When Mitt Romney arrived in Jerusalem and suggested that Israel’s success contrasted with its Muslim neighbors was due to a culture of success, he was waving a red flag in front of a red bull. Romney’s comments were as provocative to the left as Obama’s “You didn’t build that” remark was to us.
To the left, success has become the Mark of Cain. Where success once used to be proof of good character, the balance has shifted and it is now proof of bad character. The left blames all disparities on injustice. If A has less than B, then B has somehow discriminated against A. All that’s left is for the sociologists and critical race theorists to plug in the variables, write their papers and explain the mechanism for the injustice and how it can be remedied through centralized redistribution.
This is the era of “You didn’t build that” where achievement is inherently unfair and an object of guilt. To succeed is to steal. Anyone who has achieved more than those around him has unfairly taken from them. And the more he succeeds, the more he has to feel guilty about and the more he must atone through social justice.
Mitt Romney didn’t build companies; he unfairly redistributed what should have been equal resources in an unequal way to create that success. America also didn’t build anything; it just looted the resources and markets that should have been divided equally among the nations of the world. And the same goes for Jews and the Jewish State. Individual success is not exceptionalism; it’s stealing from the collective.
The left already knows why Israel is more successful. Because it’s a greedy country whose success has come at the expense of its poorer neighbors. The left finds the idea of explaining success in terms of character, either individual or national, to be offensive. To suggest that success is due to personal virtue is to also imply that failure is due to a lack of virtue. The left is not interested in exploring what’s wrong with nations or groups that fail, only in explaining how their failure is no fault of their own.
The left was only interested in Jews as an oppressed minority and in Israel as a small doomed country. Once Jews became successful and Israel emerged victorious, the left turned on them and on Israel.
Israel’s success is one of the greatest weapons that the left uses against it. If Israelis were still living in tents and trying to get the power to stay on for more than a few hours a day, the Jewish State wouldn’t make nearly as tempting a target. Israel’s transformation from a bunch of refugees and farmers armed with third-rate weapons to a prosperous nation of flowering orchards, booming tech companies and new towns rising out of the earth, is proof of its immorality. If the Jewish State were truly moral, it would have stayed poor.
Most offensively Israel’s economic success has kept pace with its transition from socialist collectives to free enterprise, going from a “You didn’t build that” culture to a “You built it” culture. While the Palestinian Authority and most of Israel’s Muslim neighbors still operate under government monopolies, Israel’s tech industry revolution has boosted its international trade while making it possible for a few army or air force veterans to cobble together a company that brings a revolutionary new product to market.
USB flash drives and instant messaging software came out of that “You built it” culture. On the other side of the border malaise and misery, bombs and fanatics, have come out of the economic monopolies wielded by military rulers, tribal leaders and religious despots.