts of "tolerance"), such a tolerant person, by definition, doesn't spit back. He, of course, "tolerates" the intolerant. The American people (and others, mostly in the West) have been socialized to be "tolerant" of other peoples and cultures, some which have become subgroups within the American politic. This culture of tolerance, of course, represents a profound paradox for it demands that one sits silent to absorb the ethnocentric habits, and sometimes assaults and insults, of other social groups, groups for which "tolerance" is not necessarily part of their own social vocabulary. A good case in point is Jews. Jewish community INtolerance has been famed throughout the centuries, regularly discussed by Jewish scholars, and justifiably perceived as intolerant by religions, ideologies, and social classes of all sorts, spanning both the globe and history. Of course we live in a time when it is deemed a moral crime to state this, even if it is true.
The culture of tolerance is at a severe disadvantage in the innate competition of various peoples. For, if a class of people is comfortable --as a collective ideology -- in heralding ethnocentric INTOLERANCE as a legitimate anchor of group identity and expression, the "tolerant" group has no means to cope with it. The "tolerant" group defers to the push of the intolerant, always, as a matter, now, of robotic -- bureaucratic -- procedure. And if this class of INTOLERANT people have a tiny minority within it that dissent from its central expression of INTOLERANCE, it's all the better -- protectively-speaking; for the existence of the dissenting minority within the intolerant entity serves, within a "tolerant" society, to posture the ENTIRE group to be IMMUNE from criticism (complaints which will only be defined as "bias," "prejudice," and the like). For, after all, it IS indeed true that NOT EVERY SINGLE INDIVIDUAL with allegiance, or root, to the intolerant group acts upon its collective INTOLERANT will. Furthermore, it is an obvious truism that no two people in any social group think 100% alike on all things under the sun, and this is used as a ploy to obfuscate what indeed they DO hold in common, per their mutual social congruence and collective identity.
Those in the vanguard of exploiting this bizarre tolerant-intolerant dialectic are largely Jewish. Most champions of "tolerance" and zealous monitors of "hate groups" (where, to loosely paraphrase former Israeli prime minister and Irgun "terrorist" Menachem Begin, one man's "hater" is another man's "freedom fighter") are Jewish in control or influence -- the Anti-Defamation League, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Southern Poverty Law Center, etc. Seeking comfortable nests for Jewish ethnocentrism and racist Zionism in the "tolerant" American politic, these Judeo-centric organizations are typically two-faced: on one hand they champion "tolerance" (i.e., a kind of priviledge to be "different") for minorities (of which major benefactors include of course Jews). On the other hand, they are stone silent about the increasingly problematic Jewish appendage across the world: Israel, and, many such hypocritical multi-million dollar champions of "tolerance" perpetrate fraud: actively SUPPORTING and defending the brutal, racist Jewish nation, condemned as such the world over.
The forging of "tolerance" as a kind of Thought Police has a long Jewish history in America, stemming from Jewish Americans fears of spreading Aryan fascism during World War II. It was a grave concern. How could the Jewish community best fend off anti-Jewish hostility in the West, without drawing too much attention, and hostility, to itself in the process? A vast "educational" project was decided upon, appealing to non-Jewish sympathies for the plight of those brutalized by the Nazi regime on the other side of the world (later commemorated in the late 1960s as the "Holocaust."). In the 1950s, Jewish scholars, often under the auspices of the American Jewish Committeee, began pouring out the results of a variety of surveys and studies of "prejudice," including titles like Anti-Semitism and Emotional Disorder, Dynamics of Prejudice, Prophets of Deceit, and The Authoritarian Personality. They were influential titles in the academic world (in which Jews were increasingly populous), and appealed to the non-Jewish world's sense of fairness and justice. Of crucial importance in this promotion was a diverse, "multicultural" approach. Although Jewish concerns about "antisemitism" were sometimes highlighted, the generic subject of "prejudice" more often served as the subject of study. This was recognized to be a better strategy, for Jewry was not nakedly highlighted in such a discussion, and the championing of "tolerance" for other ethnic minorities (like impoverished African-Americans) also benefitted the Jewish community (eventually to be the wealthiest ethnic group in America) just as well.
The irony in all this of course, is that traditional Jewish identity exemplifies the epitomy of "intolerance." The "Chosen People" concept -- bedrock of Jewish identity, still welded in various forms to the communal spine -- is antithetical to the very principles of universalism and pan-human democracy. When we find ourselves today afraid to speak publicly the forbidden "J" word in virtually any critical context, we sense the censorial powers at work here. In a genuinely free society -- a democracy -- ANY subject is fair game for critical inquiry and public forum. It is an article of democratic TRUST that in the public examination of any topic, the truth will be known. This faith in people's collective power to discern the right and true from nonsense is the founding premise of democracy itself. Anything less is a subsuming to dictatorial special interest groups that seek to shape civil (and personal!) policy, wherein a truly democratic open forum is replaced with the omnipresent bubble of public (and self-) censorship. The ideology that demands the necessity of policing thought about ethnic, racial, and religious organizations has zero faith in the open spirit of man to discern true justice, and righteousness, from the airy feast of facts set upon the table. In honest, open forum, the unjust will be exposed as unjust, the fraudster revealed.
If, in our Alice in Wonderland world, the free thinker is continuously declared a bigot for ascribing ANY generalization whatsoever to an ethnic group (particularly belief systems and life styles that traditionally identify and DEFINE these groups), what, then, is the rational purpose of words of distinction like "Jew," "Muslim," "Tibetan," "Senegalese," "Methodist," or "French?" If they are all the same, clones all, entirely saintly, each categorically beyond reproach, why have names of specificity today to describe them? Must we redefine each as vague lumps of cheese, emptied -- against the very principles of history and existence -- of specific taste and feel, save for the requisite halos welded to each and all? If all peoples think the same thing, or if exemplary mass identity markers are routinely excepted and veiled by the fluke, and if there are no grounds for debate between where you (in, say, Uruguay) and I (say, in Uganda) are socially, politically, and historically standing, we may all hand in our playing cards this moment, and call the whole of human ascension done, for there is nothing left to debate between peoples. If a man cannot freely criticize belief systems of any and all kinds, especially that realm where religious, ethnic, racial, identity, and political activism entwine and overlap, what fraud are we parading as a "free society" and "democracy?" And if entire world views of ethnic, religious, and racial groups are rooted like foundation timbers in an ancient house buffered by the veiling New, what right has anyone to impugn the honest historian for daring to attempt to map them?
The man of genuine "prejudice" is the one who slams the door shut to an inquiry of any community's collective allegiance and principles. The man of true "bias" is the one who refuses the innate right of anyone to criticize ANYTHING. The man of true "intolerance" militantly demands only the illusory reflections of Smiley Smile buttons in the testy world of social and political relations. Only a monolithic "bigot" fears public inquiry of that which he believes, and that which his commune -- even with hallowed exceptions-- definitively heralds.
Originally published in the Jewish Tribal Review, October 30, 2002