One Destiny, by Sholem Asch
One of the most dangerous features of contemporary thinking is the way in which irrationality is praised as an ideal when it serves so-called “good” ends, but denounced as a prejudice when it serves so-called “bad” ones. Nowhere, perhaps, is this tendency more glaringly exemplified than in the current movement of “interfaith amity,” and there more especially on the part of its Jewish exponents. So long as a man’s attitude is friendly towards the Jews and issues in exemplary social conduct, nobody seems to care whether it is based on irrational and uncritical premises; the man is pursuing “noble ideals,” and his half-wit testimony to Jewish excellence are paraded as documents of value and significance. But let that same degree of mental equipment, that same pitiable low I. Q. once issue in a hostile attitude, and in no time our professional anti-defamationists and “psychological experts” are found enjoying a Roman holiday decrying its utterly irrational basis and stridently yelling “unclean, unclean!” In other words, value is assessed by expediency, inherent merit by contingent advantage, and no one seems to grasp the essential point that the primary attack should be directed against irrationality per se, against the tendency to base social judgment and social action—whether “good” or “bad”—on irrational, uncritical and purely impressionistic premises.
About the Author