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2010

Nixon’s Accusations of Jewish Insecurity
Shmuley Boteach

 

The Lone Soldier Week 7
Lone Soldier

 

The Paradoxes of Oil as a Guide for Living
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

The Rock Promoter and the Genesis of the Public Chanukah Menorah
Ruvi New

 

Why the Tea Party Resonates with Human Dignity
Shmuley Boteach

 

The Lone Soldier Week 6
Lone Soldier

 

The Lone Soldier Week 5
Lone Soldier

 

Jewish Ingratitude to Christians
Shmuley Boteach

 

No Gelt, No Glory
Simcha Weinstein

 

The Lone Soldier Week 4
Lone Soldier

 

A Time to Hate
Shmuley Boteach

 

The Lone Soldier Week 3
Lone Soldier

 

“My Heart Swells with Joy”
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

The Lone Soldier Week 2
Lone Soldier

 

How Obama Lost his Magic
Shmuley Boteach

 

Rise of the Religious Charlatans
Shmuley Boteach

 

Rupert Murdoch: The 'Soft War' Against Israel
Rupert Murdoch

 

Do We Still Possess the Power to Choose?
Shmuley Boteach

 

The Lone Soldier Week 1
Lone Soldier

 

A Spiritual Night in Hebron
Shmuley Boteach

 

The Religious-Industrial Complex
Shmuley Boteach

 

Ahmedenijad, Media Rock Star
Shmuley Boteach

 

As the Economy Crumbles, Obama Makes Middle East Peace.
Shmuley Boteach

 

When Pastors who Burn Bibles Become Celebrities
Shmuley Boteach

 

If an American President Were Muslim, Would we Care?
Shmuley Boteach

 

My Purpose in Debating Christopher Hitchens on the Afterlife
Shmuley Boteach

 

Suicide Bombers in Heaven? Imam Rauf Won’t Say No
Shmuley Boteach

 

Extravagant Weddings and Bar Mitzvahs Humiliate the Jewish Community
Shmuley Boteach

 

When Psycho Flight Attendants Become Heroes
Shmuley Boteach

 

Iran’s Descent Into Barbarity
Shmuley Boteach

 

Let the Families of 9/11 Decide the Fate of the Ground Zero Mosque
Shmuley Boteach

 

Time Magazine’s Bizarre Assault on Large Families
Shmuley Boteach

 

Tom Friedman’s Soft Spot for Terrorist Fadlallah
Shmuley Boteach

 

Kaddafi’s Ship to Gaza, and His Ark in New Jersey.
Shmuley Boteach

 

What We Lose When We Win
Shmuley Boteach

 

Al Gore’s Moral Confusion
Shmuley Boteach

 

Peace and Zealotry
Simon Jacobson

 

Theater review - 'The Adventures of Hershele Ostropolyer'
Yudi Lewis

 

What McChrystal’s Firing Says about American Values
Shmuley Boteach

 

The Rebbe and Viktor Frankl
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

Michael Jackson’s Life Could have Been Saved
Shmuley Boteach

 

The Psychiatrist and The Lubavitcher Rebbe
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

BP, Kaddafi, and Britain’s Oil Comeuppance
Shmuley Boteach

 

Helen Thomas and the Open Season on the Jews
Shmuley Boteach

 

Did the Lubavitcher Rebbe Con the World?
Shmuley Boteach

 

Fergie’s Fall
Simcha Weinstein

 

Sderot Report
Noam Bedein

 

Why All The Stress?
Mimi Hecht

 

Obama’s Jewish Charm Offensive
Shmuley Boteach

 

The Jewish Woman’s 10 Commandments
Mimi Hecht

 

Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?
Shmuley Boteach

 

South Park: Seriously Funny
Simcha Weinstein

 

Mother’s Day for the Childless
Mimi Hecht

 

Open Letter to J-Street after their Attack on Elie Wiesel
Shmuley Boteach

 

Life and Death
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

Religion’s Summer of Discontent
Shmuley Boteach

 

Is Israel Being Stubborn?
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

When a Pope Needs Friends
Shmuley Boteach

 

My Five Cents
Mimi Hecht

 

Condemn His Report, But Welcome Goldstone
Shmuley Boteach

 

What The President Does Not Understand
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

A Lesson from Zaidy and Nona
Mimi Hecht

 

Does a Kosher Butcher’s Fraud Mandate a Life Sentence?
Shmuley Boteach

 

Don’t Kill the Love
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

A Fallible Pope, and Imperfect Church
Shmuley Boteach

 

Obama and the Deafening Silence of American Jewry
Shmuley Boteach

 

Obama's Hospitality: A Question of Character
Shmuley Boteach

 

From Globalism to Parochialism
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

Matzah Moms
Mimi Hecht

 

Obama's Bullying of Israel
Shmuley Boteach

 

A Fashionable Promise
Mimi Hecht

 

Why America Has No Chief Rabbi
Shmuley Boteach

 

The Malady of a Maid
Mimi Hecht

 

The Human Miracle
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

When Court Jews Defend Moral Cowards
Shmuley Boteach

 

Is it Okay to be Fat?
Mimi Hecht

 

Why America is the Most Depressed Nation on Earth
Shmuley Boteach

 

My Blackberry Baby
Mimi Hecht

 

Never Again !
Shmully Hecht

 

Heads over Heels
Mimi Hecht

 

The Death of Conviction
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

How to Deal with Destructive Emotions
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

When You Are Not in the Mood of Your Spouse
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

Discovering Your Depth
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

The Consciousness of Freedom
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

Ten Ways to Destroy Your Life
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

The Enemy Within
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

Are You a Hypocrite?
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

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Why the Tea Party Resonates with Human Dignity
By Shmuley Boteach
 
The Tea Party is far from perfect. But in emphasizing self-reliance, it taps into a hidden human desire to live a life crowned with self-esteem.

One Friday night at my home a dear friend who runs a large charitable foundation raised his glass to toast the demise of the Tea Party which he branded a group of racists, xenophobes, and bigots. Taken aback I responded that to my knowledge the Tea Party is focused simply on more limited government and the reduction of government spending. I didn't know racism was part of the platform, I said. But he was adamant that the Tea Party's small government rhetoric was an attack on low-income minorities.

Lost in the debate about the morality of the Tea Party is any discussion about its underpinnings in human nature. The principle purpose of government is to provide the optimal conditions through which human beings can acquire their most important necessities, the highest of which is dignity.

Governments provide many essentials for their citizens, from law and order to social services, from good roads to education. If it's a socialist government it may even provide cradle-to-grave benefits or if it's a more right-leaning government it may emphasize a robust national defense. But the one human essential that government cannot provide is human dignity.

The very premise of dignity is something acquired through personal effort. Dignity is the human aura that comes through self-reliance. Its underlying premise is independence. A dependent life is a fundamentally undignified life. Self-respect is earned through the sweat of one's brow. An heir to a great fortune may travel the high seas in a hundred foot yacht and soar through the air in a Gulfstream V. But he will remain fundamentally bereft of dignity so long as he is living on someone else's dime.

Yes, people want to pay their bills. More than that, they want nice houses and material comforts. But more than anything else they seek an existence infused with a sense of relevance and purpose. We seek redemption but wish for it to come about through our own devices.

In many cultures the loss of dignity, or face, becomes a reason to terminate life itself. The Talmud states that shaming someone in public is worse than murder because the public humiliation makes them wish they were dead, in effect, making the victim into his own murderer.

America's rapid rise to the forefront of global economic power was not an accident but the direct result of the cultivation of a fierce individualism and a rugged self-reliance on the part of its citizenry. Where European populations were content to live under the dominion of anointed rulers, Americans threw off the yoke of a foreign sovereign and tamed a vast wilderness. For Americans divine appointment translated as manifest destiny, the ability for a nation of immigrants, who arrived at these shores with nothing, to spread their accomplishments from sea to shining sea. In so doing Americans made claim to a level of independence and dignity that had few historical precedents.

The welfare state claims a higher morality over capitalism which it sees as selfish and materialistic. There is some truth to this claim, especially when capitalism is allowed to become soulless and deadening. But for all its flaws, capitalism fosters an independence that promotes dignity while socialism creates a reliance that subverts self-esteem. Yes, government must provide a safety net for a rainy day. But only self-reliance creates a sunny life.

I recently heard a philanthropist tell a story whereby he visited a soup kitchen that had asked for his support. He was skeptical that the people eating there were actually in need. Perhaps they simply came because the food was free. But the Rabbi who ran the facility asked him, "Are you capable of asking someone for food?" The philanthropist answered that he was not. "Well then," the Rabbi responded, "if someone is forced to ask me to eat I have to believe that they are truly hungry."

The story illustrates both the necessity of providing essential social services for those in need while always being mindful never to allow that need to transmute into a permanent dependency. True, socialist governments provide without having to ask. But the effect is the same, fostering a corrosive dependence on a hand that feeds. The effort to recapture the dignity that springs from self-reliance is what the tea party, at its core, should be all about.

Posted on November 30, 2010
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