As far as I am concerned the position of the orthodox, that is that one should be orthodox, is indefensible. It is an unnecessarily difficult lifestyle. They may say, oh so its like the Olympics, an Olympic runner wants to be in prime physical shape so he changes his lifestyle completely to this end, and we (orthos) want to be closer to God, so we change our lifestyle completely to that end.
Ok. Interesting point. Lets analyze. How does not being able to boil a young goat in its mother's milk (indeed, not a nice thing for someone to do) translate into meat and dairy products not even being able to be in the same room? It seems like too much of a stretch if you ask me.
The thing is orthodox leaders rant and rant about how one should not assimilate into secular society, it is not inherently *jewish* and *gasp* it can lead to intermarriage! Oh no! We should all live by stringent insane rules instead and be branded heretics for disagreeing with any of them.
Lets take for example two of the many horrors of assimilation that orthodox leaders want to protect us from- jeans and Superman (orthodox leaders want to protect us from television as a whole). I don't know of a yeshiva that allows jeans and once I was at a beit midrash where the rosh asked that I not talk about Smallville there with friends cause its secular (Puritianistic religion going way too far if you ask me).
Jeans was invented by Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss, both Jewish. Superman was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, both Jewish. While they may indeed be apart of secular society, they are apart of a secular society that Jews have contributed alot to, and that is why it is silly for orthodox leaders to view the outside world as something completely not Jewish that we secular jews and jews who are religious on one level or another needs to be saved from.
About that intermarriage thing, orthodox leaders whine, rant, and cry about people marrying out of the faith more than any other denomination, yet orthodoxy keeps guys and girls separate more than any other denomination.
Why someone who is a guy not born into orthodoxy, want to join into that society where talking to girls is greatly discouraged?
That, orthodox leaders need to think about.