Anti-Jewish Writing

The Jewish Question: Suggested Readings with Commentary Part Two of Three: The Nineteenth Century

 

Thomas Macaulay

Go to Part 1.

Mirroring developments in Germany, by 1831 the Jewish Question, in the form of the desirability of granting Jews admission to Parliament, had also become a topic of fevered discussion in Britain. One of the most fascinating published opinions produced during this period was Civil Disabilities of the Jews, an essay produced by the historian, essayist and politician Thomas Macaulay (1800—1859). Ostensibly the argument of a classic Liberal in favor of extending political power to Jews, the text is in fact complex and thus more significant. Macaulay’s argument in favor of admitting Jews to Parliament reveals much about the extent and nature of Jewish power and influence in Britain at that time. He viewed emancipation as a means of ‘keeping the Jews in check.’ For example, he insisted that “Jews are not now excluded from political power. They possess it; and as long as they are allowed to accumulate property, they must possess it. The distinction which is sometimes made between civil privileges and political power, is a distinction without a difference. Privileges are power.” Jews were thus already incredibly powerful in the form of civil privileges, and since political power was accompanied by a set of checks and balances, Macaulay’s theory was that admitting Jews into such a system could be a way of better controlling their power and influence.

Macaulay was aware of the role of finance as the primary force of Jewish power in Britain. He asked: “What power in civilized society is so great as that of creditor over the debtor? If we take this away from the Jew, we take away from him the security of his property. If we leave it to him, we leave to him a power more despotic by far, than that of the King and all his cabinet.” Macaulay responds to Christian claims that “it would be impious to let a Jew sit in Parliament” by stating bluntly that “a Jew may make money, and money may make members of Parliament. … The Jew may govern the money market, and the money market may govern the world. … The scrawl of the Jew on the back of a piece of paper may be worth more than the word of three kings, or the national faith of three new American republics.” Macaulay’s insights into the nature of Jewish power at that time, and his assertions that Jews had already accumulated political power without the aid of the statute books, are quite profound. Yet his reasoning — that permitting Jews into the legislature would somehow offset this power, or make it accountable — seems pitifully naive and poorly thought out. Nevertheless, the context and content of his famous essay should be regarded as essential reading. Read more

The Jewish Question: Suggested Readings with Commentary, Part One of Three: The Enlightenment and Jewish ‘Emancipation’

I was recently contacted by the social media group ‘Smash Cultural Marxism,’ who asked me for a list of recommended readings on the Jewish Question. Because this was the latest in a number of similar requests, I thought it best to make a public offering in this regard, since the finished product is likely to be more polished, more complete, and ultimately more useful than I could otherwise offer in an individual email. The following ‘prose bibliography’ takes it for granted that readers are very familiar with the work of Kevin MacDonald, as well as popular contemporary texts by David Duke and E. Michael Jones. Nevertheless, at the outset I’d like to state that the Culture of Critique series represents a unique and significant leap forward in our understanding of Jewish group behavior, and also in the way we write about and explore this phenomenon. I should stress also that I refer to the entire series, rather than just the extremely popular third book of MacDonald’s trilogy. Taken together, these works offer an unparalleled and truly comprehensive analysis of the phenomenon of Jewish group behavior, and its impact on surrounding societies. I would urge readers to read Separation and Its Discontents in particular. This text, the second of the trilogy and my personal favorite, tends to be under-appreciated because of its blockbuster follow-up, but it really is essential reading for developing an understanding of reactions to Jewish behavior — and the context and methods of Jewish counter-reactions. As much as the following bibliography will be of use to many readers, there is currently no better starting point for this subject matter than that offered by Kevin MacDonald.

Of course, the sum of Kevin MacDonald’s work stands in the immediate foreground of a long, though often under-appreciated, historical tradition of intellectual attempts to understand Jewish interactions with European societies. This bibliography is an attempt to shed light on the context, content, and significance of some works that may not be immediately recognizable to the majority of readers. It is not intended to be exhaustive, and inevitably there will be readers who feel that this or that text should have been included. Again, the following bibliography is a creation peculiar to its author, and it bears the imprint of the author’s own tastes, preferences, and range of reading. Selection has also been necessary due to the constraints of space and the sheer volume of available literature. Non-Jews have been discussing Jews and Jewish behaviour for millennia – in letters, pamphlets, speeches, policy documents, art, and books. Recent years have seen the further development of podcasts, documentaries and, dare I say it, memes. I have chosen here to discuss only books and important pamphlets, and I have limited my selection to those produced during and after the Enlightenment period. Earlier texts have been omitted for a number of reasons, the most important being that they often contained more Christian theology than empirical analysis. Although many often also contained trenchant sociological observations, the vast majority of these texts were ultimately influenced by supernatural understandings which, in my own opinion, often obstructed meaningful solutions to very problematic interactions. Read more

Wagner Reclaimed: A Review of “The Ring of Truth” by Roger Scruton, Part 1

Roger Scruton is Britain’s (many would say the world’s) leading conservative philosopher and intellectual. His prolific output includes books on philosophy, politics, art, architecture, music and aesthetics. Scruton, who was knighted in 2016, writes with unusual clarity and fluency and is a model for how to combine analytical rigor with lucidity and accessibility. His critiques of leftist thought are, however, ultimately hamstrung by his unwillingness to stray outside the bounds of acceptable thought. Scruton has assiduously avoided straying into the forbidden fields of race realism or an honest discussion of the Jewish Question.

Despite his timid and ultimately ineffectual brand of intellectual conservatism, Scruton has much to offer readers on the Alt-Right. He has a profound knowledge of European high culture and particularly the Western musical tradition. His analyses of the German composer Richard Wagner are always insightful, and his 2016 book The Ring of Truth: The Wisdom of Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelung is no exception. It offers readers a rich account of Wagner’s masterpiece though an examination of its drama, music, symbolism and philosophy. Scruton’s goal is to interpret one of the supreme works of the European imagination to “show its relevance to the world in which we live.”

Wagner’s Ring cycle is enormous in every way. Performed over four evenings, and made up of Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, Siegfried and Götterdämmerung, it lasts some fifteen hours. Its composition began in 1848, a year when Europe was torn by nationalist and democratic revolutions, but not finished until 26 years later. The final product is widely considered the finest piece of musical theatre ever written, and even critics of Wagner grudgingly acknowledge the magnitude and importance  of his achievement, agreeing with Tchaikovsky’s assessment that: “Whatever one might think of Wagner’s titanic work, no one can deny the monumental nature of the task he set himself, and which he has fulfilled; nor the heroic inner strength needed to complete the task. It was truly one of the greatest artistic endeavors which the human mind has ever conceived.”[1] The German critic Wilhelm Mohr, who had originally dismissed Bayreuth as “cloud-cuckoo land,” left the 1876 premiere of The Ring comparing Wagner to the “two masters of all masters, Shakespeare and Beethoven.”[2]

The Ring began life as a single drama, devoted to the story of Siegfried’s death as Wagner had extracted and embellished it from his reading of the old German Nibelungenlied and the Icelandic Völsunga saga. The original is a far cry from the masterpiece that Wagner eventually composed from its useable fragments. He looked for a subject that would provide a suitably large-scale vehicle for his vision of contemporary German society and destiny. The result, notes Scruton, while “far from authentic as an account of Viking theology,” is nevertheless “a remarkable attempt to give coherence and meaning to the pagan narratives.”[3] The final product, which Wagner intended to “involve all life” encompasses an emotional spectrum wider than any other opera, from superhuman rage and self-annihilating heroism to the meanest of base emotions. Read more

English Translation of Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s “200 Years Together”

There is a project to publish (long-overdue) translations of Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s 200 Years Together. So far, they have posted Chapters 2, 3, 6, and 7, with more on the way. The website is: https://twohundredyearstogether.wordpress.com/ The translation reads very smoothly and seems quite professional.

 

Review: Nietzsche’s Jewish Problem [Part Two of Two]

Friedrich-Nietzsche-und-Richard-Wagner

Nietzsche and Wagner

Go to Part One

Was Nietzsche bold or stupid? As stated above, I don’t think he quite fully grasped the scale of the ethnic conflict subtly playing out in Germany at that time, or the sheer power already enjoyed by Jews. For someone of his (then lowly) position, his 1872 lecture appears to me as a step too soon. Wagner had of course taken even further steps against Jewish influence — but the older man possessed significantly more stature and legitimacy. Nietzsche sent his lecture notes to Wagner on February 4, and the composer replied cautiously. Wagner, who was fully aware of the damage that could be wrought by Jews on lone targets like himself, responded: “I say to you: that’s the way it is. … But I am concerned about you, and wish with my entire heart that you don’t ruin yourself.” Cosima, Wagner’s wife, also wrote to Nietzsche expressing concern. Starting by citing Goethe (‘Everything significant is uncomfortable’), she said that his ‘boldness’ and ‘bluntness’ surprised her. In a later letter she makes her concerns more explicit, stating that she wanted him to take some “maternal” advice so that he should “avoid stirring up a hornet’s nest” :

Do you really understand me? Don’t mention the Jews, and especially not en passant; later, when you want to take up this gruesome fight, in the name of God, but not at the very outset, so that on your path you won’t have all this confusion and upheaval. I hope you don’t misunderstand me: you know that in the depths of my soul I agree with your utterance. But not now and not in this way.

According to Cosima’s diaries, Nietzsche was summoned to a meeting with her and Wagner on February 12 to discuss the lecture. We can only speculate at what precisely was said, but Nietzsche dropped the Jewish reference from the published version of his lecture and nothing similar to it would ever again appear in his speeches or published writings. He would continue to attack the evils of the press, newspapers, financial affairs, the stock exchange, modernity, urban life, and cosmopolitanism but he would never again mention them in conjunction with Jews or Judaism. Holub argues that the episode taught Nietzsche that he should not mention the Jews by name and certainly not attack them in print. He would thereafter adopt the same ‘cultural code’ that many anti-Jewish intellectuals were forced to utilize as a means of fighting the culture war without being labelled ‘anti-Semitic.’ Read more

Review: Nietzsche’s Jewish Problem [Part One of Two]

 nietzsches-jewish-problem

‘Wagner himself asserts about Nietzsche that a flower could have come from this bulb. Now only the bulb remains, really a loathsome thing.’
Cosima Wagner, 1878.

Friedrich Nietzsche’s puzzling stance on Jews and Judaism has perplexed me for the better part of a decade, so I was intrigued and optimistic about Princeton University Press’s 2015 publication of Robert Holub’s Nietzsche’s Jewish Problem: Between Anti-Semitism and Anti-Judaism. Broadly speaking, I’m sympathetic to certain elements of Nietzsche’s philosophy, particularly its rejection of equality and the concept of the ‘will to power.’ However, I can’t say I ever came close to describing myself as a ‘Nietzschean’ in the same way that the late Jonathan Bowden was fond of doing. One of the reasons for my hesitation in claiming affinity with Nietzsche’s worldview was that I couldn’t escape the impression that its nihilism was often destructive ‘for the sake of it,’ a quality that has endeared it to the Left, past and present. Then there was Nietzsche’s, to my mind unforgivable, habit of lauding the Hebrew over the German. More importantly though, I couldn’t perceive any true coherence or solidity in Nietzsche’s writing beyond his celebrated aphorisms. Taken as a whole, the philosophy of Nietzsche was apt to strike me as too intentionally fluid; too deliberately open to interpretation. Nowhere was this non-committal stance more apparent than in Nietzsche’s sparse, vague, contradictory and often quite opportunistic references to Jews and Judaism.

As one might expect of a philosopher as enigmatic as Nietzsche, his work has been approached awkwardly and suspiciously by scholars and ideologues alike. His attitudes towards Jews, in particular, have been debated, discussed and fought over from the very beginning of his public career. Nowhere, and at no time, was a consensus ever reached. During the Third Reich he was both ‘recruited for the cause’ by some, and rejected outright by others. His foundational place in the National Socialist philosophical canon was thus never assured, primarily because of his nihilism, his hostility towards Nationalism, and his ambivalence regarding Jews. Confusion still reigns. Modern scholarship has been divided between those who condemn Nietzsche outright as a ‘racist’ reactionary and a proto-Fascist, and those who highlight his vocal opposition to political anti-Semitism as thus seek his social exoneration and academic rehabilitation. As noted above, elements of Nietzsche remain strongly attractive to the Left. Therefore, where total exoneration of anti-Semitism has been found difficult, blame for ‘corrupting’ Nietzsche and shaping him as an ‘anti-Semite’ has been attributed variously to his one-time guru, Richard Wagner, or his sister Elisabeth, who married Bernhard Förster, perhaps the leading figure in nineteenth-century political anti-Semitism. The result of these battles has not been a clarification of the historical record, but an ever-thickening web of biased interpretations, white-washing, and pseudo-history. Read more

 “The Lobby-That-Doesn’t-Exist”: Politicians and Pundits on Jewish Influence in France

French President François Mitterrand spoke of “a powerful and harmful Jewish lobby”

French President François Mitterrand spoke of “a powerful and harmful Jewish lobby”

There are few things as difficult to talk about as Jewish elites and Jewish ethnocentrism (which, translated into left-wing parlance, could be termed “Jewish privilege” and “Jewish racism”). For the French case, Paul-Éric Blanrue (see my previous article on his work) usefully documents the numerous cases in which various prominent figures and journalists have spoken of Jewish ethnocentrism or “the Jewish lobby.”

Jewish influence is typically remarked upon by bragging activist Jews, by senior politicians near death, by uncritical commentators, or by critical commentators who, being swiftly punished, usually learn to keep quiet. The penalty for criticism – universal ostracism – is such that Blanrue speaks of “the-lobby-that-doesn’t-exist”: the lobby that everyone knows about and everyone knows must never be spoken about (lest they find themselves in the dock with Alain Soral and Dieudonné M’bala M’bala).

But prominent figures, even at the highest levels of the state, have spoken of Jewish power in France despite this threat. In 1995, President François Mitterrand, near the end of his life and on his last day in office, referred in private to “the powerful and harmful influence of the Jewish lobby in France.”[1] Mitterrand was specifically referring to the constant politico-media pressure that has made the Shoah “the official religion of the French Republic” (in the words of Jewish pundit Éric Zemmour[2]). Read more