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Jews, & the Jews in England, Excerpts

Simeon Solomon, "Judith and her Attendant going to the Assyrian Camp," 1872

Simeon Solomon, “Judith and her Attendant going to the Assyrian Camp,” 1872

9,179 words

Excerpts from Jews, and the Jews in England (London: Boswell Publishing, 1938), published under the pen name “Cobbett.”

At the present conjuncture in world affairs, ‘race’ may have become a meaningless word. It may even be quite superfluous. If this is so, then by all means let us scrap it. But scrapping it will not remove those factors to designate which it has so far survived, possibly merely as a spurious counter. It will not remove the capacity on the part of non-Semitic Europeans to recognize the Jew as a type (desirable or undesirable). It will not remove the reluctance which is steadily growing to divorce type from character. It will not remove the knowledge which all Europeans have, and which cannot be wholly fallacious seeing that . . . it is based on history, that the Jew traditionally favours certain callings, certain occupations and reveals certain definite psychological characteristics which, whether conditioned by long habituation or not, are nevertheless distinct and may be (probably are) the psychological correlatives of his type. Finally, it cannot remove any objection non-Semites may advance to that irreducible kernel recognized . . . by the Jews themselves, which distinguishes them from Gentiles, even if this be shown to consist externally only of ‘nostrility’. For the believer in the interdependence of body and soul—and who is not a believer in this today?—will necessarily look for an irreducible psychological kernel in the Jewish type which must correspond with that nostrility. (Jews, and the Jews in England, p. 26)

* * *

. . . at least throughout the Middle Ages, the fate of the Jews in Europe was very much the same, no matter where they happened to be. Hard and mild treatment followed each other in quick succession, according to the temper of the local rulers or the circumstances of the time. Expulsions from Spain, France and other countries, sometimes enforced with the utmost severity, alternated with massacres or with spells of extraordinarily merciful and even preferential treatment. But everywhere the position of the Jews was more or less insecure, and yet everywhere they survived owing chiefly to the tremendous power of their law and religious tradition, their exceptional stamina, their inflexible will to maintain their unity in dispersion and their surprising capacity for adaptation. (Jews, and the Jews in England, pp. 41-2)

* * *

What, then, was the function of the Jews and what was their relationship to the sovereign?

There is not the slightest shadow of a doubt that the Jews of the late eleventh century in England were chiefly occupied with moneylending, and probably generally fulfilling the function of middlemen capitalists, some centuries before capitalism became a reality in the land. In addition to lending out money at interest, they therefore probably bought and sold as wholesalers, and it is also not unlikely that they may even have cornered markets in certain commodities.

They had the coin, they had the financial knowledge and experience, they were alone in the field (because the laws of the Church forbade usury to Christians), they had the protection of the most powerful in the realm, and, above all, they enjoyed extraordinary privileges.

None, however, but an invading and victorious dynasty, feeling itself still a stranger in the land and conscious of no traditional ties to its inhabitants, could ever have dropped such a cloud of harpies upon the country without considering that it was violating a duty and a trust. (Jews, and the Jews in England, pp. 44-5)

* * *

Many ecclesiastical bodies were involved in heavy debts to the Jews, which may have been a factor in the Church’s growing hostility. But undoubtedly what chiefly incensed the ecclesiastics was the relative rationalism of the Jews at a time when almost every activity was governed by superstition and a belief in magical agencies, and also the religious influence of the Jews on the common people and particularly on the slaves and servants they kept in their households.

As early as the beginning of the twelfth century the Church had forbidden Jews to hold Christian slaves, and any slaves they held who accepted Christianity were at once set at liberty. The Church had also been active in spreading among the superstitious populace tales of horror concerning the secret practices of the Jews in order, if possible, to incite the people against them. (Jews, and the Jews in England, p. 48)

* * *

. . . we might usefully ask ourselves whether the members of any other nation, finding themselves more or less isolated in the Middle Ages, would necessarily have taken to moneylending and pawnbroking as a means of livelihood.

We might ask ourselves further whether the Norman and Angevin kings of England and the kings of France would have used the Jews as they undoubtedly did—that is to say, as a means of sucking the wealth out of their subjects—unless they had in their guile perceived in the Jewish people peculiar aptitudes for this particular function.

Finally, we might ask ourselves why the attempts made by Louis IX of France and Edward I of England to make the Jews abandon usury and ‘to betake themselves to traffic, manufactures, or the cultivation of the land’ were such a dismal failure. (Jews, and the Jews in England, p. 55)

* * *

Now the Jews, not being bound by Christian laws, whether against usury or commercial undertakings, were the predestined occupiers of the middle-class position at a time when no such approved class existed. Not only did they by their values and natural equipment easily drop into the empty niche, but they also found everybody in the land, from the sovereign to the poorest burgess, ready to accept them as adorners of it, and were, moreover, perfectly impervious to the contempt which those about them might feel for the occupations associated with the middleman’s position.

There were not two or three but scores of reasons for the Jew of twelfth- and thirteenth-century England to feel superior to those about him. He was so in education at a time when many amongst even the high in the land could not write their names. He was a rationalist when they, even the highest in the land, were still steeped in superstition. He was the product not of a century, but of millennia of civilization, while all about him were people who, hardly a thousand years previously, had been little better than savages. He was possessed of a law, of values and a religion of his own, which made him feel aloof in any case, and which, compared with the practices of many of the more superstitious and fanatical people in his environment, must have seemed like divine wisdom itself He knew every trick of trade, exchange, forestalling and regrating that centuries of civilized urban life could have taught him, and all about him were men who in these matters were mere children. Above all, however, he was proud of his race and kept himself aloof because he wished to . . .

Now, it does not require much insight to perceive that, in such circumstances and with such feelings, the Jew was not unnaturally prone to be impervious to the contempt of those about him. Apart from the practical inconveniences to which this contempt might lead, as a form of censure, as a rebuke which might induce him to reconsider his ways, his values, and his tastes, it was clearly negligible. He felt the population about him in the Middle Ages, even those sections of it which held exalted positions, as capable rather of violent than of moral or intellectual assaults on his position. Consequently, their opinions, their point of view, did not impress him. (Jews, and the Jews in England, pp. 56-7)

* * *

‘We find Semites in the land [of Babylonia] and in possession of considerable power almost as early as we can get back. . . . When history commences, the inhabitants of Babylon were already civilized.’ This passage from the anthropologist A. H. Keane is really the key to the mystery, if there is such a thing as a mystery, of the Jews.

Abraham and the Aramean ancestors of the Israelites were in the district of Ur of the Chaldees about 2350 BC. The whole of the area, including this place and west of it, was throughout antiquity and from the earliest times to within living memory not only the strategic connecting link between three continents, but also the isthmus of land across which the trade routes of three continents lay. Thus the ancestors of the Jews, as also probably all the Semitic stocks with which they mingled and which, after the fall of the Sumerians, settled in that area, have now been continuously in touch with civilization of a kind, with city life of a kind, and with trade of every imaginable variety, for probably 4,500 years.

This, apart from the Near Eastern Alpine[1] and the Oriental Mediterranean strains in their blood, which differentiate them distinctly from Western European stocks, would of itself suffice to mark them out as a people fundamentally different from ourselves. (Jews, and the Jews in England, p. 65)

* * *

What are the traits of the desert people-the primitive Semites or bedouins—from whom the Jews ultimately derive? . . . .

We see a people hardened and sharpened by the merciless life of the desert, recognizing no differences of rank among themselves, intolerant of dominion, disinclined to obey, independent, not given to manual labour, and scorning laws that are not based on their customs and religion. But a people fitted by millennia of privation, uncertainty and simple living to become formidable in any close struggle for existence with a type less hard and less hardened, and a people accustomed to wait, to endure and to be masters of their own destiny.

But the above, although important, are really less significant for the history of the Jews than are certain other equally strong characteristics which may be inferred from them. We refer to that complex of mental habits, emotions, gifts and tastes, which necessarily forms in the nomad state—such, for instance, as the inability to become, or to feel, rooted to any territory, hence the lack of appreciation and capacity for a territorial national’s attachment to a particular soil and environment. Such also is the ready ability to become adapted to new surroundings and to a new soil, provided it offers opportunities for a livelihood which are not too offensive to bedouin or nomad taste. Such, too, is the inability to recognize any obligation to any other man or to any community, in respect of property possessed -in fact, the inability to understand property as a privilege involving responsibilities and duties. The nomad is essentially a particularist[2] who is by nature, as it were, born into the philosophy of the Manchester School,[3] whether this came after or before him. Not only is it difficult for him to recognize mutuality in the institution of property, but he is also quite incapable of building up a society in which the relations of the various classes and of their members are based on mutuality. He knows only personal property, and when he packs up his household goods and his tent, and moves to a fresh pasture, driving his herd before him, he feels an obligation to no man. He moves, moreover, not merely because he is a rover by nature, but also because he tends, by his congenital disinclination towards productive labour, to exhaust the land on which he establishes his temporary settlement, and his constant refrain, like the essential particularist that he is, is apres moi le deluge! (Jews, and the Jews in England, pp. 66-8)

* * *

… the Jew is not soft towards himself His history proves that he is capable of imposing the greatest hardships on himself and capable of the greatest bravery. In his three greatest feats—the conquest of Palestine after the sojourn in Egypt, the Maccabean revolt and the clash with Rome—there stand revealed his indomitable courage and his exceptional powers of endurance. Besides, after the Great Dispersion, when all Europe began persecuting and martyrizing him, his behaviour was in most cases exemplary. It is said that the way in which many of the Jews, condemned by the Inquisition to be burnt alive, went to their death, so much stirred the onlookers that the Church often dreaded a revulsion of feeling among the populace. . . .

It is possible to be hard both on oneself and on one’s neighbour. This is nobler than hardness only on the neighbour, but it can be just as formidable.

It may explain the callousness necessary to the type who can persevere in methods which mean ruin or at least distress to the neighbour. It may explain the ruthlessness of the Jews as climbers where a society provides the opportunity to climb by ruthless means. It may explain the resolute and single-minded self-assertion of the Jews which is so often displayed in the Old Testament. . . .

It has been said, moreover, that the peculiar cruelties of the Russian Revolution, particularly in its early days, were largely due to Jewish influence. The fact that the Jews feel themselves different, and standing aloof from mankind, may possibly be a factor in making their native hardness merge insensibly into cruelty when they find members of the ‘rest of mankind’ in their power. But it does not seem either rational or fair to ascribe an exceptionally high degree of cruelty to them on that account alone, more especially in view of the black record of other peoples in this respect.

More convincing as proof of their native hardness is perhaps their proneness for the calling of usury, which for its successful pursuit presupposes ability to contemplate unmoved the distress of an insolvent debtor. This hardness was displayed long before the conditions of medieval Europe drove them, as some allege, to practise usury almost exclusively. (Jews, and the Jews in England, pp. 68-70)

* * *

. . . the facts revealed [by the Jewish sociologist, Dr Arthur Ruppin, about Jewish occupations] are really implicit in the claim that the Jew is by predilection a middleman. He buys and sells. He does not, as a rule, produce. Whether this predilection is rooted in his dislike of manual labour is ultimately beside the point. What really matters is that his fondness for the middleman’s job is well-established. (Jews, and the Jews in England, p. 73)

* * *

Can we, in view of their history, subscribe to the view that the Jews as we find them today are chiefly the outcome of Christian environment? . . . .

The immense urban experience, the vast conditioning in civilized habits of mind and body which he possessed . . . , must have served the Jew in great stead in Rome, as everywhere else in Europe in the days immediately before and after the Great Dispersion.

And if a historian as impartial and learned as Dr Oesterley thinks it fair to tell us of the Jews in Rome that ‘sooner or later their energy and their sharp wits had to be reckoned with in every sphere’, and ‘it was a source of pleasure to the Jew to measure his acuteness with that of the less endowed Roman’—if, as we say, a historian as judicial as Dr Oesterley thinks fit to speak in these terms of the Roman Jews, it surely lends colour to the view that probably everywhere in antiquity the Jew was using his immense experience and inherited adaptation as a civilized urbanite to get the better of all those who were more fresh both to civilization and urban conditions, and also that he was everywhere also displaying his proclivities for finance, trading, commerce and generally buying and selling, although at that time there appears to have been no legislative or other influence compelling him to confine himself to these pursuits. (Jews, and the Jews in England, pp. 74-7)

* * *

Taking into account the Asiatic bedouin origin of the Jew, his 4,400 years of association with civilization and big cities, his unspeakably hard struggle for his millennial association with that narrow isthmus of land which included all the principal trade routes between three continents in the ancient world, and the consequent effect of this long start on any conflict of mere business wit with the Gentiles (even if the Jew’s advantages be set no higher than a superior eye to the main chance), is it not clear that when he spread over Europe he would naturally tend, owing to his inherited and acquired characteristics, to scorn the more laborious and slower methods of accumulating wealth, and gravitate to those in which precisely his past, his training, his endless experience of trade and civilized conditions could best be utilized? . . .

But no discussion of the Jew’s characteristics could be complete, particularly in regard to the subject of finance, without some reference to the fundamentally particularistic basis of the Jewish character inherited from his desert ancestors. For it is this particularism of the Jew, combined with his native hardness, which makes him not only incapable of understanding property except as an individual possession free from all ties, but also incapable of living among a people with the more gregarious view of property[4]—i.e., as a trust involving certain obligations, duties and responsibilities—without trying to convert this gregarious and only practical view of property into a particularist view.

The repeated instances in history of the gregarious view of property degenerating and hardening with time into the individualist or particularist view, until legislators had to restore order and happiness by redistribution—and instances of this can be found in Jewish, Greek, Roman and even modern history—may or may not always have been due to Jewish influence. But it is difficult not to see this influence in the changes that came over at least the Roman and the medieval European views of property. For both in ancient Rome, where the notion of property certainly degenerated with time from a gregarious to a particularist standard, and in the Middle Ages of Europe and particularly of England, where definite survivals of the former gregarious view of property are still extant, the changes from mutuality to exclusiveness in property have all been contemporaneous with steadily increasing Jewish influence.

All this, however, becomes perfectly clear and understandable when we bear in mind Keane’s statement that the ‘whole mental outlook’, the ‘mode of thought’ and the ‘religion and organization’ of the Semites ‘indicate their derivation from a desert people’. For how can an independent nomad, moving with all his personal and family goods from pasture to pasture and from oasis to oasis, conceive of any gregarious attitude towards property, or of any obligations implicit in his possessions, other than those he feels towards perhaps his own children?

Add the factor of high sophistication relative to those about them, the quality of hardness of which Renan speaks, and the further gift of psychological insight, and there results an equipment of formidable power in the presence of any people who have not been as accustomed to the individual struggle for private possessions as long as the Jews have.

Dr Ruppin convincingly supports his claim that the Jews are gifted with unusual psychological insight, by pointing to their success as interpreters of all kinds: actors, musical executants, journalists and producers of drama.

In psychology it is notorious that men like Freud and Adler have been not only pioneers but have cleft the history of the science into two, the more or less dark and groping era lying behind them. (Jews, and the Jews in England, pp. 79-80)

* * *

What is the earliest history of their ancestors but a continuous pilgrimage? What was the explanation of their very presence in Mesopotamia and Palestine, if it was not that they were wandering from an area in which, at all events, they had always been rovers into another area seeking fresh woods and pastures new?

In fact, it may very seriously be questioned whether their bedouin ancestry in itself did not implant in them for all time a roving and restless spirit which could not and actually did not shoot any lasting roots of deep attachment into any soil. In their origin they were nomads. But can one speak of nomads as possessing a fatherland, a home country, a patrie from which they are dispersed? And would it be logical to say of nomads who had been dispersed from a temporary common focus that certain unsettled roving elements in their nature had been forced upon them by their dispersal? . . .

If today the Jew is in the forefront of every international movement, whether the creation of a language like Esperanto or the support of an ideology like socialism with its brotherhood of mankind as against fascist nationalism, it is due not so much to the fact that the Jew is at heart a democrat and intolerant of dominion, as to his being himself a creature without a nation in the territorial sense, and with a primitive ancestry which, in any case, did not know of any such territorial nationality. (Jews, and the Jews in England, pp. 84-5)

* * *

. . . the belief that the inferiority feeling of the Jews constitutes an adequate and necessary explanation of their exceptionally intense arriviste or climbing propensities, is probably . . . soundly established. For this indomitable ambition, this restless and indefatigable striving after importance and power, is exactly the kind of psychological result which might be expected from the inferiority feelings in question.

Hardly any writer, from Renan to Dr Ruppin, fails to mention this indomitable ambition as an outstanding feature of the Jews, and added to their other qualities enumerated above it naturally makes them formidable exponents of the will to power, and ruthless competitors in any contest for influence and ascendancy. (Jews, and the Jews in England, p.  90)

* * *

Some exception is commonly taken both by the Jews, and the liberals among the Gentiles, to the very discussion of such a subject as the influence ofthe Jews. They say: ‘You do not discuss the influence of the Catholic or the Mahomedan or the Irvingite. Why pick on the Jews?’ . . .

If the influence of the Jews compels attention in a way not comparable to that exerted by the Catholic, the Mahomedan or the Irvingite, it is because the former, as their history and destiny has shown, constantly recreate among the peoples with whom they settle the same pressing and difficult problems. As a peculiar ethnic type not normally represented to any considerable extent in European countries, and possessed of psychological qualities and of a will to ascendancy which makes them conspicuous in any environment not organized on their own lines and peopled by men of their own blood, their influence inevitably attracts notice, not merely by its strangeness but also by the invariable sameness of its effects.

Despite their frequent superficial morphological distinctions, there is a singular uniformity and standardization in the behaviour and activities of the Jewish communities of all countries, and the fact that in the history of the last four thousand years they have provoked remarkably similar reactions among the different peoples with whom they have come into contact is a sufficient demonstration of the regularity of their habits of mind and character, and of the latter’s social expression. Possessed by a people less energetic, less ambitious, less determined, it is possible that their peculiar psychological qualities might have been overlooked, and that their influence upon the customs, institutions and policies of the nations among whom they settled might have been negligible. But correlated, as they are, with a will to ascendancy and power, probably unequalled by any other ethnic type, their peculiar psychological qualities naturally become the object of attention and study. And it is for this reason that in ancient Egypt, ancient Rome, medieval Europe, and modem Europe and America there has always been a ‘Jewish question’, and that it is considered legitimate to discuss the influence of the Jews. (Jews, and the Jews in England, pp. 91-2)

* * *

Now, one of the strangest phenomena of modem times is the fact that in most discussions about the Jew in his relation to Western culture and institutions this consideration of his essentially Oriental character and type should almost without exception have been sedulously overlooked. It is as if the belief in the independence of mind and body, of soul and physique, had been so profoundly inculcated upon modern man as to make it impossible for him to see the absurdity of regarding character and mental and emotional constitution as unrelated to, or unconditioned by, their physical correlatives. For, if the Jew is essentially an Asiatic, then his mental and characterological features must have an Asiatic colour and quality. If he is really an Oriental, he cannot think and feel as a Westerner.

But anyone reading the debates in both Houses, which preceded the various Acts providing for the emancipation and naturalization of aliens and Jews in England, and their admission to Parliament and to the various offices of state, must be struck by the scrupulous delicacy with which almost all the speakers avoided all but the most superficial and ‘personal’ .

It was not a question of whether it was ‘cricket’ or ‘kindly’ or ‘gentlemanly’ to exclude the Jews with other aliens from Parliament. It was a question of whether England did or did not wish to continue her national life as an expression of her national type.

As Ripley has sufficiently shown in his monumental work on The Races of Europe, the peculiarity which distinguishes the English people from their Continental neighbours is that whereas the latter are a mixture more or less proportionate of the Teutonic, the Mediterranean and Alpine races, the former were until comparatively recent times a blend of only Teutonic and Mediterranean stocks.

In modern scientific jargon, then, the morphology of Englishmen cannot be divorced from the ethnic components in their ancestry. And since morphology and psychology can no

longer be separated either, except by those who abide by a superstitious outlook, it follows that the character of the pure Englishman must in some obscure way, which need not be investigated here, be correlated with his morphology.

But it has been seen that, at least as far as the Jews are concerned, we are confronted with an ethnic type which, according to one scholarly Jewish investigator, is a compound of the Near Eastern branch of the Alpine, and the Oriental and Occidental branches of the Mediterranean races; i.e., they have in their physical composition two human stocks which are, or were until recent time, unrepresented in these islands, and they entirely lack a third.

Was it really supposed by the legislators of the nineteenth century that the introduction into English public life of an element so manifestly foreign as the Jew would leave the character of our institutions and the spirit of our customs and laws unmodified? (Jews, and the Jews in England, pp. 92–4)

* * *

As an Oriental, as a descendant of a race inured in the desert to an existence which, though precarious, was certainly neither industrious nor laborious, and, ever since his abandonment of the nomad’s life, attracted to and becoming more and more occupied in trade and general trafficking, the Jew, not only in his own community, but also as an influence outside his community, was bound to promote and cultivate precisely that kind of culture -which, for the lack of a better name, we may call ‘black-coated’ -in which clean, easy and quick paths to wealth, or at least to self-support, are preferred to strenuous, slow and clothes-soiling paths, in which a love of the work as such, apart from the profit it brings, may be a motive for choosing and clinging to it.

Owing to his age-long connection with civilization, urban life and trade, the Jew was bound to promote and develop the culture which is built upon a vast expansion of urban rather than of rural habits and occupations. For men invariably tend to choose and foster the conditions in which their peculiar mastery is best displayed. A swordsman does not choose pistols for a duel.

Finally, by his congenital proclivity to traffic with the products of other men’s labour rather than to be a producer himself, the Jew was bound to favour all those activities which we now know as speculating, forward buying, forestalling, regrating and the promotion of every variety of agency and middleman function until, in the whole of the labour and products of the nation he influenced, there was nothing that remained immune from the rake-off of the purchaser with the capital to anticipate a demand. (Jews, and the Jews in England, p. 96)

* * *

The asperities of the Manchester School and its regime were but a practical application of the accepted principle of converting—even the flesh and blood of infants if necessary—into profit. Although born Englishmen in vast numbers were inextricably involved in this grisly traffic in white slaves (thousands of whom were mere children), to which only the noble efforts of the seventh Earl of Shaftesbury and Michael Thomas Sadler (both Tories) ultimately put an end comparatively late in the nineteenth century, it can hardly be denied that both in the philosophy of laissez-faire and the practical exponents of it, there was nothing fundamentally foreign to the time-honoured methods of the typical Jewish businessman, or to the spirit which the increasing influence of Jewish finance and trading morality had spread in England.

‘Politically’, says Sombart, ‘[the Jew] is an individualist’, and it was extreme individualism, with its slogan sauve qui peut,[5] in a ruthless struggle of everyone against his neighbour, which was responsible for the worst excesses of nineteenth-century industrialism.

One of the outstanding features in the growth of modem capitalism has been the gradual transformation of the notion of property as involving privilege plus duty and responsibility into a notion of property as free and devoid of any responsibility whatsoever. In fact, it is impossible to conceive of modem capitalism as not forestalled by this significant transmutation of values.

Property, as involving privilege plus obligation and responsibility, presupposed certain ties and stakes in the land, certain relations to dependents, assistants and equals, and certain obligations to the community as a whole for its incessant contribution to all forms of property, which were possible only to a legal denizen with traditions and contacts in his locality and usually his soil. This being so, however, no alien, no ‘freelance’ sojourner, wishing to settle in this country and to accumulate property could do so unless the very notion of property became suitably modified.

Before thus modifying it, no-one, however, once paused to consider whether property as such could possibly continue to be defended or justified. Apart from the Jew’s ancestral inability to understand the gregarious view of property, the desire naturally was to divorce it from obligation and responsibility, particularly that kind of obligation which was implicit in the ancient usages of the country, and which prescribed duties that none but a man of property with a certain traditional status could discharge. What did it matter if, by divorcing it from such obligations, property must cease from having any meaning?

Thus, all notion of responsibility and duty which, from the beginning of settled life in England, had been inseparable from ownership, was allowed to drop out of the institution of property, as if for all the world such a modification made no difference to its odour, its philosophic justification and its function in the theory of the English realm.

It was a change eminently favourable to the Jew as a congenital particularist and a freelance aspirant for property and power in a foreign land. And although in the history of the divorce of property from obligation, as a development of capitalism, certain fatal steps were undoubtedly taken before the resettlement of the Jews in England, it would be daring wholly to exclude Jewish influence from the drastic reforms which secured the establishment of free and irresponsible ownership (really a contradiction in terms) after the Grand Rebellion, and which ultimately culminated in the institution which we know as modern capitalism.

In its very first principle, this new institution harboured the seed of its own ruin, for, since in order to be free, property had abandoned its only philosophic and political justification, and propertied people consented to a cash payment discharging all their duties; and since, moreover, the traditionally accepted measure in the relationship of ownership to duty tended to become entirely lost after ownership was divorced from its time-honoured usages in this country, it necessarily followed that the cash payment became an arbitrary tax which, at any moment, might be increased even to the point of confiscation. The fact that this is exactly the state of affairs which . . . existed in England with regard to the Jews, for centuries before their expulsion in 1290, shows how similar conditions and behaviour provoke similar reactions. But whereas in the thirteenth century only the Jews were constantly menaced with partial confiscation, today it is the whole of the nation’s property owners, who are quite unaware of the extent to which they have been Judaized, and therefore of the singular justice of the treatment which is now being meted out to them.

Since, however, the only philosophic justification of property has been abandoned not only by a section of the nation (in the Middle Ages, the Jews), but also by all property owners, the alternative to confiscation is no longer a change over to the more reputable callings which Edward I offered the Jews early in his reign, but a new institution on a national scale-i.e., the abandonment of property itself.

Thus the road has been cleared for the ultimate transition from modern capitalism, or Judaized property (everybody a moneylender), to communism-i.e., the inevitable culmination of the national Judaization of property, in which confiscation becomes a national cry.

In this way, a point is reached when the only barrier between capitalism and communism (which, as institutions, can be shown philosophically to be equally ridiculous) is the avidity of the propertied classes to preserve what they can from confiscation. That is why, in ages like the present, the only active conservatism to be found consists in that kind of political outlook which wishes to secure ‘safety first’ for bank deposits and bank balances.

Now, in following the decline of property down to its present indefensible position, it is, as we have seen, impossible not to inculpate to a very great extent both the Jew and his inveterate habits of mind. And if today we see the Jew everywhere advocating and even anticipating the next logical move in the only line of development which he can understand—the merging of capitalism into communism —it is probably due merely to the fact that, with his proverbially quick wits (especially in regard to economic trends), he has inevitably perceived the hopelessness of the wreck his methods have made of the Western institution of property, and now wishes to pilot the dilapidated hulk into a dock where can hope to continue to survive and function, if only in the guise of a despotic bureaucrat.

Certainly, no enlightened Jew with whom we have discussed present trends has ever revealed the slightest doubt that capitalism is waning to its end. And if, in the inevitable cataclysm, power is only to be retained by sponsoring and controlling the new institution, communism, it is not surprising that we should find Jews prominent in the patronage of all forces which are now inclining to the extreme left.

The relation between capitalism, liberalism and Judaism has been sufficiently demonstrated by Werner Sombart. What Sombart fails to point out, however, is the incredible blindness of all those, whether in Germany, France or England, who failed to foresee the only culmination of the freelance, independent and, as it were, bedouin conception of property for the Western, socialized and functional conception. And what no-one who took part in the fateful debates of 1834 saw, was that the choice of ways and means, the framing of a national policy, could not, in the conditions that then prevailed, and cannot even now, be divorced from the type of man who chooses and who frames, and therefore that the intervention of the Jew in the control of the national destiny must mean the abandonment of all hope of preserving the nation’s identity.

It may have been no-one’s wish to preserve the nation’s identity or to preserve any definite meaning for the epithet ‘English’. If that is so, however, the title ‘Conservative’ has for the last hundred years been meaningless and spurious. In the confidence it has sought to inspire in the nation it has been a fraud. (Jews, and the Jews in England, pp. 97-100)

The fact . . . that in England after the resettlement the Jew was in the position of a stranger aspiring to power in a society already organized to a great extent upon the aristocratic and hereditary principle, meant that his one form of power — money — found itself opposed, or at least limited, by other kinds of power which, besides having no necessary basis in money alone, were inaccessible to money as such. These other kinds of power were Gentile aristocratic lineage, Gentile aristocratic privilege, hereditary honours and functions, all of which could not be bought, had no market price and belonged to a political system and a constitution which would need to be transformed and if necessary wrecked, if these forms of power were to be released to merely affluent candidates for their possession.

Thus if, in such a society, the Jew was to persist in his ambition to acquire power that had no insuperable limitations, it meant that, willy-nilly, he must give the weight of his support in influence and money to all those tendencies in the land which were aiming at destroying these peculiar and unpurchasable forms of power, and at dismantling the political framework into which they fitted.

Whether the political incompetence of the occupants of these seats of power, or their stupidity, or their gross neglect of their duties played into the hands of those elements in the nation which were anxious to displace them is a question which need not be gone into here. Suffice it to say that, from the most humble squire to the most exalted member of the nobility, there were throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries a sufficiently high proportion of unworthy men of privilege and power in the country abundantly to equip the arsenal of any section of the nation which happened to be determined upon their destruction. (Jews, and the Jews in England, pp. 100-1)

. . . Disraeli entirely overlooks what it has been our object to point out: that even where persecution is entirely non-existent, as it was in Germany before the [First World] War, in France before the Revolution and in England throughout the nineteenth century, the Jews are bound to be on the side of liberalism and the radical ideology, because in Western Europe, where civilization was, before the late nineteenth century, still based to a great extent on hereditary and aristocratic privilege and obligation, there were whole spheres of power from which the Jew as a stranger was naturally excluded. (Jews, and the Jews in England, p. 103)

* * *

The Asiatic origin of the Jew, his knowledge and his feelings of strangeness in all the countries into which he has wandered since the Roman Dispersion, especially those of northwestern Europe from whose population he is most conspicuously differentiated, have inevitably induced him to exert all his powers in every possible way to weaken or break down the national barriers which either recognized, provided against or emphasized his own and any other foreign element.

It has been seen that the Jew tends by his origins to be democratic in spirit and liberal in outlook.

When, however, as an alien, as a man of strange blood, he finds himself confronted by a national population in which any vestige of the conservative spirit remains, and whose national institutions are hedged round by exclusive rights and traditions tending to exclude the foreigner and his influence, his very lust for ascendancy, irrespective of any congenital liberalism in his being, inevitably inclines him to promote all those liberal principles which are best calculated to eliminate the rigid barriers about him and to undermine their philosophic justification. Thus wherever he may be, he applies his peculiar gifts, both as a sophisticated intellectual and as a formidable exponent of the will to power, to denigrate all the rigorous policies and measures tending to preserve the typically national character or personnel of the institutions and corporations he finds about him, and becomes a liberal out of expediency in addition to being a liberal by hereditary bias. Consequently, he is always found wherever there may happen to be movements engaged in modifying the time-honoured features of a nation’s character, and for opposing as ‘reactionary’ and ‘fossilized’ those barriers to his ascendancy which are rooted in the nation’s self-preservative traditions.

True, he will be careful not to attack the institutions of Guy Fawkes’s Day or the Lord Mayor’s Show. For, provided most Englishmen are simple-minded enough to suppose that their ancient institutions are being sufficiently safeguarded by the annual burning in effigy of a Papist, and by an obsolete and quite unessential pageant, even if many more essential and precious features of the national life should have disappeared completely, why should anyone trouble to tamper with these harmless historical heirlooms?

He will also take care not to attack the ritual and ceremonies of Parliament and the throne. But again, he will be making an insignificant concession, so long as Englishmen are sleepy enough to imagine that while there may be un-English, although ‘native’, elements in both Houses, among the Ministers of the Crown and at the very foot of the throne, the mere regalia and panache of parliamentary life and of the Constitution amply suffice to preserve the ancient character of these institutions.

Thus the Jew becomes a militant liberal, not out of any hostility to what is ancient per se: on the contrary, he is often the most ardent advocate of the merely Wardour Street[vi] and Fancy Dress Ball aspect of a people’s venerable institutions. Like the liberal, he opposes the latter only to make all paths free. And since it is the purely Wardour Street and Fancy Dress Ball aspects of a nation’s institutions which most delude the mob and the shallow middle class into believing that all is as it should be and as it always has been, the liberal finds his task a fairly simple one.

Hence the universal association of the Jew with liberal tendencies. Hence, too, when it comes to fighting European conservatism or nationalism, his complete oblivion of his own people’s fits of conservatism in the remote past. . . .

On the other hand, when it is a matter of a Jew trying to get himself accepted as a power by the conservatives of his time, nobody could speak in a manner more persuasive and eloquent about the fundamental principles now actuating German National Socialism than Disraeli himself.

Listen to him on the question of the equality of mankind . . . . ‘The native tendency of the Jewish race, who are justly proud of their blood, is against the doctrine of the equality of man.’

How different are the arguments of Jewry today, when Hitler’s influence threatens to kindle anti-Semitic conflagrations in the other countries of Europe! Now, with the liberal backing of enlightenment in the form of books like We Europeans,[7] the argument turns in favour of the brotherhood and equality of mankind, and the denigration of race. And here we touch upon the character of the Jews . . . —their inability to place considerations not germane to their cause, in no matter what country they may be, above the interests of what they regard as freedom—which tends to make them neglect the question of the stability or durability of the nation whose conservatism or whose institutions they help to change, provided this freedom is served. They never ask themselves how a nation which thus loses its old usages and abandons its conservative principles will ultimately survive the loss. The immediate advantage of so-called freedom is all that they really consider and concentrate upon.

This may be perfectly natural and inevitable and only human, all-too human. It does, however, constitute them a disruptive or disintegrating force within the body of any nation among whom they settle, and the fact that this tendency of their influence is not a novelty, or a manifestation only of their life in the states of modem Europe is shown by Mommsen, who in his History of Rome makes the important and very ominous statement that ‘even in the ancient world Judaism was an effective leaven of cosmopolitanism and of national decomposition’.

Their influence, therefore, tends to impoverish and weaken all local tradition, national character and national identity, where these happen to be at all resistant to alien invasion. And since these factors are integrating forces, it follows that extreme Jewish liberalism atomizes a population, turns each man into an isolated individual, and ultimately culminates in a state bordering on anarchy in which, at the tum of an eyebrow, anarchy becomes a fact. (Jews, and the Jews in England, pp. 107-10)

* * *

The functional ties which join class to class, like articulating members of a body, and make each class feel the advantage it derives from the social hierarchy -a condition which, in a sound society, is one of the most harmonizing and binding of the social factors-naturally perish when ownership loses its essential obligations and leadership is deprived of its national personnel. The typical society, or lack of society, of the bedouin, with his obligations to no man, his canvas or hide shelter and his other property all wholly his own, and his liberty to move hither and thither without severing any ties, thus becomes revived. But it becomes revived in a community built up on functional ownership, stability, national feeling and traditional leadership, and therefore cannot help dismembering such a community and bewildering its members.

Meanwhile, the nation and the people of a country that have suffered these changes may, owing to their city banquets, their handing of the keys of the city to the reigning sovereign, their beefeaters, their pageants, their national anniversaries, their monuments and their many heirlooms and art treasures, imagine they have retained the reality of a world that has preserved its ancient usages. They may still fancy they live in ‘good old’ England.

But, at bottom, the nation is really unrecognizable. The age-long rake-off of the transformed ruling or possessing classes, whether Jews or Englishmen, who have considered profit rather than service, quick and clean sources of income rather than production, has left the people and their soil not only disintegrated but exhausted. Everywhere in plant, animal and human being there are signs of generations of ruthless exploitation, systematic devitalization. The people no longer even care for the greatness on which their ancestors squandered their blood and treasure.

They are no longer interested in their own ascendancy, in maintaining their own strength against the world. So incapable have the majority become of any self-assertion or

productive work requiring initiative and spirit that even the production of their own entertainment is a thing of the past, and the practice of passively receiving entertainment or of having some distracting or diverting process performed upon them, preferably while they are sitting in a chair, has become a national addiction and habit. Meanwhile, the whole of

Western civilization marches steadily on towards communism, and it is difficult to repress the impulse to inquire whether that too may not be merely a device or substitute for moving on to some fresh oasis or pasture, where docile flocks of sheep will continue to maintain their bureaucratic masters in idleness. (Jews, and the Jews in England, pp. 110-11)

 * * *

From the purely anthropological standpoint, it may be concluded right away that anything in the nature of mixed marriages with the Jews, particularly on the part of English people, cannot fail to introduce into pure English stocks many ethnic elements which are not merely foreign to the English as a people, but the absence of which from English strains constitutes one of the principal claims to the specific character of the English as a particular people in northwestern Europe . . .

As a colonizing people which has come into contact with all sorts and varieties of races and types, and kept singularly free from intermarriage with them, this, to the English, should not be a difficult form of abstention, and apart from the English peerage there is little evidence that mixed English and Jewish marriages are much in favour.

With regard to the attitude of the English to the Jews in social and political life, however, the position is not so simple.

There can be no doubt that from the standpoint of a strictly conservative attitude the Jew should be precluded from too much control over our institutions and customs because, as they are not an external expression of his type, his intervention as a power over them cannot fail to modify them in an un-English way. . . .

On the other hand, there are grave logical objections to these apparently obvious policies:

(a) For instance, our data above have shown that ever since 1655 English life has undoubtedly become more and more Judaized-that is to say, that the people of this country and the life they lead have tended to approach more and more to Jewish standards or to standards under which the Jewish character flourishes. . . .

Modern English life is bristling with evidence of the victory of the Judaized Englishman and of Jewish values. What sense, then, would there be in so empty a gesture as excluding the ethnic Jew and retaining his Gentile understudy? What purpose would be served in excluding the Jew and in continuing to worship at the shrine of his idols?

No exclusion of the Jews from the administrative or cultural life of England, therefore, could be more than a piece of shallow, hysterical patriotism if it did not contemplate and include the far more fundamental but infinitely more difficult task of freeing the country of its wrong values. And all bodies of Englishmen who seriously wish to recover English civilization at this stage cannot be regarded as any more than emotional and hysterical flag­wavers if they do not see the compelling need of that infinitely difficult task—the task of accompanying any gesture of organized reform by a frontal attack upon the Judaized elements in their kith and kin and their own Judaized values.

(b) In addition to this necessary warning -the burden of which has been to some extent, though not wholly, overlooked in Germany -there is a further difficulty that requires stating, and it is a great difficulty which is peculiar to England as the head of a great empire.

The difficulty arises from the complicated problem of administering even by proxy a vast area such as the British Empire, in which scores of different races have to be treated as legitimate British subjects. And it is very questionable whether, at this stage, we can revert to a policy which even the Romans considered injudicious, of withholding full civic rights from any ethnic unit within the length and breadth of the Empire.

To differentiate our policy in this matter according to what kind of people we are dealing with, and to make one adverse exception in the case of the Jews, would hardly be practicable, more particularly as we know from history that the Jews received equal rights in the colonies long before they did in England.

The policy of excluding the Jews from administrative influence and power, therefore, could only prove practicable if it were consistently pursued with regard to all other races and types. But whereas this might have been possible two centuries ago, it is hardly possible now.

The only alternative to the radical exclusion of an ethnic type in an empire like ours, therefore, is a demonetization of all the current values which can be definitely classed as disruptive, decadent and destructive of what is regarded as the essential culture of England.

For, just as the Jews have, by the support of values favourable to their existence ever since the seventeenth century (though really much earlier, owing to influences coming from the Continent throughout the centuries following the banishment), helped to modify England and English life and made them both much more adapted to their needs and tastes, at the cost of transforming England, so it is possible by a wholesale demonetization of these values to make English life and England, and possibly even the Empire, adopt a culture and an outlook as different as chalk from cheese from those which we now see about us.

But such a transformation and wholesale demonetization of established values is a stupendous undertaking, and although none other offers any hope, it may be questioned whether at this stage in our history we still possess the energy, the fire and the will which alone could be adequate to carry through such a fundamental and far-reaching change.

If we do not, and if we ourselves cannot move towards a sounder, healthier and saner condition which will restore our ancient institutions and ancient stamina, health and self­esteem, there can be no practical solution of the problem at all. It is essential to set out with a transmutation of existing unsound and corrupt values, especially those which have bedouinized not only our society but also our pure type. And if we wish to be practical, it is to this task that we of this generation will address ourselves with all the energy and resolution at our command. (Jews, and the Jews in England, pp. 115-17)

Notes

1. In more recent works of anthropology, such as John R. Baker’s Race (Oxford, 1974), this type is known as Armenoid or Armenid.—Ed.

2. An individualist, in other words—Ed.

3. Believing in free trade and laissez-faire—Ed.

4. There is a good deal of misapprehension rife concerning the origins of the gregarious view of property with its essential features of obligation, duty and responsibility. These limitations on property in a sanely run society are not due to benevolence, generosity or magnanimity on the part of the rulers. They are due to simple common sense. For, not only is any other view of property unpractical and therefore incapable of enduring, but it also fails to recognize the essential element in all property, which is the contribution made to it daily and yearly, throughout the generations of a people, by the community as a whole.

5.  Save yourself if you can.—Ed.

6. Affectedly archaic, after a London street known for its antique and imitation antique furniture.—Ed.

7. The popular ‘anti-racist’ book We Europeans: A Survey of ‘Racial’ Problems (London, 1935) appeared to have been written by the eminent authors of Julian Huxley and A. C. Haddon, but according to Elazar Barkan’s The Retreat of Scientfic Racism (Cambridge, England, 1992) much of it was written by Charles Singer and Charles Seligman, two Jews.—Ed.

 

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