Political loyalty & its discontents: A thoughtful CiF reader examines a vexing dilemma

Occasionally we come across a reader comment beneath the line of a ‘Comment is Free’ essay which is not only worth recommending, but thoughtful enough to post and meditate upon. 

The essay in question which elicited the comment, “So, you think reason guides your politics? Think again, May 17, by Simon Jenkins, (which explores what factors motivate our political thought process), represents a rare display of intellectual complexity at an institution often identified as much by a mind numbing uniformity as by a particular political brand.

Writes Jenkins:

“Most people buy a newspaper not to be prised from their settled opinion but to find it confirmed and comforted. They would not be dragged from it by wild horses, let alone the old nag of reason. A newspaper is their tribal notice board, their badge, their identity.”

While Jenkins’ piece does succumb to the chic appeal of (political) biological determinism, his effort represents serious thought, and is refreshingly free of hyperbole or moral posturing.

The essay also inspired this comment, very much worth examining, briefly giving voice to the dilemmas of Zionists who are forced to choose between principles and the comforts of political group identity.

I’d like to hear others’ opinions, both on the specific issue of being a Zionist within political spheres hostile to Jewish nationalism, as well as the broader theme of retaining independence of mind in the context of group demands.    

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