[excerpts] America and the Jewish Century


[excerpts] America and the Jewish Century

April 2017

What is the chief feature of America as a nation?

“The United States stood for unabashed Mercurianism, nontrivial statehood, and the supreme sovereignty of capitalism and professionalism. It was- rhetorically- a collection of homies rationalistic artificial, a nation of strangers held together by a common celebration of separateness (individualism) and rootlessness (immigration). It was only the modern state, in which a Jew could be an equal citizen and a Jew at the same time. “America” offered full membership without complete assimilation. Indeed, it seem to require an affiliation with a subnational community as a condition of full membership in the political nation. Liberalism, unlike nationalism and Communism, was not a religion and could not offer a theory of evil or a promise of immortality. It was- especially in the United States, which came closer than any other nation in to speaking Liberalese- always accompanied by a more substantial faith (which tended to gain further substance by being “separate from the state”). The role of such spiritual scaffolding might be played by a traditional religion, tribal ethnicity, or both religion and ethnicity…”

“Thus the Jews stood for the discontents of the Modern Age as much as they did for its accomplishments. Jewishness and existential loneliness became synonyms, or a least close intellectual associates. “modernism” as the autopsy and indictment of modern life was not Jewish any more than it was ‘degenerate’ but there is little doubt that Jewishness became one of its most important themes, symbols, and inspirations.”


“We would talk until we were hoarse and recite poetry until we were blue in the face. we would sit around long past midnight. I remember how I ran out of cigarettes once, around two in the morning. We walked about five kilometers through the city, to an all-night store near Mayakovsky Square. Then we walked back and continued our argument in the haze of tobacco smoke.”



This book is interesting to compare and contrast with John Lie’s Modern Peoplehood. I appreciated Yuri Slezkine’s conceptual framework of Mercurians vs Apollonians and her argument that all modern social life is ‘Jewish.’