Sunday, September 13, 2009

German Jews less liberal? American Jews of Polish and Russian background have a reputation of being more liberal than German Jews. Is it true today?

I calculated "conservatism" means for the groups from GSS data. When asked about political views, respondents were offered a seven-point scale ranging from "extremely liberal" (1) to "extremely conservative" (7).

Mean conservatism score

German Jews 3.38 (n = 55)
Russian Jews 3.48 (n = 275)
Polish Jews 3.48 (n = 98)

No evidence here that German Jews are less liberal.


ironrailsironweights said...

I've always thought of the stereotypical liberal Jews as being the Upper West Side limousine liberal types. They are, I believe, quite heavily German origin.


TGGP said...

Eugene Volokh (along with other of his co-bloggers) often points out the conservatism of Russian Jewish immigrants to America. He himself is of the generation disenchanted with communism and who emmigrated thanks to the Jackson-Vanick amendment. So it could be that generation gap that explains the difference between his and Paul Gottfried's perspective.

Outland said...


If you control for a similar IQ group as Ashekanazi Jews, say a group of White gentiles or Chinese with average IQs of 110-115, would they be similarly liberal?

If so, it could support the idea that intelligence leads to more liberal attitudes in general. Mostly because smart people can handle a bit of marihuana and sexual freedom without causing too much problems -- well, for them and the people around them, that is. For the underclass and NAMs, the results will be a lot less good.

I've always been struck by the strange attraction educated white liberals feel for progressivist causes.

SFG said...

TGGP: Yeah. One of the few big conservatives I knew at college was a Jewish kid whose family had fled Russia. And remember Alyssa Rosenbaum, better known as Ayn Rand? In general Russian Jews had known how bad Communism was too, whereas German Jews were only afraid of fascism.

Outland: I'd buy that; a similar phenomenon may be the connection between geek culture and sexual deviance. Computer geeks and their unattractive groupies are brainy and inhibited enough to engage in polyamory and sadomasochism without getting infected or seriously hurt...which would be disastrous in a wider context. I mean, if the leather crowd follows the gays into social acceptance, there are going to be real problems.

Also note how high-agreeablenss and high-conscientiousness Scandinavians (and their relatives in the Upper Midwest) tend to support big welfare states as a hedge against risk...which, of course, the Scandinavians never abuse (but everyone else does!) It's sort of funny how the same genotype produces conservative behavior and liberal politics.