Why are Jews Liberal?

Author: Vale

“Jews earn like Episcopalians and vote like Puerto Ricans"

Milton Himmelfarb

It is an enigma as to why Jews in America are liberal. For the last 90 years, Jews have voted for Democrats and liberal candidates by a wide margin - often approaching 70-80% for most elections. Surveys routinely show that they overwhelmingly support liberal causes over conservative ones.Netanyahu-visual-aid

But why is this the case? It seems as if a lot of the Jewish demographics are incongruent with liberalism from economic, ethnic nationalism and social perspectives.
The first point is that fact that Jews tend to be wealthier than the general population with 46% of them making more than $100,000 per year, compared with just 18% of the general population. Jews represent about 25% of the Forbes 400 (all billionaires), but only represent 2% of the American population. Why are these facts incongruent with liberalism? Because liberals espouse income redistribution and higher taxes on the wealthy, which would directly impact their own finances. Furthermore, success is more correlated with Republican voting patterns (those earning more than $36,000 per year voted for Republicans in the last two elections). For those who own businesses, why would they want to have their income forcefully taken from them? Since Democrats have a clear anti-business mentality with strong support for union monopolies, support for increasing the cost of business with minimum wage laws, more regulation, and statements such as "If you’ve got a business -- you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen," one would think these Jewish business owners would be less amicable to the Democratic party.

How about when it comes to Israel? Their Jewish homeland and brethren are under constant attack with suicide bombers and foreign regimes repeatedly calling to wipe them off the map. Who lends the most support to the Jewish nation? "Republicans continue to be Israel's strongest U.S. supporters" whereas Democrats are the least supportive. Jewish Israelis also align themselves with some national security policies espoused by Republicans in America. In fact, the Jews in Israel would be considered extremely conservative in comparison with Republicans in America given their fortified national border and draconian illegal immigration laws.

From a social policy perspective, there are some inconsistencies too. Perhaps Jews are okay with wealth redistribution, even though it would be against their own economic interests, for the purpose of charity, right? Well aside from it being a really inefficient way of helping the poor, under the eight levels of charity taught by the medieval Jewish scholar Maimonides, the Republican position would better serve this goal. The passage says,

"The greatest level, above which there is no greater, is to support a fellow Jew by endowing him with a gift or loan, or entering into a partnership with him, or finding employment for him, in order to strengthen his hand until he need no longer be dependent upon others . . ."

The Democrat position weakens hands to breed dependence with welfare and food stamps.

How about when it comes to abortion? The Torah says no. Homosexuality? Also prohibited.

And then there were the Nazis. This was a direct byproduct of a government becoming too large and having too much control.  In 1938, the German Weapons Act specifically forbid Jews from owning guns which left them defenseless against the later atrocities of the German government. Large government and gun control, sounds familiar, doesn't it? One would think that the limited government and right-to-defend-oneself beliefs espoused by conservatives would be more appealing.

All signs say that they SHOULD vote for conservative candidates and parties, but they don't. Perhaps it is because most Jews live in densely populated cities where the collective ideology is supported and individualism is not. Since cities are overwhelmingly liberal, and there is a tendency to vote for what you know through the mere-exposure effect, perhaps it is the environment that rubs off on them. Perhaps one day, Jews will recognize who their true political allies are.


# Vale 2013-10-11 18:00
A new Pew Survey came out on Oct 1, 2013. Essentially they found that 70% of Jews are Democrats because they don't care about Isreal, being Jewish is mostly a culture and not a religion to them and most live in the Northeast. Guess that sums it up!
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