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From the New York Times:

Confronting Philosophy’s Anti-Semitism

Should we continue to teach thinkers like Kant, Voltaire and Hume without mention of the harmful prejudices they helped legitimize?

By Laurie Shrage
Ms. Shrage is a professor of philosophy.

March 18, 2019

… For instance, several of the major Enlightenment philosophers — including Hume, Voltaire and Kant — developed elaborate justifications for anti-Semitic views. One common thread running through the work of these philosophers is an attempt to diminish the influence of Judaism or the Jewish people on European history.

Actually, the Enlightenment’s negative view of Jewish influence on Christianity was related to the Enlightenment’s negative view of Christianity. Hume was skeptical of Christianity and Voltaire was an activist against the power of the Catholic Church: “écrasez l’infâme.”

Interestingly, Medieval Christian philosophy was explicitly multicultural, augmenting purely Christian thinking with respectful references to Greek pagan, ancient Hebrew, medieval Arab, and rabbinical Jewish sources, as well. Catholic philosophers like St. Thomas Aquinas had studied in depth both the Hebrew Testament, plus the medieval Jewish philosopher Maimonides (“the Rabbi” in Aquinas’s commentaries), as well as Arab philosophers who had transmitted and commented upon Aristotle.

So, why were 13th Century Western European thinkers like Aquinas more multicultural than most Enlightenment Western thinkers? A big reason is because in the 1200s, Western Europe’s tradition of thought was still thin and underdeveloped: e.g., Aristotle had largely been lost to Catholic Europe for hundreds of years until recently, when manuscripts of Aristotle were obtained from Orthodox Greece and from Muslims.

In the subsequent half-millennium, however, Western Europe had blossomed intellectually.

By the Enlightenment, intellectuals did not much need to look to other culture for highbrow material, Christian Western Europe had generated a huge amount of its own, far more than other civilizations over those 500 years. Writers like Voltaire and Samuel Johnson tended to make up observer characters from outside the West who satirized the contemporary West, but they didn’t take other cultures all that seriously in part because not much was going on in the rest of the world intellectually, outside of perhaps closed-off Japan.

It’s a curious reality that most of the other major civilizations of the world, with Japan as an exception, stagnated during the rise of the West. One example of this was Jewish culture in Europe. Kant’s friend Moses Mendelssohn observed in the second half of the 18th Century that while European Jews continued to assume they were richer and better educated than gentiles, the gentiles had been making steady progress since the dawning of their Enlightenment several generations before, so it was time for a Jewish Enlightenment.

This is the kind of reality that is practically impossible for 21st Century intellectuals to wrap their heads around because they know who are the Good Guys and who are the Bad Guys and Good Guyness and Bad Guyness is hereditary and forever. Jews were traditionally richer than European Christians, and were smug and bigoted about it? But then the gentiles worked hard and smart and started to pull ahead? So the smartest Jew of his generation taught other smart Jews to stop being so prejudiced against gentiles? Uh … Crimethink.

And undermining Christianity became a major project of many advanced gentile thinkers. One angle of attack was to attack traditional Christianity’s incorporation of Jewish ideas, both in the Old Testament and in the Catholic tradition.

So, anti-Semitism was a form of anti-Christianism upon the part of Enlightenment philosophers. In particular, Voltaire employed a strategy of castigating Judaism (in its pre-Jewish Enlightenment phase) for its backwardness as a safe way of castigating powerful French Catholicism for its own backwardness by way of analogy.

 
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  1. Ron Unz says:

    Ha, ha, ha…

    I remember reading some commenter somewhere once claiming that books documenting the horrific history of anti-Semitism generally often lacked an index, lest readers notice that virtually every prominent Western intellectual, religious, or literary hero of the last five hundred years had had enormously harsh things to say about Jewish misbehavior…

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    , @Anonymous
    , @Lot
    , @Lot
  2. anon[157] • Disclaimer says:

    Who, Hume?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  3. Twinkie says:

    It’s a curious reality that most of the other major civilizations of the world, with Japan as an exception, stagnated during the rise of the West.

    1. Not quite true of Japan either. This Japanese-exception fetish is a product of modern retrospective bias.

    2. It’s not that other civilizations stagnated. It’s just that the European development just skyrocketed during this period, an enormous burst of genius, that passed by every other civilization. But this (usually to a less extent) accompanies military conquests and economic development.

    3. Aside from the generic geographical advantage Europe enjoys (easy communication of ideas, but many barriers to conquest that all but guarantees fierce competion by many actors, which in turn encourages innovation), I am convinced that the highly destructive and world-churning 30 Years’ War was a massive impetus.

  4. Cortes says:

    Voltaire seemed to take delight in picking out the most scabrous details contained in Bible stories. The
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dictionnaire_philosophique was fairly even-handed as I recall in his selection of marvels; the camel-dung-eating antics of ?Ezekiel take some beating, though.

  5. Maybe I need to read some of these guys before I Kan’t anymore. I need me some of that enlightment. Ron, do you know if they are going to ban the Cliff Notes too?

  6. @Twinkie

    Possibly the strong curiosity and high reasoning ability was in the European people all along, passed down genetically. All it took was the oppressive Catholic Church to be made to lighten up for a few generations, to allow people to think outside that box. I’d have loved to be in one of the Royal Societies, the Royal Astronomical Society in particular.

    What a time to have been one of the smart guys! Your efforts would have been steered toward so much discovery, rather than very specific detail in a research area or making computers do this and that.

    • Replies: @keypusher
  7. guest says:

    I often wonder how they decide not only who gets the axe,, but how hard it falls. Because “everybody knows,” for instance, Dostoyevsky entertained badthoughts. But he’s not “noted antisemite Dostoyevsky.” He’s just Dostoyevsky, unless special attention is being drawn.

    Contrarily, H.L. Mencken had his nose rubbed in his mess a while back, and his badthoughts now stick to his name.

    Then there are odd cases like Marx, another case of “everybody knows,” but it’s not talked about unless pertinent. Most of the time nobody cares, but if his words threaten embarrassment, he’ll be compartmentally disavowed.

  8. So, anti-Semitism was a form of anti-Christianism upon the part of Enlightenment philosophers.

    Yeah but one of those was a Crime Against Humanity.

    The Holocaust is something different …It is a singular event. It is not simply one example of genocide but a near successful attempt on the life of God’s chosen children and, thus, on God himself.

    –Abraham Foxman, Director, Anti-Defamation League

  9. wittgenstein still ok? spinoza?

    • Replies: @Mr McKenna
    , @dube
  10. We Catholic traditionalists are entirely happy, believers as we are in inquisitorial book-burnings, to stand by and watch, nay to applaud, as the works of Hume, Voltaire and Kant are consigned to the all-consuming flames.

    Pity that people like Ms. Shrage have nothing to put in their place but feminism, transgenderism, and that ultimate expression of nihilism, abortion.

    • Replies: @ThreeCranes
  11. guest says:

    “because they know who are the Good Guys and who are the Bad Guys”

    The lag in Enlightened Progress amongst Western Jewry–if acknowledged–is explained away in the same manner as other Diversity Gaps. Namely, it was Whitey’s fault. With the exception that in this case when the ghettoes fell and the pale of settlement was breached Jews eventually excelled. Unlike blacks or women, for instance.

  12. …I am convinced that the highly destructive and world-churning 30 Years’ War was a massive impetus.

    Elmer Pendell thought it was the Black Plague. It killed every family too stupid to outthink a rat. He also thought the high fertility and childhood death rate of the Puritan colonists was quite eugenic in the long run.

    • Replies: @sayless
    , @Lot
  13. @Ron Unz

    Omitting an index always seemed like a girly thing to me.

    • Replies: @David
  14. Daniel H says:

    Shorter Shrage: Ethnic cheerleading.

  15. theMann says:

    ” For instance, several of the major Enlightenment philosophers — including Hume, Voltaire and Kant — developed elaborate justifications for anti-Semitic views.”

    Catholic theology in a nutshell:

    1. Jesus is the Messiah.
    2. Salvation is obtainable only through Jesus.
    3. God’s Grace is actuated through Baptism, or the Baptism of Desire.

    Pretty clear so far.

    4. Jews reject Jesus as Messiah, and Baptism in total. So that isn’t really looking good for them.(?)
    5. Of course, it is Heresy to say that any individual is Saved or Damned, because that is speaking for the judgement of God.

    Not so clear.

    Not sure how anti-Semitic that is, but it doesn’t take a philosopher to figure it out.

    But lets cut through all the anti-Semitic crap here. The reason most people don’t like Jews is because most people eventually get enough exposure to them, and most Jews are intergalactic jerk-wads, and deliberately so to Christians. Occam Razer your way to an obvious truth people.

  16. Yep and Steven Pinker pretends to promote Enlightenment Now! – whereas all he really does is, he destroys the Jewish tradition.

    Everything ‘s clear my dear!

  17. Any chance Mizz Shrage is attempting to memory hole the great thinkers of the enlightenment because they make contemporary feminist tripe like hers look even worse than it already is?

    A sort of spin of of Sailer’s rule of female journalism – substituting thoughts for looks.

    • Agree: Nicholas Stix
  18. Clyde says:

    OT
    Total number of children who have discovered fertility doctor, who used his own sperm without consent is their father, now stands at 48 thanks to Christmas gift DNA tests
    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6823737/48-children-discover-fertility-doctor-used-sperm-WITHOUT-patients-consent-dad.html

    You want many children carrying your genes and not be hunted down by Governments for child support? Become a fertility Doc like this micro-Genghis Khan.
    BB King…. a girlfriend in every tour stop, he had 15 offspring last I saw
    Screaming Jay Hawkins who had a minor blues and rock career….. 70 though this seems exaggerated to me

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    , @Pericles
  19. Some off-topic, underdiscussed GoyBoy news

    Spielberg, who pushed to have streaming services removed from the Oscars, met with Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer at Netflix, to “call a truce.”

    Sarandos is an interesting character. A working class, community college alum, ASU dropout who managed a DVD rental chain before randomly being picked up by Netflix back in the late 90’s. Now he’s likely the most influential executive in Hollywood, which makes for an interesting change of the guard in decision-makers.

    Most of Netflix’s content executives are non-Chosenites as well: https://variety.com/gallery/netflix-executives-ted-sarandos/#!1/netflix-executives

  20. @prime noticer

    Daresay Spinoza will get a pass, but don’t you dare mention Heidegger!

  21. Anonymous[414] • Disclaimer says:
    @Ron Unz

    virtually every prominent Western intellectual, religious, or literary hero of the last five hundred years had had enormously harsh things to say about Jewish misbehavior…

    Did their observations/criticisms have anything in common?

  22. @Clyde

    Sorry, but I’m a patsy for cline puns:

    In biology, a cline (from the Greek “klinein”, meaning “to lean”) is a measurable gradient in a single character (or biological trait) of a species across its geographical range.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cline_(biology)

    He has a way to go to reach the accomplishments of Cecil Jacobson:

    https://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/deep-thoughts-drumsticks-to-dolphins/2724049

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cecil_Jacobson

    In the 1960s, Jacobson, who was Chief of the Reproductive Genetics Unit at George Washington University Medical School, claimed that he had impregnated a male baboon…

    But hey, you ordered a smart kid. You didn’t say anything about his not being portly, rufous, or unethical…

  23. One common thread running through the work of these philosophers is an attempt to diminish the influence of Judaism or the Jewish people on European history.

    Projection and envy.

    • Replies: @dearieme
    , @AnotherDad
  24. Phonetic alphabet + printing press + movable type. Europe took off when it had these things in place.

    The Chinese invented the printing press + movable type long before the Europeans but it doesn’t really do any good when you have thousands of characters. With the Latin alphabet you need the basic letters, weighed statistically based on frequency (extra E’s please!) and you can print pretty much anything. Traditional Chinese characters, unless you have a vast vast vast set of characters you are still going to run into lots of stuff you can’t print because you have too few of some particular character.

    Oddly enough the fact that the Chinese tend towards greater scholastic achievement probably shot them in the foot. They managed to preserve and continue a character set developed in the bronze age, an amazing feat. It would be like modern Europeans using a form of Egyptian hieroglyphics. But by doing so they closed themselves off to the printing press.

    Anyway all important inventions do one of two things: Provide a new source of energy or a more efficient way to use or distribute it (fire, agriculture, steam engine, electric power grid, internal combustion engine) or provide a more efficient way to disseminate information (spoken language, written language, printing press, general purpose computers, internet, unz commenting system.) Humans need two things: energy and information.

    • Replies: @AnotherDad
  25. Lot says:
    @Ron Unz

    Hume’s supposed antisemitism is based on a single line, that Jews are “noted for fraud.”

    He later added this:

    “A small sect or society amidst a greater are commonly most regular in their morals; because they are more remarked, and the faults of individuals draw dishonour on the whole. The only exception to this rule is, when the superstition and prejudices of the large society are so strong as to throw an infamy on the smaller society, independent of their morals. For in that case, having no character either to save or gain, they become careless of their behaviour, except among themselves.”

    Thus, that view is based either on “superstition or prejudices” or is true but the result of a superstition becoming self-fulfilling.

    More:

    Hume’s History (1754-1 762) treats the Jews of medieval Britain quite sympathetically while recounting how unjustly they were persecuted, inducing Popkin’s comment that “Hume’s non-anti-Semitic attitude is surprising not only because it was unusual at the time, but also because of the strong agitation dating from 1753 against allowing Jews to have the rights of English citizens.” In 1764, Hume became acquainted with the Dutch Sephardic Jew, Isaac de Pinto, and subsequently engaged in friendly debate with him about economics. Later, in 1767, de Pinto visited England in an attempt-eventually successful-to secure a pension from the India Company as a reward for his services in helping the British government negotiate the Treaty of Paris in 1763. At this point, Hume wrote a letter of recommendation for de Pinto, which began with the words: “Allow me to recommend to your Patronage, M. Pinto, whom I venture to call my Friend, tho’ a Jew.”

  26. anon[929] • Disclaimer says:

    “All it took was the oppressive Catholic Church to be made to lighten up for a few generations, to allow people to think outside that box.”

    I’m not really sure I agree with the conventional wisdom on that point. The early Middle Ages were a violent, chaotic time and the Catholic Church provided a stabilizing force for much of the continent. The Church was repressive because, on some level, it had to be; they often put down destabilizing cults and other weirdos that threatened the public order. They were also a mediator in many conflicts of the time. It may very well be a misconception that the Church kept down progress, when in reality it provided the stability that eventually allowed it to flourish. No unifying religion = no stability = no Enlightenment?

    “Most of Netflix’s content executives are non-Chosenites as well.”

    I once thought that would be a positive development. But then some gentiles got into positions of authority and ruined IP after IP. Just look at some of the woke garbage Netflix has put out. The Punisher, for example, is meant to be a badass white male power fantasy; they turned it into a hate whitey fest where the entire second season was devoted to fighting the supposed specter of the loser alt-right (shaking in my boots). I believe a bunch of Obama administration flunkies have turned up over there, too. Say what you will about Jews, but they made much superior movies back when America was America. I’d easily let them run the entire industry if only we could have the demographics of 1980 back again.

  27. syonredux says:

    So, why were 13th Century Western European thinkers like Aquinas more multicultural than most Enlightenment Western thinkers? A big reason is because in the 1200s, Western Europe’s tradition of thought was still thin and underdeveloped: e.g., Aristotle had largely been lost to Catholic Europe for hundreds of years until recently, when manuscripts of Aristotle were obtained from Orthodox Greece and from Muslims.

    In the subsequent half-millennium, however, Western Europe had blossomed intellectually.

    By the Enlightenment, intellectuals did not much need to look to other culture for highbrow material, Christian Western Europe had generated a huge amount of its own, far more than other civilizations over those 500 years.

    Interesting to note the parallel with the Classical Greeks, who were also rather uninterested in the ideas of other nations. Compared to the Greeks (Plato, Aristotle, Archimedes, etc), the rest of the Antique Mediterranean world looked rather dim, almost simpleminded…..

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Steve Sailer
  28. AKAHorace says:

    Slightly related, a modern racist thinker

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  29. syonredux says:
    @Twinkie

    Didn’t Francis Xavier say something about the Japanese being the best people that they had encountered in Asia?

    • Replies: @Lot
    , @Anonymous
    , @dearieme
  30. “Kant’s friend Moses Mendelssohn observed in the second half of the 18th Century that while European Jews continued to assume they were richer and better educated than gentiles, the gentiles had been making steady progress since the dawning of their Enlightenment several generations before, so it was time for a Jewish Enlightenment.”

    Hold it, hold it. Did the gentiles really pull that much ahead? It was also during the 18/19th centuries that the rise of globalist banking families (e.g. Rothschilds) began to leech into most of Western European government’s economies, causing them to directly depend upon their influence for loans, money, currency, keeping national economies afloat, etc.

    Hint: many of these banking families/firms weren’t gentile, and their banking practices weren’t very kosher either. (Also one of the main reasons that Western European nations expelled their Jewish populations during the Middle Ages.

    • Replies: @syonredux
  31. sayless says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    “too stupid to outthink a rat”

    Or too loyal to abandon the dying.

  32. Lot says:
    @Ron Unz

    “virtually every prominent Western intellectual, religious, or literary hero of the last five hundred years had had enormously harsh things to say about Jewish misbehavior“

    A very quick check shows this to be false. For one thing, the share of “Western intellectual, religious, or literary hero” of the past 150 years who were antisemites is small.

    Focusing on pre-Victorian British ones to start:

    Philosophers/polymaths:

    Hume: not really, see prior comment

    Berkeley: I can’t find anything either way

    Locke: Hopes Jews convert to Anglican Christianity, isolated statements offensive only to the hypersensitive, favors Jewish toleration, generally higher view of Jews compared to Catholics.

    Priestly: Wrote a book highly complimentary to Jews and suggesting they become Christians

    Newton: Read the Talmud in Hebrew. His theological writings were purchased by an Israeli and later digitized and supposedly say nothing negative about Jews.

    Adam Smith: Only mention of Jews in Wealth of Nations is saying their expulsion from Portugal was an “injustice” and an implied complement to their “industry” in developing the sugarcane industry in Brazil.

    Literature:

    Walter Scott: Positive depiction of Medieval English Jews in Ivanhoe

    Coleridge: Engaged in some mild stereotyping but generally liked Jews in actual life, stated in a letter than when reading the Merchant of Venice his sympathies were with Shylock

    Byron: Warm correspondences with Jews, collaboration with Jewish musician Issac Nathan on “Hebrew Melodies.”

    Historians:

    Gibbon: Shows his typical mild contempt toward Roman-era Jews and their religion, nothing as strong as his writings on early Christians.

    Macaulay: Gave a famous anti-antisemitic speech favoring Jewish Emancipation.

    Typical Unz though, rather than make a bold statement directly, he credits it unsourced to an unnamed third party.

    • Replies: @David
  33. Lot says:
    @syonredux

    I don’t know about FX, but Einstein did in those recently published letters.

  34. Lot says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    Early American death rates might have been high right after they got off the boat, but in general Colonial America had lower death and disease rates than Britain.

  35. Mr. Anon says:

    Confronting Philosophy’s Anti-Semitism

    Should we continue to teach thinkers like Kant, Voltaire and Hume without mention of the harmful prejudices they helped legitimize?

    By Laurie Shrage

    March 18, 2019

    Confronting Philosophy’s Anti-Semitism

    Should we continue to teach thinkers like Kant, Voltaire and Hume without mention of the harmful prejudices they helped legitimize?

    By Laurie Shrage

    March 18, 2019 2024

  36. A couple takes on the Enlightenment.

    There is something of a paradox about the Enlightenment.; I was told by my teachers that it was a rediscovery about the ancient Hellenistic wisdom. You can see this in the buildings in Washington DC. But, there is also a rejection of Hellenistic thought. The best example to show is the Star Trek episode Who Mourns for Adonais?”, where they reject Apollo by making fun of him.

    Second take is that the Enlightenment was bailed of it’s bad ideas by the Industrial Revolution(s), and we are now seeing that reversed.

  37. Anonymous[225] • Disclaimer says:
    @syonredux

    Yes, interesting that Greece continued to be the intellectual powerhouse of the world, even during their political and economic decadence, in parallel with the Roman apogee. It’s impossible to study the Roman past, without the Greek perspective.
    As the old joke:
    “Roman man: Greek, all that your lands, now belongs to me.
    Greek man: Yes, but your mind belongs to me. “

  38. @Old Palo Altan

    Catholic traditionalist Old Palo Altan is riffing on Hume’s; “If we take in our hand any volume; of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance; let us ask, Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? No. Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? No. Commit it then to the flames: for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion.”

    • Replies: @Old Palo Altan
  39. syonredux says:
    @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    Hold it, hold it. Did the gentiles really pull that much ahead?

    Yes. During the period 1500-1800, Jewish intellectual output was inconsequential. Off-hand, I can think of only two first-rate figures, Spinoza and Ricardo. Contrast that with post-1800, with its explosion of important Jewish thinkers.

    As for banking…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fugger

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welser

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barings_Bank

  40. dube says:
    @prime noticer

    You asked about Wittgenstein? A key paragraph from The Stone article:

    “When the anti-Semitic views of great thinkers such as Kant, Voltaire or Hume (or Hegel, Schopenhauer, Heidegger and Wittgenstein, for that matter) are exposed, one typical response is to question whether these prejudices are integral to their important works and ideas. But this may be the wrong question. A better question is: Should those who teach their works and ideas in the 21st century share them without mentioning the harmful stereotypes these thinkers helped to legitimize?”

    I say, key paragraph, because its thrust is to ground “mentioning the harmful stereotypes these thinkers helped to legitimize,” upon the canon of the great thinkers. No, those harmful stereotypes must not go without “mentioning….” Thus major studies may be drawn into Holocaust studies.

  41. Anonymous[931] • Disclaimer says:
    @syonredux

    Off-hand, I can think of only two first-rate figures, Spinoza and Ricardo.

    Spinoza by then was a Christian.

    Was he even first rate though?

    • Replies: @syonredux
  42. Anonymous[931] • Disclaimer says:
    @Lot

    Hume’s supposed antisemitism is based on a single line, that Jews are “noted for fraud.”

    On the surface you are disputing a factual claim. However the tone and thrust of your posts to this thread suggest that it is somehow wrong to criticize Jews. Why should that be so? On the contrary, is criticism perhaps a mitzvah?

  43. @Twinkie

    Europe’s rise is probably “overdetermined,” with too many favorable factors to disentangle.

    But I have to believe the printing press, along with the literacy spread by the Reformation’s emphasis on salvation through personally understanding the bible’s text, had to be the decisive factors that set it in motion.

    Once a network of independent thinkers could share, challenge and preserve each other’s ideas, it was like a one-way rachet for intellectual and technological progress.

    • Agree: Desiderius
  44. Anonymous[249] • Disclaimer says:
    @syonredux

    QUOTE: Didn’t Francis Xavier say something about the Japanese being the best people that they had encountered in Asia?

    St. Francis Xavier was not very successful as a missionary. He complained that the Japanese language had been invented by the devil to impede Christian missionaries.

  45. Pericles says:
    @Clyde

    You can also try a career as a sperm donor. Apart from the ghetto dwellers with 30+ children on 15+ women, we have for example an enterprising dutchman.

    Under Dutch law sperm donors can father no more than 25 children. This is intended to minimise the risk of children later entering into a relationship with a half sibling.

    Donors are required to enter into contracts pledging not to donate at different clinics, but this provision if frequently unenforced. [This guy donated at 11 clinics.]

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/08/24/dutch-sperm-donor-fathered-102-children/

    Or that Jewish math professor

    https://nypost.com/2016/06/12/professor-who-donates-sperm-in-city-bathrooms-has-sired-22-kids/

    However, it seems he has mainly generated mulattos and has also been taken to the proverbial cleaners for child support by his grateful partners. So that seems like a more difficult angle.

    • Replies: @Clyde
  46. David says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    Some Englishman of the 19th century proposed denying copyright protection to any non-fiction book without an index.

  47. @syonredux

    Plato, Aristotle, and even Herodotus didn’t write much about the Jews at all.

    There’s an early minor Greek classical writer, I’ve forgotten his name, who recorded a pretty accurate few paragraphs on the Jews that sounds recognizably like the Old Testament viewed by an outsider.

    “More detailed, and in some respects more realistic, is the detailed description vouchsafed by *Hecataeus of Abdera, who spent a long time in Egypt at the beginning of the Hellenistic period. Hecataeus describes the origin of the Jewish people as resulting from an expulsion from Egypt of undesirable elements at the time of a plague. Their leader Moses, who excelled in ability and valor, conquered the land of Judea for the Jews, founded Jerusalem, erected the Temple there, and set down the constitution of the Jewish people. Hecataeus was familiar with the division into 12 tribes and was the first of the Greek writers whose works are still extant to note that the Jews make no images of their godhead, nor conceive Him to be of human form, since, according to him, the Jews equate their God with the heavens. Moses entrusted the keeping of the laws to the priests, whom he also appointed as judges. The Jewish constitution does not know the form of monarchy, and the high priest is described as the head of the Jewish nation. The position of high priest is filled by one of the priests, chosen from among the rest for his excellence of character and wisdom. Moses also commanded the Jews to raise all the children born to them, which is the reason for the rapid increase in their numbers.”

    • Replies: @dearieme
    , @Lot
    , @syonredux
  48. David says:
    @Lot

    If you think Isaac in Ivanhoe is a favorable depiction of a Jew you haven’t read the book. Scott does come out strongly against extracting Jewish teeth as a form of negotiation, though.

    As for Gibbon, he writes the persecution of Christians under Nero was a set up by Jews, “the obnoxious people.”

    The Jews, who were numerous in the capital, and oppressed in their own country, were a much fitter object for the suspicions of the emperor and of the people: nor did it seem unlikely that a vanquished nation, who already discovered their abhorrence of the Roman yoke, might have recourse to the most atrocious means of gratifying their implacable revenge. But the Jews possessed very powerful advocates in the palace, and even in the heart of the tyrant; his wife and mistress, the beautiful Poppaea, and a favorite player of the race of Abraham, who had already employed their intercession in behalf of the obnoxious people.

    In their room it was necessary to offer some other victims, and it might easily be suggested that, although the genuine followers of Moses were innocent of the fire of Rome, there had arisen among them a new and pernicious sect of Galilaeans, which was capable of the most horrid crimes.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  49. dearieme says:
    @James N. Kennett

    “an attempt to diminish the influence of Judaism or the Jewish people on European history”: until well after the Enlightenment that influence was almost entirely mediated through Christianity. Wasn’t it?

  50. dearieme says:
    @syonredux

    I read somewhere that Dutch and Portuguese navigators widely thought the Japanese the most impressive bunch they’d come across outside Europe.

  51. dearieme says:
    @Steve Sailer

    “recorded a pretty accurate few paragraphs on the Jews “: sounds to me that he didn’t – he recorded a pretty accurate few paragraphs on the Jews’ account of their history. That account is, as far as I can see, almost entirely bogus until you reach the invasions by the Assyrians and Babylonians.

  52. Harvardian Rockenomonist, Philosopher’s Stoner, and Natural Experimenter Alan Krueger decided to come for himself – some twelve years before the rest of world poplation will have to do the same, acording to scientific scientism…

    Any comments from Uncle Sailer ?

  53. Very interesting re: “multicultural medieval Europe” – I have recently read that when the University of Louvain was founded in 1426, instruction was in three languages: Latin, Greek and Hebrew.

    But, are you sure about the Aristotle reception in Europe? I thought some Roman Emperor had swooped in and removed all of his works to Rome where, presumably, they would have ended up tucked away in the Vatican.

    Also – seems like Nietzsche gets a pass in the article – he had lots of “complex” views on that subject. But did Wittgenstein ever utter a word about the Jews? I know that he and his brother Paul met with Nazi officials in NY City in the late 1930s and paid a ton of money to get the family officially designated as non-Jewish.

    • Replies: @syonredux
  54. @syonredux

    Fugger banking influence waned by 1600, and disappeared by the end of 3o yrs war, the other two families as well, when it was firmly replaced by such banking families as….the Rothschilds (which were not Gentile, much less Kosher).

    • Replies: @syonredux
  55. @Twinkie

    3. Aside from the generic geographical advantage Europe enjoys (easy communication of ideas, but many barriers to conquest that all but guarantees fierce competion by many actors, which in turn encourages innovation), I am convinced that the highly destructive and world-churning 30 Years’ War was a massive impetus.

    Not seeing the 30 Years War as a particular impetus.

    The rise of competitive nation states in the age of discovery/colonization that you allude to is obviously huge. This is in noted contrast to China where the Ming parked their treasure fleet because “what is interesting out there, when we’re the Chinese, center of universe right here”.

    The printing press, with moveable type–the Latin script a huge advantage in both literacy and printing over Chinese (and other East Asian using Chinese characters)–obviously huge.

    Since we’re talking about the Jews, the middle ages explusion of the Jews from England and France helped those nations develop their own merchantile middle classes, which allowed them to push to the front rank in the competitve squabbles to come. It’s really striking what some white people–like the English–can accomplish across every sphere of endeavor when they develop their nation, their culture, their talents and their capabilities for themselves.

    Having a separate endogamous middle-man-minority conducting a big share of your business, inhibits a nation’s development. One that is tribally-religiously hostile to the majority makes it even worse. The nation’s whose leaders foolishly–greedily–invited in Jews got some short term benefit in trade and finance for their wars, but lagged in developing their own people’s commercial talents and culture and fell behind in the race of nations. But exactlly as we see today, there were always leaders willing to sell out their own people’s long term interest for “more money now!”

    • Replies: @Lot
  56. @Lot

    Truth is not a defense for libel in Britain IIRC.

  57. @SimpleSong

    High quality comment SimpleSong. Appreciate it.

    The Chinese characters issue well discussed. One of the interesting things is how various smart peoples who did this or that well–and the Chinese have been standouts, e.g. Grand Canal–end up stuck with glaring sub-optimal systems … and then don’t fix them.

    The West had this with Roman numerals. People doing trade\accounting used base 10 counting tables and marks … but nonetheless did not develop that into the official set of numerals and place-value. Stupid. That development had to wait a few centuries for the Hindus. Fortunately, the West eventually picked that system up and made the change in the High Middle Ages. Modernity would have been impossible with borrowing or building such a system.

    The Chinese could switch to a Latin alphabet and write a phoenetic Chinese in it–which they already do for some purposes of interacting with the West (place names)–and make teaching their kids much easier. But their deal is their culture now.

    ~~
    Enjoyed this paragraph–insightful catagorizing:

    Anyway all important inventions do one of two things: Provide a new source of energy or a more efficient way to use or distribute it (fire, agriculture, steam engine, electric power grid, internal combustion engine) or provide a more efficient way to disseminate information (spoken language, written language, printing press, general purpose computers, internet, unz commenting system.) Humans need two things: energy and information.

    I wonder if a 3rd category is developing–biological manipulation to make better humans. First with vaccines, anti-biotics, but genetic engineering coming down the pike?

  58. keypusher says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    You’ll never encounter tighter reasoning than in the works of (Saint) Thomas Aquinas. I was looking at Augustine’s City of God recently and was struck by its rigorous logic.

    What was missing was a really strong empirical foundation. Augustine’s argument that the souls of the damned would not be consumed in the fires of hell was filled with examples drawn from the natural science of the day, but accurate observations about magnetism, the effect of heat on quicklime, etc. was mixed in with sheer nonsense.

  59. @James N. Kennett

    One common thread running through the work of these philosophers is an attempt to diminish the influence of Judaism or the Jewish people on European history.

    Projection and envy.

    I.e. “not invented here”.

    The Jews have this ideology “Jews are the greatest people ever”. This is not unique, it’s the standard tribal ideology of everyone–“we’re number one!” But many Jews seem to really take it to heart, while other modern peoples have developed more plus\minus realism.

    Having white gentiles be the people who generate the great “breakout” into modernity, no doubt chafes the ego. So–now on top–it’s important to piss on it, put them down or pretend the Jews really had something to do with it, or something.

  60. keypusher says:
    @Lot

    What I always thought was going to bring Hume into disrepute sooner or later was his statement that Negroes were naturally inferior to whites.

  61. Lot says:
    @Steve Sailer

    The original observation you quote seems to have been from “Megasthenes (350-290 BCE), the ambassador of Seleucus I to the court of Chandragupta Maurya in Pataliputra,” near modern Calcutta, then part of the Indian Greek state, which actually lasted in rump form making Greek coins and Greek gods, later mixed with Bhuddism until, until 10AD.

    It was then quoted and re-quoted, and the current form comes from Joseph, the Jewish-Roman historian in one of his minor works.

    • Replies: @Lot
  62. Lot says:
    @Lot

    Johann Jahn, a professor at the University of Vienna circa 1800, wrote a book about Ancient Jewish history that mixes the Bible and other ancient sources, including many Greek sources, including Megasthenes.

    An 1840 English translation is available free on Google Books and other public domain sites.

    https://www.preteristarchive.com/Books/1815_jahn_history-hebrew-commonwealth.html

  63. Lot says:
    @AnotherDad

    “the middle ages explusion of the Jews from England and France helped those nations develop their own merchantile middle classes”

    Did the non-expulsion of Jews from Holland retard its progress then?

    Did it help Spain’s?

    Did the return of Jews under Cromwell hurt the middle class?

  64. syonredux says:
    @Anonymous

    Off-hand, I can think of only two first-rate figures, Spinoza and Ricardo.

    Spinoza by then was a Christian.

    Was he? I was under the impression that he never converted.

    Was he even first rate though?

    He’s a key figure in the development of rationalism. I’d rate him below Descartes and Leibniz, though.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
  65. syonredux says:
    @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    Fugger banking influence waned by 1600, and disappeared by the end of 3o yrs war, the other two families as well, when it was firmly replaced by such banking families as….the Rothschilds (which were not Gentile, much less Kosher).

    The Rothschilds only hit the big time in the late 18th century (post-1789).

  66. syonredux says:
    @RegretLeft

    With the loss of the study of ancient Greek in the early medieval Latin West, Aristotle was practically unknown there from c. AD 600 to c. 1100 except through the Latin translation of the Organon made by Boethius. In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, interest in Aristotle revived and Latin Christians had translations made, both from Arabic translations, such as those by Gerard of Cremona,[150] and from the original Greek, such as those by James of Venice and William of Moerbeke. After the Scholastic Thomas Aquinas wrote his Summa Theologica, working from Moerbeke’s translations and calling Aristotle “The Philosopher”,[151] the demand for Aristotle’s writings grew, and the Greek manuscripts returned to the West, stimulating a revival of Aristotelianism in Europe that continued into the Renaissance.[1

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aristotle#On_medieval_Europe

  67. syonredux says:
    @Steve Sailer

    If memory serves, On the Sublime (a first century AD Greek work on aesthetics) is the only Classical Greek work that actually engages with Israelite thought in a respectful fashion, with the anonymous author praising the literary power of the Pentateuch:

    A similar effect was achieved by the lawgiver of the Jews—no mean genius, for he both understood and gave expression to the power of the divinity as it deserved—when he wrote at the very beginning of his laws, and I quote his words: “God said,”—what was it?—”Let there be light, and there was. Let there be earth, and there was.”

    — On the Sublime 9.9

  68. @ThreeCranes

    No: Hume is “riffing” (I had to look it up) on us. Our tradition of suppressing dangerous thought is much older and (was) much more somberly effective. It’s about eternal salvation, after all.

    Hume was no philosopher; nothing more than a sophistical word juggler who impressed his tipsy dinner guests (or hosts) from Edinburgh to London. Only the British school and its American copyists take him seriously. On the Continent, where philosophy is about depth of understanding rather than the scintillation of mere words, he is more unread than disregarded.

    • Replies: @syonredux
    , @Clyde
    , @Benjaminl
  69. syonredux says:
    @Old Palo Altan

    Only the British school and its American copyists take him seriously.

    Dunno. Kant was rather impressed (vide his lines about Hume awakening him from his “dogmatic slumber”).

    On the Continent, where philosophy is about depth of understanding rather than the scintillation of mere words, he is more unread than disregarded.

    Ah, yes, the Continent…..the place that gave us Lacan and Foucault……

    • Replies: @Old Palo Altan
  70. @syonredux

    Kant noticed, and then refuted Hume, so that the rest of us could disregard him.

    Continental philosophy is deeper, but delving into those depths can bring up muck as well as gold.

    • Disagree: Lot
    • Replies: @Desiderius
    , @Lot
  71. @syonredux

    Was he?

    God no, he was scarcely human.

    Dude was out there.

  72. @Old Palo Altan

    Hume was a forerunner of today’s rampant moral/spiritual color blindness.

    On those questions he was barely even wrong, just flat out ignorant and proud of it.

  73. Clyde says:
    @Pericles

    I have never heard of a real black woman (not mulatto) having fertility problems. I hereby retract what I said about being a fertility Doc if this means lightening up her coffee. And various Coffees. Nordics, Germanics, Anglos and other Euros have a fatal attraction to importing in Africans and Moslems. I saw the first tiny tiny wave years ago in my extended stay in Copenhagen, running into Don Cherry a few times and black South African musicians.
    I am saying these black women faked their fertility “issues”. They wanted white genes in their offspring.

  74. Clyde says:
    @Old Palo Altan

    I agree with your take on Hume, even though I don’t know much of what he said or wrote.

    Hume was no philosopher; nothing more than a sophistical word juggler who impressed his tipsy dinner guests……

    It is difficult to invent a pinball game universe to replace a then 1800 year old religion. Christianity. He did this to impress the babes, so I would think.

    • Replies: @Lot
  75. Benjaminl says:
    @Old Palo Altan

    Michael Hanby on Augusto del Noce:

    https://www.firstthings.com/article/2017/06/what-del-noce-saw

    As Del Noce says, “the primacy of contemplation, the primacy of the immutable, and the reality of an eternal order are equivalent affirmations, which coincide with taking intellectual intuition as the definition of the model of knowledge. The recognition of this form of knowledge is inseparable from the very possibility of metaphysical thought.” Absent this possibility, contemplation loses its meaning and becomes wholly subordinate to action. Fundamental questions—human questions such as “What is man?”“What is happiness?” and “What is freedom?”—heretofore essential to social, political, and religious life, cease to be asked, not because we live in a pluralist society that cannot agree on the answers and doesn’t really care. In the monolithic immanentism of the new paradigm, nothing transcends the historical flux to correspond to these questions. Questions in the “what is” form can thus no longer be intelligibly posed within the dominant form of reason, which can only ask the functional questions “How many, how far, by what influence, and to what effect?” Ideas cease to disclose reality and are set in opposition to it as instruments for its manipulation. Authority for the intelligibility of nature is handed over to the empirical and experimental sciences and their functional explanations. It does not matter that functionalist questions are the only kind of questions that the ­sciences can answer. Nor does it matter that the conclusions of science are rarely as definitive as those who wield “science” as a rhetorical and political weapon pretend them to be. It is enough that ­scientific progress promises, in Del Noce’s words, “the constant surpassing of what is given.” Marx’s final thesis on Feuerbach, that “philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it,” merely brings to full expression the inner logic of de-Hellenized reason that manifests itself in every field from science to journalism.

    • Replies: @Old Palo Altan
  76. Lot says:
    @Old Palo Altan

    Chad David Hume Anglo tradition:

    Scottish Enlightenment
    Boole and computer logic
    Victorian world domination
    Liberal capitalism
    Limited government
    Advanced science

    Virgin Immanual Kant Continental tradition:
    Marxism
    Naziism
    Cultural marxism
    Mystical gibberish
    Schopenhauer
    Depression
    Derrida
    Judith Butler

    • Replies: @Old Palo Altan
  77. Lot says:
    @Clyde

    Hume was the alpha intellectual of his day and beloved by the ladies of France, England, and Scotland. Kant was mostly unread and ignored in his life and died a virgin.

    Here is one of Hume’s awesome letters to Ben Franklin:

    https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Franklin/01-10-02-0043

    Hume: also made giant contributions to economics and history.

    Kant: his books have been instruments of torture against innocent college students for centuries.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Clyde
    , @Clyde
  78. Anonymous[387] • Disclaimer says:
    @Lot

    Hume was the alpha intellectual of his day and beloved by the ladies of France, England, and Scotland. Kant was mostly unread and ignored in his life and died a virgin.

    Kant is the only prominent historical personality that was clearly asexual. There are many others described as asexual , but they were usually only homos.

  79. @Lot

    Read and reflect upon the superb meditation upon what real thinking is, and what it is not, which benjaminl has made available to us in the post immediately above your own.

    • Replies: @Lot
  80. @Benjaminl

    The answer, not only to this thread, but to so much of what is wrong with recent commentary on this site.
    Let’s hold the line, and push the scientificators back.

  81. Clyde says:
    @Lot

    https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Franklin/01-10-02-0043

    wtf is Hume saying here? He is just beating around the bush. Did you see Billions last Sunday? Much more entertaining. And a real life tragedy, another fake soccer player got snagged, but at UCLA. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6831157/UCLA-student-never-competitive-played-soccer-named-elite-team-parents-charged.html

    • Replies: @Lot
  82. Lot says:
    @Clyde

    He’s talking about Franklin’s lightning research and preventing building fires from lightning. Then making fun of certain other figures for being lazy and also having serious debates about what Hell is like.

    I did see Billions, great show.

    • Replies: @Clyde
  83. Lot says:
    @Old Palo Altan

    “the primacy of contemplation, the primacy of the immutable, and the reality of an eternal order ”

    I can’t contemplate these things because I don’t know what they mean.

    And no science other advancement in knowledge has ever come out of this types of metaphysical writing.

    What would it mean for contemplation not to have primacy? What does “the immutable” actually, very specificly, mean?

    “In the monolithic immanentism of the new paradigm”

    Argle burgle blargel.

    • Replies: @MB
  84. Clyde says:
    @Lot

    Billions Axe is kinda 1/4 based on Ray Dalio. He went from CW Post (shithole U) straight to Harvard B school. He does TM and same for the three show creators. John Malkovich phoned it in last night from a remote location where he is filming another movie that requires him having a beard. (so I think)
    The supporting actors and actresses on Billions are the best! All of them.

    • Replies: @Lot
  85. MB says: • Website
    @Lot

    “I can’t contemplate these things because I don’t know what they mean. ”

    Then you are incompetent to the discussion.
    End of story.
    Get up to speed and it will make sense or you will be able to intelligently disagree with it.
    Which is the whole idea of genuine commmentariat on a bwog.

    cheers

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
  86. Lot says:
    @Clyde

    Kelly AuCoin is great at playing completely different characters. Sleazebag stock trader on Billions, touchy-feely left wing evangelical minister on The Americans, campy Irish tailor on Turn: Washington’s Spies.

  87. Clyde says:
    @Lot

    Hume was the alpha intellectual of his day and beloved by the ladies of France, England, and Scotland.

    A fine recompense for all his intellectual exertion, also known as philosophizing. Are you aware that 50 Cent is a philosopher of the spoken word? And look at the babe access, intimate access, he gets rewarded with. Someone needs to make a movie contrasting the lives of Hume and 50 Cent.

    Kelly AuCoin……. Only seen him via Billions where he does great at dark comedy. The whole show is about dark comedy.

  88. Anonymous[657] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Forgive me being slow but what was that thanks for and how did you understand the Who,Hume?

  89. @David

    Do you really think your quote from Gibbon (though intrresting, for which thanks) refutes Lot’s characterisation?

  90. @MB

    I think his quoted words are just polite shorthand for saying that he is responding to a primitive bag of wind whose almost kindergarten level of sophistication doesn’t recognise the hypostatization (reification if you prefer Latin) which allows you to think there is sense in expectimg an answers as he apparently does when he says

    “Fundamental questions—human questions such as “What is man?”“What is happiness?” and “What is freedom?”—heretofore essential to social, political, and religious life, cease to be asked,”

    Hint: you may start a worthwhile train of thought by asking whether the respective native speakers refer to the same concepts when they say freedom, Freiheit or liberté?

  91. @AKAHorace

    You caused me to look up Garrett Hardin and wish that he was still about to be an Unz Review contributor.

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