The meritocracy and Jewish kinship network
A lot of people are talking about David Brooks’s distastefully-smug column in the Times yesterday about Jewish achievement, in which he says that we are 2 percent of the U.S. population and 25 percent of this and that. And that we get all the patents in the Middle East while the Arabs smoke hookahs.
He asks how this can be, and talks about our incredible culture. I agree: it’s a helluva bookish culture. Though that same intellectual culture is going out the window now that the chief occupation of Jewish leadership is saying, Repeat after us, apartheid is democracy.
But I’d like to inject a realistic note here. How much of Jewish achievement reflects the fact that Jews look out for one another? When I had to get a partner on this website to keep it going, I was most comfortable getting another Jew. Years ago when I was at the Harvard Crimson newspaper, my Irish-Catholic friend Mary Ridge informed me that it was a “Jewish club”–we selected for our own kind; and the Crimson produced a lot of professional journalism talent. I have gotten most of my journalism work from Jewish bosses. [continued…]