Steve Sailer finds an interesting contrast:
- Ottawa to build Victims of Communism memorial. Elite opinion: What for? It didn’t happen in Canada. The thing’s too big.
- Ottawa to build a National Holocaust Monument, with a 50% larger budget. Elite opinion: General silence. No controversy. Implication is–What took so long? Canada is the only allied nation without a Holocaust monument in its capital.
Commenters note a further asymmetry between the two memorials. The former commemorates all victims of communism, while the latter will certainly focus on a subset of the victims of Naziism. Millions of dead Slavs don’t interest anyone, whether it was Stalin or Hitler who killed them. They were only goyim.
What’s really striking is what everybody takes for granted, that every country should have Holocaust monuments, but not, say, Holodomor monuments, Cultural Revolution monuments, Vendee massacre monuments, Saint Bartholomew’s Day massacre monuments, Armenian genocide monuments, Mongol conquest monuments, or monuments to any other great atrocity. Why is it so much more important to remember some deaths than others?
Of course, there’s always the suspicion that the Jews are doing it for selfish reasons, to enhance their status by laying claim to the “greatest victims ever” prize. I wish it were just the Jews, and that they were merely selfish, because then we might work out some accommodation. The point of Holocaust museums is to delegitimize Western peoples, to imply that any love we might have for our own race or country is just a prelude to genocide. That’s why all Westerners must have them. This view of Westerners is either true of false. If it’s true, the Jews are running quite a risk provoking us–if we’re really the monsters they say we are, we will not be long controlled by guilt. If it’s false, then the Jews are again running a risk concentrating their fire on us rather than more dangerous enemies. I think they really believe it, that they’re not the only ones that believe it, and that those who believe it are willing to take any risk to rid the world of what they see as our evils.
A while back, I wrote a series on the Orthosphere called “One God; many peoples” about the relationship between monotheism and universalism. I asked what drives some belief systems to proselytism, and whether proselytizing faiths are necessarily also particularity-dissolving faiths. In the original plan, there was an installment on Judaism. However, I decided that I didn’t have time to sugarcoat it enough for that site.
Is Judaism a proselytizing faith? The standard answer is “No, because they don’t try to convince everybody to become Jews.” Not so fast, though. Was Francis Xavier a proselytizer? He was a Jesuit missionary who went to distant lands preaching the gospel, but he didn’t try to convince everybody else to become Jesuit missionaries. “That’s not the point”, you’ll say, “he’s a proselytizer because he tried to convince them to become Catholic. ‘Catholic’ is the belief system, and ‘Jesuit missionary’ is just a particular role within that system.” Quite right. So, the question is, are the Jews, by their own lights, coextensive with a particular belief system, or are they just a sort of priesthood of some belief system? Do we in fact see the Jews leaving people alone to their gentile beliefs and loyalties, or do they expend significant energy to alter those beliefs and loyalties? Which is more common: a Christian (say, a missionary) attacking Jewish beliefs or a Jew (say, a newspaperman or screenwriter) attacking Christian beliefs? We’re already powerless–why would it be practical to devote so much attention to our beliefs? One could imagine arguing that the Jews were the most active and successful proselytizers of the last century, and what they preach tends to be far more anti-particularist than Christianity.
If this suggestion upsets you, just change the terminology to reflect mainstream value judgments. “Judaism has shown much greater moral clarity in condemning the evil of racism than Christianity. Christians are complacent in the face of bigotry, but Jews will take great risks to root out intolerance even in communities where no self-interest is involved. Jews bravely force gentiles to face their history of violence and oppression without excuses, whereas Christianity tends to legitimize violence and oppression.” There, did that sound better? Hardly controversial at all, when I put it like that. Bullies are full of moral clarity.