Development Site - Changes here will not affect the live (production) site.

A Personal Reflection on Jewish Devotees of Psychoanalysis—and of Radical Leftism

Jan. 30 2017

In the early years of psychoanalysis, it was not uncommon to hear the new psychological theory referred to as “the Jewish science”; in Sigmund Freud’s inner circle of colleagues and disciples, Carl Jung was the sole Gentile. Since then, its association with Jews has not diminished. Barbara Kay, reminiscing about growing up in Toronto in the 1940s and 50s in a household where psychiatrists and psychoanalysts were venerated, explores the grip that Freud’s theories and, for others, Communism had on a generation or more of Jews:

Some kids’ moms felt they missed their calling as dancers or writers. Mine, a high-school graduate with native intelligence, but underdeveloped critical-thinking skills harnessed to overdeveloped self-confidence, was an analyst manqué. I simply accepted that “what do you think you/she/he really meant by that?” was a normal response to even the most banal assertion at our dinner table. I assumed all families were like that, but they weren’t. It really was a Jewish thing. . . .

Looking back, I can see that blind faith in psychiatry as the Answer was a kind of mania in the 1950s and beyond for Jews who had lost touch with the faith of their fathers, but were too bourgeois and socially conformist to find appeal in far-left political radicalism. Smart, striving, secular Jews, [by contrast,] who couldn’t for one reason or another complete the upstream leap to material good fortune, tended to gravitate to political ideology. And there were enough of them to make up a massively disproportionate share of the Communist movement in the West. . . .

In both cases, the appeal was a universal belief system in which Jews might melt—unChosen, unChosen at last!—into the general polity, whether the defining authority was the universal Unconscious or an international classless society presided over by Big Brother. The two faith systems also had in common the belief that human unhappiness was the consequence of non-rational laws and taboos. And God knows Judaism is more chockablock with those than any other religion I can think of. . . .

When my mother thought the cure for anti-Semitism was psychological hygiene, her hopes were buoyed by the post-Holocaust orgy of self-recrimination that swept through Western nations. Her generation—and mine, too—really believed anti-Semitism was a dying animal. The re-establishment of sovereignty in the Jews’ indigenous homeland was a miracle to my parents’ generation, and mostly to mine. She could not have foreseen, and would have been utterly confounded by, the next iteration of universal-panacea Jewish inventions bent on unChoosing the Jews: a social-justice movement in which Israel would feature as a villain. Anti-Zionism’s Western leadership is made up primarily of progressive academics, and of them a huge disproportion is Jewish. This would have been a source of turmoil and shame for her.

You've just used your last free article this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Already have an account? Log in now

Read more at Walrus

More about: Canadian Jewry, Communism, History & Ideas, Psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud

Germany’s Bid to Keep Israel off the UN Security Council

March 21 2018

The Jewish state has never held a temporary seat on the United Nations Security Council. For the first 50 years of its existence, it was denied membership in any of the UN’s regional groups, which control candidacies for these rotating seats. Then it was finally admitted to the Western European and Others Group, which promptly agreed to wait another twenty years before approving Jerusalem for a Security Council candidacy. Now, Benny Avni notes, Germany is poised to block action:

Sign up to read more

You've read all your free articles for this month

Registration is fast and free and will give you TWO more articles to read

Register

Sign up now for unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Already have an account? Log in now

Read more at New York Post

More about: Germany, Israel & Zionism, Israeli-German relations, United Nations