Best known as the host of the pioneering EconTalk podcast, and for his efforts to popularize the ideas of the Austrian free-market theorist Friedrich Hayek, Russell Roberts last year became the president of Shalem College, the Jewish state’s first-ever liberal-arts school. In a wide-ranging conversation with Ari Lamm, Roberts explains why Israel’s demographic miracle has everything to do with culture and little to do with policy, how the ideals of economic liberalism complement those of traditional Judaism, what’s Jewish about podcasting, and much else. (Audio, 50 minutes.)
A Podcasting Economist-Turned-Israeli Educator Talks about the Need for the Humanities, Israeli Fertility, America’s Spiritual Crisis, and Bible Stories
Universities Are in Thrall to a Constituency That Sees Israel as an Affront to Its Identity
Commenting on the hearings of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Tuesday about anti-Semitism on college campuses, and the dismaying testimony of three university presidents, Jonah Goldberg writes:
If some retrograde poltroon called for lynching black people or, heck, if they simply used the wrong adjective to describe black people, the all-seeing panopticon would spot it and deploy whatever resources were required to deal with the problem. If the spark of intolerance flickered even for a moment and offended the transgendered, the Muslim, the neurodivergent, or whomever, the fire-suppression systems would rain down the retardant foams of justice and enlightenment. But calls for liquidating the Jews? Those reside outside the sensory spectrum of the system.
It’s ironic that the term colorblind is “problematic” for these institutions such that the monitoring systems will spot any hint of it, in or out of the classroom (or admissions!). But actual intolerance for Jews is lathered with a kind of stealth paint that renders the same systems Jew-blind.
I can understand the predicament. The receptors on the Islamophobia sensors have been set to 11 for so long, a constituency has built up around it. This constituency—which is multi-ethnic, non-denominational, and well entrenched among students, administrators, and faculty alike—sees Israel and the non-Israeli Jews who tolerate its existence as an affront to their worldview and Muslim “identity.” . . . Blaming the Jews for all manner of evils, including the shortcomings of the people who scapegoat Jews, is protected because, at minimum, it’s a “personal truth,” and for some just the plain truth. But taking offense at such things is evidence of a mulish inability to understand the “context.”
Shocking as all that is, Goldberg goes on to argue, the anti-Semitism is merely a “symptom” of the insidious ideology that has taken over much of the universities as well as an important segment of the hard left. And Jews make the easiest targets.