It seems to me that we have been this way before although I must say
free thinking jews equals communist is a striking turn. Who was it on
the list a couple of presidents ago suggested Monica Lewinsky was
perhaps what Eliot had in mind ?
In my country public intellectuals have been pretty overt in their anti
semitism - even bizarre. We had a prominent architect Hardy Wilson who
published his thoughts contemporary with Eliot's lectures who suggested
the world's Jews could all be moved to New Guinea where they would
establish an economic hub for the pacific basin. I'm not making this up
by the way - and the guy still has some status as a writer on
architecture here. Interestingly the little pamphlet concerned is not
listed among his works these days but I have read it in original form.
Then there was our First World War official historian CEW Bean ( who was
wounded at Gallipoli ) who along with Rupert Murdoch's papa was very
opposed to the appointment of John Monash as General of the Australian
troops because :
"We do not want Australia represented by men mainly because of their
ability, natural and inborn in Jews, to push themselves."
How many of these works have been suppressed by authors or their estates
or others. When I wanted to read Strange Gods about ten years ago I had
to go to the research collection of my university library and read it in
house one day. I suppose its relative rarity was the reason for this
but works of similar age and replacement cost were on the open shelves.
Maybe the library was exercising some delicacy or just protection of the
book from angry damage etc.
Close reading of prescriptive social analysis begs a prior question.
Whether one qualifier or another is plumped for as an explanation of
where he is coming from, the guy who gets up and says this sort of thing
about " society " is a player. I understand one can have all sorts of
paradigms for seeing what animates the choice of team he plays for but
for my part if I was going to struggle over where the stress lay in his
line I would be asking if he meant no society could tolerate them but
some other structure might ( the great American songbook seems to have
done quite well from them for example) or for that matter if he is
saying no society can tolerate too many but like the three bears there
might be just enough that was just right. Personally I think he was
being measured and genteel -" too many" meaning " any ...for my comfort".
I look forward to the discussion of the merit of his idea that
multiculturalism has unfortunate outcomes.