Jews and conservatism: an idea whose time has come

Nov 2, 2018 by

by Melanie Phillips:

Last Sunday, I took part in the Jewish Leadership Conference in New York on Jews and conservatism. There were some excellent presentations from a line-up including Ruth Wisse, Rabbi Meir Soloveichik, Jonathan Haidt, Yoram Hazony and others.

The point of the conference was, in the JLC’s own words, to harness the power of conservative ideas to strengthen the Jewish people and revitalise American civic life.

It is not over-dramatic to say this is a project that is urgently needed to save the west. For the past several decades, the bedrock values of western civilisation have been under assault from the left’s “long march through the institutions”. The traditional family, the purpose of education and the very idea of the nation state based on historic western values have all been undermined, turned inside out and vilified.

At the root of this process is the belief on the left that the moral principles of the Hebrew Bible must be overthrown by secularism. Those principles which the Hebrew Bible introduced to the world include respecting the dignity of every human being and forming societies based on justice and compassion. It even introduced the revolutionary idea of a rational universe upon which western science is based and which made modernity a western concept.

The onslaught on western and Biblical culture and values has produced, in dire contrast, a culture of extreme individualism and social anarchy in which group fights group for power, man-made ideologies destroy the freedom to think and dissent and in which reason itself goes to the wall. Attacking the Biblical basis of the west is to cut off the branch on which it sits.

More chillingly still, this has all been done under the banner of “liberalism”, “tolerance” and “progressive thinking” on the basis that the Bible and its moral codes stand for the negation of liberty, conscience and rationality.

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