June 3, 2004 (Ira Pilgrim)

Ernest van den Haag

Just as Hitler and C. Wright Mills did, I too have come to the conclusion that we are dominated and exploited by a "power elite." Only, unlike my fellow scholars, I don't identify the members as either rich or Jewish. Upon extensive research, I found that we are dominated by men wearing glasses; they succeed in getting each other into corporate directorships, become generals, music critics, stockbrokers, senators, Supreme Court justices, and cabinet members. They conspire against everyone not shortsighted. I can prove that easily.

Ernest van den Haag, 1969

I was browsing my bookshelves for something to read, when I picked up Ernest van den Haag's 1969 book The Jewish Mystique. I had read it more than 30 years ago, and liked it. When I read it this time, it was as if I had never read it before. It now strikes me as one of the most profound books ever written. Van den Haag's scholarship is accurate, his reasoning clear. He knows when his information and reasoning is sure and when it is shaky and he says so. As you can tell from the above quote, he has a well developed sense of humor. In short, it is a superb book. There is something in it for everyone and it is sure to generate a reaction from liberals, conservatives, Christians and Jews.

Born in the Netherlands in 1914, Van den Haag (Dutch for From the Hague), after several years in an Italian prison and a German concentration camp, escaped to the United States and came here without knowing a word of English. As anyone can tell from his writings, he is now a master of the English language, the old and new testaments, psychology and law. He studied at the Sorbonne and got a Ph.D. in economics at New York University. He was a practicing psychoanalyst. He was also a Professor of Jurisprudence and Public Policy at Fordham University and taught at New York University and the New School for Social Research. Wow! Google has about 6,300 entries for him. He is considered a conservative because he published in the National Review, favors the death penalty and does not believe that drugs are addictive. However, he cannot be put in a box with other conservatives. If he is in a box, it is his own box and he shares it with no one. I browsed Google and was unable to find anything about how he lived, just how he died. He died in 2002, a Roman Catholic and, as he desired, was buried as one,.

Much of what he writes is with a psychoanalyst's perspective, which is that everyone, without exception, has a history that includes parents with ways of thinking and specific ideas about child rearing, a culture, an environment that includes others, chance events and many other factors which, if understood, will give the analyst an idea about what goes on in a person's mind.

I recommend The Jewish Mystique without reservation. It is sure to broaden your perspective. For sure, it has broadened mine.

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