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Chapter 5 of You Gentiles by Maurice Samuels (Pub 1924)
By Maurice Samuels
E-Y posted Dec. 15, 2017
Loyalty (Chapter 5 of You Gentiles by Maurice Samuels (Pub 1924)
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Chapter 5: Loyalty
Whenever friendly tribute has been paid to the higher ethical nature of the Jew, it has always been made to appear that the Jew obeys the laws of a common morality more strictly than does the gentile. Jews and friends of Jews have wanted to make it appear that, if we differ from you ethically, it is in that we are more self-sacrificing, more generous, more loyal, more honest, etc. I do not desire to make it appear so, and in the foregoing pages I have tried to avoid any such implication. Within our system we need be neither better nor worse behaved than you within yours. We may transgress as frequently as you, perhaps more frequently— I cannot tell: it is on the nature of the systems that I base the distinction. We deny your very system, you ours.
So that, casually, we must seem immoral to you, you to us. That is why even the lowest type of gentile despises the Jew; the lowest type of Jew, the gentile. For it is well to remember that criminals do not deny a system of ethics: they only transgress it. To the criminal the subverter of a system of morality is a horrible creature, as (which I have already intimated) to the coward the pacifist is particularly abhorrent. This must spring from the fact that for the professional criminal it is essential that humanity should be moral: his very existence as a criminal would otherwise be impossible. Indeed, he has more reason than any one else to foster a sense of morality in mankind, for the more exceptional he is, the better for his trade. Hence his greatest enemy is not the policeman (for the policeman maintains the social order which is Ms prey) , but the moral anarchist. And since the Jew is to the gentile order of conduct a moral anarchist, the gentile criminal who has come into contact with Jews will be the aptest to hate Jews. It is for this reason, I think, that criminality is so closely allied to anti-Semitism.
In the attitude of the public toward literary and stage censorship I find the clearest illustration of this distinction between the breaking of law and the denial of law.
A play which is "indecent" may be so for one of two reasons. Either it deals with sex within the frame of morality or it denies the validity of this morality. In the first case (which covers most successful plays) we have no attack on current notions of what is right and wrong in the sexual relationship. We have, indeed, complete acceptances of the current principles of sex morality. But with this acceptance en principe goes a generous denial in practice ; plays of this kind cover countless breaches of morality with a knowing wink, a tolerant appeal to human weakness. It is ludicrous to deny that the desire to tickle and provoke the sexual appetite, and covertly to encourage its promiscuous satisfaction, governs these plays ; but it is not made a principle at all. It is the breaking of the law, not the denial of it. Hence such plays (except when they become too obvious in their purpose and thus become an overt attack en masse) are tolerated by the censorship and encouraged by the public.
But the play which has little sex appeal yet seriously denies the validity of accepted sex morality is dealt with promptly and severely, and among those who condemn it most vigorously will be found those who frequent assiduously the first type of play. I see nothing incongruous in this—nothing illogical even. For the first type of play is perhaps the safety valve to human nature: it remits us our unavoidable allowance of licence, without which morality would become an insufferable imposition. But the second type of play breaks up morality completely. To the system of law the amoralist is more dangerous than the criminal. The naked chorus-girl is less dangerous than the naked truth. Such a danger—a danger not merely of malpractice, but of essential denial—is the Jew in your morality. And against the Jew there is a Union Sacree of all classes and conditions of men, the prince, the laborer, the professor, the saint, the thief, the prostitute, the soldier, the merchant. There does not seem to be a single country with a history which has not been anti-Semitic at one time or another. There is no country today of which the Jew can say, "In this country anti-Semitism will never become triumphant." Your dislike of us finds uneven and unequal expression, is lulled into rest for a time, at times is overborne by generous impulses, but it is a quality inherent in the nature of things, nor is it conceivable to me that, as long as there are Jews and gentiles, it should ever disappear.
For your system of morality is no less a need to you than ours to us. And the incompatibility of the two systems is not passive. You might say: "Well, let us exist side by side and tolerate each other. We will not attack your morality, nor you ours." But the misfortune is that the two are not merely different. They are opposed in mortal, though tacit ; enmity. No man can accept both, or , accepting either, do otherwise than despise the other.
No single attribute or virtue shows our mutual enmity more clearly than that of loyalty, which, among all the attributes contributing to your morality, is perhaps the most dearly cherished, the most vehemently advocated* It is impossible for me, in writing of it, to take up a purely analytic attitude; but I believe that the preferences and aversions which I here express will at least serve to make clear the irreconcilable difference between Jewish and gentile morality.
The abstraction, loyalty, is not related to good and bad. Loyalty is preached naked, as a virtue for itself. It is proper and right to be loyal. To do a thing out of loyalty— loyalty to a man, to a group, to an idea—is in itself a sort of justification. To develop a loyalty is in itself commendable.
To the Jew, naked loyalty is an incomprehensible, a bewildering thing. That men should be called upon to keep a quantity of this virtue on constant tap, to be applied on instruction to this or that relationship, is not merely irrational to us: it is beyond the apprehension of our intelligence.
We can understand love born of a natural relationship. But the quality of love differs essentially from the quality of loyalty. Loyalty is demanded as an independent quality, as a thing in itself; it is cultivated (love cannot be "cultivated") ; it is stimulated and forced. It is not demanded, essentially, that you love: it is demanded that you be loyal.
Very often, indeed, loyalty is demanded where a demand for love would be too obviously ludicrous. For the application of loyalty is to you as seemly in the case of an association of shoe salesmen as in the case of country itself.
It is expected, in your world, that a man should be loyal to his country, to his province, to his city, to his section of the city, to his college, to his club, to his business associations, to his fraternity, to every chance group into which events may bring him. In the first instance, country, the distinction between love and loyalty is startlingly clear. Love of country is a profound spiritual quality: it may go hand in hand with a dangerous and exalted morality. But loyalty merely says: "My country must triumph in all her undertakings, whether they be right or wrong"—or, rather, "There is no such thing as 'my country wrong.' " And in loyalty to king, class, or church, the same distinction or substitution is observed. Loyalty is a rigid code of behavior— not an emotion.
But the real nature of loyalty is only seen in its application to those relationships which are much more fortuitous than those of country, church, class. In these loyalty is clearly revealed as a fictitious and artificial regulation, with no roots in moral conviction. Let us take the case of a young man who is faced with a choice of college. He may have preferences, but there is no compelling association which identifies him with any one institution. The choice is decided finally by some quite irrelevant influence: he goes to any one college as he might have gone to any other. But once he is there loyalty demands that he regard this college as the best in the country —perhaps in no particular, for particulars are occasionally too tangible—but at large; the best, the finest, the noblest. Of this college he must think, and above all speak, with enthusiasm, passion and devotion; he must defend its name against all aspersions, without investigating their foundations: if he even stops to consider the plausibility of these aspersions before denouncing them, the quality of his loyalty is already second-rate. The scholastic reputation of his college may be less than mediocre; its staff may not number a single scholar of note; its alumni may be an indistinguishable mob of obscure failures: worst of all, its football and baseball teams may be the laughing-stock of the locality. But his college is the best and noblest in the country and the world: the astonishing feature of all this being that not only his schoolmates expect him to say and seem to believe so, but that everybody outside the college, convinced of its worthlessness, also expects this of him and considers him rather a cad if he acquiesces in what to them may be obviously
This obligation of loyalty must pursue the man to the end of his life. Forty years after he has left his college he will be regarded with suspicion as something less than a gentleman if he should have discovered that his Alma Mater was and is an extremely inferior and uninteresting institution: "It may be all that, you know, but a man's got to be loyal to his college."
What is true of college loyalty is true of other loyalties. A man who joins the army and is assigned to any regiment must have loyalty for his regiment—which means that he must seem to lose the faculty of discrimination and criticism as soon as the regiment he was accidentally assigned to is under consideration. Should he in later life become a member of a fraternity, of a business association, of a poker-club, he must be loyal. He must be loyal even at large, without an organization to be loyal to. He must be loyal to the paper-manufacturing trade, to the cleaners and dyers, to the transport business. And if he goes down into a factory to earn, by the sweat of his brow and under bitter duress, a bare livelihood, he must at once be loyal to his employers.
But the application of loyalty is sometimes pushed to extremes which are nothing short of grotesque. One finds in surface cars notices like these: "Be loyal to the Bronx, to Bensonhurst, to Wapping, to Pendleton, to Charlottenburg, to the Ring, to the Marshalkowska, to Montmartre. , . ." Sometimes I have wondered: "If you live in the Bronx and are loyal to your neighborhood grocer, how long are you supposed to yearn for him after you have moved to Brooklyn: and how soon may you with seemliness develop a loyalty for your neighborhood grocer in Brooklyn? Or are you supposed to leap into your loyalties at once as into a bath-tub and be immersed in them without a moment's loss? And similarly, how if you attend two or three colleges in succession, or are attached to a number of regiments in succession? Or change your business, or your fraternity or your poker-club ?"
It is clear to me that the very quality of loyalty and its place in your life again bespeaks the sport origin of your morality. The success of a football team depends not only on the physical aptitude and fitness of its members, but also on their spirit, their esprit de corps. There must be atmosphere for sporting effect: it is as important as physique and must be cultivated as assiduously, as carefully, as skilfully, as artificially. Whichever team yon join, your loyalty is essential to its success and your loyalty must be instantaneous and unconditional, neither curtailed by delay nor mitigated by reflection. Your loyalty has nothing to do with ultimate moral values. It is part of the game—and life is to you a game, on the football field, in the college, in the factory, on the battlefield."The Game" alone can make loyalty a transportable quality of this kind. "The Game" alone can give birth to the concept of loyalty.
In our life, the Jewish life, loyalty is unknown. There is no equivalent for it among our attributes. We understand love, which is serious, profound: which must be treated, therefore, with due dignity. But we do not understand loyalty, which is trivial, gallant, gamesome, conventionalized.
As students, we Jews are accused of lacking the right attitude toward the college. It is perfectly true that we have not the "loyal" attitude—as you have it, or, despite occasional efforts, to the degree in which you have it. We are apt to see the college as an institute of learning: we go there to study under competent teachers. What has loyalty to do with this organization? We may develop love for the place: it may, in later years, become a beloved memory, or it may not. But we cannot attach an immediate combative value to our connection with the college—an instantaneous regimental pride: we cannot attach a moral value to the prescribed set of sporting emotions and thrills 1 which are supposed to be a proper part of college life. We are unquestionably an alien spirit in your colleges. For your colleges are the most coherent mouthpieces of your morality: and that morality is not ours. Your college is a miniature world in which you first develop the sporting instincts which must accompany you through the real world. We (with our proper exceptions) see the college only as a center of study, and, incidentally, occasionally of valued friendships. The idea of a rivalry with other colleges, in which each
student must defend his own college, seems to us childlike. It is not to the purpose at all. It is not serious.
But I have touched on the college only as a single illustration of the predomi nance of the virtue of loyalty in your concept of the proper human relationship. All your society is divided into "teams"—with a fictitious morality to correspond. It has little to do with direct utilitarianism. One might object, saying: "This morality, like any other, is merely the adjunct of the economic or biologic struggle. What we call 'morality' is merely the assistant illusion in the struggle for existence. And in this regard gentile and Jew are alike." But this is an irrelevant truth. There was a time when, among you gentiles, one man would courteously challenge another to mortal combat: without real motive, without enmity, without passion. So it was: when no excuse for combat was available you dropped even the pretense of an excuse. Do not answer that this was a passing phase: for I say that when men actually kill each other for mere sport it betokens a profound, an almost eternal instinct. That instinct to-day finds expression in equally moralless relations, equally passionless associations and enmities. You arrange your life in such wise as to get the maximum of sport out of it. And, for the purpose of sport, it does not matter to which team you belong: England or America, Harvard or Yale, the Black Watch or the Old Guard, the eighborhood Association of Wigan or the Rotarians of Los Angeles, the Goodrich Rubber Factory or the Sunlight Soap Garden City, the Alpha Sigma Mu or the '95 Club, the Progressive Republicans or the Decorators' Association, the United Cigarmakers or the Fascist!. There's good fun in all this; it is exciting, jolly, sporty. It puts rush and gaiety into life. But we Jews are no good at it. Just as we are inaccessible to the meaningless exhilaration of college loyalty, so we are bewildered by the fast and furious games of your general life. We Jews cannot play the game.
Perhaps you will answer that it is you who taking the chance relationships of life as the all-m-all of existence, are really serious: that it argues seriousness in a man if he gives to every passing association all faculties, all his emotion. Such an argument would be a quibble A woman may take an absorbing interest in dress-to the exclusion of everything else: one could hardly call her serious. Serious absorption in trivialties is not seriousness. I hen you may answer me: "But all life is a triviality»-which would reveal clearly the difference between your outlook and ours.
Chapter 6: Discipline ..
You Gentiles: Contents (Only chapters 1-5 and 9 are currently uploaded)
1. The Question ........................................ 7 6. Discipline ...........................................107 11. The Masses .....................................177 2, Sport .................................................. 38 7. The Reckoning ...................................124 12. Solution and Dissolution ...................188 3. Gods ...................................................64 8. But as Moderns .................................135 13. The Mechanism of Dissolution ......... 196 4. Utopia .................................................78 9. We, the Destroyers ............................144 14. Is There Any Hope? ........................210 5. Loyalty ............................................... 91 10. The Games of Science ......................156 15. A Last Word ...................................221
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