In 2018, the publication of Albert Einstein’s travel diaries was greeted by newspaper headlines lamenting his politically incorrect views of Asians, particularly the Chinese.
Most egregious was Einstein’s verdict on Chinese women, “I noticed how little difference there is between men and women; I don’t understand what kind of fatal attraction Chinese women possess that enthralls the corresponding men to such an extent that they are incapable of defending themselves against the formidable blessing of offspring.”
In social situations, discretion is advisable, but in writing, honesty is best, and the world has suffered much because what is actually thought is nearly always snuffed out or blunted. Plus, there’s self-deception and the myriad deficiencies and obstacles intrinsic to language, writing or speaking. We’re not built to ventilate much truth.
I’m glad Einstein was candid. Though these jottings were intended for his stepdaughters, the likelihood of public exposure was extremely high, considering his unprecedented fame. Hyper self-conscious, the famous compose everything for an audience, even their “private” letters. In any case, there’s clear intentional humor here, as in the need to defend against the “formidable blessing” of marriage!
In 1867, Mark Twain noticed some Moroccan women in Gibraltar, “veiled Moorish beauties (I suppose they are beauties) from Tarifa,” then he arrived in Tangier, Morocco, “I have caught a glimpse of the faces of several Moorish women (for they are only human, and will expose their faces for the admiration of a Christian dog when no male Moor is by), and I am full of veneration for the wisdom that leads them to cover up such atrocious ugliness.”
Twain built up that sentence, didn’t he? The Innocents Abroad was his most successful book. Now, it would be condemned. Another funny passage is of Twain leaving Milan by train, “The more immediate scenery consisted of fields and farmhouses outside the car and a monster-headed dwarf and a moustached woman inside it. These latter were not show-people. Alas, deformity and female beards are too common in Italy to attract attention.”
Anticipating negative reactions to Einstein’s biases, editor Ze’ev Rosenkranz spent a good chunk of his introduction addressing the scientist’s “candid and (at times) offensive private notes.” This was Einstein exploring “his more irrational and instinctual side and to be freer in his expression of his personal prejudices.” Plus, Einstein was primarily a scientist, after all, and only evolved into a preeminent humanitarian later.
Much of Einstein’s travel writing is compelling enough, for even fleeting encounters would trigger in him provocative observations. Compared to his didactic, cant filled essays, here is a much richer record of his thinking, and you’re right there as he muses.
Einstein in Colombo, “We drove in individual little carts that were drawn on the double by Herculean and yet so refined people. I was very much ashamed of myself for being complicit in such despicable treatment of human beings but couldn’t change anything. Because these beggars in the form of kings descend in droves on any foreigner until he has surrendered to them. They know how to implore and to beg until one’s heart is shaken up. On the streets of the indigenous quarter one can see how these fine people spend their primitive lives. For all their fineness, they give the impression that the climate prevents them from thinking backward or forward by more than a quarter of an hour. They live in great filth and considerable stench down on the ground, do little, and need little. Simple economic cycle of life. Far too penned up to allow any distinct existence for the individual. Half-naked, they reveal their fine and yet powerful bodies and their fine, patient faces. Nowhere shouting like the Levantines in Port Said. No brutality, no market crying existence, but quiet, acquiescent drifting along, albeit not lacking in a certain lightheartedness. Once you take a proper look at these people, you can hardly take pleasure in the Europeans anymore, because they are more effete and more brutal and look so much cruder and greedier—and therein unfortunately lies their practical superiority, their ability to take on grand things and carry them out. Wouldn’t we too, in this climate, become like the Indians?”
Since Einstein wasn’t queer, transitioning or gender neutrois, unfortunately, he found several women on his trip pleasant to look at or interact with, “Yet Einstein’s gaze is not simply that of the ‘seeing [white] male [ . . . ] whose imperial eyes passively look out and possess,’ even though that is also an integral part of his gaze. As a German Jew and an insider/outsider, his was a ‘double-consciousness,’ which is the ‘sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others.’ Thus, Einstein is also gazing at himself while being gazed at by others.”
I’m too stupid to understand such a nuanced dissection by Rosenkranz, but maybe you can help me? Please?
To show that Einstein’s view on the Chinese was complex, and not just negative, Rosenkranz quotes from his 1919 letter to another Jewish physicist, Paul Ehrenfest, “I get most joy from the emergence of the Jewish state in Palestine. It does seem to me that our kinfolk really are more sympathetic (at least less brutal) than these horrid Europeans. Perhaps things can only improve if only the Chinese are left, who refer to all Europeans with the collective noun ‘bandits.’”
Let’s pause here, for this is more revealing than anything in the travel diaries. Since Europeans are horrid, perhaps they should disappear completely, with only the Chinese left, and, presumably, Jews. No Freudian slip, it’s a genocidal wet dream bluntly stated.
In 1939, Einstein sent a letter to FDR urging the US to develop the atomic bomb, to beat Germany to the same. In 1944, Einstein wrote, “The Germans as an entire people are responsible for these mass murders and must be punished as a people if there is justice in the world and if the consciousness of collective responsibility in the nations is not to perish from the earth entirely.” Since Jews were collectively targeted, Germans must be collectively punished. This is Old Testament justice, “And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.” (Exodus 21:23-25).
In war, it’s only too natural to strive to destroy your opponent completely, and I’m not singling out Einstein for censure here, but only to highlight that he’s not the slightly goofy pacifist of the popular imagination.
And Einstein wasn’t an unbiased internationalist either. His ethnocentrism was extreme. In his 1938 “Our Debt to Zionism,” Einstein lamented, “Now the fateful disease of our time—exaggerated nationalism, borne up by blind hatred—has brought our work in Palestine to a most difficult stage. Fields cultivated by day must have armed protection at night against fanatical Arab outlaws.”
So Jews stealing Arab land through mass murder weren’t nationalist, fanatical or diseased, but their victims were. With such reasoning, I’m sure glad I’m not a genius. Here is some seriously top shelf moral relativism.
All this only makes sense if you believe Jews can do no wrong and are always the victims, but who think this, really? Everyone but Nazis, dipshit, not least of all the smartest guy ever!
To illustrate this obvious point, Einstein trots out “an ancient fable, with a few minor changes.” A shepherd tells a horse, “You are the noblest beast that treads the earth. You deserve to live in untroubled bliss; and indeed your happiness would be complete were it not for the treacherous stag. But he practiced from youth to excel you in fleetness of foot. His faster pace allows him to reach the water holes before you do. He and his tribe drink up the water far and wide, while you and your foal are left to thirst.” Tricked by the shepherd’s anti-Semitic bullshit, the horse becomes his slave.
Practiced from youth to excel, Jews just kick your fuckin’ ass, but since you can’t take this fair-and-square humiliation, you won’t stop googling “gas chamber.”
Europeans are functionally superior to Sri Lankans because they’re cruder, greedier, more effete yet more brutal. Jews, on the other hand, drink up everything far and wide because they stayed home and did their homework.
Blinded by baseless hatred, you can’t see that Jews are in fact your teachers and saviors. They’re, like, Jesuses. Einstein, “to be a Jew means to bear a serious responsibility not only to his own community, but also toward humanity.”
It’s just who they are, “The bond that has united the Jews for thousands of years and that unites them today is, above all, the democratic ideal of social justice, coupled with the ideal of mutual aid and tolerance among all men […] Personalities such as Moses, Spinoza and Karl Marx, dissimilar as they may be, all lived and sacrificed themselves for the ideal of social justice; and it was the tradition of their forefathers that led them on this thorny path. The unique accomplishments of the Jews in the field of philanthropy spring from the same source.”
You may think you have issues with Jewish racial supremacism, suffocating righteousness, manipulation of power, distortion of media, endless war mongering or hatred of your heritage, but you’re just envious, man, or need a good lay, as Wilhelm Reich would say, or you just hate knowledge. Einstein speaks of “the hatred of the Jews by those who have reason to shun popular enlightenment. More than anything else in the world, they fear the influence of men of intellectual independence.”
Such narcissistic bombast is not just embarrassing, but toxic and genocidal, if enshrined as dogmas.
In Tangier, Twain stopped at “a spot where stood a monument which was seen and described by Roman historians less than two thousand years ago, whereon was inscribed: “WE ARE THE CANAANITES. WE ARE THEY THAT HAVE BEEN DRIVEN OUT OF THE LAND OF CANAAN BY THE JEWISH ROBBER, JOSHUA.”
Just like today’s Palestinians, Canaanites just couldn’t stand social justice, universal tolerance and popular enlightenment, and that’s why they had to erect this baleful monument to hatred, and Twain, too, had to be an anti-Semite for drawing our attention, even for a second, to these disappeared Semites.