NEW YORK (Jul. 25)
A sharp refutation of two articles by Albert Jay Nock on “The anti-Semitic Problem in America” in the Atlantic Monthly, is made in the August issue of the same magazine by James Marshall, President of the New York Board of Education.
Mr. Nock in his articles, professing to have no anti-Jewish animus, stated that the Jewish problem arises from the fact that the Jew is essentially an Oriental, incomprehensible in great part by the Occidental American. He asserted that a way must be found “of maintaining a modus vivendi between the American Jew and his fellow citizens, strong enough to stand any shocks of an economic dislocation, such as may occur in the years ahead.” Unless this was done, Mr. Nock predicted the introduction of the Nazi Nuremberg laws into the United States.
Mr. Marshall brands the “oriental” thesis of Nock “an escape to juvenile mysticism” and argues that the problem discussed by him is not basically a Jewish problem but one of American democracy. “The Jews lived over a thousand years in Germany, but to Mr. Nock, they remain Oriental. One would have thought that in view of the Oriental origin of the German tribes, under the Nock formula, the Jewish people and the German people would have worked things out better.”
“The great problem of democracy”, writes Mr. Marshall, “is to find the disciplines of democracy, and I believe that foremost among these disciplines is the recognition that peoples thrive from variety and die in a monolithic society.”
Mr. Marshall dismisses Nock’s argument that persecutions never have originated in an upper class or a governmental movement as, historically, completely at variance with the facts. “It was the Tsarist circles,” he says, “that organized the Black Hundreds and employed the pogrom as a mechanism of government. Streicher and Goebbels were not proletarians. Mobs are at times swayed by blood lust, but it has not been mobs that made blood lust internal national policy.”
Nothing, Mr. Marshall emphasizes can be so destructive as a defeatism which finds it impossible to discover a modus vivendi and escapes into juvenile mysticism. “We know now that we can conquer starvation end epidemic; we know now that the ways of democracy can work. It is the patterns of a human behavior that must be our next conquest,” he concludes.