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Political Ignorance and Blaming "the Jews" for the Economic Crisis:

Political scientists Neil Malhotra and Yotam Margalit have an article describing survey data showing that some 25% of [non-Jewish] Americans believe that "the Jews" deserve at least "a moderate amount" or "a great deal" of blame for the current economic crisis. Some 32% of self-identified Democrats and 18% of Republicans take that view. Similar results were obtained in a recent survey of opinion in several European nations.

I. Blaming the Jews as a Consequence of Rational Political Ignorance.

These figures are shocking, but not as surprising as they might seem. Previous surveys show that large percentages of the public endorse a variety of ridiculous conspiracy theories about political and economic events. As I explained in the post linked in the previous sentence, such beliefs are in large part the result of widespread "rational ignorance" about politics. Because any one vote has only an infinitesmal chance of affecting electoral outcomes, there is little incentive to spend time acquiring political information in order to become a better-informed voter; consequently, most citizens know very little about politics and public policy.

People who are ignorant about politics are more likely to endorse crude or simplistic explanations for political events. "The Jews did it" is a much simpler explanation for the financial crisis than a variety of complex policy errors that most voters don't know about and might not understand it if they did. Unfortunately, Malhotra and Margalit don't provide data correlating general political ignorance with belief in an anti-Semitic explanation for the crisis. However, they do note that blaming the Jews is inversely correlated with education; only 18% of respondents with bachelor's degrees blame the Jews at least a "moderate amount." By contrast, that view is held by 27% of respondents with lesser educational attainment. Obviously, education is highly correlated with political knowledge.

II. Blaming the Jews as a Form of "Rational Irrationality."

Simple ignorance is not, of course, the sole explanation for widespread belief in anti-Semitic explanations of the financial crisis. Also relevant is the fact that most people are highly biased in their evaluation of whatever political information they do know"rational irrationality." Thus, a person with preexisting anti-Semitic prejudices (perhaps a belief tha Jews have excessive influence over banking and finance) is likely to interpret whatever she hears about the financial crisis in light of those biases. A 2007 ADL survey conducted before the current crisis found that 18% of American gentiles believe that Jews have "too much control/influence on Wall Street" and 20% think that they have "too much power in the business world." These figures are comparable to the 25% who today blame the crisis in large part on the Jews, and suggest that many of those who blame the Jews do so in part because of preexisting anti-Semitic biases. Obviously, such biases are reinforced by simple ignorance. The less you know about economics and public policy, the less likely you are to be aware of more sophisticated explanations of the crisis, and the more likely you are to fall back on crude prejudices in trying to understand it.

III. Does it Matter?

Many readers probably assume that the answer to this question is obvious. If large numbers of people blame the Jews for the financial crisis, there might be an anti-Semitic backlash or even violence against Jews. In the US, however, there has been very little such backlash so far and anti-Semitism is largely absent from mainstream political discourse.

The more subtle and perhaps more important effect of these attitudes is in their impact on public opinion about how to respond to the crisis. If you believe that the crisis was in large part caused by the misdeeds of "the Jews," that is likely to affect your evaluation of how to respond to it. Malhotra and Margalit present some preliminary data suggesting such effects, finding that survey respondents reminded of Bernie Madoff's Jewishness are more likely to oppose corporate tax cuts to "create jobs" as a potential remedy for the recession. That finding, however, is likely to be just the tip of the iceberg of possible interactions between belief in anti-Semitic explanations for the crisis and beliefs about appropriate remedies.

Obviously, public opinion is not the only determinant of government policy. But it often does have a substantial impact. To the extent that opinion is significantly influenced by ridiculous conspiracy theories (anti-Semitic or otherwise), that impact is unlikely to be positive.

UPDATE: I should note that the survey results cited by Malhotra and Margalit count only gentiles, and did not include Jewish respondents. This has little effect on the data, since Jews are less than 2% of the American population. But it is perhaps worth pointing out.

AJK:

These figures are shocking, but not as surprising as they might seem. Previous surveys show that large percentages of the public endorse a variety of ridiculous conspiracy theories about political and economic events.


The link in this sentence just leads to the main volokh.com site.
5.20.2009 11:32pm
Ilya Somin:
I have corrected the link.
5.20.2009 11:35pm
John (mail):
The issue should be what non-jews think. I assume that none of the jews who are democrats agreed with the proposition, so the percentage of non-jewish democrats who blame jews for this problem is higher than 32%. Since so few jews identify themselves as republicans, that figure is probably more in line with what non-jewish republicans think.
5.20.2009 11:42pm
DG:
Why the disparity between republicans and democrats? More evangelic republicans who are philo-semetic?
5.20.2009 11:44pm
Ilya Somin:
The issue should be what non-jews think.

The survey actually is limited to non-Jews. I didn't note this because Jews are less than 2% of the population, so it actually makes little difference to the results of a national survey whether they are counted or not.
5.20.2009 11:47pm
joe smith:
The authors are stating the obvious. A large percentage of the public figures that can be associated with the economic crisis are Jewish (Madoff, Greenspan, et al)or come from Jewish-founded firms like Goldman Sachs. Therefore the public put blame on them, whether Jews at large deserve it or not, in the same way the public blamed Arabs and Muslims in the aftermath of 9/11.
5.21.2009 12:18am
Ken Arromdee:
I wonder how the figures break down by race, especially considering the Democrat/Republican split.
5.21.2009 12:32am
Christopher Cooke (mail):
Another troubling reminder that we have not come as far as we think in overcoming such biases. This surprises me, but maybe that is because I do not hear such opinions voiced. I would have thought these types of views went out of fashion some 70 years ago.
5.21.2009 12:33am
Roger Schlafly (www):
If you want to combat ignorance, then please inform us. What is the ethnic breakdown of the people who are responsible for the current economic crisis?
5.21.2009 12:38am
Jeff Dege (mail):
I can't believe people would be so ignorant as to believe it is the Jews who are responsible.

Clearly it's all George Soros' fault.
5.21.2009 12:44am
Cold Warrior:
Here's the question the researchers asked:

"How much to blame were the Jews for the financial crisis?"

The reader/listener who is paying attention (and who is not an anti-Semite) should immediately notice the reference to "the" Jews, and should dismiss this as nonsense.

But really: is it fair to attribute anti-Semitic tendencies to the one-third of non-Jewish respondents who answered "yes?" If, like commenter Joe Smith, they read the question to mean "how responsible are [certain] Jews," well, then the answer "very responsible" isn't really so nasty. It becomes more like, "How responsible are white people for creating the subprime crisis." Given that nearly all the main figures behind the current financial mess were white (although there's a Franklin Raines or two and a number of brilliant Asian computer modelers on the periphery), one could easily answer "very responsible."

My quibble is with the form of the question. Better designed surveys ask questions in this format:

"Some of the most highly publicized individuals involved with the current banking crisis are Jewish. Do you believe that the Jewish people, as a group, bear any special blame for creating the financial crisis?"

Because I have faith in human decency, I think the percentage answering "yes" would be considerably lower.
5.21.2009 12:45am
Ari Taz:
Therefore the public put blame on them, whether Jews at large deserve it or not, in the same way the public blamed Arabs and Muslims in the aftermath of 9/11.

This analogy is not strictly valid insofar as the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks acted out of convictions born of their Islamic faith, whereas the actions of a Jewish banker, investor, etc. whom we might conclude is in part responsible for the current crisis had nothing to do with his/her Jewishness. I don't mean to condone public hostility towards Muslims after 9/11 (I don't have any data on this, but let's assume - for argument's sake - that it existed/exists), but merely to point out that this is not, strictly speaking, a valid comparison.


If you want to combat ignorance, then please inform us. What is the ethnic breakdown of the people who are responsible for the current economic crisis?

Why would it matter? Even assuming that 100% of those responsible for the current crisis are of Jewish descent, how would such a statistic tell us anything at all about the origins of the crisis? What if 100% of those responsible for the current crisis are not only Jewish, but fond of Nestle Quik's chocolate milk? Would we fault chocolate milk consumption for the financial crisis, or simply view this datum as a statistical anomaly?

Besides, in our first hypothetical scenario - even assuming that Jewishness is somehow relevant to understanding the origins of the financial crisis (which strikes me as ridiculous) - one would only be warranted to conclude that "Jews" (as in specific Jews), rather than "the Jews" (as a people) are responsible.
5.21.2009 12:57am
Bruce Hayden (mail):
Hey, for a long time now, the Democrats have been much more antisemitic than the Republicans. Ditto I think for racism too, though Nixon's Southern Strategy screwed that up a bit.

I always attributed this to the fact that traditionally, the Democratic Party was a coalition of interest groups, and a number of those were less advantaged. My experience has been that the lower down you go in the social hierarchy, the more racist, etc. the people are, on average. Part of that may be fighting for the same jobs - though I don't think that is relevant when it comes to Jews.

I would be very interested in seeing how this broke down on racial grounds. My guess is that Blacks would likely be the most antisemitic, if for no other reason than much of the Antisemitism that we have heard at the national level over the last decade or two has come from national figures from that ethnic group.

I have often asked my Jewish friends why they continue to share a political party with groups who seem to hate them. I have never gotten a good answer.
5.21.2009 1:03am
Ilya Somin:
If you want to combat ignorance, then please inform us. What is the ethnic breakdown of the people who are responsible for the current economic crisis?

In my view, the main responsibility rests with the president (Bush, but to a lesser degree Clinton before him), Congress, and federal regulators, all of whom are mostly non-Jews. Alan Greenspan, who is a Jew, deserves some blame as well, though his policies were approved by the other members of the Federal Reserve Board, which includes many non-Jewish bankers and economists. But even if every one of the above were Jewish, it would still be a ridiculous mistake to blame "the Jews" collectively for the financial crisis, since these people would still be a tiny fraction of the Jewish people as a whole. It would be like blaming "the Christians" for Lincoln's assassination because all of the conspirators involved were Christian.
5.21.2009 1:06am
Ken Arromdee:
But really: is it fair to attribute anti-Semitic tendencies to the one-third of non-Jewish respondents who answered "yes?" If, like commenter Joe Smith, they read the question to mean "how responsible are [certain] Jews," well, then the answer "very responsible" isn't really so nasty.

If that's the explanation, I have a hard time imagining why there'd be a Democrat/Republican split on the answer.
5.21.2009 1:08am
Ilya Somin:
is it fair to attribute anti-Semitic tendencies to the one-third of non-Jewish respondents who answered "yes?" If, like commenter Joe Smith, they read the question to mean "how responsible are [certain] Jews," well, then the answer "very responsible" isn't really so nasty. It becomes more like, "How responsible are white people for creating the subprime crisis." Given that nearly all the main figures behind the current financial mess were white (although there's a Franklin Raines or two and a number of brilliant Asian computer modelers on the periphery), one could easily answer "very responsible."

In common parlance, blaming "the Jews" for something means blaming them as a group, not merely suggesting that some small number of people who happen to be Jewish were involved. Note also that virtually no Jewish respondents picked this answer, even though many Jews surely knew that some of the public figures involved in the crisis were Jewish. Similarly, I doubt that more than a tiny fraction (certainly far less than 25%) would blame "the whites" in a similarly worded question.
5.21.2009 1:13am
Cold Warrior:
Ken Arromdee:

I suspect the reason (and I'm not kidding here) is that the Republicans were more careful readers/better educated. I see nothing in the linked write-up of the survey that suggests that the researchers controlled for other socio-economic factors.
5.21.2009 1:15am
Cold Warrior:
Clarification:

The researchers didn't control for socio-economic factors other than party identification. But they do report separate survey splits based on educational attainment:


Educational attainment also correlates with variation in anti-Semitic attitudes. Whereas only 18.3 percent of respondents with at least a bachelor's degree blamed the Jews a moderate amount or more, 27.3 percent of those lacking a 4-year degree did so. Again, we get a similar reversal when examining the blameworthiness of individuals who took out loans they could not afford.


I'm guessing that these variables (educational attainment/party identification) are not at all independent; i.e., that the Republican respondents were disproportionately the better-educated.
5.21.2009 1:21am
RSF677:
Ilya,

I probably agree with your apportionment of blame. However, when you survey people about whether Jews are to blame, you are already putting the idea in their head that they very well might be. I think if forced to choose between Jews, bankers, deadbeat homeowners and congress, the relative ranking of Jews would probably plunge. It seems to me that is similar to asking whether you are still beating your wife. I don't have any problem believing in anti-semitism. I'm just not sure whether this survey is quite as demonstrative as it is made out to be.
5.21.2009 1:26am
Tony Tutins (mail):
I had to look up to find that Bernanke, Summers, and Lazear were Jewish -- I don't think the average Joe would know, even if he knew that Greenspan, Rubin, and Rosen were Jewish. Even so, there are plenty of non-Jews populating the Treasury, the Council of Economic Advisors, etc.
5.21.2009 1:27am
TCtheO wants to be allowed back:
Goldman is at the center of this and the damage from the shakedown to cover their derivative bets was not just what got diverted to them. But also the huge impact that the traumatic impact of the widespread other bailouts, made easier once TARP was done, followed by consumers and even industrial firms pricing in an expectation of lowered contracts validity and less free markets.
5.21.2009 1:56am
Ilya Somin:
when you survey people about whether Jews are to blame, you are already putting the idea in their head that they very well might be. I think if forced to choose between Jews, bankers, deadbeat homeowners and congress, the relative ranking of Jews would probably plunge. It seems to me that is similar to asking whether you are still beating your wife. I don't have any problem believing in anti-semitism. I'm just not sure whether this survey is quite as demonstrative as it is made out to be.

The survey also asked people about various other groups (e.g. - borrowers who took out mortgages they couldn't pay back) were to blame. In any case, putting out an idea is not in itself enough to get people to agree with it. The equivalent is not asking whether you "still" beat your wife, but asking: "do you beat your wife" or better still "Do you think members of Group X beat their wives."
5.21.2009 2:09am
Frater Plotter:
Even assuming that 100% of those responsible for the current crisis are of Jewish descent, how would such a statistic tell us anything at all about the origins of the crisis? What if 100% of those responsible for the current crisis are not only Jewish, but fond of Nestle Quik's chocolate milk?
It's worth noting that certain groups feel no compunction against blaming "men" for rape, or "black culture" for violent crime, or "homeless people" for the smell of urine in the subways. It is assuredly the case that not all men rape, not all members of black culture (whatever that is supposed to mean) commit violent crime, and not all homeless people piss in the subways.

The inference from "A bunch of X people were involved in Y bad thing" to "Y is the fault of X people in general" is logically invalid and is pretty much the definition of the word stereotyping ... or, when taken out on an individual, scapegoating.

It is incoherent to accuse "men" in general of rape, even were it the case (as it is not) that all rapes were committed by men. Thus it is similarly incoherent to, for instance, demand of a man, "Why do men rape?!"
5.21.2009 3:00am
Roger Schlafly (www):
It is incoherent to accuse "men" in general of rape ...
Then the question is also incoherent and the survey is meaningless. What if a survey asked whether men were to blame for rape? How do you think people would answer?

If a significant percentage said that men were to blame for rape, would Ilya post a message about how people are ignorant about men?
5.21.2009 3:46am
Ilya Somin:
If a significant percentage said that men were to blame for rape, would Ilya post a message about how people are ignorant about men?

If the survey were worded in such a way as to suggest that an affirmative answer meant that all men as a group were to blame for rape, yes. Absolutely.
5.21.2009 4:03am
Ricardo (mail):
Then the question is also incoherent and the survey is meaningless. What if a survey asked whether men were to blame for rape? How do you think people would answer?

There is a big difference between asking whether "men" are to blame for rape and whether "the male gender," "male-dominated society," or "male culture" is to blame for rape. The latter three are ideological statements and imply collective guilt on some level -- and would most assuredly be protested just as so many here object to saying "the Jews" are responsible for the financial crisis. Whether some men or some Jews are responsible for something bad is, by contrast, just an empirical statement.

In any event, I don't think former Citigroup CEO Charles Prince is Jewish and I'm quite certain the current CEO Vikram Pandit isn't. Nor is the inventor of the Gaussian Copula formula, David X. Li, Jewish, etc.
5.21.2009 4:04am
BGates:
I doubt that more than a tiny fraction (certainly far less than 25%) would blame "the whites" in a similarly worded question.

Last November there was a poll asking, "Can you believe white folks' greed is ruining a world in need?" and 53% of respondents answered, "Yes we can!" Big sample size, too.
5.21.2009 4:22am
liamascorcaigh (mail) (www):
Jews shmews.
5.21.2009 7:00am
liamascorcaigh (mail) (www):
Jews shmews.
5.21.2009 7:00am
David Hecht (mail):
I expect this phenomenon is similar to the meme of who was to blame for the evils of the Iraqi war: the wicked "neocons", an epithet that was for all practical purposes a synonym for "Jews".

This perception--as in the current unpleasantness, one that did not stand up to scrutiny, since many of the players involved, such as Bush, Powell, Rice, and Rumsfeld, were neither Jewish nor neo-conservatives--was stoked by the left for the better part of a decade.

More recently, we have seen the current unpleasantness blamed on "speculators", which is also an old-fashioned (Marxist-Leninist, I might point out) term that is for all practical purposes synonymous with "Jews".

Under the circumstances, it would be very surprising if ordinarily (and rationally) ignorant people did not take their cues from these propagandistic efforts.
5.21.2009 7:18am
Smallholder (mail) (www):
Perhaps the party affiliation disparity in the question is the greater level of anti-semitism within the African-American community. In 1998, 34% of African-Americans were anti-semetic vs. 9% of whites.

Link

What proportion of self-identified Democrats are African-American?

Perhaps a second factor is education level. Anti-semitism is inversely correlated with education level. Education level does affect party affiliation in a U curve for democrats - those with the least and most education tend to pull the "D" lever in the voting booth.
5.21.2009 7:34am
Desiderius:
"Why the disparity between republicans and democrats? More evangelic republicans who are philo-semetic?"

Somewhat, but the dirty little secret for its bright-eyed liberal champions is that when the chips are down, the D's are still the party of Shrumtastic resentment.
5.21.2009 7:56am
Gilbert (mail):
@ColdWarrior (regarding the form of the question)

I couldn't agree more. Ask a stupid question and you will get a stupid answer.
5.21.2009 9:03am
EricH (mail):
From my perspective, about 99% of the people pointed out as those who created this problem have penises (I think; although I guess I could be wrong).

I blame penises.

Makes as much senses as those who blame "Jews."

Geez, people are stupid.
5.21.2009 9:30am
Benjamin Davis (mail):
Given the effort to blame the financial crisis on minorities purchasing houses, welcome to the club.
Best,
Ben
5.21.2009 9:37am
Andy Bolen (mail):
The link in this sentence just leads to the main volokh.com site.

I assumed the point was "I mean, if the Jews are responsible for a site like this, it's not surprising they can be responsible for the financial crisis."

Jk. This numbers are, in fact, pretty shocking. I'm actually really skeptical about them. I lived in the south for 20 years and I don't think I ever heard anyone mention "the Jews" outside the context of discussing, say, the Gospel of John or something.
5.21.2009 9:41am
Per Son:
It is all the Jews' collective fault. We got bored of using Christian babies in our matza, so we decided to do what we are best at - screw everyone out of their money.

We had help too. The Masons did the dirty work, while we called the shots.
5.21.2009 10:22am
TRE:
Did they ask the questions about what blame "the whites" have or other groups? It is such a nonsensical question I'd like to see more data on slightly different formulations.
5.21.2009 10:30am
Ari Taz:
Andy Bolen,

Are you assuming that we should look to the South for those who responded "yes" to this question? I doubt that such is the case, but I'd like to see the data.

Prof. Somin, does the study break down respondents by state? Any other interesting sub-data?
5.21.2009 10:39am
Andy Bolen (mail):
Ari,

Yes, that's my assumption, for two reasons:

(1) it's my understanding that most racist whites are in the south, and I'd assume whites who're racist against blacks are more likely to be racist against Jews, and
(2) American blacks tend to be more anti-semitic than whites, and they live disproportionately in the south.

Either of those could be wrong; they're just my impression of the data.
5.21.2009 10:44am
ShelbyC:

From my perspective, about 99% of the people pointed out as those who created this problem have penises (I think; although I guess I could be wrong).


Yeah, well 100% of the people who created the problem came from vaginas.
5.21.2009 11:33am
Tony Tutins (mail):
The real cause of our current crisis was neither Jewish nor a penis-possessor -- it was Blythe Masters, who led the creation of the credit default swap at JP Morgan, back in the 90s.
5.21.2009 11:41am
Harry Eagar (mail):
I am overall skeptical of single-issue polling as I am of single-issue political thinking.

But I might be interested in a survey that asked a series of questions, on the order of:

1. Do you blame Reaganomics?

2. Do you blame the union movement?

3. Do you blame congressional corruption?

4. Do you blame big banks?

You could slip the question about Jews in somewhere. Then we might perhaps learn something about the ways people apportion blame, which I suspect are more complex than 'the Jews did it.'
5.21.2009 1:35pm
Eric Cartman:
It was the covetous Jews, who are taking all the money to hide it in a big cave.
5.21.2009 2:49pm
Joseph Slater (mail):
JEW GOLD!!!
5.21.2009 2:52pm
PersonFromPorlock:
Cast me into the outer darkness if you will, but I find Jews, jewishness, the food, even the pickles... boring.

Anti-semitism? It probably correlates perfectly with the percentage of the populace who are damnfools about everything.
5.21.2009 3:57pm
Joseph Slater (mail):
Before we cast PersonFromPorlock anywhere, can I have his (presumably kosher dill) pickles?
5.21.2009 4:29pm
Yankev (mail):

Given the effort to blame the financial crisis on minorities purchasing houses, welcome to the club.

Yeah, Ben, it's those racist Republicans blaming the crisis on the wrong headed policy of letting the inferior races buy homes. Please tell me this was meant as satire on your part, as I have not seen that charge made anywhere. I HAVE seen the charge made that teh government weakened economically neutral lending standards in an attemtp to increase home ownership by minority groups, that the weakened standards were applied to everyone, and that the resulting loans to those who were poor risks for repayment had something to do with the crisis, but describing it that way requires a bit of, you know, nuance.

If you were being satirical, forgive me for being a bit slow after a less than ideal day. If you were claiming to report the actual views of any significant number of people, be careful as you punch that straw man -- it can be very painful if you wedge any under your fingernails.
5.21.2009 6:13pm
Yankev (mail):

Yeah, well 100% of the people who created the problem came from vaginas.
Not one of the culprits was delivered by Ceasarean? What's your source for that amazing statistic?
5.21.2009 6:15pm
Leo Marvin (mail):
Per Son:

The Masons did the dirty work, while we called the shots.

I'd be surprised if as many people who blame Jews have even heard of a Mason, and you think we're calling their shots?
5.21.2009 6:21pm
Brian K (mail):
Yeah, Ben, it's those racist Republicans blaming the crisis on the wrong headed policy of letting the inferior races buy homes. Please tell me this was meant as satire on your part, as I have not seen that charge made anywhere.

you clearly haven't been reading the long string of lingren et als posting on the financial crisis. they were littered with overt and covert racism.
5.21.2009 7:03pm
Brian K (mail):
you know what i find most surprising?

in my brief reading of the postings i did not hear a single person say antisemitism doesn't exist. now contrast that to any posting on affirmative action or anything involving minorities where there is a much too large group of posters who affirmatively deny that racism exists in the world today. what makes similar groups of people so readily believe in the existence of one form of bias (antisemitism) and so readily deny the existence of another (racism)? if one form of bias exists is it so hard to believe that others do to?

(and for the record, i believe both exist)
5.21.2009 7:07pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Geez, people are stupid.
That's why we give the government they elect so much power.
5.21.2009 7:28pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

a much too large group of posters who affirmatively deny that racism exists in the world today.
I've participated in some of those discussions. I don't recall anyone denying tht racism exists in the world, even in the U.S., today. The argument is that racism, while it persists, is:

1. Far less common and acceptable than it was when I was young.

2. Not a significant factor in preventing blacks from getting jobs or going to college.

3. There are serious problems that are correlated with race that are an issue. Young black men are far more likely to have criminal histories than young white men, and that makes getting jobs more difficult--because many employers are reluctant to hire someone with a criminal history, regardless of race.

Blacks are disproportionately coming out the worst public schools in America, and that impairs them getting into college, and even those who are allowed in under AA programs are disproportionately unprepared for college because of those lousy educations.

At least inner city blacks are also coming out of a subculture that has in recent decades regarded education as "acting white," and denigrated it. At least in part, the ending of housing segregation meant that the most positive, middle class, and educated blacks are simply not commonly present in inner city neighborhoods now as role models.
5.21.2009 7:49pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

you clearly haven't been reading the long string of lingren et als posting on the financial crisis. they were littered with overt and covert racism.
For pointing out that the attempt to get lending standards lowered for the supposed benefit of minorities caused the crisis (at least in part)? That's a fact. Call it racism if you want, but that's exactly what happened.

And the white liberals who felt so good about what they did caused a lot of minorities that had poor or no credit histories--and helped them to get a foreclosure on their record. (Of course, it enriched people like Franklin Raines, so I guess that's all okay, isn't it?)
5.21.2009 7:54pm
Brian K (mail):
and in comes clayton to prove my point! anyone familiar with clayton can see through his BS.

in any case, my intent was to provide food for though and not a flamewar (hence why i purposely refrained from naming names although several obvious ones come to mind). so i will not further this line of thought in an attempt to prevent yet another thread from becoming an antiminority screed.
5.21.2009 8:04pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

and in comes clayton to prove my point! anyone familiar with clayton can see through his BS.
If that's proving your point about denying racism, then you might want to work on your reading skills. I wasn't denying its existence, just that it was the major problem impairing black advancement.

Pretty clearly, there's still significant hostility to Jews. That's why they live in ghettos in America and die young.
5.21.2009 8:31pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

yet another thread from becoming an antiminority screed.
Opposition to Affirmative Action isn't "antiminority." It's antiracism. You do have a reading problem.
5.21.2009 8:42pm
Cenrand:
Brian K,

One can go to Huffingtonpost, Democraticunderground, or Dailykos, and find just the opposite.

Whether or not you like or dislike the posters here, it seems like you are just trying to change the subject of this post, rather than discuss an alarming study noted by Ilya. If you have a problem with posters views on affirmative action, why not bring it up in those threads, rather than hijacking a thread on anti-semitism?
5.21.2009 8:45pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

If you have a problem with posters views on affirmative action, why not bring it up in those threads, rather than hijacking a thread on anti-semitism?
Because another commenters pointed out that anti-Semitism is more common among blacks than whites, which is probably why Democrats were so much readier to blame "the Jews" for this disaster. There's no surprise on that; racism is primarily a mechanism by which people at the bottom find someone below them, either economicaly, socially, or morally. Poor whites needed someone to look down upon; blacks satisfied that role. Inner city blacks on the West Coast needed someone to blame for their miserable conditions, so they blamed Koreans. (In New York City, Jews were to blame.)

The fact is that victimization doesn't ennoble you. Victims are often quite prepared to victimize others.
5.21.2009 8:52pm
Brian K (mail):
Whether or not you like or dislike the posters here, it seems like you are just trying to change the subject of this post, rather than discuss an alarming study noted by Ilya

thanks for (not) reading my follow up post. i made what i believe to be an interesting observation...that is all and nothing more. i happen to think it is worth putting comments in context of other comments.

but notice how even your reaction indirectly proves my point. a study showing antisemitism is "alarming" despite the numerous potential flaws pointed out above however most studies put forth about racism are dismissed for a multitude of flimsy reasons. the incongruity of the reaction is what i was commenting on.
5.21.2009 10:20pm
Brian K (mail):
One can go to Huffingtonpost, Democraticunderground, or Dailykos, and find just the opposite.

are you suggesting that volokh conspiracy is equivalent to these sites? a lot of people might disagree on that one.
5.21.2009 10:25pm
Cenrand:
Brian K,
thanks for (not) reading my follow up post. i made what i believe to be an interesting observation...that is all and nothing more. i happen to think it is worth putting comments in context of other comments.

It of course is important to put comments in context of other comments. For instance, one could read your comments regarding Israel in other threads, and your seeming need to diminish and belittle anyone bringing up something about anti-semitism, as being something other than a good faith effort to "point out flaws" in the study...most of which are answered if you read the actual methodology of the study, rather than just having a need to quickly derail a conversation about anti-semitism with a strawman about "studies put forth about racism being dismissed."

But after reading your response, i'm sure you know that, and are just being deliberately obtuse.
5.21.2009 10:28pm
Cenrand:
Brian K,

Why the obsessive need to change the topic of Ilya's post?
5.21.2009 10:37pm
Yankev (mail):
Anyone who claims that the survey suggests the existence of anti-Semitism is simply trying to use intimidation to silence those who are about to show why the economic crisis was caused by the apartheid Israelis and their Likudnik neocon supporters in the United States.

Oops, sorry, channeling someone else from another thread.
5.21.2009 10:59pm
Brian K (mail):
so let me get this straight, you're implying that i'm antisemetic because i think too many people (such as yourself) throw around that term to stifle debate and opposing viewpoints?

wow!

i apologize in assuming that you were a rational person. i see now that i should have just ignored you like i do clayton.
5.21.2009 11:26pm
Cenrand:
Brian K,

You are the one who came in here crying: "you clearly haven't been reading the long string of lingren et als posting on the financial crisis. they were littered with overt and covert racism."

And how is this study about anti-semitism stifling debate and opposing viewpoints?

Clearly, you are the model of a rational person...
5.21.2009 11:56pm
Brian K (mail):
i see you have problems with pronouns. the pronoun "you" refers to a person. had i been referring to the study i would have used "it".
5.22.2009 12:12am
Cenrand:
Brian K,

It's funny how you came in here complaining about other people's overt and covert racism, and have merely revealed your own biases and hatreds.

You have added nothing to this thread, and i'm guessing are just a distraction in the other threads you post in as well.

Have a nice day.
5.22.2009 12:34am
Brian K (mail):
thanks for the laugh!
5.22.2009 12:51am
Cenrand:
Thanks for showing your true colors and your maturity. I am sure you do a great job convincing others of your point of view.
5.22.2009 1:00am
Brian K (mail):
i'm amazed you still have the energy to type given all the strawmen you've been battling. i suppose i should forgive you for not actually reading my posts...it sure is much easier to have a debate when you just make up whatever you want about your opponent.
5.22.2009 1:05am
Cenrand:
Brian K,

What a wonderful troll you are. So sad to see such hatred in a fellow human being.
5.22.2009 1:32am
Yankev (mail):
Brian K -


so let me get this straight, you're implying that i'm antisemetic because i think too many people (such as yourself) throw around that term to stifle debate and opposing viewpoints?
First, if your reply was directed to me, let me assure you that my somehwat tongue-in-cheek post was not aimed at you or at any other post on this thread, but was ridiculing an oft-expressed sentiment that has appeared on too many threads, not only at VC, but at any blog where either Israel or anti-semitism is discussed. I thought that adding "Oops, sorry, channeling someone else from another thread" conveyed that I was speaking tongue in cheek,but apparently that was lost on you or was not as clear a signal as I thought.

It seems that you took this as aimed at you specifically. If you have leveled the "anti-semitism as pre-emption" charge on other threads, I was not aware of that fact when I posted. If not, then I'm not sure what provoked your response.

i see you have problems with pronouns. the pronoun "you" refers to a person.
I see that you do as well. Pronouns are more intelligible when they have a clear antecedent. It is difficult to have a discussion with anyone who speaks to a general unpsecified "you" without telling us which "you" you mean. E.g. I started this post by addressing it to Brian K. A post that quotes no one and does not say who the post addresses can leave the reader guessing who you are arguing with. Everyone here, as in y'all, or youse? Everyone who holds a given opinion? The last person who addressed you before your latest post? Cenrand? Clayton (with whom I often disagree, but certainly agree with in connection with your posts on this thread)? Me? Try referring at least once per post to either quote your interlocutor or to use (insert objective case of the gender neutral third person pronoun of your choice here) by name.
5.22.2009 10:45am
Yankev (mail):

What a wonderful troll you are.
Cenrand, while I agree with much of what you said and little of what Brian K has said, "troll" may not be quite fair. Trolls don't discuss or justify their opinions -- they come, provoke, ignore and disappear -- some sooner, some later.

Brian K has defended his opinions to the best of his ability, and has at least read and tried to respond to posts that disagree with him. His inability to analyze and discern facts, to argue persuasively, draw justified conclusions and eschew unjustified conclusions may make him many things, but troll is not necessarily one of them.

Just saying.
5.22.2009 10:50am
Just Saying (mail):
If anything I'm biased in favor of the Jewish people and their achievement. But let's be honest. Jews, being present in vastly disproportionate numbers in positions of power, DO naturally share a disproportionate amount of blame for the crisis. That isn't ignorance, that is just being honest. Of course blaming an entire group for the actions of some (or even a lot of) its members isn't rational or morally correct.

The question is: how much the Jews are to blame for the current crisis. That doesn't imply a conspiracy among Jews. It's an ambiguous statement which can be fairly be interpreted to mean: are Jewish figures disproportionately to blame for the crisis? And, that is, of course a matter of empirical fact.

Similarly, people saying that Jews are overrepresented in business and politics are largely correct (correct in that they are overrepresented, but it's debatable as a moral matter whether such overrepresentation is a bad thing, that it is "too much). If one accepts equal representation and diversity as moral imperatives it is clear why they would see that as "too much." And perhaps even if they do not, as one can believe equal representation is impossible (and even a bad thing for efficiency) while still being a little unsettled about the vastly disproportionate power Jews have in American society. One can even be unsettled at this disproportionate power because of the problems it raises for Jews and their perception by the rest of society.

In short, you are missing the degree to which this survey captures real, legitimate sentiment, while exagerating the degree to which it represents condemnable anti-semitism (which I am not denying exists).
5.22.2009 3:01pm
DG:
{he question is: how much the Jews are to blame for the current crisis.}

Wrong. "the Jews" aren't to blame for anything. There is no group here, only individual people. My daughter in middle school is part of "the Jews" but her connection to the financial crisis is zero. Also, when was the last time "the Jews" were lauded for our contributions? Oh, the good stuff is all individual, right? "the Jews" didn't win all those Nobel Prizes - people did.

When the Jews start getting awards for the good stuff, I'll take some blame for the bad stuff. But as thats never happened, I suggest stuffing a sock in it.
5.22.2009 5:12pm
Brian K (mail):
wow yankev,

why so much hostility? is just because i neglected to refresh my browser before making a post thus causing me not to see yours?

why were you totally unwilling to ask me who my post was referring to before jumping to conclusion and beginning a rant that only makes you look foolish?

but i see. rather than ask me for clarification if you don't understand something (must be common for you), you agree with a person who long ago just started making stuff up. that's much closer to trolldom than i've ever gotten.
5.22.2009 5:19pm
Yankev (mail):

why were you totally unwilling to ask me who my post was referring to
Okay, I'll bite, BrianK (though by the time I'm back on line, this thread will be long gone), who was it you had in mind when you said

you're implying that i'm antisemetic because i think too many people (such as yourself) throw around that term to stifle debate and opposing viewpoints?


By the way, why is it that people who are not anti-semitic are less likely to spell the word correctly? That's not an accusation against you, it's just an observation about the number of people who start with "I'm not anti-semetic" and then come out with an overtly anti-semitic comment. Which, I hasten to add, I haven't noticed you doing.


why so much hostility?
Because too often when someone charges that accusations of anti-semitism are used routinely to stifle debate, the debates tend to be on such topics as whether the Jews made up the story of the Holocaust, or whether they secretly control US, or why and how Israel is planning and practicing genocide. Or per Just Saying, how the Jews are at blame for the financial crisis.
5.22.2009 6:54pm
LM (mail):
Look, any fool knows we're responsible for the financial meltdown. Just so long as they don't figure out we actually planned it -- bwaaahahahaaa!
5.22.2009 7:15pm
Brian K (mail):
who was it you had in mind when you said

cenrand. since it appeared to be only me and him at that time of night i assumed it would be obvious.


Because too often when someone charges that accusations of anti-semitism are used routinely to stifle debate, the debates tend to be on such topics as whether the Jews made up the story of the Holocaust, or whether they secretly control US, or why and how Israel is planning and practicing genocide.

or whenever someone has a disagreement with some isreali policy or when someone makes any positive statement re palestinians or just about in any debate on anything related to judaism or isreal. and i'll note that i've never made comments such as the above which are legitimately antisemitic nor have i ever denied the existence of antisemetism. cenrand proved to be an excellent example.


By the way, why is it that people who are not anti-semitic are less likely to spell the word correctly?

in may case the spell checker flags both semitic and semetic as being incorrect spellings and i don't care enough about spelling to figure out which one is right. you certainly had no trouble figuring out what word i was using.
5.22.2009 7:22pm
Brian K (mail):
correction: cenrand proved to be an excellent example of my point.
5.22.2009 7:23pm

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