Ludovici on the Jewish Question 
Change Society’s Values"/>
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Ludovici on the Jewish Question 
Change Society’s Values

Anthony-Ludovici7,378 words

From Gentile and Jew: A Symposium on the Future of the Jewish People, compiled and edited by Chaim Newman (London: Alliance Press, 1945), pp. 165–85.

I.

From my earliest years I have, in one way and another, been indebted to Jews. The days of my childhood were enlivened by the music of Offenbach, most of whose more famous comic operas were made familiar to me. My Christmas harvest of toys and books were regularly enriched by the generosity of a distinguished Jewish lady—the same who was instrumental in inducing Charles Dickens to make amends in Our Mutual Friend for the character of Fagin in Oliver Twist. As a young man I owed to a Jew my first help and encouragement along the hard road of literature, as also my one grand tour of Europe and the Near East. Later on, it was a gifted Jewish lady whom I had to thank for one of the most valuable contributions I ever received towards the body of knowledge which has enabled me so far to maintain my health at a level certainly above the average; and it was an appreciative Jewish medical man who, among all my countrymen, recognised me as a free-lance scientist able to contribute the treatise on human mating to the International Library of Sexology and Psychology, and secured me the commission to do so. And how can I ever adequately acknowledge my debt to Jewish writers and thinkers, from Heine and Proust to Freud and Adler?

But all this should not count, any more than does the fact that some of my experiences with Jews have been unpleasant. If we are to discuss every subject subjectively, as the crowd rather expects us to do; if we are to make the assessment of Smith’s or Brown’s merits and demerits contingent on their treatment of ourselves in particular, then there must be an end to sane judgment, above all the kind of judgment that commands respect, and Madame de Staël’s opinion of Napoleon becomes as relevant as Goethe’s.

And yet the ordinary man, and especially the ordinary woman, cannot understand us when we find fault with any feature or work of someone who has been only good to us, and they understand us still less when we praise any feature or work of someone who has wronged us.

Thus too much of the personal reaction enters into all discussion about individuals, as of nations or communities, and nowhere is this more evident than in the Jewish question. Naturally, however, if a few unhappy experiences with Jews lead a man to criticise adversely Jewry as a whole, he provokes some such retort as Riah’s in Our Mutual Friend to the effect that there are too many black sheep in all human folds. Nor could there be anything more despicable than that antisemitism which springs chiefly from envy of Jewish success, a kind of antisemitism happily, I hope, confined to the least intelligent of businessmen.

Nevertheless, we have to face the fact that antisemitism has existed off and on ever since 1500 B.C. It is not, as a shallow writer in the New Statesman recently declared, an infection spread from the Nazis. As early as the twelfth century A.D. it was rife in this country and flared up repeatedly until in 1290 the Jews were expelled altogether. Elsewhere the attitude towards the Jews has in the last thousand years fluctuated between the extremes of complete friendliness and ruthless persecution, and, before we can begin to outline a solution of the Jewish problem, it seems important to try to account for the periodical outbursts of dislike to which the Jews have been exposed throughout most of their known history.

Is it, as Joseph Kastein suggests, due chiefly to the scapegoat principle—to mankind’s tendency, when things go wrong, to seek the cause in some odd and easily distinguishable minority in their midst?

I, for one, cannot unreservedly accept this simplistic explanation. There is something more than that in the recurring waves of antisemitism that have marked the history of Europe. Nevertheless, it will readily be appreciated that, to a majority of nationals of more or less the same stock, there is a temptation, yielded to by the less thoughtful and more indolent, to blame a strange minority for their misfortunes and even for their vices, if this minority gives the least colourable warrant for holding them responsible for both. For, to discover a tangible external cause for their miseries and mistakes, relieves them of the pain of self-reproach and absolves them of the irksome duty of setting their own house in order.

Thus, in a monthly journal published by a political society to which I belong, I wrote, as late as August 1939: “No one better than the average member of the English Array perceived the speciousness of the popular and irrational appeal in rabid antisemitism. It is always unpleasant to be shown a scapegoat and told that he is responsible for all our iniquities. Such tactics tend to relieve us of any implication in the mismanagement and deplorable state of our country and to give us a sense of righteousness at once exhilarating and comforting to our indolence. In this respect antisemitism gives the same relief as does the medical man’s bacteriological bias, when he assures us that our maladies are in no way of our own making, but wholly due to the ‘bug’ that has ‘invaded’ our system.

“Thus, both by rabid antisemitism and the germ-mania of modern medicine, we are lead to believe that there is no need either of repentance or action [meant by this, action to initiate reforms]; all we have to do is to get rid of a foreign body.”[1]

I then proceeded to show how the very kind of hardships and iniquities which antisemites were at that time ascribing to the Jews could be discerned in the Jew-free England of 1290 to 1656, and could be brought home to hundreds of thousands of non-Jews in the two hundred and eighty-three years that had followed.

But have we not here perhaps the clue to the explanation we are seeking? One question which has hardly ever been investigated, and the investigation of which might shed light on the problem of the European’s repeated outbursts of antisemitism, is: How did these people ultimately fare who rid themselves of their Jews? Even if I were equipped to do more—which I certainly am not—it would be absurd in a short space to attempt everything but the roughest sketch of a reply to this question; for even to confine it to England would, if it is to be complete, involve the handling of a formidable mass of historical data.

Nor could such an investigation, no matter how thorough, be wholly free from possible errors of the gravest kind; for, as I used to maintain against the wishful thinkers among the antisemites who, in the decade before the war, were anxious to establish the claim of ethnic purity for the English after 1290, it is by no means absolutely certain that, when Edward I expelled the Jews, England was entirely rid of them.

The historian Green, for instance, speaks of those who left these shores as “the sixteen thousand who preferred exile to apostasy”.[2] This recalls the fact that the stress then laid on the religious aspect alone of the question must have enabled many Jews to escape the ban by accepting baptism. And, seeing that in all communities a certain proportion are pusillanimous, it would be unwise to assume that only a negligible number of Jews preferred apostasy to banishment and ultimately became merged in the general population.

But suppose we assume that this element was too small to count, what is recorded of the English people in the period 1290 to 1656?

First of all, owing to the circumstances of their insularity and the endogamy this imposed in an era when travel was difficult, and formidable obstacles were raised against the peaceful infiltration of foreigners, it is not unlikely that they attained a high degree of ethnic standardization. The evidence we have of their striking beauty in Tudor times probably points to one of the results of this. Secondly, it was a period when most of England’s more characteristic institutions and her greatest geniuses, from Chaucer to Shakespeare and Milton, came to life.

But to those who might claim that it was a period of unalloyed bliss, harmony and freedom from oppression, exploitation and grinding poverty, to those who might wish to prove that it was a period destitute of harshness, or of profiting from other people’s misfortunes, and of profiteering in general, it is possible to display an array of facts which must quickly dispel their illusions. For, even if we confine our attention to the legislation calculated to suppress evil practices, it would suffice to demonstrate beyond all possible doubt their disquieting prevalence. There is, indeed, an impressive mass of such legislation.

From Edward I onwards, we find measures taken to prevent the exploitation of the masses by the landowners, to enforce honesty in trade, and to make it difficult for the individual to derive gain at the public expense (by such practices as combining with foreigners to draw profit from transactions to the detriment of Englishmen, or creating artificial scarcities in necessary commodities, or “engrossing”—i.e., cornering markets, or “regrating”, i.e., buying in a public market only to sell again for the sake of the rake-off, or retailing with excessive profit).

“Forestalling”, i.e., bargaining with producers by middlemen before local consumers had a chance, had actually to be prohibited in the fourteenth century. The giving of short weight or the sale of inferior food or drink was also severely punished, and inspectors brought delinquents to judgment. Honesty in craftsmanship was enforced by the craftsmen’s corporations or guilds, and asocial conduct in the form of rendering inadequate service for reward was steadily combated.

Such measures with the outlook that inspired them continued to be necessary right up to the Age of the Tudors and the Stuarts. Elizabeth, for instance, went to pains to control the capitalist spirit of gain-at-all-costs, which began to spread through the nation in her time. She resisted the accumulation of capital in too few hands, and tried to impose on the new independent rich of her days proper duties towards society.

But, in spite of these successive efforts made throughout the period under notice, there still remained considerable elements in the land—and with the harsh outlook of Puritanism they were actually increasing—whose attitude of mind was wholly adverse to the spirit of social mutuality which it had been the object of the more beneficent monarchs to impress on the nation.

Thus Charles I was constrained to pass a number of measures, antipathetic to the rising Puritan and individualistic dogma, which, had the socialising efforts of his predecessors succeeded, would hardly have been called for.

In 1629, to give only a few instances, his justices were directed to come to the rescue of the Essex weavers and force their employers to give them better terms than the automatic action of free competition would have provided. After the bad harvest of 1660, he forbade all profiteering in corn at the expense of the poor; requested the Irish, who suffered no dearth, to send all the grain they did not need, and instructed his justices, in counties which had enough, to see that provision was made for their less fortunate neighbours. Nobody was allowed to sell wheat at more than seven shillings a bushel, the storing of grain for resale was prohibited, and starch makers and maltsters were reminded that their products were not as necessary to human life as the raw materials of their industry.

He also had to interfere with the butter trade to prevent frauds in packing. At another time he was found correcting abuses in the drapery trade and in the making and purveying of counterfeit jewellery. Three times he tried to suppress fraud and adulteration in the silk trade till finally in 1639, when all else failed, he established a government office where the silk was inspected, stamped and declared to be of an adequately good quality.

II.

Turning now to other aspects of this significant period, in the growth of towns with the change of administration from the frith-gilds to the merchant-gilds, we see more evidence of the persistent asocial and individualistic spirit of the people; and, in the struggles that ensued between the magnates or barons of the merchant-gilds and the smaller fry of the city, the corruption and oppression of the former were the cause of the discontent and the revolts. The unfair assessments levied on the poor and the undue burdens imposed on the unenfranchised classes revealed an attitude which, it is true, may be no more than the besetting sin of all men to abuse power, but which appears, nevertheless, to vary in intensity according to the nature of the population with which we are concerned.

On the land, in the rural districts of England, conditions were no better. Not more than seventy years after the expulsion of the Jews in 1290, the priest, John Ball, driven to the leadership of an open revolt among the peasants as a result of the deplorable hardships they had to endure, began preaching a sort of communism which was inspired less by contemplation and thought than by the spectacle of sorrow and want about him.

The major outbreak occurred in 1381, and Garnier states that the peasants had been starved into rebellion. Nor was their revolt confined to one quarter. Everywhere, from Kent to Yorkshire, there was seething discontent. Norwich was sacked, insurgents marched from parts as distant as Devonshire and Lancashire, and three leaders, Tyler, Hales and Grindecobbe, conducted armies of peasants towards London.

But this was not the only incident of the kind. Sixty-nine years later, in 1450, another major peasants’ revolt occurred under Jack Cade, and yet another in 1549 under Kett. And what, are we told, was the fundamental cause of these outbursts of rustic passion?

Without exception, agrarian oppression!

We have only to read an old poem like Langland’s “The Vision of William Concerning Piers the Plowman” in order to appreciate that, as early as the fourteenth century and onwards, there were in the nation all the signs of a hard, greedy, possessing class exploiting the weak and defenceless when and where they could. In the poems known as “King Edward and the Shepherd” and “God Speed the Plough”, passages may also be found illustrating the asperities of the peasants’ lot and revealing much the same state of things as Langland depicts.

From these and many other instances that could be cited, two important conclusions may be drawn. First, that during the period 1290 to 1656 there was in the land a spirit persistently trying to break loose, which, for lack of a better popular term, I have called individualistic and asocial, and the prevalence of which, despite much legislation calculated to suppress it, constantly impeded the establishment of the mutuality essential to a sound culture; and, secondly, that this spirit increased rather than decreased in power as time went on; or, to put it perhaps more accurately, its manifestations grew ever more overt and self-confident. For, beyond any possible doubt whatever, it ultimately triumphed and won national acceptance soon after the fifth decade of the seventeenth century.

The very rise of Puritanism, in both its religious and purely social aspects, was one of the symptoms of its increasing assurance and strength, and the consummation of Puritan designs in 1649 marked its apotheosis.

In other words, we have to acknowledge as existent in England throughout the period under consideration, and as gaining in vigour rather than losing it, a spirit which was in no respect different in kind, though it may have been in degree, from that which at a later date made the Manchester School a reality and led, among other enormities, to the crimes of both white and black slavery, the cruel bondage of children in the cotton mills, the Highland Clearances, and the obscene ill-treatment of women and children in the mines.

True, it was the same individualism which had its glorious side in the “Nelson touch”, the bravery, self-reliance and enterprise of the people of England on land and sea, and the pioneer independence and endurance of her toughest sons. But its darker expression was undoubtedly to be found in its asocial implications, with all that they meant in the form of the pursuit of private gain à outrance,[3] the reckless exploitation of want and weakness and the policy of a war of all against all, in which the devil was left to take the hindmost. Nor was it without significance that, at the very end of the 365 years we are examining, i.e., in the fifth decade of the seventeenth century, Thomas Hobbes, doubtless shaping his cosmogony from the world about him, as Darwin was later to do with his “Struggle for Existence”, arrived at the memorable conclusion that the natural state of man was a bellum omnium contra omnes.[4]

Now, before enquiring into the root of this persevering and irrepressible spirit, it is interesting to notice, first, that the end effects of its prevalence on society are those usually to be found in antisemitic literature ascribed wholly to the influence of the Jews; and, secondly, that the kind of practices of which it is the main source are also those which, in that same literature, are constantly identified with Jewry.

And yet, if it is true that the development of late eighteenth and nineteenth century capitalism, with its ruthless scramble for wealth, was implicit in the policies and temper which ultimately triumphed in 1649; if it is true that the British Empire was already the richest Empire the world has ever seen when Charles Dickens was busy describing the grinding poverty of the masses of the nation, and that this poverty itself was also implicit in the spirit that became paramount in the seventeenth century—and I, for one, believe both these suppositions to be true—how can it be reasonably claimed that the effects of the spirit tend to appear only when the Jews are powerful?

The fact cannot, I suppose, be contested that, when ultimately the Jews did return to England, they profited, as everyone else was at liberty to do, from the policy of laissez-faire which gradually prevailed. That they excelled in exploiting such a policy would, moreover, I assume, hardly be contested by any candid member of their own people. For, even their best friends—such men as Renan, Werner Sombart[5] (himself a Jew) and Dr. Ruppin (also a Jew) acknowledge, in different ways, the essential fitness of the Jew, not only to promote the kind of culture we recognise as modern capitalism, but also to thrive under it.[6] “Politically”, says Sombart, “he (the Jew) is an individualist.” But, as we have seen, it was the extreme individualism which came into power in the seventeenth century, with its tacit slogan sauve qui peut that was ultimately responsible for the worst excesses of nineteenth century industrialism.

Historically unsound, therefore, though it may be to attribute to the Jews the state of affairs and the practices which laissez-faire, inspired by the fundamental individualism of the Englishman, ultimately brought into being, the fact remains that the Jews who, in the seventeenth century, returned to England, found in this state of affairs and in these practices environmental conditions which suited them both their temperament and character.

III.

What was it then in both the English and the Jews that conspired, after 1656, to develop and consolidate the kind of civilisation which reached its apogee in mid-Victorian days?

Having replied, in the above, at least as regards England, to my original question: “How did those people ultimately fare who rid themselves of the Jews?”—I can now attempt a reply to this second question: the grounds for the apparent affinity of the English and the Jews in regard to the culture they jointly developed after 1656; whereupon I shall be ready to address myself to the principal subject of this essay, my solution of the Jewish problem.

It has been maintained above that the English throughout their history have been animated by a separatist and isolationist spirit, tending often to express itself asocially, which I have called “individualism”. But for various reasons I prefer the word “particularism” to denote this characteristic, and it is the term used by Henri de Tourville in his famous “Histoire de la Formation Particulariste”, where he traces the origins of this spirit to the ancestors of the ancient Saxons who ultimately colonised large areas of England.

To him it means more or less what I have claimed for individualism—i.e., a temper that is at once independent, self-reliant and aloof, which looks upon the rest of the community from the narrow angle of the family, easily drops into xenophobia, and recognises few social obligations beyond that of minding one’s own business.

He claims that it was a product of the life led by the ancestors of a section of the Saxon people in their ancient home, the Norwegian fjords, and that, while it accounts for all those leonine qualities which brought them glory in the island they ultimately colonised, it also displays, on its darker side, the regrettable features I have sufficiently enumerated.

If de Tourville’s thesis is accepted—and he has carried conviction to men far better able to test it than I am—we possess an explanation at once illuminating and satisfactory, not only for many of the more distinctive traits of the English character, but also for their stubborn endurance during centuries of attempts to modify them.

It should, however, be added in amplification of this statement of origins, that there were in the land from early times, and certainly after the Norman conquest, a few patriarchal elements (the Angles and the Normans themselves, for instance) which might account for the persistent, though admittedly feeble and unavailing resistance constantly offered to extreme particularist developments. The fact that their influence failed to become paramount and was ultimately overwhelmed in the Grand Rebellion, should not lead us to deny their presence or the possibility of survival in relative obscurity up to recent times. This would explain some of the more social and kindly figures which, like Cobbett, Charles Dickens, the seventh Earl of Shaftesbury, and Michael Thomas Sadler in the nineteenth century, appeared from time to time in England to throw in their weight on the side of a broader and warmer humanity. A friend, moreover, has suggested to me that the mutualism and brotherhood imposed by necessity on crews serving in ships might, in the long run, have tended to modify a seafaring particularist folk in the direction of wider and deeper sympathies. This may be so, but the exorbitant cruelties of seamen of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries hardly bears out the contention.

Is there anything similar to this in the pre-history of the Jews?

It has been suggested, and I believe the suggestion to be both defensible and helpful, that they, too, have had a past which influenced them in a particularist direction. The long ages during which their remote ancestors, the ancient Hebrews, wandered the regions of Mesopotamia, Syria, Palestine and Egypt was probably the time when, having to lead the life of nomads—as some Semites still do—they acquired those self-same traits which, as we have seen, typified that branch of the Saxon people which colonised a large part of England—that independent, self-reliant and aloof spirit which tends to look on the rest of men from the narrow angle of the family, readily inclines to xenophobia, and recognises few social obligations beyond that of minding one’s own business.

For, when once the nomad has exhausted the resources of a particular locality, packs his camels or asses with his belongings and moves on, always with the tacit comment ”après moi le déluge!”,[7] he inevitably regards himself and his family as a complete unit owing service and duties to no man. Perhaps a common enemy, alone, would draw him and his like into some relation temporarily collaborative. The nomad is, then, a particularist, predestined, as it were, to accept en bloc the doctrines of the Manchester School without lifting an eyebrow.

When, however, there is added to this fundamental particularism, acquired from the Jew’s remote forebears, the fact that the early life of his people was led in a region which was already civilized at a time when Europe was still the home of the barbarians; which was, moreover, from the very dawn of history, a centre of trade of every imaginable kind, and so organised as to give the local population a familiarity with urban life on a scale unknown to Europe until centuries later, the conclusion is forced upon us that, with its seniority in urban and commercial experience and its hereditary adaptation to both, the Jewish people, as particularists, always enter the arena of a society organised along particularistic lines, with an immense advantage, an advantage which even other particularists, differently conditioned, do not enjoy.

To resent the consequences of this advantage, to quarrel with the efficiency of the Jew in a particularist culture, when one is oneself a particularist and one’s own people are themselves largely responsible for the creation of that culture, is about as reasonable as for a loser at a game to abuse the winner, when its principle and rules are of his own making.

IV.

Unfortunately, in the antisemitism based on purely grounds, as I hinted above, this unreasonable resentment always has played and, in particularist cultures, is likely to continue to play a prominent part. And it is there, I suggest, that we find the principal cause of the recurring waves of antisemitism that have marked the history of the Jews in Europe. For when, in a particularist society, things ultimately go wrong—and they always do go wrong in the end, owing to the fundamental unworkableness of the particularist culture—he who seems to be the most shielded from the effects of its evils and, above all, often to be thriving conspicuously by virtue of them, is not unnaturally singled out as the cause of the general distress, especially if he belong to a minority easily discerned by the mass, and may, moreover, be regarded as a stranger.

Besides, it is in the interest even of non-Jews, or certainly of those who happen to stand high and dry above the more intolerable conditions imposed by particularism, to direct the attention away from themselves on to a body which can be truthfully designated as at least a part cause of the trouble. It is obvious that this is only a half-truth; but, like all half-truths, it is most difficult to confute; and thus, as a rule, antisemitism claims its victims.

In this way, the reiterated cry is raised: “Get rid of the Jews!”

But to all those antisemites, whether English, French, or German, who may even now be disposed to raise this cry, I say, as I used to say before the war, “Your quarrel is not really exclusively with the Jews. It is with the asperities of your particularist society; and if you wish to be consistent you would have to banish, not only the Jews, but also millions of your countrymen who are just as ready and often as well equipped as the Jews to thrive in a particularist culture.”

It is open, of course, to the extreme English antisemite to reject de Tourville’s thesis, and to claim that, if particularism became paramount in England, it was owing to the probably large leaven of Jews which became merged into English stocks through the alternative of baptism six and a half centuries or more ago, and thus gradually turned the face of England away from a mutualistic culture.

But this objection leads the extreme antisemite into so many unexpected difficulties that he is hardly likely to make it. For—to mention only one point—where would his selection for banishment begin and end if he really believed in such a wide dissemination of Jewish blood in England prior to 1656?

V.

And thus I have reached the stage when I can deal with the main subject of this essay—my solution of the Jewish problem.

The biological aspect must first be disposed of as briefly as possible.

Both for the Jews and those among whom they may permanently settle, it will be necessary to decide once and for all the policy to be adopted towards miscegenation. But until orthodox medicine and genetics pronounce themselves definitely either for or against stock or type mixture, this question will have to remain open.

For myself, I can only give for what it is worth the result of my own independent researches in this field, and it amounts to this: I believe that science will one day confirm and not dispute the wisdom of such ancient peoples as the Hebrews, the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Anglo-Saxons and many others who, guided merely by the instinct which Darwin found in most species of animals—the instinct of distinct strains to segregate and to mate like with like—declined the connubium of foreign stocks. For, as I have for many years been almost alone in pointing out, ideal or perfect health and wellbeing, both of mind and body, probably depend much more than modern science is prepared to admit, and very much more than the ordinary man is led to suspect, on the standardization of type.

I should be the last to underrate the importance to health of a sound diet, sound hygiene and correct bodily co-ordination. But if we are to aim at that “perfect health” too often promised by reformers who advocate inadequate measures for its attainment, I do not see how it is to be achieved without standardisation of type.

When it is remembered, not only that mixed stock memories become juxtaposed in cross-breeds, so that there is their breast a confusion of ancestral voices, leading to conflicts of all kinds and hence to nervous instability; but also that various parts of the body may be inherited independently from either of the parental stocks, so that a cross-breed’s body is made up, so to speak, of spare parts from makers of different models of the same machine, and can, therefore, be harmonious only by a fluke;[8] it will be seen that perfect health and well-being, which means perfect and harmonious co-ordination of parts in functioning, will hardly be possible until we once again try to achieve some kind of standardisation of type. But as the grossest random breeding in the modern world—that is to say, the mixing of wholly different stocks and types within the same people or nation—is regarded with complete equanimity, if not approval, it seems at present rather like straining at a gnat to make any special point of avoiding mixture with peoples who are not hereditarily true fellow-countrymen. For often, as between a particular Jew and a particular English non-Jew, or between a particular Slav and a particular Englishman, there may be less disparity of type than there actually is between many an English couple who imagine they have married fellow nationals.

At all events, as orthodox medicine and genetics have not yet shown that they believe in—much less, therefore, appreciate—the extent to which ideal health probably depends on standardisation of type, the problem of the Jews, on the biological side, viewed both from their own angle and that of any people among whom they may permanently reside, must remain unsolved and be left to the taste and inclination of the individual in either community.

The social and political solution of the Jewish problem, however, allows of a more precise statement, and with this I shall now conclude.

In the course of this essay, I have frequently used the terms “mutuality” and “mutualistic” in regard to an order of society which is opposed to, and promises longer duration and greater stability than, particularism. What is meant by this opposition?

It is impossible, in a short essay, to enter into much detail about this question;[9] but, first and foremost, it concerns the attitude adopted towards property, which in every society is fundamental and determines the nature of most of the other relations of its members.

The essence of mutualism is that it takes the gregarious and not the private view of property. This does not mean that it is communistic, but that it cannot divorce property from obligations, duties and responsibilities. Thus, as I wrote in my “Sanctity of Private Property”: “In a properly organised community, the fundamental difference between the poor and the rich would be that, whereas the poor are not equipped to hold sacred property, the rich are so equipped.” (By “sacred” in this context, I mean, as the book itself describes, that property which is sacrosanct, as being the instrument by which a specially endowed owner alone can use it beneficently.)

But, in a mutualistic society, these limitations on property are felt not as benevolent, generous, charitable, or in any way morally creditable. They are conceived merely as the only sane way in which a society that is to endure can possibly be run. Every other view of property, by proving in course of time impracticable and incapable of lasting, has either to be rejected voluntarily by those who hold it, or else the latter have the rejection forced upon them by the masses who suffer under it.

What particularism fails to recognise, and what mutualism stresses, is that element in all property which is the contribution made to it daily and hourly, throughout the generations of a people, by the community as a whole. The fact that particularism overlooks this makes it thoroughly unworkable over a long period.

Now I take it—or, at least, I hope—that Europe as a whole, but particularly England, has learnt its lesson about particularism and about the capitalistic system it creates. I believe that capitalism, as the nineteenth century knew it, is irrevocably doomed, together with all the practices and policies associated with it—the exaltation of wealth as an end in itself, with its derivative, acquisitiveness; the tendency to assess merit and honour according to what a man has, rather than according to what he is; the establishment of a system by which every coveted thing, including privilege and honour, is purchasable; the relinquishment of the sacred obligations of wealth through taxation; the homage paid to a perverted interpretation of mutualistic practice by voluntary contributions to charity; the exploitation of need and weakness; and, above all, the fundamental disrespect of the burden-bearer.

These practices are now, however, so deeply rooted in the unconscious motivations of civilised man, not only among the possessing but also among the dispossessed classes, that even if the system were completely changed, it would require a long process of conditioning before the emotional associations of these practices became sufficiently transmuted to allow of spontaneous mutualistic impulses and behaviour.

Perhaps, by way of illustration, it would be helpful to give one or two examples of what is meant. Take, for instance, the disrespect for the burden bearer in our society—only one of the manifold consequences of the particularist cosmogony! It will be possible to refer only to one aspect even of that, and I shall choose that which is at once the most trivial and most common, and therefore, most likely to be overlooked.[10]

Its very triviality will help to indicate the depth and universality of the dye everywhere apparent, which has been distilled and spread from the exaltation of mere wealth as such.

Given the fact that you are able-bodied, try in any kind of crowd to battle your way through your fellow-men with a heavy case or bag in your hands, and observe the treatment you receive! You will immediately be treated as an inferior and, what is worse, if you are wholly adapted to your Age, you will actually feel inferior. Now observe the coalman bearing a heavy sack of coal to a house-door at a moment when you happen to be passing along the pavement. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, he will stop to allow you, who are unburdened, to pass on your way. You may argue with him, as I invariably do, and point out that as he is burdened he has the right of the road. He will look sadly at you, as at one who cherishes outlandish notions, and may reluctantly pass you with his load, but his instinct is to let you go first. He feels no right to claim the road, and would not if unburdened acknowledge that right to another burden-bearer. Thus, even the burden-bearer himself is infected in our culture with the disrespect from which his class has suffered and still suffers.

Now watch a policeman controlling traffic, keep him in your eye all day if necessary, and note the number of times he will stop a man pushing a hand-cart in order to let a car pass more rapidly on its way. He need not be particularly callous to do such a thing. He may be the kindest-hearted officer in the force. But deep down in his national emotional centres is the disrespect for the burden, and in the barrow-owner whom he stops is the same disrespect, so that he takes his arrest as a matter of course.

I remember in a rural district of England having been treated with the utmost respect by the porter of an out-of-the-way railway station, until one day I happened to call there with a wheel-barrow for a large box that had been despatched to me by rail, and from that moment the poor man had the greatest difficulty even to be polite, whilst to get the word “sir” across his lips was henceforward a Herculean effort.

These are, I say, trivial instances of the disrespect of the burden-bearer, but, in presenting a picture of our culture as a whole, they are significant because they show unmistakably, even in the most casual circumstances of our lives, where the centre of gravity of that culture is situated.

The only hope for the future, if stability is the aim, seems to me, therefore, not merely a fundamental change in the system—i.e., a transmutation of a deeply particularized culture into one essentially mutualistic, but also a wholesale transvaluation of the values that are inevitably associated with a particularized culture. For, by such a transvaluation alone can a change of heart be effected, and it is my hope that the English people, particularist though they may be in their origin and traditions, are ripe for such a transvaluation.

But, since the solution of the Jewish problem resolves itself chiefly into finding the Jews a permanent home where they can live in peace and security, it is just as much incumbent on them, as on the English, to do everything in their power to pluck out from their own hearts also the powerful impulses to particularism with which their early conditioning and their subsequent history has endowed them.

They must either co-operate in the work of establishing a mutualistic culture among those people who are still favourably disposed to them; they must either help to effect the transvaluation which such a change implies, and the result of which will bring about a change of heart; or else they must, in order to continue to express themselves as particularists, move to areas where particularism still predominates. But, if they adopt the latter alternative, they should be prepared to face with resignation the recurrent upheavals to which such societies are subject, and run the risk of being singled out as their cause.

If, however, they adopt the first alternative, they must be prepared to make considerable sacrifices in the form of self-modification, and allow to rust and perish a number of the more formidable weapons in their natural armoury of gifts. They must collaborate with the non-Jews about them in reinstating, among the decadent particularist cultures, high values that are independent of wealth. They must, in opposition to their past policies, take sides not with those non-Jews who denigrate and deride all unpurchasable privileges and honours, only in order to make all privileges and honours ultimately purchasable; they must co-operate with the non-Jews about them who wish to restrict rather than universalize those avenues to honour and privilege which may be forced open by wealth.

For a well-ordered society depends, more than most writers seem to recognize, upon imponderables which, in the ultimate and supreme expression, may partake of the divine, as Tertullian declared: “Neque enim pretis ulla res dei constat.” (“For nothing that is God’s goes for a price.”)[11]

They must be fully prepared to take severe measures against those individuals in their own people who, willy nilly, refuse to abandon those instincts and gifts which have made them so eminently successful in particularist societies—the instinct to make personal prosperity a wholly private and unrelated phenomenon, the instinct to drive a hard bargain with the ignorant and needy, the instinct to discover where need is pressing in order to turn it to personal profit, the impulse even to create such a need where none exists and to forestall a needy purchaser, and, above all, the demagogic shrewdness to identify themselves with the non-Jewish clamourers for liberty, when all this liberty may mean is the absence of wise hindrances to the automatic and ruthless action of competition, or supply and demand, however conditioned.

To all those of their people who refuse to toe this mutualistic line, with its respect for the burden and its deep recognition of the true indebtedness to the community of all property-owners, they must themselves be prepared to issue orders of banishment.

If the Jews will not adopt this policy, when once those societies that are still friendly to them have adopted mutualism; if they decline to collaborate with those who are determined to make an end of their particularism, it seems to me that there can be no solution of the Jewish problem. For what Joseph Kastein failed to appreciate, when he declared antisemitism to be the outcome of the scapegoat principle, is the fact that antisemitism is chiefly a phenomenon of particularist cultures, or of such cultures as resemble the particularist in their asperities.

Let the more powerful Jews take the lead, if they can, in the reforms I have outlined; let them demonstrate to the world about them that they are as anxious as the more enlightened non-Jews to effect that transvaluation of values which will change their own and their people’s hearts. And if, despite the formidable nature of the task and many preliminary but inevitable set-backs, they can at last convince both their own and the non-Jewish masses of their earnestness in this crusade against a superannuated and discredited system; if they can show beyond doubt, not only their share in bringing about a better system, but also their determination to stabilize it and run it with success, there will cease to be a Jewish problem, and antisemitism will sound as odd to posterity as do Antiochianism or Antinomianism to people of the present day.

Notes

[1] I wrote on similar lines in The New Outlook of September, 1939.

[2] The italics are mine. A. M. L.

[3] To excess—Ed.

[4] War of all against all—Ed.

[5] See my Defence of Aristocracy, published 1915 (2nd edition, 1933).

[6] Sombart appears actually to claim that the Capitalism springs naturally from the shepherd and nomadic life, and not from the agricultural.

[7] “After me, the deluge,” meaning “I don’t care what comes after me.”—Ed.

[8] To give only one instance, in the human nose alone there are four different parts that can be inherited independently—hence probably, the frequent asymmetry of random-bred people’s faces. When we remember that the same independence prevails in the inheritance of other parts of the body, the conclusion drawn above will not be hard to appreciate.

[9] For a more detailed account of the kind of society that has a saner basis than the particularist, see my Sanctity of Private PropertyA Defence of Aristocracy, and A Defence of Conservatism.

[10] For other aspects, see my Defence of Aristocracy.

[11] Apologeticus, Chap. 39. The English version is from the Loeb Classical Library.

 

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10 Comments

  1. rhondda
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Wasn’t it Maggie Thatcher who said, ” there was no such thing as society.” She liked to destroy unions too as I recall. This led to the poor deserve to be poor. If I were a guy, I would use her as an example as to why women should not be in politics. Duh.

  2. me
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Whew! The article (or chapter) is pretty wordy or verbose. It could be be easily condensed to about 2,000 words or so. Couldn’t read it all & finish it.

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted February 11, 2013 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      Ludovici was verbose, but he makes good points. That is why THE LOST PHILOSOPHER is such a valuable book. It cuts out the fat and leaves the essence of the arguments.

      • me
        Posted February 14, 2013 at 11:10 am | Permalink

        Alright, I’ll try to read both lengthy articles by the author (the one above and the other 11+K-word article). Greg did point out to me personally that thin books sells faster than thick books.

  3. jalnicholl
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

    Isn’t it interesting how Ludovici, writing well under a century ago, can describe Anglo-Saxons as “particularist”–in contrast to what Kevin MacDonald et al are saying today, from an evo-psych perspective, about Europeans being innately universalist. (Of course, in those days there was a lot more scope for educated, non-specialist opinion, and not every essay had to be footnoted to death with the latest research.) Ludovici also appears to be against intra-Euro miscegenation, which strikes as a little kooky! A very smart piece on the JQ, however.

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted February 12, 2013 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      Both MacDonald and Ludovici claim that Europeans tend to be individualist. Ludovici uses the word particularism for individualism.

      • jalnicholl
        Posted February 12, 2013 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

        I see similarities in their perspectives but I don’t think the difference is merely terminological. Ludovici’s “particularism” for example “easily drops into xenophobia, and recognises few social obligations beyond that of minding one’s own business.” MacDonald, on the other hand, describes peoples descended from northern hunter gatherers as individualistic in contrast to the collectivistic Jews, ascribing this difference to conditions that favoured the emergence of smaller family units in prehistoric Europe compared to the more clannish units that developed in the Middle East. As a result Europeans, he says, are less xenophobic than other races and Jews more so. Ludovici doesn’t pick up on the difference in family structure.

        • Greg Johnson
          Posted February 13, 2013 at 4:30 am | Permalink

          There is no question that the Anglo-Saxon temperament is highly individualistic/particularistic. The whole notion of “rights” as trumps of individual interest regardless of the common good is the clearest expression of this mentality. Yet these attitudes also exist simultaneously with universalistic moral notions. Indeed, rights-based liberalism is itself universalistic. Thus universalism does not necessarily mean moral collectivism or communitarianism. Classical liberals advocate universal selfishness and try to fob off concerns about the common good by denying that it exists altogether or by claiming that it is best secured by not trying to secure it, e.g., such notions as the “invisible hand” or “spontaneous order” arising from selfishness.

  4. Posted February 13, 2013 at 3:36 am | Permalink

    mitchell heisman’s thesis would argue that the norman yoke was the driving force behind the british individualism and the revolts

    “This
    glorification of theft from the rich (Norman) to the poor
    (Saxon) suggests a seething sense of injustice that erupted in
    the Peasant Revolt of 1381.”

    “Magna Carta was a peace treaty designed to prevent civil
    war between the (non-norman)king and the (norman)barons. The U.S. Constitution,
    strongly influenced by Magna Carta, can be viewed as a
    peace treaty designed to prevent civil war between Norman-
    ruled South and Saxon-based North. By 1861, it failed. “

  5. Proofreader
    Posted February 13, 2013 at 5:14 am | Permalink

    Henri de Tourville’s Histoire de la formation particulariste, which Ludovici refers to above, was translated into English as The Growth of Modern Nations: A History of the Particularist Form of Society. The text of the latter is available at archive.org.

    Ludovici identifies Werner Sombart as a Jew, as others have done, but this seems to be mistaken. Sombart was an academic in National Socialist Germany and his book Deutscher Sozialismus (1934), translated as A New Social Philosophy (1937), is reportedly sympathetic to National Socialism.

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