Page 8, 25th November 1938

25th November 1938
Page 8
Page 8, 25th November 1938 — Ethics Of Persecution

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Organisations: Spanish Embassy


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Ethics Of Persecution

E have given prominence this week to Fr. Wilcock's expert and graphic account of the persecution of Christianity as it is being waged at present in Russia. Let us remember that persecution does not cease to he such because it is completely successful. The achievement by Soviet Russia of an atheist State through the prolonged use of fanatical violence so that today the story, as regards new incidents, is practically over, enshrines a state of persecution that should disgust the conscience of civilisation fully as much as the cruel means by which this achievement was brought about. Not less disgusting is the hypocritical attempt, so fully described by Fr. Wilcock, to pretend that liberty of conscience still exists. And in this respect Republican Spain is in no better case than Soviet Russia, a peculiarly blatant example of such deceit being given this week by the Spanish Embassy in a letter to the Press, the substance of which is given in the " Jotter " notes below.

How does the persecution of the Jews which has aroused such wholehearted world indignation compare with the persecution of Christianity?

Persecution, it should be said, is at least understandable when the ideal of the State makes the expulsion or liquidation of certain hostile elements a real necessity as is the case with Christians in Russia or Red Spain, but as is not the case with Christians in Germany or in Reptililican Spain according to its present pi ofessions. Now in the case of Jew-% there is no doubt of its being an hostile element to certain regimes. Jews, unlike Catholics, have a loyalty to their own society which is more than spiritual .or moral: it is racial And physical. As such they are bound to be disliked by any regime which puts a high premium on racial and national homogeneity. Jews are traditionally middlemen, money-lenders, financiers and wielders of secret influence through control of purse-strings; as such they will be repugnant to any regime which tries to diminish the power of money in favour of open political or national power and to cut down usury, speculation and the unnecessary stages of buying and reselling in favour of Stateprotected production direct from producer to consumer. Jews, finally, are internationalists because the power of money and the love for that state of change and unsettlement which allows quick profits to the discerning are international.

Because of these characteristics (which of course do not apply to all or even the majority of individual Jews but to Jewry) it is to be expected that they will suffer at the hands of regimes which stand for opposite ideas, just as it is natural for Christians to be persecuted by Bolsheviks. But the outsider will

judge of the iniquity of persecution according to his judgment as to the relative goodness or badness of the final end of Bolshevism or the final end of regimes which extol nationalism and the protection of ordinary citizens from middlemen, financiers and the secret power of money. He may even consider that certain of these ends are so good in themselves that they actually justify special measures to restrain the activities of what would then be evil and anti-social elements in the population. Such restraint, if applied to measures rather than persons as such, will not necessarily amount to persecution at all as we understand it.

Accordingly we have to distinguish between sheer persecution against persons because of personal hatred or jealousy, logical persecution which is caused by the State's belief that an element within it is hostile to itself, and legal restraint of undesirable activities notoriously connected with a certain section of the population who are, because of this, likely to be the victims of these special measures.

Jews and Christians are equally persecuted under the first heading; Christians are persecuted under the second heading when the State is openly atheist; Jews and not Christians are likely to suffer under the third heading, and many will hold that it is in the interests of good society that they, when guilty of such conduct. should so suffer.

Unfortunately world opinion of persecution is guided by very different sentiments. Propaganda (not uninfluenced by worldJewry and world-anti-Christianity) sees to ft that the feelings of the people are enly directed against persecution of Jewry and of anti-Christian elements, or against Christianity when the persecution of aaristianity can be interpreted as the

scoring of another point against authoritarian regimes.

Until public opinion is enlightened about what is an intrinsically good end and what is intrinsically a bad end and until it can distinguish between these different kinds of measures taken by States against sections of their citizens, we should be on our guard against attaching too much importance to outbursts of indignation that are often too unanimous, well-timed and universal to be entirely objective, disinterested and spontaneous.

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