Thursday, June 26, 2014


(h/t Lee Siegel)

I posted before that Russell Kirk had no qualms about Eliot's anti-Semitism and I just came across THE passage that should forever haunt Eliot:
The population should be homogeneous; where two or more cultures exist in the same place they are likely either to be fiercely self-conscious or both to become adulterate. What is still more important is unity of religious background, and reasons of race and religion combine to make any large number of free-thinking Jews undesirable.
In Kirk's review Eliot's essay in which that quote is found, he writes:
Actually this alleged “anti-Semitism” was merely an illustration of the principle that a culture—which arises from a cult—cannot well abide two radically different religions. It would be equally true that a community of orthodox Jews would be distressed and resentful, were they to find themselves beset by a Comus’s rout of free-thinkers nominally Christian. The religion, or anti-religion, of the “free-thinking Jews” that Eliot had in mind was not Judaism, but rather secular humanism (a term employed by Eliot’s friend Christopher Dawson). It was the predominance of this secular humanism (or humanitarianism, the term preferred by Irving Babbitt) that caused Eliot to remark, later, that the worst form of expatriation for an American writer is residence in New York City.

There being nothing more in the pages of After Strange Gods about Jews, whether free-thinking or orthodox, it is absurd to cry anathema and to keep from others’ eyes this outspoken little book.
BUT anyone can embrace "secular humanism" so Kirk's defense of Eliot is dishonest.


Ken Hoop said...

Jews are more likely proportionately to embrace it to water down resistance-unity of the host, if that issue is what you're driving at.

Steve J. said...

water down resistance-unity of the host


Ken Hoop said...

it's hard for an American to understand that Europeans were the perennial host, since the former have lived under Zionist domination for several generations now, owing to "valuing independence, freedom
and tolerance" a little too much.