Monday, 2 March 2015

Chesterton's Jewish Friend

I am not sure they ever met in life. But when it comes to Chesterton's poem of his being fond of Jews but oh it's funny when they lose, Brandeis was certainly of the sort he was fond of, not of the Marconi case type, where he enjoyed some mild gloating over a mild loss of reputation or in courts.

Chesterton is as much the Catholic answer to Brandeis as José Antonio Primo de Rivera was the Catholic answer to Karl Marx.

Here is what Brandeis wrote on Big Business:

Louisville edu : Louis D. Brandeis School of Law Library : OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY - CHAPTER VIII / Chapter VIII: A Curse of Bigness

And Chesterton basically echoed that by detailing how very small businesses could be and be blessed and efficient. Mom and pop stores, three acres and a cow, how much more do we associate these concepts with Chesterton than with Brandeis? Yet, Brandeis was as much for smallness as Chesterton was.

Chesterton might have been initially possibly nearly as much for the Balfour declaration as Brandeis was - except that he visited Jerusalem and saw what it had meant as a threat in the mind of not just Muslim but also Christian Palestinians.

See the book The Jews, 1922, by Belloc, which recommends some kind of Zionism or Jewish citizenship, on grounds similar to those I suppose Brandeis embraced, but with a little doubt on whether the Zionism should be located in Zion (Palestine) or as a separate citizenship in the European countries where they live - and Chesterton's own book two years earlier, 1920, The New Jerusalem, in which he had observed the discontent with English administration which had been very popular from as soon as a Jewish governor was named to represent England in the then Mandate.

The big divide between Brandeis and Chesterton was this : Gilbert Keith held that values such as delivering business from banksters and Jewry from taking banksters as protectors were guaranteed by a very certain Divine Revelation, which at this date - 1922 - led him to the Catholic Church, with which he identified this Revelation. Louis had a family background which had left off the Talmud as uncertain and unsubstantiated - and the concept of Divine Revelation with it.

And in the 1922 book on America, I am not sure if Chesterton ever mentions Brandeis. And I read it, when I was younger, and when I was more immediately receptive. Perhaps they had met, perhaps Brandeis over the disagreements on Revelation and on Zionism had asked not to be mentioned by name. But I think if you want to have the values of Brandeis, you should trust the judgement of Chesterton. How ironic that the latter has been compared to Pol Pot* for this issue of small and rural business.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
St Ceadda of Lichfield

* In case you haven't noted, the latter's indoctrination camps around Kampuchea were rather big business. It is those that became death camps too.

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