The New York Times opinion columnist has sparked controversy and outrage over his latest op-ed.
By Philip Weiss | Mondoweiss | Dec 29, 2019
Stephens’s argument is that Jews are not just smarter by IQ data, but they think differently.
There is a big controversy unfolding over Bret Stephens’s latest column, in which he says that the secret of Jewish genius is that Jews are more imaginative moral thinkers than anyone else. Even Fox News is saying that it is racist, and quoting Sen. Brian Shatz saying that the column crossed a line.
Stephens’s argument is that Jews are not just smarter by IQ data, but they think differently. Jewish intelligence is “so often matched by such bracing originality and high-minded purpose.”
One can apply a prodigious intellect in the service of prosaic things — formulating a war plan, for instance, or constructing a ship. One can also apply brilliance in the service of a mistake or a crime, like managing a planned economy or robbing a bank.
But… Jewish genius operates differently. It is prone to question the premise and rethink the concept; to ask why (or why not?) as often as how; to see the absurd in the mundane and the sublime in the absurd. Ashkenazi Jews might have a marginal advantage over their gentile peers when it comes to thinking better. Where their advantage more often lies is in thinking different.
A lot of smart people are taking Stephens apart on-line.