On a Greased Rail to Amalekite Rule

With House Speaker Pelosi publicly opining on the immorality of a fortified border, it may be timely to review a traditional doctrine of the Church to which she belongs.  Aquinas begins his discussion of just relations with foreigners by observing that these are “twofold” (Suma Theologica Q. 105, Art. 3.).  They may be peaceful or they may be hostile, and to deal peacefully with hostile foreigners is just as wrong as to receive peaceful foreigners with hostility.

Turning to the Old Law, Aquinas finds that “Jews were offered three opportunities of peaceful relations with foreigners.”  The first was with foreign wayfarers who were peacefully passing through Jewish lands. These were perigrino or pilgrims in the old sense of wandering strangers.  John Wayne used the word “pilgrim” in this sense in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, where it meant a stranger who was “just passing through.”  Such strangers the ancient Jews were commanded not to “molest” (Exodus 23:9).

We today identify “molestation” with a particularly repulsive form of sexual perversion, but the word originally meant to trouble or disturb.  Looking out upon a storm-tossed sea, a character in Shakespeare’s Othello says,

“I never did like molestation view
On the enchafed flood.”

Enchafed means excited, aroused, or provoked.  And such was the drowsy owl in Thomas Grey’s “Elegy on a Country Churchyard” (1750).

“The moping owl does to the moon complain
Of such as, wandering near her secret bower,
Molest her ancient solitary reign.”

The commandment against molestation of the wayfaring pilgrim was a commandment to leave him in peace—provided, needless to say, that he kept the peace and did not molest the Jews.

The same rule applied to strangers who came to dwell among the Jews, whom Aquinas called advenam, which is to say “newcomers.”  Such are our “immigrants.”  These, too, were not to be “molested,” which is to say harried, harassed or disturbed (Exodus 22:21).  Newcomers should be left in peace so long as they were themselves peaceful, but their remaining peaceful included acceptance of the fact that they were newcomers, and therefore ineligible for political rights and excluded from all forms of government.  Newcomers were not free to disturb the peace and molest the Jews with complaints as to how things could be arranged more to their liking.

Aquinas observes that nations commonly imposed a probationary period of two or three generations on newcomers, and points with approval to what Aristotle says in his Politics.  As Aquinas says,

“The reason for this was that if foreigners were allowed to meddle with the affairs of a nation as soon as they settled down in its midst, many dangers might occur, since the foreigners not yet having the common good firmly at heart might attempt something hurtful to the people.”

Among the Jews, the Old Law said that assimilation required three generations, and therefore extended political rights only to the grandchildren (or perhaps the great grandchildren) of newcomers.

Finally, the Old Law provided for peaceful relations with indigenous minorities that were “never to be admitted to citizenship” because of their historic hatred for the Jews.  Indeed, the Amalekites were to be regarded as social pariahs in perpetuity (Exodus 17:16).  These permanent resident aliens were not newcomers, but rather remnants the conquered tribes of Palestine.  The Old Law recognized that defeat and expropriation had left these peoples with an incorrigible racial hatred for the Jews, and that they could never, therefore, be assimilated or enfranchised..

These grievously injured peoples could never assimilate, and must remain perpetual strangers, because they nursed their grievances and passed a thirst for revenge down through the generations.  The Jews should not unjustly compound their injuries, and should here again observe the conditional rule against molestation, but it would be folly to admit these inveterate, implacable and vengeful enemies into their councils, their temple, or their personal affairs.  Even if some Amalekites were prepared to “let bygones be bygones,” there would always be others who would use political rights to molest the Jews and wreak revenge on their historic enemies.

Christian civilization long looked upon the Jews in a similar way.  It forbade molestation of peaceful Jews, but it did not entrust Jews with political rights because some Jews would use the franchise to molest Christians and wreak revenge for past injuries.  Christians were to treat the Jews as the Jews had treated Amalekites, because to do otherwise would be to open the gate to political, cultural and religious assassins and saboteurs.

If you paid attention to the recent opening of the one hundred and sixteenth Congress, you know that we no longer deal with aggrieved and vengeful strangers in this way.  We instead carry them through the gates on our shoulders, nod to their racial hatreds, and meekly submit to the vengeance that they call “justice.”   Much of our culture now consists of Amalekite molestation, and our politics appears to be on a greased rail to to Amalekite rule.

14 thoughts on “On a Greased Rail to Amalekite Rule

  1. Identity Politics is all about emphasizing differences. Assimilation is “To make similar”. Early Jews understood that it is a cold wind that blows from a strange country–and for the visiting stranger to try to change the wind is to invite disaster. Far better to wait a while and get used to whatever temperature the wind happens to be. Sounds like they thought it took three generations. I can buy that. Going out on a limb, speaking about things which I am not personally familiar with: Affection for Children means, in part, to imbue them with a sense of heritage. But affection for grand children means to set them up as well as possible, wherever they happen to be. Assimilation is achieved.

    But Identity politics produces the phenomenon we see even within the states. Strangers move from California and New York to Texas or Florida and bring their cold winds with them and insist on re-creating the conditions that precipitated their departure from their more temperate homes.

    Identity Politics is inherently uncharitable because of that emphasis on difference. Dealing Charitably means treating men the same and, as appropriate, giving the benefit of the doubt. Unstated but understood is that it means dealing with men Justly. Favoritism from a sovereign is unjust, and therefore uncharitable. You aren’t helping a newcomer by keeping the winds cold and emphasizing the things that make them feel unwelcome.

    Assimilation warms the winds, but you have to give it time.

    • Yes, but if resentment against your people is a large part of a stranger’s culture, that stranger is unassimilable. It doesn’t matter if his resentment is justified or not. It would be folly to ask a man you have injured (or who believes you have injured him) to look after your dog. Maybe he as forgiven you and maybe he hasn’t. Are you going to take his word for it?

    • Strangers move from California and New York to Texas or Florida and bring their cold winds with them and insist on re-creating the conditions that precipitated their departure from their more temperate homes.

      Which is of course a problem with displaced migrants restless to set all things aright in their adopted state(s), but not the problem with them.

      It won’t ever do to simply say “come one, come all, but leave your politics at the border and learn of us for the next two generations, lest you create conditions for the selfsame mess in our state you fled your home state to escape” when the Constitutional and lawful means by which the host state was once enabled to protect itself against such have long since been overthrown; so long since, indeed, that the general public barely retains a faint memory of these mechanisms for self-preservation if they retain any measure of them at all.

      What you describe is a thing I have complained about many times, both orally and in written conversation. In my state, Oklahoma, e.g., we have, over the course of time and things, received a fairly sizeable migrant population who hail from more “progressive” coastal states. I have spoken to lots of these people, and almost invariably they will tell me that they fled their homes (in CA or Mass, say) for more friendly and “conservative” environs, BUT that upon arrival noticed right away that Oklahoma is way behind the times in those ways they themselves are passionate about. When I have suggested that they lose that proactive spirit and restrain the impulse to participate in the political process in Oklahoma while they “learn of us,” they look at me like I have literally lost my mind. We should, instead, learn of them, don’t ya know. Whereupon I rest my case.

      A significant number of these persons are the children and grandchildren of former Okies who made their escape to California during the Dust Bowl days. Now, I cannot say with any real assurance whether or not their ancestors possessed the same spirit that animates their progeny when they migrated to California, but it is of no real significance one way or the other when one gets to the principle of the matter. I have used the analogy before of an innocent man convicted of a capital crime and spending the next 30 years of his life in a penitentiary before new evidence is discovered exonerating him. Although he were perfectly innocent when incarcerated, he still spent the next 30 years of his life in a penal institution and, no doubt, learned all manner of illicit “survival skills” in that environment from his fellow inmates; to believe that such an one will not carry those (learned, and finely honed) survival skills back into society with him upon release as a general rule, and retain them for the better part of the remainder of his days, is beyond idiotic. And yet, here we are.

      • In The Grapes of Wrath, I remember the Joad family regularly lecturing the Californians about “how things were done back in Oklahoma.” It’s interesting to think of today’s middle-class flight from California as a dust bowl in reverse.

  2. Not to equate the Weimerican Republic to the ancient Israelites, but since we’re using them as our example, see Jg. ch. 2: 16-23.

  3. Pingback: On a Greased Rail to Amalekite Rule | Reaction Times

  4. We go one further, in that not only do we worship Amelikites as the most noble of all peoples, but our idea of assimilation is assimilation to Amelikitism. (Amelikatia?) Before the Civil Rights Movement, American Blacks were by and large American; more prone to violent crime and other unsavory problems due to a complicated set of circumstances, to be sure, but assimilated to the main current of American culture all the same. Now with the wild success of the redefinition of ‘minority’ status, that is no longer the case.

    We have shifted from a cooperative game like the stag hunt to a competitive game like the Prisoner’s Dilemma. We call this ‘identity politics’ now.

  5. It is difficult to judge which is a worse affliction — the Amalekites or the Sponsors of the Amalekites. The hatred of the Sponsors towards the sovereign nation probably dwarfs the hatred of the Amalekites towards the same. The word diversity is pure mendacity. On every university and college campus, an endless parade of “diverse” speakers receives thousands of dollars for every speech, so as to speak the identical boring cliches of victimization over and over. It is not difference. It is tedious sameness. When in The Big Bang Theory, the administration compels Sheldon to deliver a lecture to the new class of graduate students — and in his narcissism he insults their intelligence — the members of the audience tweet “KMN.” Leonard sagaciously interprets the letters as a foreshortening of “Kill Me Now.” During the commencement ceremony in which my son was recently a participant, an endless parade of speakers endlessly repeated the cliches of diversity. I turned to my brother-in-law, who was sitting next to me, and said, “Kill me now.” One speaker prattled on and on for forty minutes — about diversity — which is, of course, “our strength.” Kill me now…

    • Yes, but we have reached the stage when the Amalekites begin to eat their sponsors. When they have finished this feast, wiped their mouths (and perhaps belched), the tedious lectures will resume in a new key. A lower key.

  6. Very well put. When I say X is our enemy and means us harm, replying that they have a grievance against us does not refute my claim but provides evidence and explanation for it. If one says that X are not bad people, but only work against us because of their perceived security needs or moral imperatives, that only means that the enemy is implacable.

    I doubt, though, that laws against the Amalekites were consciously crafted in recognition of them as a grievously injured people. The semitic mind is rarely capable of that level of empathy toward gentiles. We just hate them because we’re evil or maybe jealous of their wonderfulness, of course.

    • Christians are told to forgive their enemies. I sometimes think that this misleads Christians into assuming that they have been forgiven by their enemies. Even ex-Christians fall into this trap. They assume they have been forgiven even when a substantial part of their enemy’s culture consists of commemorating and embroidering their grievances. Imagine you ran over some fellow’s dog and he did nothing but talk about how you squashed his best friend. Would you let him look after your children?

  7. It’s pretty hard to make the argument that we still have a country,we’re mostly a bunch of tribes now,each one hostile to the others.Once real violence kicks off they’ll have to invent a new word to describe it,Balkanization will be to mild a word.

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