That’s the problem: The vulnerability of the conservative model, as de Tocqueville observed in 1835, is that the losers will use their political power to expropriate the winners and vote themselves rich. It is a proud and self-confident people indeed that is composed of individuals willing to accept failure, pick themselves up, and try again, rather than coveting the success of the winners. If popular jealousy erupts against the success of one’s own countrymen, all the more so will it be directed against a minority.
It is a high-class problem, but the Jews must deal with the fact that they are the most successful people in the history of mankind by any measure: longevity, contributions to arts and sciences, Nobel Prizes, business and philanthropy (Olympic medals being the great exception). Their neighbors have envied their success (and attributed it to a global banking conspiracy or other nefarious enterprise). The aspect of Jewish success that other peoples most envy, though, is Jewish longevity, at a moment when most of the peoples of the world feel the cold breath of mortality on the backs of their necks. Antisemitism is the rancor the dying have for the living. Nowhere is that more evident than in the case of Iran, a formerly great nation now facing demographic death. The exception that proves the rule is China, among whose 1.5 billion people there is not a single Jew-hater. China is confident of its own longevity, and the principle that has held China together since the founding of its imperial system is a merciless meritocracy which rewards success and disdains failure.
Jews are liberals because they hope that if everyone succeeds, no-one will envy the Jews’ success. It is a Utopian premise, and wrong, but not quite as crazy as it sounds given the alternative: to assert Jewish success and Jewish particularly in a world full of failures is a dangerous thing. One finds some great nations with a natural affinity to the Jews, such as China and India, and many with an inherent antipathy — not just Iran, but most of Western Europe. In my view, there really is no choice, since it is impossible to engineer the success of peoples who are determined to destroy themselves. But the prosperity, strength and happiness of the Eternal People are unbearable insults in the eyes of peoples who have passed their best-used-by-date. For 3,500 years, we have watched other nations ruin themselves, and become dust on the scales and a drop of the bucket. Alone among all the peoples who lived between the Indus River and the Pillars of Hercules, we speak and write a language that was spoken and written more than 3,000 years ago. How could the fragile, extinction-prone peoples of the world in their existential anguish not covet Jewish longevity?