But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me. (Luke 19:27)
But the rest of the world they confront with a contempt reserved for enemies. (Tacitus, Histories 5:2-5)
Many an archetype has been cast in legend or approximated by a given personage in history, but it’s rare for an archetype to be embodied in an entire nation. The inimical distinction between Judaism or the Semitic spirit, on the one hand, and the Aryan or aristocratic spirit on the other, is a long-established cliché. Nietzsche called it master versus slave morality; Spengler described the Western as opposed to the Magian cultures. The Church once ascribed the insurrectionary personality of Barabbas to Judaism itself, instead prescribing meekness (or torture, as needed). Along with Shakespeare before them, mid-century continental fascists noted a certain lawyerly, pharisaical cunning, as opposed to Teutonic forthrightness; and Evola juxtaposed the emphasis on penitence and mortification inherent in Levantine spirituality with the high-caste self-possession he identified in the Indo-Aryan tradition.
But just how far are Judaism and yiddishkeit removed from the world of Tradition as Evola conceived it? How distinct is Jewish history from that of the West? Are the Jews merely the bearers of a fossilized culture, as Arnold Toynbee suggested? Or are we vectors of modernity (as both anti- and philo-semites have so often claimed)?
If it’s the latter, this would be a sort of revenge of the nerds: the bourgeoisie, particularly usurers (which is to say, particularly Jews) are the villains in any good critique of modernity. But trade is older than Judaism—so is banking—and one can always invoke the Florentines, the conquistadors, the Protestant ethic and so on. So the worm devouring a cadaverous West must be revolution: bolshevism, relativism, abortionism, negromancy, Yid pimps in guise of head shrinkers and persecuted artistes…..
Well, no one will deny that the Jews are a clever bunch, given to smarting disdainfully under every kind of regime—behavior that can’t be all that incidental to the biblical narrative of slave revolt. I’ll buy the theory that yiddishkeit has a lot to do with contrarianism (“a stiff-necked people”). But long experience assures me it isn’t trained in any particular direction, though of course among Jews some tendencies are more popular than others.
But envy, defiance and cyclical decay of the social order are universal. At bottom, what really differentiates the Jews is just smugness. We don’t believe your fables, we must be smarter. Some people would rather feel smart than be liked, in our case it was a two-thousand year investment. You don’t bash your brow against so many successive empires unless you value your distinctness above all else, as intellectual superiority.
But how does this factor into the erosion of Tradition and the onset of modernity? According to Nietzsche,
the Jews achieved that miracle of inversion of values thanks to which life on earth has for a couple millennia acquired a new and dangerous fascination–their prophets fused ‘rich’, ‘godless’, ‘evil’, ‘violent’, ‘sensual’ into one and were the first to coin the word ‘world’ as a term of infamy. It is this inversion of values (with which is involved the employment of the word for ‘poor’ as a synonym for ‘holy’ and ‘friend’) that the significance of the Jewish people resides: with them there begins the slave revolt in morals.
But something here smacks of reverse victimology, the stereotype of the ruined old noble. I mean, you got taken by slaves? I wouldn’t complain too loud about that if I was you. As Voltaire said, a sucker plays himself:
We hold the Jews in horror, and we insist that all which has been written by them, and collected by us, bears the stamp of Divinity. There never was so palpable a contradiction.
Indeed. But how is that Harold Abraham’s problem? Just because I wrote the tune you imbibe to doesn’t make me an alcoholic. In fact, in their assurance of God’s favor and the worthiness of their existence as a nation the Jews inflicted more damage on the Roman military than the efforts of any subjugant race outside of Teutoburg Forest, and they accomplished this well after the bulk of the defeats that Nietzsche credits with providing the impetus for their inversion of values. It would seem this is as much a race of fanatics (as Voltaire asserted) as it is of intriguers.
Besides, as a neo-platonic manifestation, isn’t kabbalism commensurate in some degree with Tradition? And how could so heady a brew of values-inversion as the Hebrew scriptures have informed the Traditional world of medieval Europe so prominently? It’s as riddled with pagan archetypes and saints as it is with sly Jacobs and Josephs. So my questions aren’t just rhetorical yiddish contrarianism.
Evola concurs with Nietzsche that the Jewish spirit contributes to subverting Tradition, but while Nietzsche savages priestliness, Evola provides it a place in his system. The mechanism of the Jewish enzyme upon the Aryan substrate has always been conceptualized without regard to these inconsistencies. The Jews are always the unmoved mover at the center of the critique of modernity. It seems anyone can find an enemy in the Jews. It simply cannot be that we’ve been working against all these disparate parties simultaneous.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the Jewish animus against x, y or z invoked to explain history. But I’ve seen and experienced the telepathy that prevails between Jews, and while it produces feelings of solidarity, oftentimes it also makes for an extent of visceral contempt that never directs itself at outsiders. The hatreds I’ve felt in my life for individual gentiles pale beside the hatreds I’ve harbored toward individual fellow Jews. When your racial origins are the source of (private) rapturous self-regard and (public) awkwardness and execration, a certain disassociation must take place. So the peculiarities of Judaism are incidental to what makes yiddishkeit an irritant or a deleterious factor in the long trajectory of civilization. The cause, the common quality that Jewish tendencies spring from is solipsism, not political allegiances or theological meanderings; those are mere effects.
And yet…. can you have so many diverse accusers without being guilty of something? Jews are Jews, one way or another there’s a peculiarity to their relationship with gentiles and it’s always similar themes recurring, right? As for Nietzsche’s inversion: Isaiah, Yeshua, Marx, Freud…. You can’t weather two millennia of ass-whoopin’ without a certain inversion of values, and the Jews are master publicists. (Mark Twain explaining the Jew-gentile dynamic with a dollar sign certainly appears unlettered by comparison.) But that means, attendant to the Jews’ ethnogenesis and the earliest redaction of their national myths, there had to’ve been values to invert. Is anything left of them? I think any culturally literate person can name a handful of badass Jews.
Originally, and above all in the time of the monarchy, Israel maintained the right attitude of things, which is to say, the natural attitude. Its Jahveh was an expression of its consciousness of power, its joy in itself, its hopes for itself: to him the Jews looked for victory and salvation and through him they expected nature to give them whatever was necessary to their existence—above all, rain. Jahveh is the god of Israel, and consequently the god of justice: this is the logic of every race that has power in its hands and a good conscience in the use of it.
In other words, there’s master Judaism and there’s slave Judaism, and whichever one your forebears selected out of that freaky Byzantine bazaar that Better Call Saul counseled them to order take-out from, it wasn’t the Jews who choose for them. Unmoved mover, indeed.
Herein lies the wishful but not unfounded reading of Nietzsche that so animated the Nazis: to suppose that the superior man is being thwarted by the rabble, by your tired, your poor, your huddled masses…. But degeneracy is pervasive, and if modernity’s critics are to be believed, it’s glacial. A thousand-year reich is a thousand year reich, even if all that’ll remain from it is “the asphalt road and a thousand lost golf balls,” as Eliot put it. So notable aspirant Nietzscheans were hopelessly bourgeois, cartoonishly apoplectic, sexually grasping cripples—not unlike today’s disaffected alt-right Winklevoss-twin product of self-esteem parenting and grad school. That’s not to deny that Zuckerberg’s a Yid creep, but if the archetype of cowardice belongs so squarely at the foot of Zion then it’s a red herring.
Of course I’m not limiting my derision here to brownshirts: “This plant grows most beautifully nowadays among anarchists and anti-Semites….” But the affinity of Jews to degeneracy differs little from anyone else’s slouch toward Bethlehem: the 19th century movements to liberalize Judaism, dominant among diaspora Jews to this day, the replacement of ritually significant mitzvot with empty compulsion or else with selective, self-serving tikkun olam, and the deep Jewish involvement in revolution all entail the general disdain for true freedom and virility with progressively less reverence for Tradition, the anchor without the heavenward aspiration, the center that cannot hold.
The death of God has not precipitated the retirement of the priests, who today are but sophists, obliged to market themselves unbeholden to clan, untethered by rite, by responsa, or by any non-contingent concept of truth. Trendy, sanctimonious, without filial devotion or the self-effacement inherent in a genuine ancestor cult, the vestigial Semitic spirit lacks the self-possession of that rare slave whose superior attributes justify his defiance and render his liberation not just inevitable, but ineffable; as opposed to a futile exercise in redistribution of privileges. And the contingency of Zionism reveals itself in the valorization of victimhood—without which Israel is unable to rationalize itself—that permeates Hebrew-language media, and the sheer vulgar refusal of all moral responsibility that characterizes American pro-Israel discourse whether right, left or in-between. What this all amounts to is not an inversion of certain values but a final betrayal of all of them: disdain for others’ strength, impunity when wielding our own.
So while the reactionary late-comer thinks he discerns a straight line connecting Exodus to Bethlehem, Bethlehem to Bolshevism and breakdown, Exodus is not a precedent, not all slaves are created equal, and nothing is new under the sun. Those once-and-future commissars, impresarios, blasphemers, proponents of revelry, turning to new gods, slouching toward Bethlehem, are as old as Baal, and rootless indeed. The remaining function, then, of Tradition, of both primordial Judaism and primordial Christianity (the only true kinds of each) is not tikkun olam but sridut olam, keeping the pilot light on through this darkest of winters, which so many self-declared Jews, Christians and humanists have midwifed.