The Jewish Problem in America

Original 1941 editor's note: In this and successive issues, the Atlantic will open its columns to the discussion of a problem which is of the utmost gravity. We have asked Mr. Nock to begin the enquiry, and we shall invite expressions of opinion from Jew and Gentile alike, in the hope that a free and forthright debate will reduce the pressure, now dangerously high, and leave us with a healthier understanding of the human elements involved. —The Editor
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I.

My former paper began by stating the problem thus: It is the problem of 'maintaining a modus vivendi between the American Jew and his fellow-citizens which is strong enough to stand any shocks of an economic dislocation such as may occur in the years ahead.' I went on to give reasons why this must be done if we are to avoid extremely damaging consequences; and I then proposed to show in this present paper the specific difficulties and complications which lie in the way of doing it.

First and foremost in point of difficultly, we must guard against becoming victims of a misnomer. The problem is not essentially Jewish, not essentially Semitic; it is an Oriental problem, Jewish only in so far as the Oriental people concerned in it happen to be Jews rather than Syrians, East Indians, Persians or some other. The moment this is understood, one perceives the degree to which it differentiates this particular problem of population from others which are superficially similar. For example, in the period following the Civil War great hordes of poverty-stricken Irish arrived on our shores, and the economic effect of their presence, coupled with their extraordinary genius for petty politics, set up a terrific commotion which raged from coast to coast. 'No Irish need apply' was a phrase so common that it degenerated into irrelevant slang as a mere expression of strong feeling directed at anything or nothing. The reader will find what is perhaps the classic example of this usage if he looks up Mark Twain's account of Buck Fanshaw's funeral, in Roughing It. We had a full-sized Irish problem in those days, but it was Irish, pure and simple; it was an Occidental problem. Therefore when in course of time, perhaps twenty years or so, the economic aggravations got themselves ironed out in one way or another, the Irish promptly became acceptable as Occidental people living among Occidentals, and they have remained so ever since.

The conditions of our problem become clearer when we fix in our minds the fact that the Jews are the only Oriental people who ever settled in an Occidental civilization in any large numbers and took any active part in Occidental life. The common saying that Jews are strangers everywhere is not quite correct. As a refugee people they were everywhere strangers in a sense, but not everywhere in the same sense. They were strangers among other Oriental peoples only in the sense that the refugee Irish and Huguenots were, and British, Scandinavian or French refugees might be, strangers among us.

A Jewish writer says that towards the end of the Middle Ages 'the Jew became a European.' He did, but only by residence; by nature he did not become an Occidental; he could not possibly have done so. Hence, while he became acceptable in various parts of the Occident, it was not on the same terms of acceptability as would have been accorded to another Occidental people. The terms might have been as good, as satisfactory, even in certain circumstances perhaps more so; but they were not, and in the nature of things could not have been, the same terms. In my opinion this is all there is to the point of universal 'difference' whereof many non-Jewish writers, notably M. de Madariaga,—and some Jewish writers as well,—make so much in discussing the historical position of the Jews.

I am not here venturing on any stark anthropological doctrine of 'race,' first because I know nothing about such matters, and second, because they appear not to be particularly concerned in the circumstances which I am discussing.  I take it that our problem has to do only with ordinary, regular, easily discernible social reactions between one set of human beings and another. Whether the two sets can ever coalesce in a chemical mixture or whether the mixture must always remain mechanical, and if either, why; whether certain lines of reciprocal reaction are permanent, or whether ultimately they can be faded out by association, miscegenation, or other means of composition, and if either, why—of all this I have no idea. This is for the consideration of those who shall attempt a solution of the problem, and I leave it to them. All that is pertinent to this discussion is that the mixture has always been mechanical and is so at present, and that the lines of reaction have always existed and still exist; and these two facts are so clearly observable as to need no demonstration.

That the problem of establishing a satisfactory modus vivendi is Oriental rather than Jewish may be easily shown by imagining the appearance here of another Oriental people in equal numbers and in the same circumstances. We have a small implantation of Armenians, excellent people who have done well, mostly as urban dwellers and in small businesses, and are well thought of. They do not mix much, keeping largely to a social life of their own, and they do not put themselves forward in our public life. The Armenian's trading instinct is said to be much keener than the Jew's; we have all heard the saying current in the Levant, 'Two Jews, one Greek; two Greeks, one Persian; two Persians, one Armenian.' Their position among us is thus roughly comparable to that of the Jews, say, seventy years ago.

Now suppose that instead of this small implantation we had nearly five million Armenians in this country, and that New York was the centre of the whole Armenian world, culturally, commercially, financially. Suppose that in the period l88l-1929 there had arrived here 2,314,668 Armenians (in the one year 1906 more than 150,000),* virtually all of them refugees from a most hideous oppression and persecution; hunted and driven; poor, desperate, degraded by having been for years condemned to modes of life to which no decent person would subject a worthless dog; ready with a bloodthirsty eagerness to face any conditions, to compete with anyone and everyone on any terms, in order to get a living. Suppose that where fifty years ago you saw one Armenian you now see twenty, and most of them, by force of circumstances, no very personable specimens, Suppose you saw a steady infiltration of Armenians into positions of the highest prominence in our public life. Would the ensuing problem be essentially Armenian or Oriental? Would the general instinctive reaction between the two peoples be the same as it would be if the Armenians were an Occidental people? Would the resultant mixture be chemical? The parallel case of the Irish gives pretty substantial evidence that it would not; and, to a significant extent, so does the case of the Chinese.

Significant also is the difference between the Jews' historical experience in Oriental and Occidental countries hitherto. During the Exile, when the Jews were herded up in Babylon, after a turn or two at the rough treatment usually accorded to captives they were well treated, and many of them rose to prominence and high favor. Some Jews who escaped Nebuchadnezzar's clutches went down into Egypt. There too they seem to have done well. A Jewish historian says that in the great city of Alexandria 'the Jews held high official posts, had absorbed Hellenic as well as Jewish culture, and at the same time were evidently troublesome rivals of the Greek merchants.' It is true that the Alexandrian Jews did get themselves disliked on account of their vehement partisanship for the Romans as against the Greeks, but this was quite as Americans, whether Jews or Gentiles, might today get themselves disliked in some quarters on account of their partisanship for England as against Germany, if they were noisy enough about it. As another Jewish writer says, 'There was nothing in common between this and European anti-Semitism as it subsequently developed.' The implantations of Jews in China and India, which were probably formed at the same time, still persist with no record of unacceptability against them. In the Islamic domain, while on religious grounds the Jew may not have been exactly a popular idol, he quite clearly did not suffer from Moslem fanaticism as an Occidental Christian would have done. When the Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492, the Sultan said he wondered what was the matter with Ferdinand that he should be sending him so many of his best subjects.


* I use Jewish statistics and cite Jewish authorities throughout this article except where otherwise noted.—Author

When the Jews' national independence was broken up in A.D. 70 by the legions of Vespasian and Titus, they moved steadily westward along the Mediterranean coast to the Atlantic seaboard, spreading northward until by the end of the Middle Ages they had covered the whole of Europe. As I have said, they are the only Oriental people who ever did this. Here their experience was not what it was in Oriental countries, with the significant exception of those who settled in the Iberian peninsula, which had always, and still has, the strong Oriental cast that led Victor Hugo to say, 'Europe stops at the Spanish border.' From the days of the adventurous Phoenician traders, who, by the way, were much sharper and more enterprising traders than ever the Jews were, Oriental peoples had found themselves spiritually at home in Spain—Arabs, gypsies, Jews, all sorts and kinds. Of the six civilizations which have flourished along the Iberian littoral, two were Oriental. I have already spoken, in my first paper, of the position attained by the Jews in Spain, so I shall say no more about it here.

The first Jewish immigration to America was a small one of Spanish and Portuguese Jews, known as Sephardim and speaking Ladino. The Russian and Polish Jews, known as Ashkenazim and speaking judisch-deutsch, orYiddish, came later and in enormous numbers. It is interesting to observe the rather deep social cleavage between these two branches of the same people. Coming comparatively lately out of a civilization so largely their own, in which they had figured with such high distinction, the Sephardic Jews in Europe have a benevolent but prideful feeling of superiority towards the more unfortunate Ashkenazim, regarding them somewhat, though not precisely, as the cultivated Southerner of earlier days might regard poor white trash. The Ashkenazim, especially those who have become prosperous, repay this disfavor with interest, even to the extent that marriages between the two groups are discouraged on both sides, and by both are termed 'mixed marriages.'* Descendants of the original Sephardic families still exist in this country, but are vastly outnumbered by the Ashkenazim.

II.

Thus it appears that in virtue of his special position in Occidental society the Jew is under a disability whereby the Occidental has never been, and is not, able to meet him except on special terms of acceptability. This does not make him an Untermensch, however, as is sometimes asserted, because the Occidental is under a disability precisely similar, whereby the Jew has never been, and is not, able to meet him on the same terms as those accorded to one who is 'von unsere Leute.' The existence of this reciprocal disability is the fundamental thing that any effort to arrange a durable modus vivendi between the two peoples must take into account. Failure to do this is mainly responsible for the very puny results attained by such efforts hitherto—efforts like those of Mr. Asch, of the National Conference, of Mr. White's Council Against Intolerance. They overlook the fact that Jew and Occidental are each the product of a distinct and special history. They fail to heed the austere saying of Ernest Renan, that 'man does not improvise himself.' Not being a Jew, I have not presumed to analyze the Jew's disability, but as an Occidental I am on safe ground in analyzing the disability which I share in common with my kind.

In discussing these matters with one of my friends not long ago, a very learned rabbi finally said, 'You are right. What it comes to is that you are a fine man and I like you, but I don't trust you, and you don't trust me.' My friend thought this over for a moment, and said, 'That is so.' Now, this did not imply that their word was not good, or that their pocketbooks were not safe; it carried no ethical implications whatever. It meant that in each there were great areas of consciousness which the other could not possibly enter upon, let alone explore; therefore no satisfactory presumptions could be made upon the content of those areas or upon the reactions which the motion of that content might set up. My friend, speaking of the Jews, put the whole matter admirably in a single sentence: ''They have got something which they don't need to tell one another, and they can't tell us.' In all probability (though on this I must speak provisionally and under correction) the Jew finds this as true of us as we of him.

Here precisely, at all events, is the Occidental's disability. Try as the Jew may with every concession in his power, intimate and cordial as may be the relations on which we stand, it is impossible for him to admit me and mine to regions of his consciousness the gates whereof would open of their own accord if I and mine were von unsere Leute. This does not make me an Untermensch, any more than the Jew's disability, whatever his analysis of it may be, makes him one. There is no question of superiority or inferiority, one way or the other. Nevertheless, there the disability is, and there seems nothing I or mine can do about it. The reaction is a matter of instinct, of inherited habit. Jews have told me that I his is all moonshine, that the Occidental is under no such disability; but they are no more competent judges of my disability and the reaction it provokes in them than I am of theirs and the reaction it provokes in me. A starchy cat named Thomas, owner of the house I five in, is much aggrieved when I jostle him in the dark, because he thinks I can see in the dark as well as he can; he is not, a competent judge of my disability or of the reaction which my behavior has set up in him.

When one thinks of the inherited stock of experience which goes into the content of the Hebraic consciousness, one's conception of the Occidental's disability becomes clearer. The Jew, every Jew, bears the mark of a continuator of the world's most august tradition, and possibly also its oldest. Beside it the whole sum of independent Occidental tradition is extremely frail and small. The dominant Occidental civilization's secular tradition—Ebbsfleet, the Conquest, the Mayflower, 1776—is a thing of yesterday; while its philosophical and religious tradition, when disentangled from a clutter of miscellaneous borrowings, is most insignificant. Intending architects of a modus vivendi must surely see that any sentimental notion of blinking the effects of this disparity or wishing them out of existence had best be put aside as a piece of egregious intellectual dishonesty. Things and actions are what they are,' said Bishop Butler, 'and the consequences of them will be what they will be; why, then, should we desire to be deceived?'

The mark of the world's greatest tradition is on the inner self of every Jew, distinct, well-defined, indelible. He may not be aware of it, often is not, but the Occidental eye makes no mistake about it. A sensible Jewish apologist says, 'When I meet a Jew, and he meets me, we salute in each other, without knowing it, the conqueror of Titus, Torquemada and Hitler.' Far more than this, they salute in each other, without knowing it, the military genius of Gideon and Joshua, the scourges of the Palestinian tribes in the dawn of Jewish history. When two Jews hear music, they apply, without knowing it, a common consciousness determined by a tradition running from Deborah and David down to Mendelssohn, Halevy, Offenbach. So of poetry, so of history, so of every department of spiritual activity. The content of consciousness determined by membership in an age-long tradition responds automatically to another similarly determined. It is the sense of membership inherent in this automatic response that limits the terms of acceptability which the Jew can extend to me and mine.


* Cf. the story called 'Request the Pleasure,' by Montague Glass. As a matter of long-belated justice I wish to say that Mr. Glass's books, barring three, have a priceless documentary value to the non-Jewish reader. As a delineator of character Mr. Glass had hardly an equal in American literature, and his presentation of the first-generation Ashkenazic immigrant Jew is complete and perfect. His fellow-Jews of his own day, thirty years ago, understood him with all the appreciation that his ability deserved, but non-Jews saw in him little more than a teller of more or less amusing stories. Aside from its merit as a study of character, his work preserves an authentic English rendering of the judisch-deutsch idiom, and is valuable to the student on that account, as this usage has now virtually disappeared from among us. I remember that when Brand Whitlock asked him how he managed such inimitable idiom, Glass laughed at his naiveté, and said, 'Why, don't you notice that it is all I can do to keep from talking that way myself?' His three books which centre on the war of 1914 are a labored and worthless tour de force, but his seven books remaining should be made the subject of a critical essay in the hope of securing for them the respect they deserve. The story I have cited above is in the volume entitled You Can't Learn 'Em Nothin'.—Author

This is inevitable, invariable. Whether Kipling was right in his dictum that never the twain shall meet on common terms of acceptability, I have no opinion. All I can say is that those who are hopeful that the determining sense of membership may somehow be rubbed out in a generation or two or twenty, or be transformed through some kind of spiritual osmosis, seem to be overconfident. 'I have been an American forty years,' a prominent rabbi is reported to have said lately, 'but I have been a Jew five thousand years.' This utterance was criticized as injudicious, but the man was right. He had been a Jew five thousand years, and could no more help it than he could fly. He spoke of something which runs infinitely deeper than any merely political allegiance-his sense of membership in the world's greatest and most powerful tradition. Man does not improvise himself; certainly not by the accident of having been born in an alien political domain, and least of all by taking out naturalization papers.

When I was a young man of twenty-five or so, I was once marooned for eight days on one of society's most arid islands, in company with a Jewish girl of twenty-three. There being virtually no one else to talk with, we were pretty strictly limited to each other's society, and became very intimate. She was the only girl I ever saw who seemed to me the acme of everything desirable, with no offset that I could discover - everything in nature and disposition, education, beauty and charm, cosmopolitan culture and manners. Such I have always imagined Fanny Mendelssohn must have been or perhaps rather Henriette Herz, at the time when the mighty Schleiermacher was making up to her and the great Wilhelm von Humboldt was writing her his charming and whimsical love letters. What especially interested me was my complete certainty that with the best will in the world on both sides I should know her no better at the end of a hundred years of close companionship than I did at the end of those eight days. I never saw or heard of her afterwards, nor tried to do either. I have often thought, however, of what would happen if some rash and personable young Occidental fell in love with her—no one could help doing that—and married her. If he were sensitive, how distressed and dissatisfied he would be as he became aware of the vast areas of her consciousness from which he was perforce shut out forever; and on the other hand, if he were too insensitive to feel that he was shut out from them, how intolerable her life with him would be.

III.

We may easily see now how fundamental this reciprocal disability is to the secondary complications and difficulties which lie in the way of a durable modus vivendi. Here again as a matter of propriety and good taste, I must speak of these only as they appear from the point of view of an Occidental. But more than this it is above all things necessary that our social architects should consider them not only as they appear to the intelligent and judicious Occidental, but also and chiefly as they appear to the unintelligent and emotion-ridden Occidental masses; for it is here, as I have said, that sentiment against a minority invariably reaches the exploding-point, and it is here, according to every sign, that we may look for it to reach that point again.

Take for example the manifestations commonly lumped off under the prejudicial term 'Jewish manners': manners reflecting a fierce and insensitive arrogance, a flagrant vulgarity, a rude and pushing disregard of decent civility. These are not Jewish manners, and every intelligent Occidental knows it. They are frontiersman's manners, the manners of our own frontier, the manners which accompanied the great irruption of raw Western money into the society of the Eastern seaboard. As Mr. H. L. Mencken acutely observes, nearly all the qualities which the Jews' critics complain of ‘are identical with the harsh, impatient, cocksure, truculent and, alas, somewhat uncouth qualities which won the American West.' For centuries the Jew was a herdsman in Southern Palestine, warlike and violent as all primitive herdsmen are, 'truly indomitable fellows,' as Mr. Mencken says, 'and neither the dull hopelessness of the city proletariat nor the yet more dull helplessness of the tamed yokel was in them.' Their subsequent experiences throughout the Western world have been uniformly of the kind best calculated to confirm and perpetuate in them their primitive qualities, and among these the quality of manners. That is the whole story.

But the Occidental masses do not know all this, and hence do not view the matter in this light. 'The revolt of the masses' which made its first advance under Jackson, and reached its apex of social control under Roosevelt, was naturally and necessarily accompanied by a great general reversion towards the frontiersman's type of manners, the evidences of which are now most offensively observable in all grades of our society. The Occidental mass-man accepts this reversion, is pleased with it as a creation of his own, and glorifies it as 'democratic.' Mr. Sinclair Lewis devoted a whole series of novels to showing how cheerfully the mass-man regards the code of manners expressing this reversion as a bond of solidarity with the rest of the mass. Yet when an Oriental comes along with a code expressing to no greater degree the same reversion, the instinctive reaction set up by the Oriental's obscure but deeply-rooted disability is at once discriminatory. Putting this reaction down to 'prejudice,' of which we hear so much, is the lightest kind of superficial talk. It is due to disability; and as I have tried to show, the disability is reciprocal.

Take, again, the uneasiness and dissatisfaction so often displayed at the part which Jews are playing in our public life. The Civil Service Commission reports 959,146 civil employees in the Federal executive departments. It is impossible to say how many of these are Jews. The highest Jewish estimate I have heard made is 40 per cent, the highest non-Jewish estimate is 63 per cent. To the intelligent Occidental no estimate counts for anything; all he is interested in is that public affairs should be in the hands of the most capable persons, whether they be Jews, Turks, infidels or heretics. But what I wish to insist on is that for the purposes of our social architects who may be trying to arrange a modus vivendi the intelligent Occidental's view hardly counts. It is the view of the masses which counts, for the reason I have already stated. The reaction of the mass-man in this matter of Federal employment was well put to me by a man who said, speaking of a certain executive department, 'You can't find an official in the whole place who hasn't got a damned Jew lawyer sitting by him at his desk.' The reaction prompting this remark is not essentially anti-Jewish; it would be exactly the same if (let us say), 25 per cent of the Federal personnel were Syrian and if Mr. Cohen, Mr. Frankfurter, Mr. Henderson, Mr. Morgenthau, Mr. Hillman and Mr. Jerome Frank were all Syrians. It would not be the same if this percentage were Irish and these officeholders were Irishmen. There might be in that case, perhaps would be, some slight unfavorable reaction due in part to envy, political partisanship, or some such cause, though I doubt it; but, granting that, it would not be at all the same reaction. And finally, the motive power behind that specific reaction is furnished not by 'prejudice,' but by a disability which would be operative to precisely the same effect in the case of any other Oriental people in the same circumstances.

Again, consider the geographical distribution of the American Jews. Of the 4,770,647 officially reported, 4,096,220 are clustered in cities of 100,000 or over. This distribution is most unfortunate; the Jews know it, and those who direct their institutional life are doing their best to bring about a readjustment. The intelligent Occidental knows that this task of breaking up an enforced secondary habit is virtually impossible short of no one knows how many generations. He takes one look at the Ashkenazic Jew with the brand of the ghetto and the Pale burned deep into his body and soul, and simply throws up his hands. Potash and Perlmutter, Polatkin and Scheikowitz, Maisener and Finkman, would be a complete washout in American rural life, as much of a washout as the early immigrant Quaker, and for the same reason. The Occidental mass-man sees the thing differently.  He faces the thousand and one petty economic disarrangements and social annoyances resulting from this bad distribution, and meditates savagely on the chances that a merciful Providence may some day send him a couple of sotnias of Cossacks to help straighten things out.

Then there is the matter of immigration for our social engineers to think of. Today as I write this I read a disclosure from the State Department that 4000 refugees a month are coming here, that 600,000 more have applied for visas, half of them, 'including many Jews,' in Germany and German-occupied countries. I also read that 'thousands of Viennese Jews are cabling relatives here to deposit the cost of their passage over.' However the intelligent Occidental may regard this prospect, the Occidental mass-man does not regard it as he would that of a similar irruption of Occidental refugees. In the latter case it would be only the economic side of the matter that would concern him, while in the former it would be more than that, as it would be in the case of any other Oriental people.'* Furthermore, he has collateral beliefs which operate as an aggravation. He believes that every Jew in the world who can find his way here will do so by hook or by crook; also that Jews have better organized facilities for getting here than other refugees have; also that in this direction, despite the letter of our immigration laws, our government is distinctly and specially and reprehensibly squeezable. Whether or not he is right in believing all this is not to the point. The point is that he believes it firmly, and that our architects must take due notice of his belief.


* One of my friends told me that in a delicatessen store one evening lately he heard a well-dressed young Jewish woman, slightly tipsy, holding forth on the iniquity of 'letting all these damned refugees in to take jobs away from us native Hebrews.' I tell this only as an amusing incident, though I have sometimes wondered how far, if at all, this view has penetrated among American Jews of the baser sort.—Author

I have no observations to make on the purely economic features of our problem, because I see nothing peculiar or special about them, except, of course, that the Occidental mass-man's view of the Jew's economic successes and economic practices is liable to the special coloration which it would have in the case of another Oriental in the same circumstances. He is inclined to be more resentful of the Oriental as a competitor than of another Occidental, and his resentment has a qualitative difference marked by a vague sense of cosmic injustice, a sense of being unduly and intolerably 'put upon.'  He is also more inclined to bring an indictment against a whole Oriental people on the strength of the occasional roguery or swinery which he has encountered in individuals. Where the Oriental is concerned he is quicker to generalize, to take omne ignotum pro magnifico, as on our Western coast when he evolved the maxim that 'for ways that are dark and for tricks that are vain the heathen Chinese is peculiar.' All this may be deplored as unjust and indefeasible, but there it is for our social architects and engineers to deal with as best they may. The civilized Occidental knows that an Oriental people, like any other, must be granted its fair proportion of rogues and swine, and he makes his general estimate accordingly; but here again it is not the view of the civilized Occidental which counts, but the view of the Occidental mass-man.

As my space is running out, I shall mention only one more complication which is seriously disabling; it arises from the peculiar and suspicious sensitiveness which the Jew has developed, whereby he is prone to see enmity where there is none, and even more regularly to attribute dislike or distrust to a cause which does not exist. As a Jewish writer says of his people, 'They tend to nurse the obsession that the only reason for the slightest rebuff from which they may suffer in business, social life, or any other activity, is a causeless anti-Jewish prejudice, quite unjustified by anything in their personal behavior as individuals.' Or as an acquaintance once put it to me in more colloquial terms, 'A Jew always thinks you dislike him because he is a Jew. It never seems to occur to him that you might possibly dislike him because he's offensive.'

In my own case, in discussing Jewish affairs with Jews, I have often observed that instead of taking what I say they take what they think I say, and then add to that a wholly gratuitous string of what they think I mean, so that the total product has no resemblance whatever to anything that is, or has been, in my mind. The intelligent Occidental perfectly understands this peculiar sensitiveness, and knows how it came about, but the Occidental mass-man does not; and this puts innumerable exasperating difficulties, usually trifling in themselves, in the course of his relations with Jews.* By consequence, therefore, it makes uphill work for the social architect who undertakes to design a durable modus vivendi between the two peoples.

IV.

Wishful thinkers, whether Jewish or non-Jewish, may be dissatisfied with the matter-of-fact character of what I have said in this paper, and take it amiss that I have done no moralizing and indulged in no sentiment. This failure may impress them as unsympathetic and antisocial, perhaps even as irreligious and against God. If so, they mistake my function. My job is not with them, but with the social architect and engineer; and my function is only that of charting quicksands and rock formations so that the piers of the structure they build may be secure. A humble cartographer, which is all I am, must resolutely keep his sympathies corked down during business hours, and those who wish to see them in action should come around after closing time.

I wish, though, that something better than an amateur cartographer might have been found for the job, for it is one that calls for the best professional skill. As I hinted at the outset, the thing I find most disquieting is the thick fog of silence which has settled over this grave question. It bodes no good; there is every evidence that the lamentable antipathies which are simmering and festering beneath it are increasing in volume at a rate which I find as terrifying as it is distressing. The thing should not be left to ex parte pleaders, sentimentalists, propagandists, disseminators of idle and vicious blackguardism. It demands able, well-informed, and disinterested thought expressed with the utmost candor and calmness. I have done my best to break the ominous silence - not at all a good best, I know, for I am so distinctly not the one to make the attempt; but what I could do I have done.


* 'In one of New York's clubs the other day I heard a man put this point very well. He said, ‘When we are playing Kelly pool downstairs, if A (an Irishman] wins a big pot on an awful fluke, I can say, "Isn't that a dirty Irish trick?" If B does it, I can say, "Isn't that just what you'd expect from a conniving, swindling Massachusetts Yankee?" But if C does it, I can't say, "That's a dirty Jewish trick," for it would hurt him -it really would - and everybody in the room would feel uncomfortable and a little bit shocked to hear me say it.'—Author

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