Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Chesterton on Jews (maybe Muslims?)

It is rather interesting that GK Chesterton's idea of the 'Jewish Problem' congeals rather nicely to the modern day criticisms leveled at European communities: namely, they are uninterested in becoming part of the culture of their countries and thusly remain exiles. However, it is interesting to note that their primary criticism of the West is that the cause of antagonism occurs in reverse, ie a type of conspiracy theory exists (typified in Zionism) between the West and the Jewish people in order to wrongly oppose Islam.

Lecture 35: The New Jerusalem:
"But the real 'Jewish Problem' as Chesterton calls it, is that the Jews were a people in exile, a people without a homeland. Patriotism is a natural virtue, always praised by Chesterton, but the Jew's patriotism is for a land that he has lost and not for the land in which he is an exile, no matter how well his host country treats him. It is important to note that he is talking about the Jew in Europe, not the Jew in America, where we are an entire nation of exiles, who have a loyalty to this country that is always mixed with a loyalty to our ethnic heritage and national origin. It was not that way in Europe, where a nation was a more organic thing, and the Jew, through no fault of his own, was always an outsider."
As such, the question is one of cause. Is the West against Islam because of exilic Muslims or are Muslims exilic because the West is against Islam? Before practical solutions can be discussed, this chicken-egg conflict must be resolved.

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