April 23, 2014

Schmaltz v. History

My new column in Taki's Magazine reviews the level of schmaltz in the conventional understanding of Jewish history and how that distorts Americans' grasp of 21st Century issues:
The reality is that for most of the last 800 years, the average Jew in Europe and America was relatively affluent, well-connected, and politically conservative. For example, Tory prime minister Benjamin Disraeli was Queen Victoria’s favorite. This began to change only when the prosperity-driven growth in the number of Ashkenazi Jews forced many out of traditional white-collar jobs and into blue-collar jobs they resented as demeaning.

Read the whole thing there.
     

164 comments:

peterike said...

Indeed. Somehow in media depictions -- in the countless, countless films portraying Jews and the Holocaust for instance -- the Jewish figures are basically always timid little shopkeepers, just struggling to make a living selling hats or whatever. They never seem to be what so many really were: bankers, industrialists, wealthy newspaper owners. And except in "Cabaret" you never see Jews portrayed as smut peddlers and pornographers, which they also were.

Anonymous said...

"...traditional white-collar jobs."

Barbara Tuchman mentions in passing in A Distant Mirror that in 14th century France the gravediggers were Jews. It was considered unclean for good Christians to perform such task.

Anonymous said...

This began to change only when the prosperity-driven growth in the number of Ashkenazi Jews forced many out of traditional white-collar jobs and into blue-collar jobs they resented as demeaning.

Does this mean that Jews were driving white Britons out of white-collar jobs?

If so, many things make sense.

DR said...

Modern Reform Judaism is really little more than an offshoot of Unitarian Universalism, which itself is a sub-class of Mainline Protestant Millennialism. Same as the typical modern urban atheist who worships "science and Neil Degrasse Tyson", it's simply an extension of Christianity with references to Christ surgically removed.

Both modern-day atheists and Reform Jews have attitudes and values much more similar to 19th century New England Congregationalists than they do to Epicurus and Malmonides.

Anonymous said...

"Ironically, the Fiddler on the Roof portrait of Jewish history was so popular view that it undermined Fiddler’s own composers Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock when they tried to follow up their hit with the 1970 megamusical The Rothschilds."

ROTFL.

"If?? Bah, I AM a rich man, a super rich man.."

Anonymous said...

Good piece, but I think you go a little too far with the generalization here:

"The reality is that for most of the last 800 years, the average Jew in Europe and America was relatively affluent, well-connected"

In America, yes. In England post-Cromwell and in the Netherlands, yes, post-1492, yes. In the various Germanic lands 1805-1933, yes. But in the Russian and Ukrainian lands seized from the pro-Jewish Polish szlahta, where the bulk of American Jews originate from? I think you might be exaggerating. Granted, you acknowledge this a few paragraphs later, but you seem to gloss past this.

Anonymous said...

"Modern Reform Judaism is really little more than an offshoot of Unitarian Universalism, which itself is a sub-class of Mainline Protestant Millennialism. Same as the typical modern urban atheist who worships "science and Neil Degrasse Tyson", it's simply an extension of Christianity with references to Christ surgically removed.

Both modern-day atheists and Reform Jews have attitudes and values much more similar to 19th century New England Congregationalists than they do to Epicurus and Malmonides."

Well put.

Whiskey said...

Steve, the problem with Wade etc. in looking at Medieval Jews is penciling in 21st Century views of power into Medieval reality.

In Medieval times, there was very little coinage in circulation. For example, coins in England only appeared in the 800's with Alfred the Great's conversion into Christianity and help from the Continent (literate priests).

Much of the early Medieval world was still pagan NOT CHRISTIAN: Scandinavia, Viking ruled England, France, Russia etc; Finland and the Baltics, Saxony, the latter two being subject to the Northern Crusade and Saxon Wars (waged by Charlegmane to convert forcibly the pagan Saxons at the cost of a million dead) respectively.

So the story of Jews in Europe is not Christian/Jews but Pagans to Christians to Jews.

The other point is that land was POWER back in Medieval times. Remember the Manorial system? A landed estate was needed to create the supreme military power -- mounted, armored knights who spent ages 9-19 in extended, comprehensive military training, and a mass peasantry infantry. That was the source of power.

And Jews were totally excluded from it. Today we see elites look down on military power and military people, but in the Medieval Period military power was supreme and financial power was limited and often overthrown; there were no courts, treaties, or international agreements, much less mercenaries.

Real power rested with the landed aristocracy who were the warrior class in Medieval Europe. Jews were excluded from this, and indeed lands seized in Spain, France, England, Germany, and other places over and over again. Jews were nimble in exploiting niches but these were the side dishes to power, not the main course.

Whiskey said...

DR once again nails it btw.

But I would direct your focus to pre-Norman England. Ask yourself, who had power? Harald Hardrada? Certainly, he had lots of armed men under his command at Stirling Bridge. What about Aethelred the Unready? Certainly, he had a Saxon infantry army ready to march to the North then South after an exhausting battle against the Vikings, to fight and die against the Normans?

William? Certainly he had power. The power of feudal knights beholden to him in a hierarchy of mutual obligations, and commanding the best combination of mobile power and shock battle.

Jews? At best a sideshow, because any financial obligation could and was often simply abrogated by force of arms.

Ask the people of the Ukraine, on either side, what role money (the EU) and military power (Russia) plays. Their answer is pretty predictable and thus Jews have historically been without much power.

Israel is a different story, it is the only instance of Jews taking power, and engaging in the most G-loaded profession possible, the military, where stupid mistakes not only get yourself killed but perhaps your people and nation. Rather than simply losing money.

Repeat: the military is the most G-loaded profession in the world. Because mistakes get your people killed.

Anonymous said...

Anyone had read Cicero 'Pro Flacco' will know that there was a "judean lobby" in 1st century BC Rome, they exported gold from the Roman provinces to Jerusalem in a huge money laundering scheme, it only ended after the jewish Revolt of the 1st century AD, the wealthy of the destroyed Jerusalem Temple financed the construction of the Colosseum, one of the greatest Roman construction that survived tot this day.

fnn said...

Barbara Tuchman mentions in passing in A Distant Mirror that in 14th century France the gravediggers were Jews. It was considered unclean for good Christians to perform such task.

Maybe. In France, the Christian "Cagots" were gravediggers:

‘Cagots’ of Béarn: The Pariahs of France:


Cagots’ of Béarn: The Pariahs of France

Parts of Europe had their own pariahs for several centuries, a practice that persisted until the end of the 17th Century. These European ‘untouchables’ were called ‘agots’ in Spain (especially in Navarre), ‘Cacoux’ in Britanny, and ‘Cagots’ in the South East of France, particularly in the region of Béarn. Gérard da Silva writes on how this heinous social excommunication was tackled in France a few centuries ago.

(...)
Thus, a section of the population of Béarn (but also other places in Europe) were, for centuries, living away from the cities and the villages, with no social rights, and with a status less than that of the serfs. In addition to their accursed sub-human status, they carried the stigma of being suspected carriers and transmitters of leprosy. Certain tasks and professions were reserved for the ‘cagots’: they had to be carpenters (live close to the woods and the forests), make coffins and be grave digger and undertakers; they had to be rope makers (as was the case with the ‘cacoux’ of Brittany).
(...)

Anonymous said...

Jews had it extremely good in Middle-Ages Europe, most worked as tax-farmers, money lenders (Christians were prohibited).

Jews appear in the very small Christian kingdoms of North Spain as a most privileged group. According to the Fuero (law) de Nájera, the killing of a Jew required an indemnity of 120 "sueldos" which is much more than the legal worth of a commoner and equivalent to the killing of a high noble. The Kings were surrounded by Jews who formed the administrative and executive mechanism of their kingdoms peopled by a mass of conquered peasants. The kings and the nobles were basically Gothish (aka Scandinavian) military leaders and had no current income sources but called Cortes (something like parliaments) every few years to demand from the municipalities and other corporations "servicios", that is, contributions or taxes. Generally these requirements were linked with military operations, like the need to defend Christian territory or conquest campaigns of Islamic lands, because the Cortes resisted taxes for the King's personal expenses. The actual collection of the sums so voted and the budgeting of the campaigns was all in the hands of the Jews.

http://h2oreuse.blogspot.com.br/2012/09/today-in-jewish-history.html

Anonymous said...

""""The reality is that for most of the last 800 years, the average Jew in Europe and America was relatively affluent, well-connected"'"""

Actually, most of middle ages western European states expelled their Jews by force when necessary and seized their property.

England expelled its Jewish population in 1290 under Edward I and they didn't return until 1660's. The kingdom of France expelled its Jews around 1310 under Phillip the Fair. Of course as soon as the reconquista of Spain became final in 1491 Spain and Portugal expelled its Jews as well.

So, in essence a good chunk of high mid ages and Renaissance history Western Europe was essentially Jewish free or few in total numbers. So they would've had to migrate Eastward into Eastern Germany, Poland, and eventually Russia. Russia was sort of the end of the railway stop for those having been kicked out of the various nations that they invited themselves into (or were in some cases invited into by the soverigns for their money making skills.)

But overall, excellent observations, Steve. It just never quite added up that Jews longed to own land and farm along side the serfs of the middle ages. Even today, in US. How many Jews are actual farmers? Not very many at all.

Moneylending made sense since it was a form of usury which was forbidden at the time by the Church for any Christian to engage in toward another believer.


"""But in the Russian and Ukrainian lands seized from the pro-Jewish Polish szlahta, where the bulk of American Jews originate from?""""""

BUT, up til that time, the larger point is that the expatriated Western European Jews fairly "owned" Poland. I mean, that's where they migrated to during the middle ages when they were being kicked out. Had to go someplace and Poland and Eastern Germany's where they tended to end up.

Marissa said...


Barbara Tuchman mentions in passing in A Distant Mirror that in 14th century France the gravediggers were Jews. It was considered unclean for good Christians to perform such task.


Yeah, I wasn't impressed with Mrs. nee Wertheim's Guns of August. Like the world needed another Jewish caricature of German militarism. She was also a Communist operative for part of her life. Real charmer.

Philosopher said...

Re: Jews in the southern US
Charleston SC attorney Robert N Rosen wrote The Jewish Confederates. $9.00 used at Amazon.

Historian Ken Yellis wrote in The Jewish Daily Forward, Jews mostly supported slavery - or kept silent - during Civil War. July 1, 2013.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous:"So, in essence a good chunk of high mid ages and Renaissance history Western Europe was essentially Jewish free or few in total numbers."

Well, barring the significant exceptions of the Dutch Republic and the Italian states....

Anonymous said...

"""Well, barring the significant exceptions of the Dutch Republic and the Italian states""""

I said a GOOD CHUNK o Western Europe. Also, not every Italian state had Jewish populations. More in the north than in the south.

Anonymous said...

"In contrast, rich Northern Protestants, who were generally descendants of literate Puritans, were more likely than their Southern counterparts to be in commerce rather than plantations. So WASP firms competed with Jewish firms on Wall Street. Relations between Jews and Protestants tended to be relatively cordial in both the North and the South, but there was more rivalry in the North, where the Yankees of New England had similar commercial and intellectual skills."

It's interesting to note how many of the stereotypes associated with Puritan Yankees overlap with Ashkenazi stereotypes. A sample list of Yankee stereotypes in the antebellum period:

1. Dominating the field of education: Not only were elite universities heavily concentrated in New England (Harvard, Dartmouth, Brown, Yale, etc), a huge chunk of the nation's secondary school teachers were from New England as well (Connecticut was particularly renowned for exporting teachers throughout the country).

2. Media Dominance: Prestige journals/magazines (THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY, THE NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW, etc) were heavily centered in New England. Plus, New England was a key publishing center (cf TICKNOR AND FIELDS, perhaps the most prestigious American publishing house, which counted Charles Dickens, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Emerson, Thoreau, Tennyson, Longfellow, etc, among its authors). Southerners routinely complained about the domination of "Yankee culture."

3. Literary Dominance: Prior to the Civil War, practically every American author of note was a New Englander: Emerson, Thoreau, Longfellow, Parkman, Prescott, Hawthorne, etc. Even Melville was of New England descent on his father's side (Melville's paternal grandfather was Thomas Melvill, whose devotion to the Patriot cause in the Revolution was commemorated in Holmes' "The Last Leaf). Whitman presents a similar case, as his paternal line consisted of Puritans who had settled on Long Island (not to mention the fact that Emerson was his literary inspiration).

4. Money-mindedness: New Englanders were perceived as being perpetually on the make. "Yankee Trader" was a familiar term, one which well conveyed the association between Yankeedom and shrewd bargaining.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting to note that, outside of Rhode Island, Jews were more welcome in the colonial South than they were in New England:

"In other parts of New England there were probably occasional settlers in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, but the intolerance of the Puritans rendered impossible the establishment of any religious communities. An interesting personality is that of Judah Monis, who became a convert to Christianity and filled the chair of Hebrew in Harvard College from 1722 until his death in 1764.

Mention is found of a Jew in Connecticut on November 9, 1659, and of another in 1670. The first Jewish family to settle in New Haven came in 1772, though a few individuals who had become converts to Christianity dwelt there a few years before. The first congregation was established about 1840, the congregants being members of about twenty Bavarian families. From that date on the community increased by slow stages. There are Jewish settlements also in Bridgeport, Ansonia, Derby, Waterbury, New London, and Hartford. The first congregation in Hartford was established in 1843. Since 1891 a number of Jewish farmers have been settled in various parts of the state.

The earliest mention of a Jew in Massachusetts bears the date May 3, 1649, and there are references to Jews among the inhabitants of Boston in 1695 and 1702; but they can be regarded only as stragglers, as no settlers made their homes in Massachusetts until the Revolutionary War drove the Jews from Newport. In 1777 Aaron Lopez and Jacob Rivera, with fifty-nine others, went from Newport to Leicester, and established themselves there; but this settlement did not survive the close of the war. A number of Jews, including the Hays family, settled at Boston before 1800. Of these Moses Michael Hays was the most important. In 1830 a number of Algerian Jews went to Boston, but they soon disappeared. The history of the present community begins with 1840, when the first congregation was established."

(WIKIPEDIA)

Anonymous said...

1. So, there were half a million Jews in Europe in 1500...and they were all moneylenders? Really? Who did they lend to?

2. What does Sacha Baron-Cohen know about traditional Yiddish view of Slavic peasants? He didn't exactly grow up in a shtetl and neither did his parents or grandparents. His comedy strikes me more as a traditional English ridicule of all things Central and Eastern European.

3. So you are outraged that in the 1700 the Jews weren't better than anyone else. E.g. they didn't think anything was wrong with slavery when no one else did. But now, when Jews finally saw the light and started to fight all the world's wrongs, real or imagined...you are not too happy about it either.

Steve Sailer said...

Thanks for the Puritan comparison.

Puritanism was quite a bit like post-Temple rabbinic Judaism: everybody has to go to school so they can read the Bible. It's kind of a grow-your-own-bourgeois system.

SFG said...

"So you are outraged that in the 1700 the Jews weren't better than anyone else. E.g. they didn't think anything was wrong with slavery when no one else did. But now, when Jews finally saw the light and started to fight all the world's wrongs, real or imagined...you are not too happy about it either."

My favorite is David Duke going on about the Jewish role in the slave trade. Uh, Dave...you're an ex-Klansman.

Jews are bad because they helped the North oppress the South. Except when they were in the South, when they were bad because they supported slavery. Jews are bad because they support Communism. Except when they control all the banks...

I mean, technically all these things are true, but I could say the same about any other group that's existed for 2000+ years. Why not just admit you're pissed off about the immigration thing? It's quite understandable...

Anonymous said...

"Puritanism was quite a bit like post-Temple rabbinic Judaism: everybody has to go to school so they can read the Bible. It's kind of a grow-your-own-bourgeois system."

Yeah, the similarities were noted back in the 16th and 17th centuries, much to the Puritans chagrin. Ben Jonson has a Puritan character names Zeal-of-the-Land Busy in BARTHOLOMEW FAIR go out of his way to eat pork as a way to prove that they are actually Christians.

fondatori said...

Interesting article. I noticed a while back that ideas that crazy Jewish Feminists have of what life was like 'back then under the patriarchy' don't resemble European treatment of women but does sound a lot like the much more patriarchal and male-dominated Eastern Jewish experience.

Anonymous said...

The problem with your theory is Jews were not historically prominent bankers. The Christian Fuggers and De Medici were.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fugger
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Medici

Anonymous said...

Not to mention the Paleocons sudden interest in the safety of Ukranian Jews when Putin needs a casus belli to sending the tanks westward into Ukriane. Kind of funny how Putin is allowed to have his finger in every pie, but is is the USA who is not minding it's own business.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting to note how many of the stereotypes associated with Puritan Yankees overlap with Ashkenazi stereotypes. A sample list of Yankee stereotypes in the antebellum period:

It's about as interesting as the fact that the Japanese dominate education, media, and business in Japan. Or that Nigerians dominate education, media, and business in Nigeria.

There's a reason "Yankee" is a term for American in general. It's because they were the original Americans. Yankees naturally came to dominate education, media, and business in a Yankee society.

The Ashkenazi case is different.

Anonymous said...

Warrior class? Huh? What wars? There is a difference between plantation/ feudal lords and a warrior class. Sure a lot of young southerners from prominent families joined the military but that's because they couldn't join dad's shipping firm because dad's shipping firm AKA dad's plantation went to the eldest son. It's also not a coincidence that a lot of the south's top commanders were of prominent families but almost penniless growing up like Robert Lee. If I had to guess Steve vaguely remembers that Walter Scott joke Twain made in Huckleberry Finn and Ivanhoe always has a knight on its cover so yea warrior class it is.

Anonymous said...

RE: Similarities between Puritans and Ashkenazi Jewry,

The Puritans were renowned/excoriated for a quasi-tribalistic conception of Christianity (Edmund Morgan has some good observations on the tribal aspects of Puritanism in his THE PURITAN DILEMMA: THE STORY OF JOHN WINTHROP). Foreigners were simply not very welcome. The New World was to be a New England. Benjamin Franklin expresses some of this in his reactions to German settlers in Pennsylvania. The Quakers were very welcoming to German Protestants, but Franklin viewed them with a disdain that was very Massachusetts Bay in character.And, of course, the tension between Yankees and Irish Catholics in New England in the 19th and early 20th centuries was notorious.

Another manifestation of this Yankee tribalism can be seen in the Yankee penchant for ancestor worship: The Mayflower Society (founded in 1897), Historic New England (a preservation society founded by the uber New Englander William Sumner Appleton in 1910), etc.

Anonymous said...

It just never quite added up that Jews longed to own land and farm along side the serfs of the middle ages.

There were Jewish agricultural colonies in Imperial Russia, including some attempts to cultivate Siberia, but most of these were established in the early 19th century. Jews got exemption from military service and tax abatements for establishing farming operations.

Steve Sailer said...

The notion that Southerners saw themselves in Sir Walter Scott's books isn't an invention of Mark Twain. As for being a warrior class, well, I've been to Gettysburg, and it struck me, like it struck everybody else, that it's a really long way up Cemetery Ridge under the kind of firepower the Union had in 1863.

Steve Sailer said...

"There's a reason "Yankee" is a term for American in general."

Nah. When Mark Twain wrote about a Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court he had a specific type in mind.

Dave Pinsen said...

What about in pre-emancipation Germany, France, etc.?

Also, if the Jews were doing so well in Europe, why'd they come here to work in sweatshops?

Anonymous said...

Washington Irving gives us a rather unflattering portrait of a Connecticut school master in his "Sleepy Hollow":

"In this by-place of nature there abode, in a remote period of American history, that is to say, some thirty years since, a worthy wight of the name of Ichabod Crane, who sojourned, or, as he expressed it, "tarried," in Sleepy Hollow, for the purpose of instructing the children of the vicinity. He was a native of Connecticut, a State which supplies the Union with pioneers for the mind as well as for the forest, and sends forth yearly its legions of frontier woodmen and country schoolmasters. The cognomen of Crane was not inapplicable to his person. He was tall, but exceedingly lank, with narrow shoulders, long arms and legs, hands that dangled a mile out of his sleeves, feet that might have served for shovels, and his whole frame most loosely hung together. His head was small, and flat at top, with huge ears, large green glassy eyes, and a long snipe nose, so that it looked like a weather-cock perched upon his spindle neck to tell which way the wind blew. To see him striding along the profile of a hill on a windy day, with his clothes bagging and fluttering about him, one might have mistaken him for the genius of famine descending upon the earth, or some scarecrow eloped from a cornfield.
His schoolhouse was a low building of one large room, rudely constructed of logs; the windows partly glazed, and partly patched with leaves of old copybooks. It was most ingeniously secured at vacant hours, by a withe twisted in the handle of the door, and stakes set against the window shutters; so that though a thief might get in with perfect ease, he would find some embarrassment in getting out,—an idea most probably borrowed by the architect, Yost Van Houten, from the mystery of an eelpot. The schoolhouse stood in a rather lonely but pleasant situation, just at the foot of a woody hill, with a brook running close by, and a formidable birch-tree growing at one end of it. From hence the low murmur of his pupils' voices, conning over their lessons, might be heard in a drowsy summer's day, like the hum of a beehive; interrupted now and then by the authoritative voice of the master, in the tone of menace or command, or, peradventure, by the appalling sound of the birch, as he urged some tardy loiterer along the flowery path of knowledge. Truth to say, he was a conscientious man, and ever bore in mind the golden maxim, "Spare the rod and spoil the child." Ichabod Crane's scholars certainly were not spoiled."

Steve Sailer said...

From Wikipedia:

"Outside the United States, "Yank" is used informally to refer to any American, including Southerners.[1]

"Within the United States, it usually refers to people from the north, largely those who fought for the regions in the Union side of the American Civil War, but also those with New England cultural ties, such as descendants from colonial New England settlers, wherever they live....Within New England, "Yankee" refers to descendants of early English settlers in contrast to people of other ethnic origins."

There's an old joke that keeps up this narrowing down process about how in Massachusetts nobody is a Yankee except for people from Cape Cod and on Cape Cod, nobody is a Yankee except from this one fishing village.

Anonymous said...

"Nah. When Mark Twain wrote about a Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court he had a specific type in mind."

Absolutely. Many non-New Englanders from the Northeast bore a hearty dislike for the Yankees. James Fenimore Cooper, for example, loathed them to a man. In one of his books there's a passage where an American returning home from Europe remarks to the ship's captain that he will only answer to Yankee outside of the USA. Once inside, he is a New Yorker.

Anonymous said...

Via Ambrose Bierce's DEVIL'S DICTIONARY:

YANKEE, n. In Europe, an American. In the Northern States of our Union, a New Englander. In the Southern States the word is unknown. (See DAMNYANK.)

Matt Reynolds said...

I could be wrong but I think that was precisely his point. To someone whose knowledge comes from the cover of Ivanhoe Walter Scott is all about fighting knights and maybe Jacobites if they've seen a Waverley cover. Saying that the Southerners saw a lot of themselves in Walter Scott is in no way equivalent to saying they were a warrior class. Which they were not.

Honestly, compared to Verdun or Ypres Pickett's Charge was rather tame. Southerners are a brave, somewhat romantic people with a striking propensity for resilience, but they are simply not a warrior class in comparison to Prussian Junkers, or even English Cavaliers.

Anonymous said...

aNONYMOUS:"There's a reason "Yankee" is a term for American in general. It's because they were the original Americans. Yankees naturally came to dominate education, media, and business in a Yankee society.

The Ashkenazi case is different."

That's not how the South saw it. They loathed the cultural hegemony of New England. Poe, the leading Antebellum Southern writer (which is not saying much, seeing as how his competition consisted of the likes of William Gilmore Simms* and John P. Kennedy), continually attacked Boston for its dominant role in American cultural life.

* Poor Simms. While Cooper was called the American Sir Walter Scott, he was dubbed the Southern Cooper, which made him doubly provincial.

Anonymous said...

"There's an old joke that keeps up this narrowing down process about how in Massachusetts nobody is a Yankee except for people from Cape Cod and on Cape Cod, nobody is a Yankee except from this one fishing village."

You'll still find Irish Catholics in Massachusetts who refer to Anglo Protestant Bay Staters as Yankees.

Anonymous said...

RE: Mark Twain's A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR'S COURT,

Here is the eponymous Yankee's description of himself:


I was born and reared in Hartford, in the State of Connecticut—anyway, just over the river, in the country. So I am a Yankee of the Yankees—and practical; yes, and nearly barren of sentiment, I suppose—or poetry, in other words. My father was a blacksmith, my uncle was a horse doctor, and I was both, along at first. Then I went over to the great arms factory and learned my real trade; learned all there was to it; learned to make everything: guns, revolvers, cannon, boilers, engines, all sorts of labor-saving machinery. Why, I could make anything a body wanted—anything in the world, it didn't make any difference what; and if there wasn't any quick new-fangled way to make a thing, I could invent one—and do it as easy as rolling off a log. I became head superintendent; had a couple of thousand men under me."

The reference to "the great arms factory" probably refers to Colt's Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company, which was (and is) headquartered in Hartford. As Steve noted, Twain is being very exact. His Yankee is not even a generic New Englander; he is a Connecticut Yankee, one of the breed that produced Samuel Colt.

Anonymous said...

Since Steve has offered us the tale of Hairtrigger Dick Martin, I now offer the tale of Samuel Colt's brother:

"John Caldwell Colt (March 1, 1810 – November 18, 1842), the brother of Samuel Colt of Colt firearm fame, was a fur-trader, book keeper, law clerk, and teacher. He briefly served as a Marine, forging a letter to get himself discharged after 3 months. After numerous business ventures he became an authority on double-entry bookkeeping and published a textbook on the subject which went through 45 editions and remained in continuous publication 13 years after his death.[1]

In 1842 Colt was convicted of the murder of a printer named Samuel Adams, to whom Colt owed money over the publication of a bookkeeping textbook. Colt killed Adams with a hatchet the previous year in what he claimed was self-defense, but afterwards covered up the crime by disposing of the body. When the body was discovered, Colt was the first suspect. The trial became a sensation in the New York press, because of his family connections, the manner of disposal and his somewhat arrogant demeanor in the courtroom. Colt was found guilty and sentenced to hang in 1842, but committed suicide on the morning of his execution.[2]

Conspiracy theories circulated about the suicide, with some holding that Colt had in fact escaped from prison and staged a body to look like his own. One publication alleged that a family member smuggled the knife used in the suicide into his cell. Others stated that Colt was living in California with his wife, Caroline.[2] None of these allegations were ever proven.[3] Edgar Allan Poe may have based a short story, The Oblong Box, partly on the murder of Adams,[4] and Herman Melville alluded to the case in his short story Bartleby, the Scrivener."

(WIKIPEDIA)

Anonymous said...

John Colt was born in Hartford, Connecticut. His father was Christopher Colt, a farmer who had moved his family to Hartford when he changed professions and became a businessman. Colt's father sent him to Hopkins Academy when he was 9-years-old, but removed him from school after a year as John was constantly in trouble and the elder Colt had lost his fortune in the economic Panic of 1819. His mother, Sarah Colt née Caldwell, died of tuberculosis when Colt was eleven years old. The children were cared for by Christopher's sister Lucretia Colt Price until Christopher Colt remarried two years later to Olivia Sargeant. The Colt family included seven siblings: four boys and three girls. The eldest sister, Margaret, died of tuberculosis 2 years after Colt married Sargeant, another of the sisters died in childhood.[5] One of his brothers, Samuel Colt, achieved wealth and fame by founding the Colt's Manufacturing Company. Sargeant had three children with Colt and had little time for the children from the first marriage. Having lost their financial status, Olivia insisted that these children be put to work rather than receive any schooling. The Colt brothers became attached to their one remaining sister, Sarah Ann who acted as a surrogate mother of sorts, until she was sent from the house to a relative to work as a menial.[5] John was known to keep locks of hair belonging to her and Margaret all through his life.

Colt worked as an assistant book keeper at age 14 for the Union Manufacturing Company in Marlborough, Connecticut. He left the job and moved to Albany, New York in less than a year. He returned to Hartford in 1826 and studied at an academy for three months. In 1827 he found employment as a math teacher at a ladies seminary in Baltimore, Maryland for a year. In 1828 he became a supervisory engineer for a canal near Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. The following year his sister, Sarah Ann committed suicide by taking arsenic; one newspaper account stated it was due to a fight with her step-mother and another said she "took a morbid view of her doom to labor" until her "fortitude and her mind gave way".[5] Devastated by this loss, John vowed to "leave the country and pass the rest of his days in some foreign land". In despair, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. His orders were for a Mediterranean cruise on the U.S.S. Constitution; illness prevented him from serving on the ship and he worked as a clerk in Norfolk, Virginia for Colonel Anderson.[6]

Colt spent three months as a Marine and was disillusioned with the military lifestyle; clerking in a humid port was not the adventurous life he had envisioned. He was still very ill, but not ill enough for a medical discharge, so he forged a letter in the name of "George Hamilton", a farmer from Ware, Massachusetts, stating that his underage son had falsely enlisted under the name of John Colt. He mailed the letter to his brother James and asked him to mail it to Colonel Anderson from Ware. Anderson discharged Colt within days of receiving the letter, citing Colt's illness as the reason and not fraudulent enlistment.[6]

Upon his discharge, Colt spent a year as a law clerk for his cousin, Dudley Selden. At the same time he became a river boat gambler and was challenged to a duel over a shared mistress. Although the two never fought the duel, this incident would become part of Colt's backstory as a roughneck, street fighting gambler. He traveled to Vermont in 1830 as a debate coach for the University of Vermont, at Burlington; however, he left after a year due to symptoms of tuberculosis. Colt then traveled to the Great Lakes for relief from the disease and bought a farm in Michigan on Gooden's Lake; however, tubercular symptoms surfaced again and he soon left for Cincinnati, Ohio, where he became a teacher of one of the first correspondence courses in America, center of a Bohemian circle and counted John Howard Payne and Hiram Powers among his friends.[7]

Anonymous said...

While teaching in Louisville in 1834, Colt began lecturing on "Italian Book-keeping", or double-entry bookkeeping.[9] He toured the United States giving a series of lectures on the topic and by 1837 began writing a textbook on the subject.[10]

His text book, The Italian science of double-entry book-keeping: simplified, arranged and methodized, received praise and glowing reviews. Colt had the book published in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Cincinnati. By 1839 over 200 schools were using the textbook. Colt dropped "Italian" from the title for the second edition and included transcripts of his lectures in the newer editions; the book went through 45 printings and was in publication until 1855.[1][11][12]

Shortly after publishing the first edition of his textbook, Colt went into partnership with the publisher, Nathan G. Burgess as Colt, Burgess & Co in Cincinnati, Ohio. The new firm almost went bankrupt after publishing An Introduction into the Origin of Antiquities in America by John Delafield Jr. The scholarship of the text was dubious and the book was available by subscription only. Hoping for a better market for Delafield's book, Colt moved to 14 Cortland Street in Manhattan, New York in 1839. The office doubled as Colt's residence and Colt made his own shipping crates for the books within it.[13]

Anonymous said...

On September 17, 1841, a New York printer named Samuel Adams went to see Colt to collect a debt over some textbooks that Adams had printed for him. The two disagreed over the final amount owed; sources indicate that it was a discrepancy of $1.35.[14] According to Colt, Adams began choking him with his cravat. In self-defense, Colt reached for what he thought was a hammer to fend him off, but the weapon turned out to be a hatchet.[15] Colt struck Adams four or five times with the weapon, causing Adams to drop to the floor.[15]

After Colt realized that he had killed Adams, he cleaned up the blood. On the morning of September 18, Colt placed Adams' corpse into a large shipping crate and packed it with salt. He then addressed it to a phony address in New Orleans and hired a car-man named Barstow to deliver it to a ship named the Kalamazoo, scheduled to leave the next morning.[16]

After being missing for over 24 hours, Adams' family began searching the city for him, placing notices in several newspapers such as the New York Courier and Enquirer and the New York Weekly Tribune notifying people he was missing. A neighbor of Colt's, Asa H. Wheeler, told Adams' father-in-law, Joseph Lane, that he had heard noises in Colt's office that sounded like a fight followed by a crash to the floor. Peering in the keyhole, he saw someone "bending over something on the floor". Wheeler later secured a key from the landlord and saw that a large packing crate was missing and that the floor had been scrubbed. On September 22, 1841, Colt visited Adams' print shop inquiring about the status of his books and the whereabouts of Adams.[17][18] Adams' bookbinder, Charles Wells, told Colt that Adams had last been seen going to see Colt. Colt made no reply to this allegation and excused himself.[19]

Lane, Wheeler, and an employee of Adams named John Loud examined Adams' ledgers for any transactions involving Colt and went to the mayor of New York City, Robert Hunter Morris, with the evidence.[20] Other witnesses said that Adams was last seen entering Colt's apartment on September 17 and that Colt had a crate delivered by a carman the next day.[21] The mayor asked the Superintendent of Carts, William Godfrey, to locate the carman in question and find out the location of the crate. Godfrey found Barstow who told him the parcel had been delivered to a freighter named the Kalamazoo.[22]

The Kalamazoo was still in port because a storm had prevented it from sailing. New York Police and the Mayor of New York boarded the ship with the carman who had delivered the crate and asked if it was still in the cargo hold. The decomposing body had begun to give off a strong odor that ship hands had assumed was a poison put out to kill rats. When asked to open the crate, stevedores complied and the contents were a half-naked male corpse wrapped in a shop awning, bound with rope and packed with salt. A scar on the body's leg and a single gold ring identified the body as Adams.[21]

Anonymous said...

Colt was arrested on September 23 by New York Police and the city's mayor.[17] Adams' gold pocketwatch engraved with an image of the US Capitol was found among his possessions.[23] The trial began on January 13, 1842. Colt was represented by a team of three attorneys led by his cousin Dudley Selden (under whom he had clerked), John Morrill and Robert Emmett. The three were paid in stock from Samuel Colt's new company: Patent Arms Manufacturing Company of Paterson, New Jersey.[24] The Chief Prosecutor was James R. Whiting, the New York County District Attorney. The presiding judge was William Kent.[25]

Tried by the press[edit]
The Colt-Adams Murder trial dominated the popular press at the time,[4] and eclipsed coverage of another New York murder, that of Mary Rogers. The press depicted Colt as a former professional riverboat gambler who had public affairs with women and a common-law wife and who committed perjury to enlist in and exit the Marines.[26] Although the nature of the crime, and the fact that Colt cohabited with an unmarried pregnant woman, Caroline Henshaw,[27] added to the publicity, most of it was due to John Colt's relationship to Samuel Colt.[28][29] Coverage appeared in New York papers such as The Sun, which incorrectly labeled a picture of P.T. Barnum purchased from the Albany Evening Atlas as a picture of Adams.[30] Religious magazines such as The Catholic Herald, Evangelical Magazine, Episcopal Recorder and Gospel Advocate used the story to demonstrate such problems as the "lack of morality in the home".[31]

Throughout the trial Colt was repeatedly found guilty of "cold-blooded murder" in the New York press.[32] The October 30 issue of the weekly Tribune quoted James Colt, then practicing law in St Louis as saying "insanity is hereditary in our family".[32] James Gordon Bennett wrote lengthy editorials in the New York Herald about Colt's "confidence, assurance, and impudence" and that his "limitless potential has been undermined by a want of moral and religious culture".[33] The major exception was The Knickerbocker in which Lewis Gaylord Clark reported the murder as a "misfortunate accident".[31] Colt's lawyers continually petitioned Judge Kent to forbid press coverage, but Kent refused them saying, "The Court has done everything to prevent the jury from being influenced from without".[32]

Anonymous said...

Halfway through the trial, Whiting made allegations that Adams had been murdered with a Colt Paterson revolver rather than a hatchet.[34] Whiting came to this conclusion after Doctor Gilman, who examined the body with the coroner, testified about a round hole in Adams skull that could not have been made by the hatchet and suggested that Colt used a revolver in a premeditated act by which he lured Adams to his death.[35] Although no witnesses had reported the sounds of gunfire, Whiting's argument was that a revolver ball fired under the power of the percussion cap alone could propel the ball with "enough force to kill a man", without making the noise of the exploding black powder in the cylinder.[35] Several witnesses were called in to testify against this idea including an early ballistician named Zabrisky and Samuel Colt himself, who demonstrated to the court, by shooting his revolver in the courtroom and catching the fired balls in his hand, that such a shot could not penetrate to the depth of the wound found on Adams' skull.[34][35]

Over Selden's objections, Whiting had the coroner, David L. Rogers, bring Adams' skull and the hatchet into the courtroom to show the jury the direction and number of strikes made. John Colt was reported as "covering his face" at this demonstration.[34][36][37] The cylindrical wound which Whiting and Gilman thought was made by a ball fired from a revolver was actually caused by one of the nails used by Colt to seal the crate.[35] Gilman conceded that the wound was caused by a nail and admitted that no foreign object such as a ball from a revolver was found in the victim's head.[34]

Colt admitted he had killed Adams and planned to confess before he was arrested. He attested that he acted in self-defense.[38]

I then sat down, for I felt weak and sick. After sitting a few minutes, and seeing so much blood, I think I went and looked at poor Adams, who breathed quite loud for several minutes, then threw his arms out and was silent. I recollect at this time taking him by the hand, which seemed lifeless, and a horrid thrill came over me, that I had killed him. – John C. Colt[39]
Colt said his first thought was to burn down the building to destroy the evidence, but reconsidered as a number of people lived in the building and rather than "cause more carnage" he reconsidered. He then decided to dispose of the body in a large packing crate and wrapped it in an awning and bound it with rope. After scrubbing the floor he threw Adams' clothing into a nearby outdoor privy, then stopped at the Washington bathhouse on Pearl Street to wash the blood from his clothes and hands.[32]

Anonymous said...

Closing arguments were made on January 23. Selden argued that Colt had acted in self-defense as Adams had been choking him and Colt's only means to defend himself was to grab a nearby weapon. His defense for hiding the body was temporary insanity.[38] Whiting countered in a two-hour long rebuttal that the killing was premeditated; he pointed to Colt's demeanor at the trial, the taking of Adams' watch, the leaving of a hatchet in plain view, and Colt's method of disposing of the body as evidence contradicting Colt's claim that his actions were that of an innocent man acting in self-defense.[40] Judge Kent dismissed the argument for self-defense based on Colt's attempted cover-up and instructed the jury that since Colt had confessed to the murder that they were to determine whether the charge should be murder or manslaughter. Kent remarked on Colt's "careless air" demonstrated throughout the trial in the courtroom and said his behavior was "not typical of an innocent man".[24] The jury was disturbed by Colt's demeanor throughout the trial, agreeing with the judge that Colt appeared stoic, unremorseful and callous when describing his disposal of Adams' body.[27] On January 24, after deliberating for over 10 hours, the jury found Colt guilty of willful murder.[41]

Colt's team requested an appeal and argued the case on May 5, 1842, asking for a new trial as the jury at the previous was misinformed; on May 12 a new trial was denied so the lawyers appealed to the State Supreme Court located in Utica, New York. The State Supreme Court heard the case on July 16, 1842 and upheld the earlier court's decision. Colt's sentencing date was scheduled for September 27, 1842.[41] Undaunted, Colt's lawyers recruited Rogers, the surgeon who performed Adams' autopsy "to investigate the probable relative position and actions" of Colt and Adams during their struggle.[42] By analyzing the number, shape, and position of the wounds and the blood splatter; Rogers deduced that the two "grappled face to face within a foot-and-a-half of each other" and "Adams was in an erect position at the time the fatal blows were inflicted.[42] The report was submitted to Governor William H. Seward in the hope of securing a pardon for Colt.[42] Seward was overwhelmed with requests asking for a pardon for Colt, including those from 36 lawyers who visited him personally in Albany as well as from judges and attorneys close to Seward such as Judge Ambrose Spencer and former Attorney General Willis Hall.[43] Seward in the end would not pardon Colt, as he felt the attempted cover-up of the crime and Colt's demeanor throughout the trial were not the actions of a "penitent man".[44]

The prisoner has forgotten his victim, heaped insult upon his humble and bereaved family, defied the court, denounced the jury, and presented himself before the executive as an injured, not a penitent man. – William H. Seward[44]

Anonymous said...

On September 28, 1842, after exhausting his final appeal, Colt was sentenced to death by hanging and remanded to New York City's infamous prison, the Tombs. His sentence was to be carried out on November 14, 1842. Colt asked that he be allowed to marry Caroline Henshaw on the morning of his hanging. While imprisoned, Colt lived luxuriously in his prison cell, receiving daily visits from friends and family, smoking Cuban cigars, sleeping in an actual bed instead of a mound of straw and wearing silk dressing gowns inside and a seal skin overcoat for his daily walks in the prison yard. His cell contained the latest novels, a gilded bird cage with a canary and fresh flowers brought to him every day by Henshaw.[45][46] He dined on meals from local hotels such as quail on toast, game pates, reed birds, and ortolans.[46] Several attempts were made to break him out of the prison by dressing him in women's clothing but all these efforts were foiled.[47][48] A doctor was hired who claimed he could resuscitate Colt from the hanging, providing the body did not remain suspended long, as he believed Colt's neck to be of such thickness that strangulation would be impossible.[47] Colt's friends put the doctor up in the Shakespeare Hotel on the morning of the scheduled hanging and planned to bring the body there from the Tombs for resuscitation.[47]

On the morning of November 14, 1842, Colt and Henshaw were married in the prison at a small ceremony conducted by Rev Henry Anthon, an Episcopal Minister, and witnessed by Samuel Colt and John Howard Payne. After the ceremony and a few hours before the scheduled execution, a fire broke out in the Tombs. After the fire was extinguished, Colt's body was found in his cell. He had stabbed himself in the heart with a clasp knife, believed to have been smuggled to him by a family member.[49] His body was taken by Rev Anthon and buried in the churchyard of St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery.[3]

Anonymous said...

As the trial had made headlines in the daily newspapers, so did Colt's death. Theories were put forth that Colt had killed another prisoner and escaped during the fire.[50] One newspaper account said that Colt had fled to California with his wife, as did a book published by a former New York Chief of Police.[51] A man named Samuel M. Everett claimed he met John Colt (or a man who looked identical) in the Santa Clara Valley in California in 1852, and the account was published in Pearson's Magazine.[52] Harold Schechter, a researcher and author of two books about John Colt dismisses this as "an outlandish tale" and a "product of folklore, not fact".[53] A New York Times article written in 1880 said that Caroline Henshaw was watched by private detectives for years after Colt's death and no sign was ever seen of him alive.[54] None of these speculations of Colt's escape were proven to be true.[3]

Colt historian William Edwards wrote that Caroline Henshaw married Samuel Colt in Scotland when Colt met her in Europe and that the son she bore was Samuel Colt's and not John Colt's.[55] In a 1953 biography about Samuel Colt based largely on family letters, Edwards wrote that John's marriage to Caroline was a way to legitimize her son, Sammy. Samuel Colt had abandoned her because he felt she was not fit to be the wife of an industrialist and divorce was a social stigma at the time.[55] Samuel Colt took care of the child named Samuel Caldwell Colt financially with a large allowance and paid for his tuition in what was described as "the finest private schools". In correspondence with and about his namesake, Samuel Colt referred to him as his "nephew" in quotes. Historians such as Edwards and Harold Schechter have said this was the elder Colt's way of letting the world know that the boy was his own son without directly saying so.[56] After Samuel Colt's death in 1862, he left the boy $2 million by 2010 standards. Colt's widow, Elizabeth Jarvis Colt, and her brother contested this. In probate Caroline's son Sam produced a valid marriage license showing that Caroline and Samuel Colt were married in Scotland in 1838 and that this document made him a rightful heir to part of Colt's estate, if not to the Colt Manufacturing Company.[55][56]

Anonymous said...

Author Herman Melville made an allusion to the case in his short story Bartleby, the Scrivener. In that story, the narrator restrains his anger toward Bartleby, his unrelentingly difficult employee, by reflecting upon "the tragedy of the unfortunate Adams and the still more unfortunate Colt and how poor Colt, being dreadfully incensed by Adams ... was unawares hurled into his fatal act."[57][58]

Edgar Allan Poe's The Oblong Box, published in 1844, tells of the shipboard transport of a corpse in a wooden box packed with salt. The story may have been inspired by Colt's method of disposing of Adams' corpse, which Schecter calls "the single most macabre element of the Colt case."[4][58][59][60]

Anonymous said...

That's not how the South saw it. They loathed the cultural hegemony of New England.

Yankees didn't dominate the South's education, media, or business.

Tim Kolback said...

The word Yankee comes from the rivalry the English had with the Dutch in New Amsterdam (New York). Many Dutch men have the name Jan or Kees (Cornelius), Kees is also a name for baboon. The English came up with the name Yankee as a sly putdown of the Dutch men. The name stuck and further spread into New England as the Dutch moved there after they sold New York.

Anonymous said...

The first Jews in England were in the baggage train of the Norman invasion. Two slave merchants from Rouen.

The first English incursion into Ireland was funded by a Jewish moneylender from Gloucester called Josce de Gloucester.

Edward I did England a favour by ejecting them. It allowed an English middle class to develop.

Anonymous said...

most of middle ages western European states expelled their Jews by force when necessary and seized their property.


Leaving aside such details as there being no "states" as such in middle ages Western Europe, what do you mean "most"?

Of course Jews were expelled and their wealth sized at some times and in some places. That's an occupational hazard of having wealth in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Another manifestation of this Yankee tribalism can be seen in the Yankee penchant for ancestor worship: The Mayflower Society (founded in 1897), Historic New England (a preservation society founded by the uber New Englander William Sumner Appleton in 1910), etc.

This sort of "ancestor worship" has been present in every society. These sorts of societies exist in the South as well and have been maintained more strongly in the South.

Anonymous said...

So, there were half a million Jews in Europe in 1500...and they were all moneylenders? Really? Who did they lend to?


Beat that strawman1 Harder!

Luke Lea said...

Three thousand Jews fought for the Confederate side, according to Tony Howwitz's hilarious Confederates in the Attic.

Anonymous said...

Southerners are a brave, somewhat romantic people with a striking propensity for resilience, but they are simply not a warrior class in comparison to Prussian Junkers, or even English Cavaliers.

That depends on which Southerners you are referring to. The ones I'm thinking about don't have a romantic bone in their bodies and basically defeated the British Empire and their Loyalists 1780-81. They turned thousands of their neighbors into Canadians, and you still get served sweet tea in Toronto.

Anonymous said...

It's not really fair or correct to talk about "the Jews." In every generation, there has always been a huge section of "people with lots of Jewish relatives" who categorically reject any Jewish identity and the unwanted responsibilities that go with it. These ones always construct some indefinite identity that is "most definitely not Jewish."

Who do you think "The Romans" were? Do you really think the guys who ordered the Temple to be burnt down looked any different than the guys in the city who were sent off as slaves for the Empire? I mean aside from the costumes.

Or "The Puritans"? Or "The (insert religious/social movement here)"? Funny how all these ethnic categories magically evaporate into thin air when it's convenient. Why? Because they were never real in the first place,

Hunsdon said...

Anonydroid at 4:46 PM said: Kind of funny how Putin is allowed to have his finger in every pie, but is is the USA who is not minding it's own business.

Hunsdon said: Do you have any evidence that Putin was doing something equivalent to Nuland's clown show in Ukraine? Like plotting the overthrow of the Mexican government by elderly Sandinistas or something?

How is the bear poking us, these days?

Anonymous said...

It is amazing to me that The Jews are able to able to claim that the Ivy League Universities "discriminated" against them in admissions years ago. These schools were almost all set up as Christian religious institutions way back then.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous:"Yankees didn't dominate the South's education, media, or business"


The publishing industry (the most important form of media in the 19th century)was dominated by Northern publishers. This fact was constantly bewailed in the South. For a detailed study of the South's fear of Northern intellectual control, read Michael T. Bernath's THE STRUGGLE FOR INTELLECTUAL INDEPENDENCE IN THE CIVIL WAR SOUTH.

As for business, note how finance capital and manufacturing were all centered in the North. Indeed, the South's lack of a manufacturing base proved to be rather critical in terms of deciding the Civil War.

Education: Elite Southerners frequently sent their sons to Northern universities (cf William Henry Fitzhugh Lee, the second son of Robert E. Lee, who attended Harvard, where he was a classmate of Henry Adams'); Northerners very rarely sent their sons to Southern unis.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous:"Yankees didn't dominate the South's education, media, or business."

RE: Education,

Another point to remember is that virtually all the textbooks used in the South were written, edited, and published by Northerners in the antebellum period. Southerners frequently complained about their children being corrupted by Yankee school texts....

Steve Sailer said...

Many of the most famous writers in American history lived within a few miles of each other in the Lexington-Concord-Walden Pond suburbs of Boston. They really weren't all that great (Emerson's prose style is pretty unreadable) - but they were a backscratching network. And there wasn't that much competition in the U.S.

Anonymous said...

"Also, if the Jews were doing so well in Europe, why'd they come here to work in sweatshops?"

Steve addressed that in his full article, parenthetically. He explained that the position of Jews under Tsarist Russia in the 19th and early 20th century was bad, but this was an anomaly in the context of the whole of Jewish history.

Anonymous said...

"BUT, up til that time, the larger point is that the expatriated Western European Jews fairly "owned" Poland. I mean, that's where they migrated to during the middle ages when they were being kicked out. Had to go someplace and Poland and Eastern Germany's where they tended to end up."

They didn't "own" Poland. They were a managerial class that served the szlachta. Anyway, my point was that the more recent history of the people whose descendants are around in today's America is more memorable than the more distant history of people whose descendants are not in America.

ben tillman said...

Good piece, but I think you go a little too far with the generalization here:

"The reality is that for most of the last 800 years, the average Jew in Europe and America was relatively affluent, well-connected"


I can't find my old essays on this topic, but there are Jewish historians who confirm this. They always had the protection of kings and popes, even if the lower gentile orders got uppity.


Historian Ken Yellis wrote in The Jewish Daily Forward, Jews mostly supported slavery - or kept silent - during Civil War. July 1, 2013.


72% of Jewish households in the South owned slaves (29% of gentile households did), so what would you expect?

Anonymous said...

What about in pre-emancipation Germany, France, etc.?


Hmm? Jews got the vote in Germany at the same time as everyone else. Of course there was no Germany as such before 1871. France had universal male suffrage in 1848.

But one of the exasperating things about the Jewish perception of their own history is their near total lack of knowledge about, and near total lack of interest in, the history of other peoples in Europe. It would be a lot harder for them to see themselves as uniquely put upon if they had a passing familiarity with the history of others.

ben tillman said...

It's interesting to note how many of the stereotypes associated with Puritan Yankees overlap with Ashkenazi stereotypes. A sample list of Yankee stereotypes in the antebellum period:

The Puritans and Dutch Jews lived practically next door to each other before the Puritan emigration to New England. The Puritans who fought the king and the Puritans who emigrated to North America were heavily influenced by that Jewish community.

Dave Pinsen said...

Most combatants at Ypres & Verdun weren't members of any hereditary warrior class: what made WWI such a calamity was the industrial, mass production scale of the slaughter.

Anonymous said...

Also, if the Jews were doing so well in Europe, why'd they come here to work in sweatshops?


That's more Jewish myth-making. Jews came to America in several waves. There were Jews present at the time of the Revolution. The Jews from Eastern Europe (nowadays typically seen as the quintessential Jews) were rather looked down on even by the existing American Jews when they showed up here around 1900. That said, they were hardly destitute beggars. They arrived in significantly better financial shape than the Irish or Italians, for instance.

Steve Sailer said...

The young British officers who led the charges across No Man's Land typically saw themselves as aristocratic warriors engaging in acts of noblesse oblige.

The British officers in WWI weren't very competent or experienced, but they were brave.

Dave Pinsen said...

It's not myth making. A lot more came in the sweatshop waves than in revolutionary or pre-revolutionary times.

ben tillman said...

So you are outraged that in the 1700 the Jews weren't better than anyone else. E.g. they didn't think anything was wrong with slavery when no one else did. But now, when Jews finally saw the light and started to fight all the world's wrongs, real or imagined...you are not too happy about it either.

They didn't see the light. Slavery in Israel was still permitted less than 10 years ago. It may still be permitted; it's hard to keep up.

Harry Baldwin said...

Southerners are a brave, somewhat romantic people with a striking propensity for resilience, but they are simply not a warrior class in comparison to Prussian Junkers, or even English Cavaliers.

I don't understand why you object to Steve's description of Southerners as a sort of military class within the United States when that is how they were viewed by themselves and their countrymen at the time.

There is a wonderful article in Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Volume 38, by J.W. De Forest, a Union officer who was involved in the occupation of the South at the end of the war. He gives his observations of Southern character in "Chivalrous and Semi-Chivalrous Southrons," available through Google books. Here a a few of them:

"Self-respect, as the Southerners understood it, has always demanded much fighting. A pugnacity which is not merely war-paint, but which is, so to speak, tattooed into the character, has resulted from this high sentiment of personal value, and from the circumstances which produced the sentiment. It permeates all society; it has infected all individualities. The meekest man by nature, the man who at the North would no more fight than he would jump out of a second-story window, will at the South resent an insult by a blow, or perhaps a stab or pistol-shot....

"I am aware that Southerners will deny that bloodshedding is more common with them than with us, and will point to the murders of New York and Philadelphia as a set-off to their combats of honor and passion. But the two things are not parallel: our tragedies are crimes, so regarded by the community and so punished; their tragedies are gentilities which the public voice does not condemn, and for which the law rarely exacts a penalty. Moreover, duels and rencontres have been far more numerous south of Mason and Dixon's line, at least in proportion to population, than murders north of it. As Bureau officer, responsible for the peace of a large district, it was my business to know what acts of violence occurred in it; and in the course of my inquiries concerning the affairs of my day I necessarily learned much of what had happened during years previous. I declare positively that I was quite amazed at the number of persons who bore marks of frays, and the number of houses which had been rendered memorable by scenes of blood....

"The pugnacious customs of Southern society explain in part the extraordinary courage which the Confederate troops displayed during the rebellion. A man might as well be shot doing soldierly service at Bull Run or The Wilderness as go back to Abbeville and be shot there in the duel or street rencontre which awaited him. The bullet-hole was a mere question of time, and why not open one's arms to it on the field of glory?

"Fighting qualities result in a great measure from habit; and when the war commenced the Southerners were, in a sense, already veterans; they had been under fire at home, or had lived in expectation of it. They went into battle with the same moral superiority over their Northern antagonists which a border militia has over an urban militia; which, for instance, the Highlanders of Prince Charles Edward, habituated to the dirk and claymore, had over the burghers of Edinburgh; a superiority resulting from familiarity with the use and the effect of weapons.

"But this was not all: there was also the power of patrician leadership; there was also the sense of honor. The Southern troops were officered in the main by the domineering, high spirited gentlemen who governed them in time of peace; and they were fired by the belief that the greatest glory of humanity is, not learning, not art, not industry, but successful combat."

ben tillman said...

It's not really fair or correct to talk about "the Jews." In every generation, there has always been a huge section of "people with lots of Jewish relatives" who categorically reject any Jewish identity and the unwanted responsibilities that go with it. These ones always construct some indefinite identity that is "most definitely not Jewish."

That's really sophistical. "The Jews" means the group, the community, the organization, the team. Jews play on the team called "The Jews". A Jew is a player; "The Jews" is a team. And it's eminently fair to talk about that team.

Dave Pinsen said...

They were absolutely brave, but they weren't all aristocrats. The war was too big for the officers to be limited to aristocrats. Wilfred Owen wasn't an aristocrat.

Dave Pinsen said...

See Wiki for more on Jewish emancipation, which was about more than suffrage. Jews were emancipated at different times in different German states, as that article details.

Anonymous said...

A lot more came in the sweatshop waves than in revolutionary or pre-revolutionary times.


The point is that the "sweatshop waves" were not actually badly off when they arrived, or badly treated when they got here. Certainly not compared to the Irish, for instance. It's that lack of historical perspective which trips Jews up every time.

Anonymous said...

What about in pre-emancipation Germany, France, etc.?


Jews were emancipated in Germany long before Catholics were.

The Kulturkampf.

Germany was not an outlier here. Jews were treated significantly better in Protestant counties than Catholics were, and, to a lesser degree, treated better in Catholic countries than Protestants were.

ben tillman said...


My favorite is David Duke going on about the Jewish role in the slave trade. Uh, Dave...you're an ex-Klansman.

When, if ever, did "the" Klan advocate chattel slavery?

I have just two Klan anecdotes or connections to share. I had a brief relationship with a girl from Washington County, Georgia, who said her dad was in the Klan. She was a nice person.

My mother-in-law tells the story of her grandfather (a half-Chickasaw) whom the Klan ran out of Texas. She has repeatedly said that it had nothing to do with race; it happened because he was boot-legging and transporting whiskey from Mexico to a ranch where Texas powerbrokers did their thing.

I imagine Duke's point is that Jews, including those like Tim Wise whose ancestors owned slaves, castigate Whites for slavery in this country. His point is that they have no moral high ground.

Dave Pinsen said...

Before the advent of the welfare state, and socialist platform stuff like shorter work weeks, life was pretty hard for most factory workers in America (which included domestic migrants from rural areas as well as immigrants). And when you got off work, life was pretty crappy. It was sort of like being a factory worker in China today, and like those Chinese workers today, you had to come from a crappy situation for it to be a step up for you.

ben tillman said...

For example, when the Augusta National Golf Club (home of the Masters) opened in 1932 in rural Georgia, local Jewish commercial leaders were invited to join. But as the membership became more dominated by Northern corporate titans while President Eisenhower was a member, several decades went by before any more Jews were let in.

I may be the only one here who actually knows Jews from Augusta. But, yes, this sounds about right.

Steve Sailer said...

I've only seen one source for the report that Augusta National admitted local Jewish business leaders in its early years (but it seemed plausible with no ax to grind), so if anybody knows more on the topic, let me know.

Miguel S. said...

Recent memories often trump the long view of history. The holocaust destroyed not only Jewish lives but their sense of security. If your grandparents had been dragged from their homes, ordered to dig ditches, and shot in the head, you too might forget how decent things used to be.

Matt said...

Steve Sailer:Puritanism was quite a bit like post-Temple rabbinic Judaism: everybody has to go to school so they can read the Bible. It's kind of a grow-your-own-bourgeois system.

This is rather backwards though.

It is more that, when the ruling powers say every nonconformist has to pay high taxes or act as moneylenders or else face the chop, nonconformists tend to be smart, and perhaps a little zealous.

And smart and slightly zealous people tend to be able to read their holy texts.

Rabbinic Judaism in the absence of taxes and forced roles by gentile (Muslim and Christian) governments adding on a layer of elite selection would be very much like Islam - a sort of "Oh, I can't read but I kinda sorta think the Imam said that.... What, there's a rumor those Samaritan fuckers killed a pig near our synagogue?! Bring my machete.", that sort of religion (only substitute Imam for Rabbi).

ben tillman said...

Germany was not an outlier here. Jews were treated significantly better in Protestant counties than Catholics were

I know a Jew who is in some ways super-assimilated but is in other ways very traditional (and a real macher in the Dallas Jewish community).

He went to law school at Baylor and told me Baylor's order of preference for students was 1. Christians, 2 Jews, 3. Catholics.

ben tillman said...

Germany was not an outlier here. Jews were treated significantly better in Protestant counties than Catholics were

I know a Jew who is in some ways super-assimilated but is in other ways very traditional (and a real macher in the Dallas Jewish community).

He went to law school at Baylor and told me Baylor's order of preference for students was 1. Christians, 2 Jews, 3. Catholics.

Anonymous said...

Legal slavery in Israel within the last decade? This is news. Tell us more.

Steve Sailer said...

Has there been a British prime minister yet of Catholic background? I always thought Jim Callaghan (1976-1979) was of Catholic ethnicity, but I guess that would be O'Callaghan. Now that I look it up that search doesn't register. I find that the web makes a big deal of him growing up in a stern Baptist household.

Tony Blair converted to Catholicism after leaving office.

Here's a 2011 article about a Scottish Labour MP ruling himself out of contention for the top job:

"Jim Murphy says UK is not ready to elect a Catholic Prime Minister"

http://www.thecourier.co.uk/news/politics/jim-murphy-says-uk-is-not-ready-to-elect-a-catholic-prime-minister-1.47914

Mostly, it doesn't seem to come up.

Anonymous said...

Tim Kolback said:
The word Yankee comes from the rivalry the English had with the Dutch in New Amsterdam (New York). Many Dutch men have the name Jan or Kees (Cornelius), Kees is also a name for baboon. The English came up with the name Yankee as a sly putdown of the Dutch men. The name stuck and further spread into New England as the Dutch moved there after they sold New York.

In Colonial America the English used a ethnic slur against the Dutch based on their food, cheese. A Dutchman was derogatorily called a "John Cheese" by the English. In Dutch John = Jan and cheese = kees.

After seeing the farce re: the protest against Washington Redskins name I always wanted to round up some Dutch-Americans (Walter Cronkite, Meryl Streep) and start a protest in front of Yankees Stadium.

SFG said...

"Do you have any evidence that Putin was doing something equivalent to Nuland's clown show in Ukraine? Like plotting the overthrow of the Mexican government by elderly Sandinistas or something?

How is the bear poking us, these days?"

Well, apparently a lot of the 'local' pro-Russian groups taking over town halls in Ukraine don't know their way around all that well--there's the suspicion these groups are FSB-backed or Russian troops.

And no, I'm not defending Nuland's idiocy. I think we should stay out of this one. I'm more sympathetic to the Ukes who want to get away from Putin, but we're not starting WW3 over this.

"When, if ever, did "the" Klan advocate chattel slavery? "

They helped enforce the Black Codes in the Jim Crow South, as I recall. We all know how much fun diversity is, I'm just saying Duke's a funny guy to start defending the rights of black people.

As for Jews in the South: probably did support the Confeds at the time (JP Benjamin et al.) , but it's funny you guys never give 'em any credit.

New York City, BTW, was a hotbed of pro-Southern sentiment, as I recall due to their cotton trade being destroyed by the war.

All this really shows is that you get strange bedfellows by modern standards if you go back far enough--you can find evangelical Christian socialists before WW1.

Hunsdon said...

Dave Pinsen said: Before the advent of the welfare state, and socialist platform stuff like shorter work weeks, life was pretty hard for most factory workers in America (which included domestic migrants from rural areas as well as immigrants). And when you got off work, life was pretty crappy.

Hunsdon said: And they sent the Jews to the nastiest, most brutal, and shortest factories, too!

Factory work is a step up from sharecropping.

Anonymous said...

>> as the Dutch moved there after they sold New York.

The English didn't buy Nieu Amsterdam.... they stole it at swordpoint.

Anonymous said...

>> Slavery in Israel was still permitted less than 10 years ago



false

Anonymous said...

>> Historian Ken Yellis wrote in The Jewish Daily Forward



If the Messiah came tomorrow, the _Jewish Daily Forward_ would complain that he isn't sufficiently gay. And that he is not a union member.

Anonymous said...

ben tillman:"The Puritans and Dutch Jews lived practically next door to each other before the Puritan emigration to New England. The Puritans who fought the king and the Puritans who emigrated to North America were heavily influenced by that Jewish community."

You are conflating the Separatists (the people who came over on the Mayflower and settled Plymouth) with the main body of Puritans (the people who founded the Massachusetts Bay Colony).The Separatists were the ones who sojourned for a time in the Netherlands before settling in New England. The Puritans, in contrast, directly emigrated from England to the New World (cf the bios of such key Puritans as John Winthrop, John Cotton, John Wheelwright, etc).

Anonymous said...

Steve Sailer: "Many of the most famous writers in American history lived within a few miles of each other in the Lexington-Concord-Walden Pond suburbs of Boston. They really weren't all that great"

We'll have to agree to disagree on that one, Steve. People like Longfellow, James Russell Lowell, and Oliver Wendell Holmes were pretty clearly second tier, but Hawthorne, Prescott, Parkman, Thoreau, etc, were top notch.

Steve Sailer:"(Emerson's prose style is pretty unreadable)"

I tend to agree on that one. On the other hand, Emerson has a lot of heavyweight defenders. Harold Bloom, for example worships the man.

Steve Sailer:" - but they were a backscratching network. And there wasn't that much competition in the U.S."

That's certainly true. Of the literary men produced by the antebellum south (Simms, Kennedy, Augustus Baldwin Longstreet, etc), only Poe has any real stature today. New York does a little better with Irving and Cooper, but Whitman and Melville (easily the greatest of the pre-Civil War NY writers)were, as I noted earlier, quasi-New Englanders themselves, both in terms of ancestry and in terms of literary idols (Hawthorne for Melville, Emerson for Whitman).

Pseudoerasmus said...

Yet The Rothschilds may have been more representative of Jewish history than Fiddler…In summary, before Jews were poor, they were rich"

Sailer confuses the early communities of Jews in the West following their emancipation in the late 18th & early 19th centuries, with the mass migrants out of the shtetls in the late 19th century.

From the mouths of Eckstein and Botticini :

"Although many Ashkenazi Jews played leading roles in the economies of central and eastern Europe, the majority of the Jewish population in these areas was poor and scattered in small semi-urban locations in rural areas, including the shtetls. Both nineteenth- and twentieth-century writers, as well as census and tax records before 1939, describe a relatively poor Jewish population, engaged mainly in a large variety of trades."

In 1500, most Jews were concentrated in Eastern Europe (including eastern Germany and Hapsburg lands), the Mediterranean and the Middle East. By the late Middle Ages most western European countries (except the Netherlands) had expelled their Jews, so as of 1500 there was literally none in England or France or Sweden or Spain and most of western Germany. During the 15th century one German city-state after another ordered the expulsion of Jews, with the exception of Frankfurt. But this ghetto was a tiny community, numbering exactly 3,024 people in 1711 according to the 1st volume of Niall Ferguson's biography of the Rothschilds (his best book).

But over the course of the following 300 years there was a westward movement of a self-selected group of more affluent or skilled Jewish families from both the Sephardic and Ashkenazic ranks. These, like all previous Jewish communities, relied on the good graces of the rulers who offered them protection from the passions of the mob, in exchange for the Jews' skills and capital. So there's nothing particularly odd about the fact that Jewish merchant communities seemed politically conservative and well-connected to the establishment. (And is that any different from other economically outperforming minorities ?) But the Disraelis or the Rothschilds (in Frankfurt and Paris) or the Lehmans in the USA weren't exactly representative of the masses of shtetl Jews migrating to the United States, western Germany and France in the late 19th century. The latter's outlook and orientation was different, surely, from the earlier pocket communities of Jews who sucked up to the establishment as insulation from the masses. To the extent that many (most?) Jewish Americans of today are descended from Eastern European Jews, the Fiddler on the Roof image is more accurate than the Rothschild image.

Sean said...

Scottish Labour is heavily Catholic. There would hardly have been a Labor government were it not for Scottish MPs (more per head of population than in England). Murphy isn't at all unsual except he looks good. (The reason Blair got to be leader: focus groups liked his dolphin physog that looked smiley all the time; he was actually told to tone down his megawatt grin. BTW Blair is partly Jewish, and yes, some of his distant relatives died in Auschwitz.)

The Irish have always been able to walk into Britain, vote for MPs and get state benefits. BTW Poles who work in Britain can claim welfare payments for their families back in Poland.

There was a Jewish Viceroy of India. And a few other high officials in India were Jewish at the same time.

Pseudoerasmus said...

Of course Fiddler on the Roof is the more appropriate image for most American Jews than the Rothschilds or the Lehmans. As far as I can tell, there were approx. 50,000 Jews in the United States in 1850. But over 1 million Jews from the Russian Pale of Settlement (which included parts of Poland, Belarus, Ukraine and Russia) arrived in the USA during 1899-1914. That doesn't even count the 300,000 or so Jews from Habpsurg lands and Romania. Also, hundreds of thousands of Jews left the Pale for Germany, France, Austria proper, and other western countries.

Here is Jewish population density in East-Central Europe in 1900 :

https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/images/0/0f/Jewish_Population_Density_in_Europe.png

The Pale of Settlement circa 1905 :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Map_showing_percentage_of_Jews_in_the_Pale_of_Settlement_and_Congress_Poland,_c._1905.png

Jews in eastern Europe may have been better off than the natives, but there's no way these backward economies afforded the Jews enough opportunity to actually make most of them anything other than "upper poor". 10-17% of what are today Belarus and western Ukraine were Jews in 1905. That's hundreds of thousands. Millions in the overall Congress Poland and Lesser Russia. What could possibly enrich so many in the 1890s equivalents of Mali and Congo ?

Mr. Anon said...


"Barbara Tuchman mentions in passing in A Distant Mirror that in 14th century France the gravediggers were Jews. It was considered unclean for good Christians to perform such task."

She mentions it in passing. Does she mention it in accuracy? It sounds like bulls**t.

Tuchman's books are full of facts; there are bound to be a few that are wrong here and there.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Miguel S. said..."
Recent memories often trump the long view of history. The holocaust destroyed not only Jewish lives but their sense of security. If your grandparents had been dragged from their homes, ordered to dig ditches, and shot in the head, you too might forget how decent things used to be."

Right. Like Ukrainians can't forget the Holmodor. Or Germans can't forget bolshevism and over 600 political assassinations by communists in 1931-1933.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

Not to mention the Paleocons sudden interest in the safety of Ukranian Jews when Putin needs a casus belli to sending the tanks westward into Ukriane. Kind of funny how Putin is allowed to have his finger in every pie, but is is the USA who is not minding it's own business."

That was a statement rich in mendacity. The US has been f**king around everywhere in the world for the last seventy years. Our arrogance and intrusion have only increased in the last twenty years or so, to the point that most of the rest of the world considers us to be insufferable. The Russians harldy have their finger in every pie. They have their finger in some of the "near abroad" countries. Which is Ukraine closer to? Russia, or America?

Pseudoerasmus said...

"The reality is that for most of the last 800 years, the average Jew in Europe and America was relatively affluent, well-connected, and politically conservative….. This began to change only when the prosperity-driven growth in the number of Ashkenazi Jews forced many out of traditional white-collar jobs and into blue-collar jobs they resented as demeaning"

what is the evidence for the claim in the 2nd sentence ? Eckstein and Botticini ask what caused the huge demographic divergence between the Ashkenazim and the other Jewish populations, and simply say (I paraphrase) "that's for our next book"...

Mr. Anon said...

"SFG said..

I mean, technically all these things are true, but I could say the same about any other group that's existed for 2000+ years. Why not just admit you're pissed off about the immigration thing? It's quite understandable..."

You just seem to be upset about the overturning of the current, reigning meme - that Jews are a people who do not, have not, and have never done, any wrong at all. They are uniquely blameless in history, and have unaccountably been victims of the jealosy and ire of the other peoples of the world. Does such an interperetation really seem likely?

Dahinda said...

"That's more Jewish myth-making. Jews came to America in several waves. There were Jews present at the time of the Revolution. The Jews from Eastern Europe (nowadays typically seen as the quintessential Jews) were rather looked down on even by the existing American Jews when they showed up here around 1900. That said, they were hardly destitute beggars. They arrived in significantly better financial shape than the Irish or Italians, for instance." In Chicago at the turn of the 20th Century there were two main Jewish areas of the city. One was the Near West Side, which was analogous to the Lower East Side of New York, and the south lakefront areas like South Michigan Avenue. The Jews of the West Side areas were made up of poorer immigrants from Easter Europe and the Jewish population of Michigan Avenue were prosperous German Jews (including for a time the family of the Marx Brothers). The prosperous Michigan Avenue Jews looked down upon the West Siders.

Dahinda said...

SFG said: "Jews are bad because they helped the North oppress the South. Except when they were in the South, when they were bad because they supported slavery. Jews are bad because they support Communism. Except when they control all the banks...

I mean, technically all these things are true, but I could say the same about any other group that's existed for 2000+ years. Why not just admit you're pissed off about the immigration thing? It's quite understandable..."

I didn't hear Steve say he was pissed off at anything. He was just showing a part of history that you rarely hear about and putting into a context of why it may not be heard much.

SFG said...

"Recent memories often trump the long view of history. The holocaust destroyed not only Jewish lives but their sense of security. If your grandparents had been dragged from their homes, ordered to dig ditches, and shot in the head, you too might forget how decent things used to be."

Pretty much. Though at the same time, they've made themselves immune to criticism, which makes it a bit unfair. My odious relatives' conduct is quite understandable on a human level--yeah, if the right kept trying to kill me I would try to drive my country hard left. But it's bad for the country--immigration has been increased far above the level at which assimilation is practical.

Anonymous said...

What is important is that Southern Jews switched loyalties and worked with northern Jews to officially erase their true past. Southern Jews with deep roots in the south did everything in their power to seem as though they were fellow brethren with the negroes all along.

So, we have stuff like Driving Miss Daisy where a negro done say, 'I's shoooooooooo luvs to work for Jewish folks cuz they's be treatin me reeeeeeal nice and even done teach me how to read. and even though ms daisowicz's attitude is condescendingly racist--saying i can learn to read cuz even her dumbest students can--, it all be harmless and funny sounding.'

So, we have the scene in the movie where two white 'racist' cops say,
"well, well, a n----- and a k--- together."
So, we are to believe that white southerners were as often bombing synagogues as they were bombing black churches.

Look at Jonathan Rosenbaum. He's from Alabama and his family made lots of money in the south. He even lived in a home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Now, how many white cracker southerners could afford to do that? He spent his youth reading books in the summertime, traveling to Europe, and etc.
But he rants and bitches about all them evil white rednecks in the south.

So, it's not just about Russian East Coast Jews rewriting history. It's about Southern Jews with Germanic roots rewriting with them so they too could take part in the Holocaust Sweepstakes.

Anonymous said...

Steve, you seem to use "Ashkenazi" to mean Jews when in fact you're talking about Sephardic Jews. When Andalucía was conquered by the less civilised Spanish Christians, the Jews who were expelled were welcomed into the Ottoman Empire. When Spain became England's enemy some of these Sephardic Jews were encouraged to settle in England, and by say the mid-17thC you had, to simplify heroically, 3 lots of Jews in Europe outside the Ottoman Empire: (1) Sephardic Jews doing quite to very well in the better countries of Europe such as England and the Dutch and Venetian Republics; (2) Ghettoized Ashkenazi Jews in the rest of Western Europe; (3) the great mass of Ashkenazi Jews living in parts of Eastern Europe. These were mostly poor and ignorant because they lived in places where there wasn't anything else to be.
In the first half of the 19thC Ashkenazi Jews in western Europe moved ahead of those in eastern. But the best-established Jews were still Sephardic. Disraeli was of course Sephardic. These English Jews regarded Lord Rothschild as a parvenu. They're still around and still posh.

Anonymous said...

"Has there been a British prime minister yet of Catholic background? I always thought Jim Callaghan (1976-1979) was of Catholic ethnicity, but I guess that would be O'Callaghan. Now that I look it up that search doesn't register. I find that the web makes a big deal of him growing up in a stern Baptist household.

Tony Blair converted to Catholicism after leaving office.

Here's a 2011 article about a Scottish Labour MP ruling himself out of contention for the top job:

"Jim Murphy says UK is not ready to elect a Catholic Prime Minister"

http://www.thecourier.co.uk/news/politics/jim-murphy-says-uk-is-not-ready-to-elect-a-catholic-prime-minister-1.47914

Mostly, it doesn't seem to come up."

On the Catholic front, it's interesting to note how we haven't had a Catholic president in the USA since Kennedy. It seems as though the election of 1960 was more of a one-off than a breakthrough.

Anonymous said...

If your grandparents had been dragged from their homes, ordered to dig ditches, and shot in the head, you too might forget how decent things used to be.


I know a lot of American Jews. None of them had their grandparents dragged from their homes, ordered to dig ditches, and shot in the head. Some of them did lose aunts and uncles, or great-aunts and great-uncles, in that fashion. The typical American Jew today who is descended from "Ellis island immigrants" (which is most of them) had both parents, all four grandparents, and at about half of their great-grandparents born in America.
It's peculiar to see people with roots in American going back that far acting as if they personally just stepped off the boat from Europe last month.

Anonymous said...

See Wiki for more on Jewish emancipation, which was about more than suffrage


I suggest you see Wiki for more on Catholic emancipation, which was about more than suffrage. If you bothered to study history rather than just the subset of "Jewish history" you'd quickly discover that the things you find so singular and remarkable (What? Jews were unable to own land in some country at a certain time?) were in reality completely commonplace, and the Jews in that country and at that time were hardly in a worse position than some other ethnic groups in the same time and place.

Anonymous said...

Has there been a British prime minister yet of Catholic background?

I was under the impression that while there is no strict bar on a British PM being Catholic, it would be contrary to tradition and somewhat awkward as he would be in a position to recommend (appoint, really) senior clergymen of the Anglican Church, of which the monarch is the titular head.

Since the break with Rome, there has not been a Catholic PM.

Dave Pinsen said...

"Hunsdon said: And they sent the Jews to the nastiest, most brutal, and shortest factories, too!"

That's your straw man, so I'll let you play with it on your own.

"Factory work is a step up from sharecropping."

Sure. And this refutes my point how? To migrate or emigrate in hopes of getting a factory job in the US circa 1900, you had to come from crappier circumstances. I

Dave Pinsen said...

When did I claim anything was "singular and remarkable"? Steve claimed that for 800 years the average Jew in Europe was relatively affluent. That seems unlikely pre-emancipation. It doesn't mean that there weren't non-Jews doing poorly too. Probably most were doing poorly as well.

At the risk of being redundant again, you don't migrate or emigrate to take a hard, low-paying job for long hours if you are affluent.

Dave Pinsen said...

Steve said Catholic background, not practicing Catholic.

James Kabala said...

Iain Duncan Smith, Conservative leader from 2001 to 2003, is Catholic, as is Charles Kennedy, Liberal Democratic leader from 1999 to 2006. Of course, neither got anywhere near actually being prime minister.

"There's an old joke that keeps up this narrowing down process about how in Massachusetts nobody is a Yankee except for people from Cape Cod and on Cape Cod, nobody is a Yankee except from this one fishing village."

I believe the more common punchline narrows it down to a Vermonter who eats pie for breakfast (which I guess people did at one time?).


Anonymous said...

"Steve claimed that for 800 years the average Jew in Europe was relatively affluent. That seems unlikely pre-emancipation."


It has nothing to do with "emancipation" one way or the other. Basically nobody was "emancipated" before 1800. Which is not the same thing as saying that nobody was affluent - still less relatively affluent. That the average Jew in Europe from 1200 to 2000 was more affluent than the average European is a simple statement of historical fact. That the average Jew in England in 1500 - like the average Englishman in England in 1500 - did not have the vote is literally true but a diversion in the context of the overall argument.

Anonymous said...

At the risk of being redundant again, you don't migrate or emigrate to take a hard, low-paying job for long hours if you are affluent.


I don't know where you got the notion that the "Ellis island Jews" came to America and worked in hard, low-paying jobs in sweatshop factories. That's the myth-making again. Surely some of them most have done so, but as a group they were pretty affluent and many of them immediately opened their own small businesses.

Here is the bio on Milton Friedman's parents, for instance.

In the 1890s, teenagers Jeno Saul Friedman and Sarah Ethel Landau left Berehovo in the Ukraine to emigrate to the United States. Jeno opened and ran a series of small businesses as a garment maker, dry goods retailer, owner of an ice cream parlor and later, a jobber and petty trader.

Sarah worked as a seamstress and, after they were married and had children, she ran a dry goods store. Given the uncertainty of Jeno's income, they both worked to support themselves and their four children.


They certainly weren't Rockefellers, but they were not factory drudges either. I'm sure they worked very hard, but they owned their own businesses. They were not "bottom rung of the ladder" type people. They plugged straight into the American middle-class or at least lower-middle-class.

Dave Pinsen said...

You seem to be confusing emancipation with enfranchisement.

Dave Pinsen said...

Eh, I give up. You're right. Jewish immigrants all came here with bags of cash from their money lending and tax farming businesses and immediately joined the middle class. None worked in factories or lived in tenements, and the suggestion that any did was a myth.

Steve Sailer said...

There's a subtle aspect of historical psychology here: There were a lot of poor Jews by the Fiddler on the Roof era, but they had cultural and historical memories of their ancestors being not poor, so they resented being poor more than did poor people who came from a long line of poor people. That helps explain the otherwise inexplicably comic obsession with country club membership discrimination today.

In contrast, Italian-Americans' have a much less of a resentment based outlook on political issues because they were used to being poor. A Scorsese or Coppola will rationalize the Mafia as victims of discrimination and what else could the poor dears do, but that's the kind of thing that plays better in the media than around the dining room table.

Anonymous said...

Petulance does not become you, Dave. Nor do silly strawman arguments such as "Jewish immigrants all came here with bags of cash".

Many - not all, but many - Jewish immigrants to the US arrived with more money, and often with more education, than did the typical immigrant from Europe.

Ayn Rand (Alisa Rosenbaum) was the daughter of a successful pharmacist and businessman in Russia, where she also received a university education.

Dig into the background of famous and successful American Jews and that sort of story is remarkably common. There are exceptions of course. Irving Berlin seems to have had the "stereotypical" Jewish childhood of growing up in a poor shtetl. And it's probably inevitable that the successful Jews would be the ones from the wealthier backgrounds. No doubt among Jews who don't have their own wikipedia entry the family background is not quite so posh.

But look up the life story of Joseph Stein and Sholem Aleichem, the writers who brought us "Fiddler on the Roof". No grinding poverty there.

Steve Sailer said...

The point is that Jewish downward mobility in the 19th Century, which was largely due to their huge growth in population using up all the good jobs, tended to leave Jews sorer about their status than was common among other fairly poor groups that weren't downwardly mobile because they'd long been pretty poor.

Anonymous said...

To migrate or emigrate in hopes of getting a factory job in the US circa 1900, you had to come from crappier circumstances.


Some Jews got crappy factory jobs in the US. Many of the victims of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire were Jewish women. Of course, the owners of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory were recent Jewish immigrants from eastern Europe.

Steve Sailer said...

The Jewish Daily Forward had an article a few years ago about how famous it is among American Jews that a lot of the victims of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire were Jewish, but it's completely obscure that the two owners who locked the fire escapes were Jewish immigrants themselves.

Pseudoerasmus said...

Well it seems to me, Sailer's point reduces to this :

Rachel Leibowitz somehow got into her head a dumb idea about her ancestors. So what if her grandparents passed down their own grandparents' tales of ekeing out a life tanning hides and brokering chicken barters in a shitty hamlet outside Minsk ? Who cares ? Her deep ancestors back in the 12th century were living high on lending money to the Margrave of Hesse ! Just like the Rothschilds would do 800 years later ! Rachel's great-great-grandparents' 24th cousins thrice removed in London and Charleston were hobnobbing with the grandees !

Pseudoerasmus said...

"The point is that Jewish downward mobility in the 19th Century, which was largely due to their huge growth in population using up all the good jobs, tended to leave Jews sorer about their status than was common among other fairly poor groups that weren't downwardly mobile because they'd long been pretty poor."

That seems quite silly. Here is Niall Ferguson on the prosperous Frankfurt ghetto between 1500 and 1800, from his biography of the Rothschilds :

"The Judengasse [the Frankfurt ghetto] provided sanctuary of sorts in a perilous world; and between 1542 and 1610 its population grew from around 400 to 1,380 (an increase which was paralleled by Huguenot migration to Frankfurt from the Netherlands). The economic and social tensions which coincided with—or were caused by—these influxes culminated in yet another outbreak of popular violence against the Jewish community: the “Fettmilch riots,” named after their shopkeeper leader Vincenz Fettmilch. However, wholesale looting of the Judengasse was this time not accompanied by mass murder (the Jews were expelled from the town) and, after a brief period of popular rule, imperial troops quashed the insurrection. Fettmilch and the other leaders of the revolt were hanged and the Jews marched back into the ghetto, their status as protégés of the Emperor reaffirmed. In practice, as before, “protection” meant extraordinarily tight regulation, the details of which were set out by the Council in the Stättigkeit, a statute which was read out each year in the main synagogue. Under its terms, which remained in force until the very end of the eighteenth century, the Jewish population was restricted to just 500 families; the number of weddings was rationed to just twelve a year and the age of marriage fixed at twenty-five. No more than two Jews from outside were allowed to settle in the ghetto each year…Having originally been designated a ghetto at a time when the Jewish population was little more than a hundred, the lane was horribly overcrowded: by 1711 there were no fewer than 3,024 people living there."

Yes, it seems obvious, the vivid memories passed down from the 1200-1800 era to the Fiddler on the Roof era were those of by-gone riches. When half-literate Jews from the shtetls arrived on Ellis Island in 1900 the memories they carried were those of splendid houses, horse races and lazy afternoons sipping Sauternes.

Anonymous said...

Rachel Leibowitz somehow got into her head a dumb idea about her ancestors.


Who is Rachel Leibowitz? The name is not in the Sailer article at Taki's, and Google is unhelpful.


So what if her grandparents passed down their own grandparents' tales of ekeing out a life tanning hides and brokering chicken barters in a shitty hamlet outside Minsk ?


Yeah, that sounds like an unimpeachable source of data. Hey, I remember my grand-parents telling me a story their grand-parents told them, about how they had to walk eight miles to school. Uphill, Both ways. Let's make a movie about it!

Anonymous said...

Yes, it seems obvious, the vivid memories passed down from the 1200-1800 era to the Fiddler on the Roof era were those of by-gone riches.


You keep on emoting, and we'll keep on shoving reality before your eyeballs. "Fiddler on the Roof" was based on the writings of Russian-Jewish author Sholem Aleichem. Did he have any personal experience with life down on the farming shtetl? Well, no.

"His father, Menachem-Nukhem Rabinovich, was a rich merchant at that time. However, a failed business affair plunged the family into poverty and Solomon Rabinovich grew up in reduced circumstances"


How much "poverty" are we talking about here? Not much, it would seem.

"Sholem Aleichem's first venture into writing was an alphabetic glossary of the epithets used by his stepmother. At the age of fifteen, inspired by Robinson Crusoe, he composed a Jewish version of the novel."



"In 1876, after graduating from school in Pereyaslav, he spent three years tutoring a wealthy landowner's daughter, Olga (Golde) Loev (1865 – 1942).[4] On May 12, 1883, they married, against the wishes of her father."



Yet another Jewish "wealthy landowner" - they keep popping up, in defiance of the stubborn insistence that Jews of this time and place were impoverished and oppressed.


"In 1905, as pogroms swept through southern Russia, Sholem Aleichem resettled to New York City. His family set up house in Geneva, Switzerland, but when he saw he could not afford to maintain two households, he joined them in Geneva. Despite his great popularity, he was forced to take up an exhausting schedule of lecturing to make ends meet."


Sounds more "Lifestyles of the Comfortably Affluent" than "Fiddler on the Roof".

Pseudoerasmus said...

Well, I'm sure the only reliable data on the socioeconomic characteristics of shtetl & Pale inhabitants are derived from those who landed on Ellis Island. According to Thomas Sowell in Ethnic America, most Jews arriving from Eastern Europe were manual labourers, even if skilled, and those listed as having "white collar" professions were bakers, butchers, grocers and the like. Less than 1% were professionals as we understand the term. Other observations made by Sowell : (1) "about half were not even literate on arrival". (2) "Physically, the eastern European Jewish immigrants were small and were described by contemporaries as "physical wrecks" and among "the most stunted of the Europeans." (3) When a law was proposed that immigrants admitted into the USA must carry at least $25 in cash, this caused outrage amongst the Jewish community in New York, since most "[m]ost of [the Jewish immigrants] had not had one-third of this much when they arrived in America". $25 in 1900 would be equivalent to about $675 today, so according to Sowell most Jews carried less than $225 upon arrival. I'm a little surprised Sowell didn't find or compile more illuminating data.

Anonymous said...

Boilerplate neoconservative response: "American exceptionalism."

Pseudoerasmus said...

Who cares about the particulars of Sholem Aleichem's life ? In 1890, there were millions of Jews in what would later become Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine. More of those Jews were educated and urbanised than the general run of Slavs they were surrounded by, so naturally a disproportionate share of the middle class of the Russian Empire would be Jews. But not even Steve Sailer disputes that most of those millions of Jews of the Pale and of the shtetls at the end of the 19th century were poor. How can they not have been. The Russian Empire was not a place full of economic opportunity or much upward mobility. This was not the rapidly industrialising Germany or even a more slowly industrialising France.

szopeno said...

Damn, Poland is not Europe apparently (XIX centiry Polish writers continously expressed their concern about how backward, superstitious and poor were Polish Jews and how they quickly need to convert to catholicism and become modern Poles).

Really.

Anonymous said...

Who cares about the particulars of Sholem Aleichem's life ?


His stories are fake, but accurate! They capture a deeper truth! The fact that his life story involved many rich Jews at a time and place where we keep getting told no such Jews were permitted to exist is one we should all discreetly turn our eyes away from.


In 1890, there were millions of Jews in what would later become Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine. More of those Jews were educated and urbanised than the general run of Slavs they were surrounded by, so naturally a disproportionate share of the middle class of the Russian Empire would be Jews.


There, was that so hard?


not even Steve Sailer disputes that most of those millions of Jews of the Pale and of the shtetls at the end of the 19th century were poor ... because the people they were richer than were desperately poor Slav's.


Steve can speak for himself, but it's very obvious that the families of Sholem Aleichem and Olga Loev were well heeled and well educated not just by the standards of Slavic peasants in 1880, but even by Western standards.

(Disclaimer which should not be necessary but which is unfortunately bound to be - "well heeled" does not mean a "Scrooge McDuck wallowing in bags of gold" level of wealth.)

Anonymous said...

Less than 1% were professionals as we understand the term.


I have to note that Max Blanck and Isaac Harris, the owners of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory who arrived in the US in the mid-1890's, were not "professionals as we understand the term". Nor was Alisa Rosenbaum, in spite of her university education. The percentage even of Americans or Englishmen who were professionals in 1900 was tiny by modern standards. So that 1% figure is useless in the absence of context. What percentage of Italians, Irish, non-Jewish Poles etc arriving in America were professionals?


about half were not even literate on arrival

Not literate in English, that is. Again, what percentage of immigrants generally were literate in English, or even in their native language?


according to Sowell most Jews carried less than $225 upon arrival

Absent any data on how much cash non-Jewish immigrants arrived with, that's a meaningless statistic. Nobody is claiming that the typical Jewish immigrant arriving at Ellis island in 1900 did so accompanied by trunks full of gold - that's the strawman constructed by the Jewish commenters here.

Anonymous said...

Pseudoerasmus, I will clarify Sailer's point for you, which you seem to his misread. No great crime as many commentators here also have, typically with an axegrinding motivation the reverse to yours.

Sailer seems really to me only to be saying that American Ashkenazi Jews seem to forget that through European history they are far more overrepresented among the rich than among the poor, among the bourgeois than the working class, and among the powerful than the powerless.

An example of this historical confusion which he gives is the confusion of ideas of American Jews as victims of the White South, rather than collaborators and partners and co-citizens.
And the reason for this historical fugue state is the embrace of a schmaltzy narrative (or mythos if you will, and Sailer here so wills) above history.

The actual mean level of Jewish wealth is related, of course, but not hugely meaningful to this.

When American Jews say "Across history, we have been with the poor, and identify with them. Our story is the story of rising from more poverty than was faced by other American Whites.", it is entirely correct to say, as Sailer does, with humor, "No. That is schmaltz and bullshit.".

I can understand it for Jews to stand up and say, "Hey, my ancestors didn't have the money that a French baron had!" or something like that. That is a true, historically true thing, and they deserve a cookie for reciting such a fact. But that's rather irrelevant to the point Sailer is making here.

Pseudoerasmus said...

When American Jews say "Across history, we have been with the poor, and identify with them. Our story is the story of rising from more poverty than was faced by other American Whites.", it is entirely correct to say, as Sailer does, with humor, "No. That is schmaltz and bullshit."

Nah. You two just sweep everything under the Ashkenazi label.

Jews in America in 1850 were overwhelmingly German-origin, and the later Eastern European Jews had different cultural traditions & historical memories. The latter were less educated, poorer, less urbane, more uncouth, lived under harsher political regimes than the westerners, and more prone to political radicalism and less establishmentarian. This pattern holds even in Argentina where Jewish industrialists tend to have German origins but Marxist terrorists tended to have Slavic ones. Same with Chile : a pro-Pinochet Jew might have a name like Rodrigo Hinspeter but an Allende cabinet member was a Volodia Teitelboim.

Sailer of course knows all about this German-Eastern divide, and by nature he's a splitter rather than a lumper. But he can't resist the temptation to take stupid political jabs and throws aside his splitter nature. Which is why Sailer's argument rested explicitly on the small number of post-emancipation, German-origin Jews in the western countries. e.g., 50,000 Jews in the USA before the civil war, the Lehman Bros., the Rothschilds, etc.

Pseudoerasmus said...

"Sailer seems really to me only to be saying that American Ashkenazi Jews seem to forget that through European history they are far more overrepresented among the rich than among the poor, among the bourgeois than the working class, and among the powerful than the powerless."



Yes, I got that. But overreprsentation is a matter of degrees and magnitudes. Were the Jews of Eastern Europe of 1900 as overrepresented in the top half of the distribution of every social indicator as their descendants would be in 2014 ? They could not have been. 95% of the Jews of the Russian Empire were confined to the shithole of the Pale and the only decent place in it was Warsaw. Jews in Eastern Europe in 1900 certainly outperformed the native Slavs, but their average was surely much closer to Fiddler than to Nathan Rothschild which is the benchmark set up by Sailer. otherwise why the hell did they leave the Russian empire by the millions like all those from southern Italy or Ireland.



I still don't understand why Fiddler on the Roof is held to represent such a low standard. Tevye himself is poor but he's literate and the other characters are clearly well above the station of the Slav peasant. There's a rich butcher, a bookseller, an inn keeper, etc.

Pseudoerasmus said...

Not literate in English, that is.

So you are suggesting the other half were literate in English ? Maybe they were reciting Shakespeare at Ellis Island.

Are immigrants not speaking English routinely deemed "illiterate" ?

Anyway, anyone who could read Yiddish and became so prosperous in dealing with Polish and Ukrainian peasants was likely literate in three languages and three scripts aleady.

Pseudoerasmus said...

His stories are fake, but accurate! They capture a deeper truth! The fact that his life story involved many rich Jews at a time and place where we keep getting told no such Jews were permitted to exist is one we should all discreetly turn our eyes away from.

But there is a rich character in Fiddler on the Roof -- the butcher whom the protagonist Tevye wishes to marry to his daughter. Maybe you are confusing Fiddler with Germinal or something ? The plot revolves around a marriage in the shtetl, and the key background is not poverty but a pogrom. Maybe you think Jews hallucinated the pogroms too.

xtian said...

"So, in essence a good chunk of high mid ages and Renaissance history Western Europe was essentially Jewish free or few in total numbers. "

Many converted,or pretended to. Nostradamus was a physician of Jewish descent whose father had converted. He was one of many. Their Jewish background didn't seem to be an impediment to marriage and profession, as indeed it was not in the Merchant of Venice, as long as conversion was in the picture.
The author of medieval classics like Tristan & Iseult, was Chretien de Troye (the Christian of Troy). Since everyone was Christian, the only reason for calling him that was that he was a Jew who had converted.

Anonymous said...

So you are suggesting the other half were literate in English ? Maybe they were reciting Shakespeare at Ellis Island.


What's with this love of strawman arguments? It's pointed out that Jewish immigrants to the US were better off than other immigrants, and this becomes "Oh, so they had bags of cash!" It's pointed out that Jewish immigrants were more literate than others (something you'd not only agree with but insist on in other circumstances) and it becomes "Oh, so they were reciting Shakespeare at Ellis Island!" You're supposed to be intelligent - why don't you act like it?

Your claim for the literacy of Ellis island immigrants - that it was based on literacy in their native tongue and not English - rests on the fanciful notion that Ellis Island was staffed with immigration officials fluent in all the different languages of the world who administered literacy tests to the immigrants in their own language. I've got news for you - we don't even do that for immigrants today.

Anonymous said...

Were the Jews of Eastern Europe of 1900 as overrepresented in the top half of the distribution of every social indicator as their descendants would be in 2014 ? They could not have been.


Well, no. But that's largely due to how how greatly overrepresented Jews are in the top half of the distribution of every social indicator in 2014. What jumps out at me in your claims is that you're conceding the argument - and that you don't care.

Is it true that Jews were better off in Protestant countries than Catholics were, and better off in Catholic countries than Protestants were? Well, yeah, sure it is. Is it true that Jews were better off in Eastern Europe than the Slavs? Yeah, sure it is. But you don't care about that. Your grievance is not that Jews were at the bottom, a place you basically admit they very rarely were, but that Jews were not at the top, where you think they belonged.

It's similar to the Jewish objections about America in the middle 20th century, the complaints about not being in the best country clubs. It wasn't that they were oppressed - they were already an exceptionally wealthy and well-educated group. But however much they have, they always feel they deserve more. Your sense of what is "normal" and "right" is completely skewed and self-serving. Your entire worldview boils down to "Jews should be on top of everyone else - all else is discrimination and oppression".

Anonymous said...


Were the Jews of Eastern Europe of 1900 as overrepresented in the top half of the distribution of every social indicator as their descendants would be in 2014 ? They could not have been. 95% of the Jews of the Russian Empire were confined to the shithole of the Pale and the only decent place in it was Warsaw.

I'm not sure that Sailer makes that claim.

This sounds accurate - http://yannayspitzer.net/2012/09/30/jewish-occupations-in-the-pale-of-settlement/

If one was to go back to the middle of the eighteenth century and ask an average Polish peasant what is it that Jews did, the first answer would have probably been either leasers or tavern keepers. Production and distribution of alcohol was by far the most typical Jewish economic activity in rural pre-partition Poland, along with other sorts of occupations that depended on the leasing of manorial privileges, such as milling or estate management. Alcohol-related occupations still show up in the data that is presented here, but their relative importance had declined by the end of the 19th century, with the demise of the Early-Modern manorial economy, and a directed official crackdown on the involvement of Jews in this industry

Summing over all of the Jewish labor force in the Pale of Settlement, we find that the single most common Jewish occupation was manufacture of clothing, at no fewer than 16.5 percent of the workers. followed by various trade jobs (and service industries for the women) and comparably few farmers.

This doesn't really seem too far from Sailer's "In many Southern small towns, however, where the general tenor of life was less enterprising, the Jewish dry goods merchant, cotton broker, or banker was a valued part of the local establishment." Both agree, these are largely petit-bourgeois people, not particularly uncouth, working class or politically radical. Probably over represented among the powerful and as a community compliant with power when it serves their interests, which differs from the schmaltz-y view.

Anonymous said...

You two just sweep everything under the Ashkenazi label.

Jews in America in 1850 were overwhelmingly German-origin, and the later Eastern European Jews had different cultural traditions & historical memories. The latter were less educated, poorer, less urbane, more uncouth, lived under harsher political regimes than the westerners, and more prone to political radicalism and less establishmentarian. This pattern holds even in Argentina where Jewish industrialists tend to have German origins but Marxist terrorists tended to have Slavic ones. Same with Chile : a pro-Pinochet Jew might have a name like Rodrigo Hinspeter but an Allende cabinet member was a Volodia Teitelboim.



Now that's a radical approach. "German Jews bad, Polish Jews good!"


And that whole "Ashkenazi label" thing is apparently something conjured up by those wicked anti-Semites ... wait, doesn't the term "Semites" also lump evil German and noble Eastern European Jews in together? And should I even bother to point out that "Ashkenazi" is Hebrew for "German Jews", or that the Eastern European Jews were descendants of German Jews?

Pseudoerasmus said...

What jumps out at me in your claims is that you're conceding the argument - and that you don't care.

You've got it arse-backward.

What jumps out at me is that Steve Sailer argues that the "Rothschilds may have been more representative of Jewish history than Fiddler", but you tame his argument into a much milder statement which nobody has ever objected to -- and you don't care.

Again, Sailer argues that the ancestors of the Jews were well-heeled and politically connected. He instances such grandees as Disraeli, a Confederate cabinet member, the Rothschilds, and the Lehmans, even though he knows quite well these people hailed from a community quite distinct from the Eastern European Jews.

You don't care that's kind of misleading, because you reckon his point would be just as valid even if the EE Jews in the Pale varied between haut prolétariat and petite bourgeoisie. (Never mind that EE Jews, regardless of economic circumstances, can't have been too well-connected politically since they were objects of official state antisemitism of the Tsarist government.) But Sailer's jab at liberal, diversity-loving, immigrant-importing, World War T or C or K or Z fighting SWPL Jews just wouldn't have the same punch if Disraeli and Rothschild had been replaced by cobblers, butchers, bakers, tanners, tailors and what ever you call those people whose profession is to lop off foreskins.

Anonymous said...

Jews, including those like Tim Wise

Tim Wise is one-fourth Jewish by ancestry. He is not a Jew.

Pseudoerasmus said...

It's pointed out that Jewish immigrants to the US were better off than other immigrants

And where are the data on this ?

Maybe I should have been more cautious with Sowell as a source. Almost everything he has written on immigration and ethnicity is a polemic against affirmative action. Basically in Ethnic America he wants to say "look at all those immigrants, they were poor but worked harder and had a healthier culture, that's what blacks need". That's why Sowell can be pretty selective and slipshod with his evidence. And these days I see liberal anti-hereditarians using arguments from Sowell all the time when arguing against hereditarians !

All the same I've now followed Sowell's source for his claims about Jewish immigrants' literacy, cash upon arrival & professions. (1) Sowell was wrong about literacy : 74% of Jewish immigrants arriving in the USA in 1899-1910 were literate. But apparently that was also the average for immigrant groups arriving in the same period : "If literacy rates are any guide, few distinctions can be made in the education of southern and eastern European groups. The average rate of illiteracy for all immigrants hovered around 26 percent between 1899 and 1910. Twenty-six percent of all Jews over 14 entering in those years could not read or write". And their source for this datum is NOT the immigration officials at Ellis Island, as you have hallucinated me to be claming, but the U.S. Census Bureau. (2) Sowell was accurate about the cash, though. "The Jews who arrived in 1900 had less money on arrival than most other immigrants -- average of nine dollars per person as opposed to an average of fifteen dollars per person for all immigrants who arrived that year. They continued to enter the United States with substantially less money than their fellow immigrants. While one-seventh of the Irish and only one-thireteenth of the Italians who arrived in 1910 had less than fifty dollars, almost half of the all Jews had less than that sum". (3) On skills, no doubt about it, Jewish immigrants were by far the most skilled labourers of all immigrant groups. Some 2/3 were classified as having "skilled occupations" like butchers, tanners, tailors and others I mentioned above, whereas only about 15% of the southern Italians and 13% of the Irish fell into such a category.

Pseudoerasmus said...

And that whole "Ashkenazi label" thing is apparently something conjured up by those wicked anti-Semites

Actually both Jews and non-Jews seem to collaborate in pretending that "Jews" are a single ethnic group like any other, analogous with "Chechens" or "Japanese" or "Yanomamö", even though there's probably no other group regarded as an ethnic unit, with as much internal cultural variation as the "Jews".  Chechens, for example, besides a common genetic ancestry, also share a common language, a common history, the common sect of the same religion, and a common culture.  What do the disparate Jewish communities of the world share besides the genetic ancestry and a nominal religion ?  A dual loyalty to Israel and an IQ score higher than the local average (and its socioeconomic correlates).

As far as I'm concerned, by 1800-50 or so, German and EE Jews had had enough cultural differentiation that they ought to be regarded as distinct communities. The fact that today that distinction isn't so important in the United States doesn't change the history. And it's also hardly surprising that Eastern European Jewish families have ancestral tales of blood-curdling pogroms in the shtetls whereas maybe the Lehmans or the Rothschilds, as children, might have heard romantic paeans to Napoleon who had emancipated their ancestors in Germany.

Pseudoerasmus said...

Tim Wise is one-fourth Jewish by ancestry. He is not a Jew."

I'm not aware of having any Jewish ancestor but you seem to think I'm a Jew.

Pseudoerasmus said...

"Now that's a radical approach. "German Jews bad, Polish Jews good!""

Actually, since I'm a Pinochetista and an apologist of the Argentine "Dirty War" probably my formula would have been "German Jews good, EE Jews fucking pinkos".

Pseudoerasmus said...

"Damn, Poland is not Europe apparently (XIX centiry Polish writers continously expressed their concern about how backward, superstitious and poor were Polish Jews and how they quickly need to convert to catholicism and become modern Poles)."

Szopeno, the only reason Poland is in NATO is because so many in the West feel guilty about 1939 and 1944 and 1945, and also the French have always had an odd partiality for the Poles. Otherwise from where I'm standing Warsaw might as well be Ulan Baator.

Anonymous said...

BTW Blair is partly Jewish, and yes, some of his distant relatives died in Auschwitz.)

How far back, as I don't see any obviously Jewish ancestors in this genealogy for Tony Blair? Any chance that you have him confused with David Cameron, one of whose great-grandparents was Arthur Francis Levita? Arthur Levita's father was Jewish, and his mother was of partial Jewish ancestry.

Tony Blair's family tree

Anonymous said...

What jumps out at me is that Steve Sailer argues that the "Rothschilds may have been more representative of Jewish history than Fiddler", but you tame his argument into a much milder statement which nobody has ever objected to -- and you don't care.

In terms of offering a view of how Jews have generally interacted with power across their history, and their relative economic status, particularly across their entire history in Europe and particularly within Western Europe and its offshoots, it certainly seems that the Rothchilds would be more representative than the Fiddler. That is completely defensible.

But Sailer's jab at liberal, diversity-loving, immigrant-importing, World War T or C or K or Z fighting SWPL Jews just wouldn't have the same punch if Disraeli and Rothschild had been replaced by cobblers, butchers, bakers, tanners, tailors and what ever you call those people whose profession is to lop off foreskins.

Sailer - From Marx onward, growing numbers of Jews began to see themselves in solidarity with the peasants and workers they had previously disdained. ....

In summary, before Jews were poor, they were rich. Today, however, most Jews are above average in wealth once again, which may help explain why Jewish political activism has been shifting from big beefy causes like the working class to small potatoes fixations such as gay and transgender rights.


(Never mind that EE Jews, regardless of economic circumstances, can't have been too well-connected politically since they were objects of official state antisemitism of the Tsarist government.)

Official doesn't often mean that much. I'd trust following money = power in the absence of hard data.

Pseudoerasmus said...

"In terms of offering a view of how Jews have generally interacted with power across their history, and their relative economic status, particularly across their entire history in Europe and particularly within Western Europe and its offshoots, it certainly seems that the Rothchilds would be more representative than the Fiddler. That is completely defensible."

Sure, if you think being confined to a single alley in a mediaeval town, your comings & goings regulated, living under the protection of a local potentate from the passions of the mob in exchange for services ; if you believe that's comparable to sitting in the House of Lords or serving as a Confederate secretary of state or being a Viennese doctor or a French lawyer, what can I say ?


Sailer - From Marx onward, growing numbers of Jews began to see themselves in solidarity with the peasants and workers they had previously disdained. ....

I was going to comment on this from his article as well, but I forgot.

In Germany, France and Austria, where the emancipated, assimilated Jews of 19th century Europe were most numerous, they normally voted for the liberal political parties. Now, "liberal" in the 19th century context referred to political parties which favoured the urban business interest as opposed to the feudal landed interest, increased democratisation, and disestablishment of the state religion. Marx would have called such parties "bourgeois" and they were definitely not working-class in orientation. Later, Jews would figure prominently in left-wing political parties in the modern sense as well as revolutionary & anarchist movements. Sailer draws (somewhat) from Yuri Slezkine and both of them (Sailer somewhat more crudely) offer complicated psychological explanations for why Jews have tended toward the political left. But they aren't necessary. Left-wing revolutionaries everywhere have always been educated middle-class -- do you think Mao and Ho were peasants ? So the simplest sociological explanation for the overrepresentation of Jews amongst Russia's revolutionary cadres (for example) is that Jews in the agrarian Russia of 1914 were disproportionately middle-class & urban & educated. The Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks in general were disproportionately middle-class, educated and urban in an overwhelmingly agrarian country. If you filled a room with 100 randomly selected urban bourgeois inhabitants of Russia in 1914, it would contain a dozen Jews, probably an overrepresentation by a factor of 10. And when you combine that fact with their above-average IQ, I don't see much difference between Jews rising to the top of the revolutionary elite, and Jews rising to the top of the capitalist hierarchy in media, business, banks, entertainment, the professions, etc. So I've never found any need for the complicated Slezkinian explanations for "Jewish modernity" (to the point of arguing Freud himself was acting out on Oedipal impulses in creating psychology). I like fairly straightforward materialistic explanations.

Pseudoerasmus said...

Revolutionary elites in general are middle-class. I can't think of major revolutionary figures who were truly working-class or peasants. Not many from the rich, either, but usually from the solid middle or the recently risen to the middle.

(a) The petite bourgeoisie was more likely to be Bolshevised than the haute bourgeoisie. Thus, Jewish & non-Jewish teachers, librarians, bookkeepers, lawyers, etc. joined the revolutionaries whereas bankers, industrialists & landowners were less wont. Amongst the members of the Bolshevik Big Five only Kamenev came from haut-bourgeois stock (factory owner father). Bukharin (not Jewish) and Lenin were impeccably petit-bourgeois, with teachers for fathers. (However, Lenin's mother was the daughter of a Jewish doctor who had converted to Russian Orthodoxy. So Lenin was one-quarter Jewish, genetically speaking.) (b) Middle-class, but only recently risen. Trotsky & Zinoviev were first-generation educated & urban Jews, but their parents were Pale farmers. Stalin, not Jewish, was also the first generation in his family to receive much education. Lenin's paternal grandfather was an emancipated serf.

Anonymous said...

"Now that's a radical approach. "German Jews bad, Polish Jews good!""


Actually, since I'm a Pinochetista and an apologist of the Argentine "Dirty War" probably my formula would have been "German Jews good, EE Jews fucking pinkos".



So you're just making it all up as you go along then? If and when you figure out what you actually think, get back to me on this.

Anonymous said...

What jumps out at me is that Steve Sailer argues that the "Rothschilds may have been more representative of Jewish history than Fiddler", but you tame his argument into a much milder statement which nobody has ever objected to


You've been objecting like crazy to that "much milder statement". Don't sell yourself short - you may be young and impressionable but you're not nobody.

Anonymous said...

the simplest sociological explanation for the overrepresentation of Jews amongst Russia's revolutionary cadres (for example) is that Jews in the agrarian Russia of 1914 were disproportionately middle-class & urban & educated.



Isn't "Jews in the agrarian Russia of 1914 were disproportionately middle-class & urban & educated" the exact same proposition which you're argued furiously against when other people have made it? You're basically agreeing with other people here, you're just doing it an a disagreeable fashion.

ben tillman said...


I can't find my old essays on this topic, but there are Jewish historians who confirm this. They always had the protection of kings and popes, even if the lower gentile orders got uppity.

From Israel Shahak’s “Jewish History, Jewish Religion, p. 64:

It must be pointed out that in all the worst anti-Jewish persecutions, that is, where Jews were killed, the ruling elite, the emperor and the pope, the kings, the higher aristocracy and the upper clergy, as well as the rich bourgeoisie in the autonomous cities - were always on the side of the Jews. The latter’s enemies belonged to the more oppressed and exploited classes and those close to them in daily life and interests, such as the friars of the mendicant orders.