So It Is Written, So It Shall Be Done

Dr. Laura, who very publically embraced Orthodox Judaism a few years back, has just as publically debraced it. One commentator cited in the article accepts Schlesinger’s defection fairly readily, saying: “Let her be just a garden variety, anti-choice conservative.”

What’s interesting about this story is that it seems that Dr. Laura–the family values and religious faith moralizer–has been incapable of fitting in with other Jews. Despite her incessant badgering of people to do as she does (or at least as she says she does), she just wasn’t accepted. As a Jew, yes–even as she publically renounces Judaism and considers the smorgasbord of “very loving, very supportive” Christian faiths out there, the Jews interviewed in the article insist that she is still a Jew. But she wasn’t accepted into any sort of community, complaining that “From my own religion, I have either gotten nothing, which is 99% of it, or two of the nastiest letters I have gotten in a long time. I guess that’s my point — I don’t get much back. Not much warmth coming back.”

I guess this is not surprising, even to people who know little of Dr. Laura’s schtick. Today’s conservativism, it seems to me, is very much about the individual over the community, about ignoring the problems around you except as they impact your own condition, usually in terms of your financial situation. “I’m not paying taxes so some homo can get free AIDS medicine”, that sort of thing. It’s easy to be Jewish, or Christian, or anything else, and hold these sorts of views, but if it’s “warmth” you’re after, some sense of communal togetherness, I just don’t see how they’re compatible.

No comments yet to So It Is Written, So It Shall Be Done

  • Anonymous

    I think you do an intelligent job of pointing out some of the paradoxes of a political coalition that tries to keep together both the self-indulgent free-market greed-is-good faction with the nothing-is-more-important-than-integrity faction that makes up at least some portion of the Christian Right.

    I’ve been in a room with 6 close friends and seen them waste an hour trying to decide what movie to see. It is difficult to get 6 people to agree on something. It is more difficult to get 300 million people to agree on something. It takes a great deal of work to put together a national coalition that can win 51% of the vote for much of a generation. Most of the great coalitions that have dominated American life for any length of time have had massive internal strains, and often when that coalition dies it dies for exactly the reasons one might have predicted on the first day.

    There is nothing especially natural about getting urban intellectuals to join up with the party of farmers and the working class, but that is what the Democrats achieved in 1932 and it let them run the country for most of 40 years.

    Likewise, there is nothing natural about binding the innovation-is-more-important-than-tradition free-market types together with the traditional values types. Dr. Laura’s story is just one of the types of story you might expect to emerge from some a contradictory political alliance.

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