Growing up as a Seventh-Day Adventist Christian in Australia and Northern California, it never occurred to me in my first 18 years that there might be a religion more true than mine. I had no doubt that Anglo Protestants produced the finest civilization in the world.
I did not know any Catholics, Jews, or Muslims, and therefore I never considered that their ways might be superior to my own.
In my first year of junior college, I met my friend’s mom who said that UCLA was hard for her because there was so many smart Jews. I didn’t quite know what to do with that idea, but it must have troubled my self-confidence because I’ve never forgotten her remark. At the time, I did not know I knew any Jews.
After age 18, I began welcoming some points of view that challenged my own. I was looking to move on from the way I was raised. When I went to UCLA at age 22, I was thrilled by the diversity. I became fascinated by my first experiences with Jews and that led to my conversion to Orthodox Judaism, but if I had never met Jews, it would never have occurred to me to convert to Judaism, or to consider that there was any religion more true than mine.
I suspect that if you grow up in Orthodox Judaism and you have no friends who aren’t Orthodox Jews, it would never occur to you that another way of life might be superior to your own. That seems to be the way the world works from what I have seen. My friends who grew up in this way found college a mind-blowing experience when they met non-Jews who were every bit as smart and in many ways more moral than their own kind. This has led some of my FFB (Frum aka Orthodox Jews from birth) to bouts of self-admitted anti-Semitism. They see that they were propagandized to believe that Jews were superior and it turned out not to be true in many ways, but they feel stuck in their traditional Jewish marriages and communities and can’t leave.
Most Jews I know don’t understand why anyone would convert to Judaism. They feel stuck being Jewish. Most Orthodox Jews I know don’t seem particularly happy about being Orthodox Jews.
Extrapolating from my life experience, I think I understand one motivation for why countries have expelled Jews and other minorities. Who wants that challenge? Who wants that diversity? It is much more comfortable when everyone around you shares your race and religion.
In the Australia that I know, the white Australia of Christian origin, there’s an instinct that everyone who’s not an Aussie is a loser. This strong in-group identity promotes camaraderie among white Australians and hostility to outsiders.
What if one were black and was only friends with blacks and you were near the top of your class in your black school, and then you have to compete with non-blacks at college? That would be dispiriting.
Or imagine you are an Arab living in a Palestine that is 80% Arab (as Palestine was circa 1920) and suddenly your land is taken over by high-IQ Jews. How would you feel when you are expelled from your land? How would you feel when you see that your fellow Arabs have an average IQ of about 85 while Ashkenazi Jews have an average IQ above 105? That must produce rage and a willingness to die rather than to live with such humiliation.
I think I understand now why Muslim lands had so many restrictions on Jews. If Jews are granted freedom and equal rights, they will rise to the top and dominate due to their superior intelligence, diligence, drive and group cohesion. How humiliating that must be for non-Jews.
For decades, 90% of Australian immigration has been non-white. As a result, Asians are increasingly the managerial class in Australia. This hurts the confidence and cohesion of white Australians.
Up until the 1960s, America was dominated by Protestants, but increasingly over the past century, Jews have become America’s elite. Jews dominate the media, academia and cultural institutions. How dispiriting and divisive this must be for non-Jews.