Given that I’m not only a Jew but my father immigrated to America after escaping Nazi Germany, you’d probably assume that anything I’d have to say about the Nation of Islam’s leader, Minister Louis Farrakhan, wouldn’t be fit for polite company.
But that’s where you’d be wrong. As a matter of fact, when referring to Minister Farrakhan, I always make sure to include the honorific.
Many of my first real male role models were men who had a deep and abiding respect for Minister Farrakhan. They were always good to me, and whatever it is I’d be minus their influence is incomprehensible. So I’m not going to be bullied into disrespecting them by disrespecting a man they deeply admired by anyone.
Nor will I disrespect the lessons they imparted by turning into a hysterical toddler every time somebody makes a mean remark about my ancestry.
In general, I adhere to a strict policy of responding to any demand from any quarter to denounce anyone at all—regardless of how worthy of denunciation he may, in fact, be—with a less family-friendly version of, “Go pound sand.”
Doesn’t matter if it’s Hitler.
I’m not a trained seal.
Nor do I bark on command.
The point of this column is to wake everyone up to how much of our present predicament is due to the conservative movement’s willingness to do just that… by laying down a few cold hard truths about some childish delusions which, unfortunately, have played an outsized role in getting us to the awful state of full-blown societal freefall we’ve found ourselves in since the media anointed Joe Biden president on November 4.
So, the first silly fairy tale we’ll be putting away with our GI Joes and Barbie-dolls is that preposterous faith we’ve somehow acquired in the saintliness of all victims.
My father, the holocaust survivor, was a drunken womanizer whom I barely knew. He wasn’t the worst guy in the world by any measure, but he sure as heck wasn’t the best either. And, despite the simplistic morality tales on which you’ve been irresponsibly reared, the huddled mass of Jews packed into the boat that took him to America certainly contained many a good deal better but also many a good deal worse as well.
The ranks of people who’ve suffered terrible injustices have no different a distribution of saints and sinners than humanity writ large does, boys and girls.
And all the garbage movies and TV shows that have been selling you on the essential saintliness of victims… well… Uncle Mike hates to have to break it to you kids, but, they’ve been lying the whole time.
Whether or not my father’s less than stellar attendance to his paternal duties was the cause, I turned out like a lot of boys without any dad worth mentioning—a high-school dropout with a penchant for getting into trouble.
Thought I knew everything but didn’t know a damn thing.
That started to change when, at the age of 19, I joined a West Philadelphia Karate dojo—the headquarters of an international organization run by a big-wheel Japanese master, who spent most of the week on the road tirelessly bringing the gospel of Shotokan Karate to a mostly still-benighted world.
Though Sensei made sure to be in town every Wednesday night to teach the weekly black-belts-only class, the dojo was run by a couple of his senior students—two black guys, my first real teachers, Ronnie Johnson and Eugene McKnight, both now deceased, may their souls rest in peace.
Much later, after returning to school, getting a Ph.D. from Princeton, and a job on the faculty of UCLA—none of which would have been possible but for what I learned from my mentors at the dojo—I dedicated my first book to Ronnie, who I’d frequently assist when he taught karate classes at local colleges & universities, never dreaming that one day I’d enroll myself, let alone wind up a professor (and certainly not what a Godawful miserable ordeal it would be).
Ronnie and Gene were both natural-born cynics, and neither had ever really gotten involved with the Nation of Islam. But a sizable contingent of guys with varying degrees of commitment to the organization formed the dojo’s backbone. So, I’d occasionally hear Minister Farrakhan quoted on the inherent imperfection of mankind or some other weighty subject having nothing to do with race or ethnicity while conversing with a mentor.
Most whites probably think that being in the Nation of Islam is a binary thing, you’re either a full-fledged member or have no involvement or commitment at all.
But that’s something else they’ve been lying to you about, boys and girls. Neither the Nation of Islam nor anything else in the real world of grown men and women, for that matter, bears any relation to the simplistic black-and-white moralistic fairy tales with which they’ve lulled us all into a very dangerous sleep, indeed.
More typical would be my mentor Tyrone Hayden, with whom I chowed down at the little diner down on the corner after morning classes at the Dojo several times a week for years. Tyrone was an enormous dread-locked hulk of a man, widely regarded by the larger community of West Philly black martial artists—of which I became a sort of honorary member—as a contender for the toughest guy in the neighborhood, but also the most congenial, mischievously smiling-faced fellow you’d be likely to meet.
At one point, back in the day, Tyrone had been a full-fledged member of the Nation of Islam. But by the time I met him, he’d drifted away. He was using his birth name again and nothing about his dress, demeanor, or conversation would’ve hipped anyone to the fact that he’d ever been involved with Minister Farrakhan’s group—I remember being very surprised to learn of it myself when he told me.
Nonetheless, Tyrone still felt he’d gotten something important out of his time with the group. And, like everyone else at the dojo, it goes without saying that he respected the other karateka who were, to varying degrees, more involved as well as Minister Farrakhan himself.
A lot of guys had a kind of intimate relationship with the Nation of Islam at a distance, never really joining up at all, but changing their given names to something more Islamic-sounding or not and partaking in some of its views without ever officially hitching their wagon to Minister Farrakhan’s.
Now, the fact that all of these men—to one degree or another each respecting someone infamous for making negative remarks about Jews—were nothing but kind and helpful to some 19-year old Jewish kid to whom they didn’t owe a damn thing no doubt will surprise a lot of people since the present-day requires us to adopt a no-tolerance policy towards racial and ethnic prejudice lest we cease to be tolerated ourselves.
Tell an ethnic joke—heck, merely once having told one decades past—and the full force of society’s power to impose non-judicial sanctions will be brought to bear to wreck your life. Should you have the misfortune to be caught on video, you’re liable to find it featured as national news and yourself not only ruined but deprived of a single moment of peace for the rest of your life.
Uttering a racial slur, we’re taught, everywhere and always reflects the speaker’s most deeply held convictions.
No one is ever just kidding around or trying to be outrageous or having a bad day, nor can anything they later do or say ever expunge the stain of their most grievous sin.
So much as hint that it might behoove us to be a little more charitable and not judge another human being’s whole life based on a passing remark made when they were going through God-only-knows-what will get you ostracized and shunned, on the receiving end of the very same total lack of human empathy.
That one remark can literally render every single thing you’ve done and said throughout your whole previous existence totally moot. Your friends and maybe even your family are likely to abandon you or even join the crowds howling for blood so they can save their own skins.
But, hate to break it to you kids, this is another lie you’ve been told by the grownups who create all those TV shows and movies you spend so much of your time watching that, honestly, are more harmful than any cigarette could ever possibly be and which you’d do best to treat as childish things to be abandoned, one and all.
A lot of you kids are going to find this hard to believe, but it’s even perfectly possible—indeed, given how successful he’s been, it’s even pretty darn likely—that Minister Farrakhan himself has Jewish acquaintances that he gets along with just fine.
When I was a kid growing up in North Philadelphia in the 60s—before this awful benighted un-American reign of policing the way we think and speak began—I encountered people with negative opinions about Jews all the time.
Honestly, if I was as delicate a flower as you kids have been raised to be, I would have had to simply cut off all contact with gentiles. Pretty much every non-jew had a brother or a parent or an uncle with some degree of prejudice against my people.
Of course, that didn’t stop them from also having a brother or a father or an uncle, frequently the very same one, who fought in World War II—and sometimes didn’t make it home alive—to help defeat the Nazis who murdered my grandparents.
I can only think of a few of the countless prejudiced people I encountered who I’d describe as in any way hateful. Most of what I ran into was minor prejudice, which I’d frequently wind up discussing with the person manifesting it. Occasionally, I might change his mind. Heck… this is going to shock a lot of you kids… but sometimes given the course of experience my interlocutor had undergone, his prejudice against my people didn’t even seem all that nuts to me.
If I tell you one of my closest friends in high school purported to believe that Jews were a plague on the world and even openly admired Adolf Hitler, you’re almost certain to be as appalled at me for befriending him as you are at him for those repugnant views.
If I tell you his entire family was suffering the most grievous agony—barely coping day-to-day—as they watched leukemia slowly take the life of his beloved 11-year-old sister and that—thanks in no small part to our friendship—once the poor girl’s painful ordeal finally ended and he began to heal, those views you find so repugnant (but which, honestly, though I was only 15, seemed like just so much talk to me) slowly disappeared… well, perhaps you’ll realize you ought to hang your own head in shame for having the nerve to judge either one of us.
No one in his right mind can possibly believe that a good recipe for decreasing extremist views is telling anyone who has some small prejudice or simply uttered an inappropriate word that he’s not much different than the most hateful bigot who’s ever murdered an innocent victim of another race.
We’ve been mesmerized into believing a fairy tale that, apart from being a lie, can only serve to feed the very evil it purports to combat.
And, those who’ve imposed this Stalinist policing of each other’s thoughts and words on us know full-well that they’re fanning the flames of the very thing they claim to abhor.
I mean, think about it kids, how on earth could they not?
The idea that someone who’d prefer his daughter didn’t marry a Jew or someone of another race is, morally speaking, on a par with history’s most virulent homicidal maniacs isn’t just preposterous. Nor is it merely dangerous because it couldn’t have been better designed to drive people further toward that revolting extreme.
In 1978, the American Civil Liberties Union defended the right of a group whose very raison d’etre was worshipping Adolf Hitler to march through Skokie Illinois, where many Holocaust survivors lived. Anyone alive at the time will tell you that it was huge national news, discussed at kitchen tables and office watercoolers all across the land.
But, as remarkable as the ACLU defending a bunch of undisguised neo-Nazis may seem today, there’s something even more shocking about what occurred back then. I was 16 at the time, and I can assure you that—though not everyone agreed with the ACLU’s decision—even teenagers fully understood the principles of free speech that motivated them to take the case.
The majority of Americans today, however, can no longer even faintly comprehend the quintessentially American right to form and express one’s views implicitly understood by every 15-year old in 1978.
That’s in no small part because of the way we’ve allowed ourselves to assimilate the slightest ethnic prejudice—or even the utterance of a single sentence that reflects no such thing at all—to hateful psychopathic violence.
The cogency of our First Amendment implicitly depends on sharply distinguishing between expressing one’s opinion and engaging in violent actions and the understanding that—so long as no threats are involved—they are in no way, shape, or form the same. The fact that an idea you’ve expressed might conceivably be the basis for some criminal’s action must be taken to have absolutely nothing to do with you.
It’s precisely that distinction that was obliterated when we allowed ourselves to be convinced that there’s no such thing as minor prejudice or a harmless ethnic joke.
So, in case you haven’t figured it out, I couldn’t care less about whatever stupid and inconsequential thing Marjorie Taylor Greene is supposed to have said or posted or whatever, however long ago it was.
As a pseudonymous RedState reader noted, she has guts and is on the right side of every issue and, moreover, it’s preposterous to claim she’s some kind of threat to Jews.
For the life of me, I can’t understand how conservatives willing to tolerate people like Dan Crenshaw— who never miss a chance to score points with the elites out to destroy our way of life—nonetheless are happy to get rid of our most stalwart allies based on reports about what they’ve said years ago that any sane adult ought to be able to see have no bearing on the person’s character or anything else of even minor importance and—what’s worse— are being circulated by our enemies with the precise intention of neutralizing our bravest and most dependable allies.
But, speaking as a Jew, above all else, I wish all you gentiles out there would learn to mind your own business. If I’m not freaked out about what MTG said, it’s sort of insulting for someone her remarks have nothing to do with to not just be freaked out for me but insist that I start wetting myself too.
I know Abe Foxman of the ADL and Ben Shapiro probably really want all you gentiles to get worked up about this. But, honestly, I’m telling you it’s none of your business and, instead of getting angry with me, you might want to consider whether they’re manipulating you.
In any event, I’m not some little punk who’s going to wither up and die because some woman said some mean stuff about Jews. My mentors at the dojo taught me better than that. And I don’t need any gentile white knights to save my pathetic and weak little Jewish behind, thank you.
It’s insulting to suggest I do.
No one does.
But some people, who lack enough dignity to be insulted, make a career or part of one out of pretending they do.