Oscar Levy: The Idiocy of Idealism (1938)

- Cp my notes on Russell, who of course provided many similar schemata of the continuism of ideas tho' I think I haven't tabulated any. / -NOTE: REVOLUTION; Christ as Marx: [Note: Change in meaning of phrase: 'KINGDOM OF GOD':] Levy considers Christ was a revolutionary, advocating the rights of the poor, and becoming progressively more extreme, until the powers that be in Judea, and the Romans, executed him; we see the equation of poverty with goodness in the Bible, he says. Christ must therefore have offered his followers, who had an eager eye on the main chance, the Kingdom of God in their time. Levy seems to be a Nietzschean; he seems to suggest wine, women and war are desirable, and that a man will turn his attention 'to fine women of all races' and won't, to quote Dryden, 'to one.. be cursedly confined.' This is his interpretation of 'Merrie Israel' in its best days; after this, the priests got the upper hand and edited the naughty bits, inserting fictional interpolation about David, and promoted the slave morality and pure race idea. / - On Christianity: 92: '.. the Christian camp: the camp of the Anti-Wise, the Anti-Noble, the Anti-Mighty. ..'/ 131: '.. Marx.. That plague brought from the Nile: the slave-morality, the exclusive care for the helot, the array of the underdog into a super-god had become unconscious with him.. this.. most Christ-like of Hebrews..'/ 141 '.. the Gospel of Hatred, the Evangel of Envy, the idealism of inspired idiots..' / - Nazism is a Jewish heresy [Pure Race]; Bolshevism a Christian/ late Jewish one [rich men bad, poor and unfavoured (& hence acc. to OL puritanical) good; & 49ff Christ believed in heaven on earth now, in this time - i.e. a vicious revolutionary demagogue] / - Levy edited and/or translated an English edition of Nietzsche; see my notes on 'The Nietzsche Reader'. Much of his stuff no doubt from this source. Cp Russell on happiness of late 19th century: 'No one who has not lived his so-called "best years" (they were my worst) in the pre-war age can have any idea of its profound smugness and towering self-satisfaction. The rocks were right ahead.. The authors, the politicians who prophesied it could be counted upon the fingers of one hand...' / - Levy was a friend of Norman Douglas, who, he says, urged him to write this book, since someone of the [17, 24] Levite caste couldn't be considered anti-semitic like such amateurs as Hitler / - Levy has no conception of the 13th Tribe stuff. He seems to have no doubt that 'Jesus Christ' existed. Or that e.g. Solomon existed as depicted in the Bible. Or that Christianity sprang from Judaism. Or that Judaism is immensely old. Or that the Jews existed (I think) before the Egyptians. Or that Moses existed. I think probably his critique of Christ is traditionally Jewish. Cp Hilaire Belloc, who seems exactly similar but of course Catholic. Each is somewhat outspoken (though not of course entirely) and each (one feels) follows their respective orthodoxy (though admittedly Nietzsche is perhaps a bit abnormal for a Jew; or is he?). Neither has any concept of science. Both naively assume the predominance of ideas, and also that ideas are and in fact have been transmitted. Both have florid styles, necessitated by the oddities in the material they're discussing.

- ARROGANCE: Levy has a strange sort of arrogance, a version of racism which may have been distasteful stuff to his readers:- / -10: 'no one can' [write this book for O. Levy] / -11: 'I am all for authority.. in the herd and its herdsmen' / -15: 'Merry Israel - Israel under the Kings - wine, women & warfare.. David and Bath-Sheba story .. we shall say nothing against it' ... 'virtues and vices of the great.. [cp] smaller fry..' / [This is odd as he seems to oppose war in a sort of ideal sense. Another oddity is the superman idea; he however also says that Christianity relies on envy of the rich and successful, who of course may be quite large in number - not just one Caesar type. So this is another absurd contradiction]. / [Yet another contradiction seems to be his belief in the pre-eminence of family life among Jews] / [Another oddity is the way he sometimes confuses puritanism with poverty; he seems to think inter-war Germany was able to support expansive spendthrifts. 114 he says 'modern saviours.. do not eat properly' instancing Robespierre who lived says OL on oranges; of others unnamed 'one dines off apples, the other off macaroni, a third off cabbage, a fourth .. of goat's milk..'] / -22: '.. Solomon.. his principal wife was a daughter of the Pharaoh of Egypt.. besides her this "chip off the old block" loved many foreign women.. Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, ...' / -26: 'It has been seen that the kings of "merry Israel" - the period of Israel's glory - did not care for pure race. No healthy man does; his mind and senses turn towards the fine women of all races. He feels that he himself conveys race: that he is able to impress his blood and spirit upon his descendants' - which is quite interesting and may be typical of many Jews, and MAY justify the idea that racism was a Jewish invention. But note the absurdity of 'conveying race' in this individualistic sense (& the assumed dominance of sperm over egg!). Levy never says what he means by 'race' & even talks e.g. of 'the French race'. 22 implies Moabites etc are different 'races'; perhaps he couldn't bear to use the word 'tribe' / -30: 'race of character and intelligence, hardened in storms and persecutions..' / -32: 'Nazis.. will share the fate of Jews; the Zion of their pride will fall, the idol of their State will kiss the dust..' / -134: 'The Pharaohs are no more.. But their slaves are alive & found everywhere, often in prominent positions...'

/ 1975 ish notes of mine: Levy's standpoint is apparently Nietzschean, judging by the favourable quotations. His vision of a society without idiocy is vague; it includes 'striving after the kingdom within you', and also need for revolution, Protestation, which will 'finally conquer for the masters, de-Christianized, de-nationalized, de-vulgarized, the Kingdom of the Earth.' He admires David and Solomon, the concerns of the former being said to be 'wine, women, and warfare'; and approves of Napoleon, whom he regards as attempting to unify Europe; also Caesar and Henry of Navarre, perhaps for similar reasons. her seems keen to witness the fall of Christianity, because it is too popular with 'the slaves', and is not sure whether Democracy - 'the secularization of Christianity' - is not equally found wanting; although he says that 'it should be upheld amongst those classes in which it originally arose and prospered' - which suggests that the political sense of the word is not strongly present in his mind. His survey of 'idealism' - meaning, more or less, 'fanaticism' - interprets all such movements in biblical terms, either old or new testament; Greece is ignores, so is Islam. He postulates that politics depend on religion, and religion depends on moral values, which are thus fundamental. But he says also, on German nationalism, that 'Hegel... is a most important man, for upon him, as upon a pivot, turns the whole of modern history: just to prove to our students of statistics and lightweights of literature that it does not turn on economics or politics, but upon philosophy, or rather, on theology dressed up as philosophy.' Another axiom, which he hints is characteristic of Jewishness,* [*Note that some belief in race is present too - 'It has been seen that the kings of "merry Israel" - the period of Israel's glory - did not care for pure race. No healthy man does; his mind and senses turn towards the fine women of all races. He feels that he himself conveys race: that he is able to impress his blood and spirit upon his descendants. ...'] is that 'family life is the basis of all civilization.' And he is non-committal, in spite of his analysis, about Judaism - at that time both unprecedentedly successful, with Sir Herbert Samuel and the foundation of Israel; and unsuccessful, as regards Nazism and fascism. [Note that Italy is not in fact dealt with here - tho' by implication included in the chapters on nationalism and the accompanying fragmentation of Europe.] Over the page I attempt a schematic outline of the book. He considers two strands out of the bible as being important, historically and at the present day: one is the Old Testament idea of 'ancestor examiners', which came into Judaism upon their return from Babylon, under Cyrus, and when they discovered that 'transgressions' had been widely occurring. On this basis Nazism is regarded as an OT heresy. And Bolshevism is a NT heresy - 'Its standing up for the poor, the weak, the downtrodden, its hatred of the rich, the learned, the joyful, are evidently inspired by the teachings of the Divine Saviour Himself. So were the revolutionary doctrines of Lenin and Trotski - this latter a Jew by race but a Christian by soul - which are clearly an imitation of Christ, of that Christ who overturned the tables of the Jerusalem capitalists and money-changers.' I record here his estimate of Cromwell: 'he had no clear-cut aim, no lucid will to power; he was pushed into politics... Lenin... also saw himself one day upon the empty throne... and said to his friend Trotski.. I am giddy. ... Cromwell, a weak man thru' religion, must, as a Christian at the un-Christian game of politics, have suffered agonies. ... Bismarck, too, tried to 'find out what is the will of God,' or so he said. 'Cromwell was the last religious saviour.' 'the Nordic Saint' like Robespierre.>

OLD TESTAMENT: On return of Jews from captivity, priests took advantage of low spirits; introduced Puritanism. So history* of 'merry Israel' - David and Solomon - interpolated. [tho' a failure, Rehoboam was virtuous.] 'Pure race' thought of - foreign wives 'put away'. But not revolutionary; only 'low in spirit' rule. Also (Exodus 20.4) 'images' disliked.   Prophets, & idea of another saviour 'Kingdom of heaven' idea Tendency of Jews to be 'leading idealists'
Kept up by the Jews; 'encouraged' by Constantine's persecution 'O.T. violence + N.T. saviour'   NEW TESTAMENT:--
Medieval ghettoes     Disciples and Peter the 'rock'*1; a “people's commissary” Roman Empire; disruption by Christianity. Parallel today with secular religions. CHRIST. His success: (i) cured hysteria, neurasthenia by 'magical means' (like Christian Science).
'invisible prejudice' of Christians           Evangelical freedom taken seriously by Anabaptists etc. Middle Ages; 'semi-pagan Renaissance.' (ii) Provided food; loaves and fishes; note: importance to Jews of prayers for rain, kept up in synagogues
19th century; Disraeli Cromwell: combined religions of nationalism and saviour. 'Actor, liar, manipulator of army, parliament, & King;' had to 'propose himself a restoration.' Calvin, his 'French colleague' - 'indifferent to money' - & his 'Kingdom of Christ' & doctrine of 'elect' Geneva and oppression Luther: who split Europe, ended renaissance; 'chosen people idea at the root of German mentality' (iii) Teaching as 'one of the people.' All these annoyed both Scribes & Pharisees.
Founding of Israel & support for underdog; Disraeli's support of Chartists and opposition to Manchester School (i) Made England feared but not respected (ii) Puritanism led to honesty in the lower classes; good for trade; and turned minds to facts only - good for science... Rousseau; Geneva Protestant; Deist - nature good, civilisation, wisdom, bad; the 'Sovereign People.' His servant's philosophy spread by pen, not like Christ's by voice 30 years war, Christianity seen to have caused 'incommensurable harm.' Montaigne's cautious essays. Age of Louis XIV; destroyed by Rousseau...  
  'teutonic convert' Houston S Chamberlain - 'Foundations of the Nineteenth Century' (bedbook of Frederick II & Hitler)   ... hence successes of Britain and America; higher civilizations threatened tho'... no 'intellectual conscience' produced by Puritanism; science runs amok 30 years after the 'discours' Germany in defeat 'fell back upon Luther,' Fichte: 1805 'Addresses' in Prussia on the 'kingdom of reason' & its 'chosen race' & 'holy duty.' Doctrines: felt his way; (i) Offered Kingdom of Heaven here, and soon.*2 (ii) Message of love
      French revolution. Robespierre an ascetic, fanatic; festival of Etre Supreme; 'uncivil action' laws; Terror; execution. Hegel - a Lutheran - and his 'Divine State.' But (iii) This was 'degraded, previously addressed only to mighty and wealthy.' (iv) carried on by support of the multitude, became revolutionary. Note Dives and Lazarus story, its envy and revenge.
      Napoleon 'attempted to unify Europe.' Used Theology of Nationalism - 'priests', dogma, anthems... Right: Bismarck, 3 lucky wars & 'practical Christianity' of social legislation. Then 4 declarations of war in 1 wk. Left: Marx and the revolutionaries 'incarnated in full the moral idea.' Germans wanted to help Russia fall. (v) Both the Jews and Romans knew this - not the Gentiles though; the Romans ordered the execution.*3 (vi) Note the family disruption, emphasis on hardness of heart.*4
*Following the Jews, the Gentiles 'do nothing else but falsify history.' The Christians composed the NT with this sort of bias. Thus:-         /
*1 Matt. xv 18,19 'a later and acknowledged interpolation' *2 See pp 47-50 for various misleading readings in Authorised Version
*3 Matt xxvii, 19-25 (or so): 'The whole passage is an interpolation.. the victors are the exclusive historians..' *4 See pp. 44-7

ABRAHAM / ANABAPTISTS, their Kingdom of Heaven in Muenster/ in Cromwell's time/ ANANIAS and SAPPHIRA/ AUGUSTUS, age of

BAREBONE'S PARLIAMENT/ BATH SHEBA/ BEARD, C. A./ BISMARCK, Otto von, in favour of marriage with Jewesses ('Jewish mares')/ compared with Cromwell/ repents in later years/ an unconscious Idealist/ not a logical Christian/ BOLSHEVISM / and Christianity: Lunacharski's statement

CAESAR/ CALVARY AND DEMOCRACY / CALVIN, J., his misdeeds in Geneva/ his theocracy the embryo of the totalitarian state/ Cromwell's Gospel derived from/ his "Holy Communion of the citizens"/ Pope Pius IV opinion about him/ Rousseau, a Calvinist/ CATHOLIC MASS, replaced by new civic religion/ CHAMBERLAIN, Houston Stewart/ British convert to Teutonism/ his "Foundations" the bedside book of William II and Hitler/ CHARLES I / CHARLES V/ CHESTERTON, G. K. ('Christianity has never been tried yet') / CHOSEN RACE, the jews as/ the Germans as / CHRIST, His, revolutionary and vindictive nature/ (His career: degrading 'love', quixotising it, driving out devils, faith healing [pro-poor prophet]/ vehemently accuses the Scribes and Pharisees/ His power of speech/ His hardness against Himself (self-hatred) and others/ promises the Kingdom "in our time" to His followers / preacher of the Gospel to the poor/ His contradictions explained/ from Preacher of Love to Leader of Proletarians/ His mysterious birth/ thought mad by His friends/ accused by enemies as a glutton and winebibber/ considers non-Jews as dogs/ His complete victory in our time/ Nietzsche's "noble Hebrew"/ CHRISTIAN SCIENCE, reason of its success/ CHURCHILL, Winston/ CLARENDON, E. H., historian of the Rebellion (quoted because he thinks 'inferior persons of no quality' etc in Parliament and 'weak, senseless fellows etc' )/ COMMUNISM (see also BOLSHEVISM) / (Lenin & Trotsky 'an imitation of Christ')/ CONSTANTINE the Great/ CROMWELL, Oliver, missing link between the religion of Christ and country/ his behaviour when signing King Charles' death warrant/ his trouble with the Fifth Monarchy men / his Long Parliament and Clarendon's opinion/ compared with Bismarck/ remorse in later years/ last of religious Saviours/ his corpse torn from his grave/ CYRUS, King of Persia

DANTON, G. J. / DAVID, King of Merry Israel/ his moral castration by a prophet / died peacefully in his bed/ representative of a healthy nation/ Christ, greeted as the son of/ DEISM, a creed with a God who has passed his prime/ DEMOCRACY, Secularized Christianity/ DESMOULINS, Camille / DISRAELI, Benjamin, the lyric genius of the Jews/ and Bismarck/ his fight against the Manchester school/ standing up for the Chartists/ DIVES and Lazarus, the most characteristic parable in the N.T. -/ DOUGLAS, Norman / DRYDEN, J., quotation from "Absalom and Achitophel"

ENGLAND/ EZRA, forbade all intercourse with foreign women / upon his advice the Jews put away their foreign wives/ Chosen Race [hence Nazi purity] idea of Ezra and Nehemiah

FASCISTS, puritanism of/ FICHTE, Gottlieb, like Christ a moral fanatic/ his vision of a kingdom of reason/ extols the Germans as Christ extolled the Jews/ exhorts the Germans to establish high morality/ upon the cross of his message was crucified the whole of Europe/ FRANCE, Anatole/ FREDERICK THE GREAT and the drunken colonel/ FIFTH MONARCHY MEN asking for the Kingdom of Heaven in England/ their revolution and its suppression

GARDINER, S. R./ GEIBEL, E., German poet/ GERMANY, Ahnenpruefer (ancestor examiners)/ of defeat chose intolerance & pessimism/ the Chosen People and Messiah Race / "Fons et origo malorum"/ against the unity of Europe/ revolution prepared by her philosophers/ [OL seems to ignore Catholic south of Germany as source of Nazis!]/ the puzzle of Europe/ "waxed fat and kicked"/ "Was the Lord to sell His people for nought?"/ [Protestant Jesuits]/ GIBBON, E./ GOEBELLS, [sic] Joseph/ GOETHE, J. W. von/ his cure for enthusiasts / GOSPELS misinterpreted by historians and even freethinkers [i.e. Christ was a fiendish hater, mob-orator]/ interpolations in

HEGEL, G. W. F., inventor of the Divine State/ a theologian in disguise/ a good Lutheran/ Germans: Hegelians of the Right; Russians: Hegelians of the Left/ HEINE, Heinrich/ HENRY OF NAVARRE/ HITLER, Adolf/ "amateur of anti-Semitism"/ his bedside book/ HORACE

IDEALISM more dangerous than materialism

JEWS/ [Germans said] "our misfortune" ['in a higher and deeper sense Jews produced Nazis']/ "Salvation comes from them"/ decadence after their Kings ['humble & miserable & depressed']/ falsified their history ['chapter on Samuel proved an interpolation']/ how they became a pure race [Bismarck & Nietzsche] / Jews and Polygamy/ political controversy amongst them/ reverence of children for parents/ creators of our values/ their spirit of revenge/ are the first and the last Christians/ Christ's brethren in Race and Spirit/ their defence of the under-dog/ German Jews intimately connected with German Philosophy/ leading idealists of yore and to-day/ their latest Exodus/ [traditions: rain making bitter herbs &c]/ JOHN the Baptist /

KANT, Immanuel/ KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, its realization through revolution/ Christ's message of -- renewed by Luther/ in England/ renewed by Rousseau/ Kingdom of Reason: Fichte's version of/ Hegel's "Divine State"; a modernized Kingdom / Marx the 'jusquauboutiste' of Hegel's conception of/ Russia, the -/ root of the evil/ Ernest Renan on the -- as root of social reformations

LAZARUS and Dives/ LEIBNITZ, Gottfried W./ LENIN, V. / "liberty is a bourgeois principle" [he said to Bolshies]/ compared with Cromwell/ sent by Ludendorff to Russia/ the new Saint of Russia/ LEO X/ LEVITE / LOISY, Abbe, French modernist, drawing a line between Jesus "human and divine"/ LOUIS XIV, age of/ LOUIS XVI/ LUCRETIUS/ LUDENDORFF, Erich / LUNACHARSKI, A. V., connects Bolshevism with Christ/ LUTHER, Martin, his Reformation a Jewish Revival/ considered Rome as the "Whore of Babylon"/ his cruelty against the peasants/ Left revolutions suppressed in Germany since

MANCHESTER SCHOOL/ MARX, Karl, disciple of Hegel/ stands up for under-dog/ considered himself a free-thinker/ most Christ-like of Hebrews/ his renewal of the slave morality/ MIRABEAU, H. G. R./ MONTAIGNE, Michel de

NAPOLEON, Offended by comparison with Cromwell/ the slogan he adopted/ son of the Revolution and Saviour from Revolution/ his idea of uniting Europe/ NATHAN, the prophet/ NATIONALISM, the religion of our age/ NAZIS, their "worship in fours"/ falsely called Neo-Pagans/ Puritanism of/ Nazism, a Jewish heresy/ NEHEMIAH / NEURASTHENIA/ NEW ENGLISH WEEKLY / NIETZSCHE, Friedrich, recommends the junkers to marry Jewesses [for more 'Geist]/ calls Antisemites "Stepchildren of Nature"/ a weakness in his strong mind/ his wish for the happiness of the masses


PALLOY, P. F., Organizer of festival of Supreme Being/ Parricides, treatment of, by 'southern and oriental races' (examples from France & Italy!)/ PASCAL, B.

ST. PAUL, "Not many wise men are called"/ extends Christianity to the Gentiles/ PEPYS Diary/ PERICLES, Age of/ Pre-war age, smugness of/ ST. Peter, doubts cash-value of his following Christ/ rock on which Catholic Church is built/ the coward of the cock-crows/ a Bolshevik "avant la lettre"/ PONTIUS PILATUS / POPE, A./ prayer for rain, 'Tal Betal'/ 'Protestant Jesuits' of Germany/ PURITANISM, Barebone's parliament, highwater mark of/ its good and bad consequences

REHOBOAM, rebellion of ten tribes against him/ RENAN, Ernest, calls Christ "un rabbi charmant" [misunderstands Christ] / the troubadour of the gospel/ atheistic revolutionaries and the Kingdom of Heaven/ ROBESPIERRE, Maximilien, child of love-match [bastard therefore with strong character]/ disciple of Rousseau / "messiah of new world"/ orders enthusiasm/ his methods copied by modern dictators/ prophets and profiteers/ his love of solitude/ the Terror/ the incarnation of the revolution/ his house in the Rue St. Honore/ his pure life/ ROUSSEAU, Jean Jacques, of Protestant stock/ his "Back to Nature"/ his dispute with Voltaire/ his "Sovereign People"/ afraid of true democracy/ RUSSELL, Bertrand/ RUSSIA / State trials

SAMUEL, Sir Herbert/ SCHOPENHAUER, A. f./ SCIENCE, daughter of Puritanism; its misdeeds/ SERMON OF THE MOUNT/ SHAW, G. B./ SINAI, Calvary, democracy/ SOLOMON, King, his wisdom/ builds temple for a foreign wife/ his noble blood/ STALIN, J., amused to hear that he was a Christian/ SUPREME BEING festival of/ Switzerland

TAWNEY, R. H./ Thousand year reign of Christ; see th Monarchy Men/ TROTSKI, Leon, a Jew by race, a Christian by faith/ in conversation with Lenin

URIAH the Hittite killed so David could fuck wife

VOLTAIRE, F. M./ and the Lisbon earthquake

WILLIAM II and his bedside book: Chamberlain's "Foundations"/ War: Pious Rehoboam/ sober Prussian Colonel/ WOMEN, their adoration of Saviours f.,