Why are Jews hated by so many people?
Why are so many people anti-Semitic? How and why did anti-Semitism start? Is there a solution to anti-Semitism?
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Recently, another wonder has emerged, or rather remerged, since it’s been with us longer than even the Pyramid of Giza. In fact, it is not a single wonder, but a whole list of them, but they all revolve around one question: Why do people hate Jews?
Evidently, willingly or unwillingly, Jews never stopped being the chosen people—chosen to fix the world. And the reason why there is anti-Semitism is very simply that the world is still not fixed.
To understand the wrong that Jews are doing, we need to look at how, and especially why the Jewish nation formed. The father of Judaism, and of all Abrahamic religions, is Abraham Our Father [Abraham the Patriarch], who symbolizes mercy. The Midrash (Beresheet Rabah) tells us that when Abraham saw his countryfolk arguing and quarrelling he tried to make peace and help them unite. In the words of the Midrash, he tried to “patch up” all the people in the world.
This hypothesis invites the further question, why do people have different fundamentalvalues? If values are objective, then this question is just as puzzling as the initial question,“Why do people disagree about political issues?” But many people think that valuequestions have no objective answers, and that value is merely a matter of personal feelingsand preferences. This would tend to explain, or at least render it none too surprising, thatmany people have divergent values and are unable to resolve these value-differences.
There are three reasons why I disagree with this explanation. The first is that valuequestions are objective, and .The second reason is that this hypothesis fails to explain the clustering of politicalbeliefs described above. On the Divergent Fundamental Values theory, we should expectprevalent political belief clusters to correspond to different basic moral theories. Thus, thereshould be some core moral claim that unites all or most ‘liberal’ political beliefs, and adifferent moral claim that unites all or most ‘conservative’ political beliefs. Whatunderlying moral thesis supports the views that (a) capitalism is unjust, (b) abortion ispermissible, (c) capital punishment is bad, and (d) affirmative action is just? Here, I neednot claim that those beliefs always go together, but merely that they are correlated (if aperson holds one of them, he is more likely to hold another of them); the Divergent Valueshypothesis fails to explain this. And the earlier example of abortion and animal rights(section 2d) shows that in some cases, the political belief clusters we find are the oppositeof what we would expect from people who were correctly reasoning from fundamentalmoral theories.
Why do people prefer to believe some things that are not true or not supported by theevidence? What kinds of non-epistemic belief preferences do we have?
But note that, on this hypothesis, we would not expect the existence of an cluster of beliefs. That is, suppose that liberal beliefs are, in general, true, and that thisexplains why there are many people who generally embrace this cluster of beliefs. (Thus,affirmative action is just, abortion is permissible, welfare programs are good, capitalpunishment is bad, human beings are seriously damaging the environment, etc.) Whywould there be a significant number of people who tend to embrace the opposite beliefs onall these issues? It is not plausible to suppose that there are some people who are in generaldrawn toward falsity. Even if there are people who are not very good at getting to the truth(perhaps they are stupid, ignorant, etc.), their beliefs should be, at worst, to the truth;they should not be systematically directed from the truth. Thus, while there could bea ‘true cluster’ of political beliefs, the present consideration strongly suggests that neitherthe liberal nor the conservative belief-cluster is it.
People are biased towards beliefs that ‘fit well’ with their existing beliefs. In one sense,of course, the tendency to prefer beliefs that fit well with an existing belief system isrational, rather than a bias. But this tendency can also function as a bias. For instance, thereare many people who believe capital punishment deters crime and many who believe itdoesn’t; there are also many who believe that innocent people are frequently convicted andmany who believe that they aren’t. But there are relatively few people who think thatcapital punishment deters crime, that many innocent people are convicted. Likewise,few people think capital punishment fails to deter crime, but few innocent people areconvicted. In other words, people will tend to either adopt both of the factual beliefs thatwould tend to support capital punishment, or adopt both of the factual beliefs that wouldtend to undermine capital punishment. On a similar note, relatively few people believe thatdrug use is extremely harmful to society that laws against drugs are and will remainineffective. Yet, a priori, there’s no reason why those positions (i.e., positions in which areason a particular policy and a reason that policy both have a sound factualbasis) should be less probable than the positions we actually find to be prevalent (i.e.,positions according to which the relevant considerations point in the same direction).
In one psychological study, subjects were exposed to evidence from studies of the deterrenteffect of capital punishment. One study had concluded that capital punishment has adeterrent effect; another had concluded that it does not. All experimental subjects wereprovided with summaries of both studies, and then asked to assess which conclusion theevidence they had just looked at most supported overall. The result was that those whoinitially supported capital punishment claimed that the evidence they’d been shown,overall, supported that capital punishment has a deterrent effect. Those who initiallyopposed capital punishment thought that this same evidence, overall, supportedthat capital punishment had no deterrent effect. In each case, partisans came up withreasons (or rationalizations) for why the study whose conclusion they agreed with wasmethodologically superior to the other study. This points up one reason why people tendto become polarized about politicalissues: we tend to evaluate mixed evidence as supporting whichever belief we alreadyincline towards—whereupon we increase our degree of belief.