A man walks into a Jewish restaurant and asks the boss: “How do you prepare your chickens?” “We tell them up front they’re not going to make it,” he replies. To those Italians who voted for Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Alliance, or Greeks who support the Golden Dawn movement, or Jobbik Party voters in Hungary, among others: Permit me to tell you up front that you are not going to make it, either. Your countries are dying because you no longer wish to live. One can “foresee a time when your land with its rivers and mountains still lies under heaven as it does today, but other people dwell there; when your language is entombed in books, and your laws and customs have lost their living power,” to paraphrase Franz Rosenzweig.
These political parties have returned old-fashioned Jew-hatred to the political mainstream. Southern Europe’s economic crisis and social dissolution, the new anti-Semites imagine, is the work of a global conspiracy of Jewish bankers run by the Rothschilds, the Illuminati, and the Freemasons. Beppe Grillo, the recipient of a fifth of the Italian vote in Italy’s February elections, says: “Hitler may have been sick, but the idea of eliminating the Jews was to eliminate their financial dictatorship.” A Jobbik candidate for the European Parliament wrote: “Anti-Semitism is not just our right, but it is the duty of every Hungarian homeland lover, and we must prepare for armed battle against the Jews.” A member of the Greek Parliament for the Golden Dawn read out extracts from the anti-Semitic forgery Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
May I ask you to consider — just for the sake of argument — an alternative explanation? Hypothetically speaking, is it possible that the Jews have nothing at all to do with your misery, but that you are destroying yourselves?
Consider the facts: by 2040, you will have about 60% more elderly dependents than you have now, and about half as many young workers. Your economies will collapse, along with your social safety net. The trajectories in the chart below well may understate the problem. In the United Nations’ low variant, Hungary’s total fertility rate stays above one child per female. Excluding the Roma (Gypsies), though, Hungary’s fertility rate has already fallen to a chillingly low 0.85:
Three European Countries: Elderly (60+) vs. Young (15-24) Population (2000 = 100)
Source: United Nations
You are dying because you wish to die; that is, because you do not wish to rear children. Only 10% of Hungarian men and 12% of Hungarian women are married by age thirty, which is to say that only a tenth of young Hungarians intend to have children. If you don’t have children, you will disappear, Jews or no Jews. Long before you disappear, your economies will collapse under the weight of dependent elderly.
That is enough to make anyone crazy. But there is an obstacle to self-diagnosis: if you have tried to visualize your own extinction, you will have failed. The mind revolts at the prospect of national extinction. We cannot imagine our death as individuals. Sigmund Freud observed: “It is indeed impossible to imagine our own death. … Whenever we attempt to do so we can perceive that we are in fact still present as spectators. In the unconscious every one of us is convinced of his own immortality.” Even less can we imagine that no one will speak our language, sing our songs, laugh at our jokes, nod at our history — that we will not only pass out of earthly existence, but out of all remembrance as well.
We cannot think of a world that has erased us from memory. We could not if we tried, because we require language in order to think, and we cannot think in an extinct language. Our minds are not a tabula rasa, taking the imprint of sense data as it strikes us at random. Perception begins with consciousness, and consciousness is rooted in identity. We hear and see things that have meaning for us. A world without us has no meaning for us, and we have no capacity to perceive it.
Because you Jew-haters cannot conceive of a world from which you have erased yourselves, it is impossible for you to form a rational judgment about your future, and almost as hard to form a rational judgment about your present, which points inexorably to the absence of a future. If you could form a rational judgment, you probably would emigrate, as have 250,000 to 500,000 young Hungarians over the past ten years. And if you cannot form rational judgments, you will make irrational judgments — for example, about a conspiracy of Jewish bankers. Es zol gor nisht helfen (Yiddish: It’s hopeless). That’s why the United States of America is here: we receive the refugees from people who want to live and therefore abandon dying cultures.
The question remains: why are we Jews the subject of your paranoid obsession? Why not a global Chinese conspiracy, for example? There are only 30,000 Jews left in Italy, for example, and fewer than 5,000 in Greece.
May I suggest an explanation? Your obsession is not with the Jews as such, but with your mortality and the imminent extinction of your culture.
You are obsessed with something that no man and no people is capable of imagining, for you will not be a spectator at your own funeral nor a witness to your own national extinction. You anti-Semites may or may not be Christians, but somewhere in the back of your minds you recall John 4:22: “Salvation is of the Jews.” Substitute the word “eternity” for “salvation,” and the origin of your obsession becomes clear. The peoples of the world first acquired the hope of eternal life from the Jews, and Christianity promised the Jews’ salvation to the Gentiles.
You have long since abandoned the promise of Christianity, as your refusal to have children shows. All that remains is your residual envy of the Jewish promise of eternity, death’s envy of life.
Jew-hatred seems most virulent in countries where national extinction is a palpable presence on the horizon, and almost nonexistent in countries confident of their own futures. Anti-Semitism is relatively rare in the United States, India, and China. Hungary among the Western nations is the least likely to succeed, and correspondingly the least hospitable towards Jews. Last year a member of parliament for the Jobbik Party, Zsolt Baráth, revived the 1882 Tiszaeszlár blood libel against Hungary’s Jews — the allegation that Jews slaughtered a 14-year-old girl to obtain blood to make Passover matzos. The Jewish defendants were acquitted of the preposterous charges, but Baráth “claimed the judge had proof of the defendants’ guilt but succumbed to pressure to acquit them to avoid seeing Hungary bankrupted by international financiers,” as the AP reported on April 5, 2012. To the rest of the civilized world, it stamps you indelibly as evil clowns.
Some months before the incident I visited Budapest, a city that seems inhabited by more statues than people. It was built as an imperial capital to rule an area of 25 million people, but now serves a country of fewer than 10 million. It is more mausoleum than metropolis, filled with marble images of long-forgotten heroes of independence battles that soon will pass out of human memory. In some ways, that is a shame. The stuffed carp in aspic with a cherry-and-horseradish sauce served at one of the town’s two surviving kosher restaurants is a revelation to Jews who have suffered with the insipid paste claiming to be gefilte fish. Except for the stuffed carp, Budapest is one of the most depressing venues in the world, a reminder of generations of past suffering and obsession that have come to naught.
The latest Hungarian census shows that more than half of Hungarian families have no children (against a fifth in the United States). A quarter of families have just one child, and just 15% have two. The proportion of dependent elderly rose to 38% from 32.5%. And Hungary’s terrible slide into demographic extinction has just begun.
Under the circumstances, it’s also no surprise that Hungary has one of the highest suicide rates in the world, at 21 per 100,000 of population per year.
Fertility vs. Suicide Rates
Hungary is at the extreme end of the fertility scale and almost at the top of the suicide tables (other demographically challenged countries — Belarus, Japan, Russia, and Ukraine — come in just ahead). We encounter Israel at the extreme opposite corner of the chart, with the lowest suicide rate in the industrial world and the highest fertility rate. By these objective criteria, Israel loves life more than any nation on earth. Your hatred stems from the rancor that the dying bear against the living.
Your misery is entirely your own fault. I am not asking you to change your minds. If you had minds capable of changing you wouldn’t be in this mess to begin with. Don’t commit suicide. Stick around to watch your own cultural decline. Your death will have all the greater finality if you wait long enough to see your culture expire around you. Just remind the last person left in Budapest to turn out the lights. And send us a postcard with the recipe for stuffed carp with cherry-horseradish sauce. We’d like something to remember you by.