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Ed Driscoll

The Anti-Semitic Keynes?

December 30th, 2011 - 3:52 pm

At Power Line, Steve Hayward spots Paul Krugman phoning in his periodic “Keynes Was Right” column, and asks:

I wonder if Krugman also credits Keynes’s views on Jews, which British blogger Damian Thompson of The Telegraph brings to our attention.  From Keynes’s diary:

[Jews] have in them deep-rooted instincts that are antagonistic and therefore repulsive to the European, and their presence among us is a living example of the insurmountable difficulties that exist in merging race characteristics, in making cats love dogs …

It is not agreeable to see civilization so under the ugly thumbs of its impure Jews who have all the money and the power and brains.

Thompson adds:

If Keynes was an intellectual hero of the Right, rather than the Left, do you think those quotes would be so little known?

Anti-Semitism used to be a property of the Right, yet it’s worth pointing out that today many of the intellectual heroes of the right are Jews, such as Milton Friedman, Leo Strauss, Irving Kristol, etc., or that anti-Semitism has become almost wholly the province of the Left today.

As Jonah Goldberg asked in 2005, “So which leftwing martyr/icon is left?”

Sacco & Vanzetti were guilty. The Rosenbergs: guilty. Hiss: guilty. Margaret Mead: liar. Rigoberta Menchu: liar. Duranty: liar. Kinsey: liar. Upton Sinclair: liar. I.F. Stone isn’t looking too hot (lied about America often, loved totalitarians, might have taken KGB money).

Martin Luther King Jr. — small flaws aside — is still looking good. But Bobby Kennedy is only a useful leftwing hero if you don’t look too closely. Ditto JFK. Jesse Jackson’s going to look awful to historians.

Who’s left?

Well, in part thanks to Jonah’s book, not Woodrow Wilson or Margaret Sanger. Though as I’ve quipped before, hey, there’s always John Kerry and Bill Ayers.

But more seriously, in recent years, the left tried to cast off its “liberalism” moniker, itself a base stolen around the time of FDR in the 1930s from traditional laissez-faire classical liberalism. Some of its more prominent ideological exponents, not the least of which were Obama and Hillary, tried to start calling themselves “progressives” once again. But there’s a lot of negative baggage from the first half of the 20th century that comes with that territory — and which may likely increase, as the Internet helps to spread some of the more inconvenient truths about its most prominent intellectual forefathers that have been airbrushed out of history.

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