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In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Repentance for a misspent youth

By Jonathan Rosenblum






http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "In every work of genius, we recognize our own rejected thoughts; they return to us with a certain alienated majesty," wrote Emerson. That pretty much captures my feelings upon finishing Michael Ignatieff's superb biography of Isaiah Berlin.


Berlin's command of the history of ideas grounds many of the intuitions that have guided my repentance over the past 30 years for the intellectual hubris of my friends and myself at Yale Law School. An important strand in Berlin's work was the demonstration of how the Enlightenment project of making human reason the measure of all things could end in the Gulag.


The anti-clericalism of the leading Enlightenment thinkers contained within it the potential for a new clericalism more authoritarian and murderous than that which it superseded, with intellectuals as its priests.


But Berlin was not just concerned with the most extreme deformations of the Enlightenment ideals. Though he defined himself as a man of the Left, he found that a similar cast of mind underpinned much left-wing thought from the French Revolution. Belief in a unitary human nature and a fixed hierarchy of values gave rise to the confident assumption that human reason can design a society in which the parts fit together harmoniously. The society thus designed would "free" man as never before by allowing him to fully develop all his capabilities.


The latter doctrine of "positive liberty," so admired in the young, "humanitarian" Marx, could easily end with Stalin's engineers of the soul. As Ignatieff sums up the matter: In Berlin's view, "the European Enlightenment was divided by a central contradiction between maintaining that men should be free to choose and insisting that they should be only free to choose what it would be rational to desire."


Rationality, of course, is best determined by the experts.


Berlin's project was to demonstrate that our most precious values — liberty, freedom and justice — inevitably conflict. Continually raising taxes on the top 1% of wage earners may bring about a more egalitarian society, for instance, but it is ridiculous to insist that there has not been some corresponding loss of freedom.


Disagreements about ends make it inevitable that the quest for smooth managerial resolution of conflict, Berlin felt, will forever remain a search for the Holy Grail. Soviet Marxism took the belief in central planning by experts to its apogee. But, Berlin pointed out, Western liberals were also prone to the illusion that all dilemmas of public and private life can be resolved by experts, psychotherapists and other "engineers of the human soul." The most learned of men, Berlin nevertheless insisted that intellectual elites have no business presuming that they know better than the man or woman in the street.


That the cult of the expert — itself an outgrowth of the Enlightenment's enthroning of human reason above all — should appeal to intellectual elites is unsurprising: It is a form of the revenge of the nerds whose superior qualities were unnoted by the pretty girls in high school. The assumption that "rationality" is a matter easily ascertained, at least by the brainy folks, underlies the preference for centrally planned economies by many intellectuals. Free markets are deemed too unruly, too irrational, as they give equal weight to the decisions of millions of consumers, those with high IQs and low IQs alike.


Belief in a single rational solution to every problem leads as well to nasty politics. Marxists have a term for those who fail to acknowledge the rational solution: "false consciousness." False consciousness can infect entire social classes, and when it does they must either be re-educated or eliminated. In non-totalitarian regimes, ridicule replaces re-education for all those too stupid to accept the consensus. Perhaps that explains why so many writers to the Yale Law Magazine find calling George W. Bush an idiot the height of sophisticated wit. Even "jokes" about Sarah Palin's Down Syndrome son and "retarded" family are not beyond the pale.


Not since the heady days of Camelot has the easy assumption that the "brightest" are the "best" held such sway in Washington D.C., or the cachet of prestigious Ivy League degrees been so high. The cult of the "expert" is reflected in the 30 or so "czars" designated to date. President Obama's choice for science czar, John Holdren, suffers from a particularly hardy case.



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In the late 1970s, when it was claimed that the "population bomb" would render the planet uninhabitable within a generation, Holdren proposed a Planetary Regime to control the development, administration, conservation and distribution of all natural resources, with the power to set optimal population levels for every region of the globe and to enforce those limits by compulsory abortion.


Hubris levels are correspondingly high in D.C. today. The Obama administration tried to redesign the entire United States health care system — one-sixth of the economy — in a couple of months.


One notable aspect of the administration's proposals is the attempt to end competition between private health insurers, and with it the ability of individual citizens to decide what kind of medical conditions they wish to insure against and what percentage of their budget to allocate to health insurance. One size fits all.


With equal rapidity, the administration seeks to put in place Rube Goldbergesque cap-and-trade limits on carbon emissions that even President Obama admits will cause electricity prices to skyrocket, and which will, at least in the short-run, make America more dependent on foreign oil. All in the name of staving off a global climate change catastrophe, even though major polluters and economic competitors like China, India and Brazil have made it clear they will not sign up.


No wonder forging a "solution" to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to be imposed on the parties seems like child's play.


Ironically, the new "experts" are not notably more empirically based than was Soviet genetics under Stalin. Global warming — or rather catastrophic climate change, now that the Earth turns out to be cooling — is, says Nobel Laureate in Physics Ivan Giaever, the "new religion." Even as the ranks of leading scientists in the ranks of skeptics of alarmist global warming swell, and the predictive power of the alarmists' computer-generated models is repeatedly undermined, the first impulse is to stifle dissent.


Dr. Mitchell Taylor, one of the world's leading experts on polar bears, who has written that virtually all Arctic bear populations have either grown over the past 30 years or at are optimal levels, was disinvited to a meeting of the Polar Bear Specialist Group leading up to the Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change in December, on the grounds that his views on global warming are "unhelpful."


When Alan Carlin, a 35-year employee of the Environment Protection Agency, prepared a 100-page report questioning the agency's decision to classify carbon as a "pollutant," and thereby subject to EPA regulation without any Congressional action, he was ordered not to disseminate his report.


Closer to home, the anti-empiricism of the administration's foreign policy experts manifests itself in their inability to process the overwhelming evidence that the Palestinians do not share their definition of rationality, or seek a state of their own alongside Israel. Bigger still is the refusal to acknowledge Israel's less-than-happy experience with territorial withdrawals for peace.


Now back to rereading Sir Isaiah's classic essays on liberty.

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JWR contributor Jonathan Rosenblum is founder of Jewish Media Resources and a widely-read columnist for the Jerusalem Post's domestic and international editions and for the Hebrew daily Maariv. He is also a respected commentator on Israeli politics, society, culture and the Israeli legal system, who speaks frequently on these topics in the United States, Europe, and Israel. His articles appear regularly in numerous Jewish periodicals in the United States and Israel. Rosenblum is the author of seven biographies of major modern Jewish figures. He is a graduate of the University of Chicago and Yale Law School. Rosenblum lives in Jerusalem with his wife and eight children.






© 2009, Jonathan Rosenblum