June 19, 2013
June 12, 2013
Stephanie Hanes: Little girls or little women? The Disney princess effect
Fred Weir: In tweak to US, Russia would 'consider' asylum for Snowden
June 10, 2013
The Kosher Gourmet by Anjali Prasertong: A tart filling so good it might not make it to the crust
June 5, 2013
John Rosemond: Mom, Dad: Talk More and listen less
Egypt court sentences 43 pro-democracy workers to prison
June 3, 2013
Molly Hennessy-Fiske: Military judge to consider letting Fort Hood shooting defendant represent himself
May 29, 2013
Andrew Connelly and Helene Bienvenu: The Little Synagogue that Refused to Die
May 24, 2013
Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb: When I didn't so 'humbly disagree'
May 22, 2013
They launched the 'Arab Spring' but now yearn for the good old days of a strongman
May 20, 2013
Richard A. Serrano: Is Meir Kahane's assassin now a changed man?
Genetic copies of living people from embryos no longer science fiction
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom :
The Kosher Gourmet by Cathy Pollak:
Jews Inducted into Rock Hall of Fame; Anton Yelchin co-stars in New "Trek" film; Kutcher (but not Kunis) visits Israel; Jewish TV Star Praises Jewish Rap Star
WARNING: This WALNUT CAKE WITH PRALINE FROSTING, perfect for afternoon coffee, is addicting
Jewish World Review
March 17, 2009
/ 21 Adar 5769
Why no one defends Bernard Madoff
The bilked have provided numerous sound bites denouncing Bernie Madoff as "evil," a word whose true meaning is sometimes difficult to grasp in our "nonjudgmental" age.
The definition of evil can be imprecise. Dictionary.com makes a run at it: "morally wrong or bad." According to whom and according to what? Is evil something we see only in others when we define it according to our subjective standards, or is it so embedded in each of us that we work overtime to hide it, not only from ourselves, but from everyone else?
Here is the dirty secret about the Madoff tragedy. Madoff is us. Yes, he is. Do not throw down your newspaper in disgust. We are all potential members of "Swindler's List." Do you know why our gut reaction is so strong and so hostile to Bernard Madoff ("I hope he rots in jail," said one of his "victims")? It is because he mirrors the flaw in each of us. We instinctively react to such people because they strip away our facade and reveal what theologians used to call "sin," before we became "dysfunctional" and in need of medication, not salvation. In extreme circumstances, we have crucified people who exposed our darkness to the light.
"It takes two to tango," my mother used to say when someone's affair was exposed. Madoff could not have prospered without willing participants. People who otherwise exhibited intelligence in their business and personal affairs were seduced by the old get-rich-quick scheme that has suckered humanity for millennia.
|FREE SUBSCRIPTION TO INFLUENTIAL NEWSLETTER|
Every weekday NewsAndOpinion.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". HUNDREDS of columnists and cartoonists regularly appear. Sign up for the daily update. It's free. Just click here.
Everyone knows, don't they, that a guaranteed return on such investments is impossible? Everyone knows, don't they, that financial reports, with no audits or oversight, and coming from the one with whom you have invested, is a prescription for fraud? And yet the partners in this "tango" were all too happy to dance because their leading man held them tightly and played music they loved to hear. But Madoff's crimes cut doubly deep because he robbed his own.
"No one since Julius Rosenberg has so damaged the image and self-respect of American Jews," said Mort Zuckerman, who runs a charitable trust that lost $30 million to Madoff.
"It really is a shame we Jews don't believe in hell," writes Rob Eshman, The Jewish Journal. "What kind of world is it where Jews can't trust fellow Jews? ... There's a name for that kind of world hell."
[Editor's note: For the record, Jews most certainly do believe in hell, known in the holy tongue as gehenom]
"I'd like to believe someone raised in our community, imbued with Jewish values, would be better than this," said Rabbi David Wolpe of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles.
So would I, but greed is greed, immorality is immorality and evil is evil.
Recall those who turned over the names of neighbors and colleagues to Joseph McCarthy. What about the Catholic Church that shielded pedophile priests? Slaves often gave up runaway slaves. The Spanish Inquisition had those whose ignominy helped it along. Evangelical Christians turn on Evangelical Christians. Protestants turn on Protestants. Recall the traitors in the Nazi death camps who turned in their fellow prisoners in order to curry favor with the guards they hoped would spare their lives.
That evil has its enablers does not excuse the Nazis, Catholics, the Inquisitors nor Madoff, but it should give pause to all of us who denounce Madoff in ways that make us feel superior to him and incapable of performing evil acts of our own.
In his book, "The Body," Charles Colson, writes about the trial of Adolph Eichmann. Among the witnesses was Yehiel Dinur, who had escaped death in Auschwitz. On his day to testify, Dinur entered the courtroom and stared at the man in the bulletproof glass booth, the man who murdered Dinur's friends, personally executed a number of Jews, and presided over the slaughter of millions more. Dinur shouted and sobbed, collapsing on the floor.
Had hatred of Eichmann, or horrendous memories, caused his strong reaction? No. As he later explained in a riveting "60 Minutes" interview it was because Eichmann was not the demonic personification of evil Dinur had expected. Rather, he was an ordinary man, just like anyone else. Dinur realized that sin and evil are the human condition. "I was afraid about myself," Dinur said. "I saw that I am capable to do this ... exactly like he. Eichmann is in all of us."
Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote, "Nothing is easier than denouncing the evildoer; nothing more difficult than understanding him."
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
|BUY THE BOOK|
| Click HERE to purchase it at a discount. (Sales help fund JWR.).|
Cal Thomas Archives
JWR contributor Cal Thomas is co-author with Bob Beckel, a liberal Democratic Party strategist, of "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America". Comment by clicking here.
© 2006, Tribune Media Services, Inc.
Richard Z. Chesnoff
Frank J. Gaffney
Victor Davis Hanson
A. Barton Hinkle
Judge A. Napolitano
Cokie & Steve Roberts
Debra J. Saunders
J. D. Crowe
David Ray Skinner
Ask Doctor K