NYT: ‘A French Novelist Imagined Sexual Dystopia. Now It’s Arrived.’

Adam Kirsch writes for the New York Times:

The sexual revolution of the 1960s, widely seen as a liberation movement, is better understood as the intrusion of capitalist values into the previously sacrosanct realm of intimate life. “Just like unrestrained economic liberalism … sexual liberalism produces phenomena of absolute pauperization,” he writes. “Some men make love every day; others five or six times in their life, or never.” The latter group — the losers — are represented in “Whatever” by Raphaël Tisserand, who is so repulsive that he has never had sex with a woman, despite strenuous efforts to seduce one. He is a proto-incel, and his story builds to a disturbing scene in which the narrator urges him to murder a woman who has rejected him.

In the end, however, Raphaël doesn’t go through with it: “Blood changes nothing,” he observes fatalistically. And this is a key difference between Houellebecq’s characters and criminals like Rodger and Minassian: They recognize that violence will not change their situation. They are victims of generational trends that Houellebecq believes have plunged the West, particularly France, into incurable misery. Houellebecq’s second (and best) book, “The Elementary Particles,” reiterates his case against “sexual liberalism,” while adding a host of new culprits, from New Age spirituality and women’s magazines to social atomization and the decline of Christianity. “In the midst of the suicide of the West, it was clear they had no chance,” he writes of the characters in the novel, in what could be a slogan for all his fiction.

Kevin Michael Grace wrote in 2005:

As a once great nation lies supine at the feet of Arabic racaille, one cannot but ask, what’s happened to the French? Please spare me talk of “cheese-eating surrender monkeys.” Unless, of course, you are willing to include among these simians
Dubya
(delighted to prostrate America at the feet of Mexican
rabble
) and Condi, who together have made the
Koran and
Ramadan as American as the flag pin and microwave burritos. Yes, France is effete, rootless and atomized, but of which Western nation can this not be said? Why even speak of nations? They have been replaced by
global administrative units, whose leaders, quislings without qualities, have effected the great modern exchange: citizenship
traded for sex, sports, shopping and scientism.

What to do as we await
dhimmitude and the tender mercies of shariah? Well, we could do worse than read
Whatever,
The Elementary Particles and
Platform, the first three novels of the Frenchman
Michel Houellebecq, who proves that one doesn’t have to be drunk and disorderly to speak the truth about the way we live now, but it doesn’t hurt. I reviewed them in the November 18, 2002 issue of
The Report.

Say, have you heard of this French writer Michel
Houellebecq?

Michel what?

Pronounced “Well-beck.” Just
acquitted of race hatred in a French court for having called Islam the “stupidest religion.” Predicted the
Bali
bombings
, you know.

Really?

Yes, the most astonishing literary prediction since Anthony Burgess foretold John Lennon’s murder and apotheosis in
Enderby
Outside
.

So what is he, one of those deconstructionists?

No, he’s admirably readable. Certainly gloomy, though.

Aren’t all those Frenchies gloomy?

Well, he’s gloomier than most. Consider this, from
Whatever:

The fact is that nothing can halt the ever-increasing recurrence of those moments when your total isolation, the sensation of an all-consuming emptiness, the foreboding that your existence is nearing a painful and definitive end all combine to plunge you into a state of real
suffering.

Why doesn’t he have a drink, take a pill, get a girl?

He’s done all that. Sex addict, morphine addict, drinks like a fish.

Then he’s clinically depressed. A suitable case for treatment.

He’s had that, too. Didn’t take.

He’s just a nut, then, a crazy nut.

Michel Houellebecq believes himself sane; it’s the world that’s mad. He comes by his depression honestly. His biography on a
fansite begins, 

[He] was born on the 26th of February 1958, on the French island of
Réunion. His father, a mountain guide, and his mother, an
anesthesiologist, soon lost all interest in his existence. A half-sister was born four years later. At the age of six, Michel was given over to the care of his paternal grandmother, a communist, whose family name he later
adopted.


Houellebecq: The terror of infinite sex

Houellebecq’s parents abandoned him because they were hippies. Sexual revolutionaries. The most important thing to understand about Houellebecq is that he is a reactionary, opposed to relativism in all its forms. Yet he is a child of the spirit of the age. He could sing, with
Matt
Johnson
, “I’m just a symptom of the moral decay that’s gnawing at the heart of the country.”

The 1960s witnessed a revolution in consciousness as momentous as any in history. As Tom Wolfe wrote in his 1975 essay,
“The Me Generation and the Third Great
Awakening"
:

The husband and wife who sacrifice their own ambitions and their material assets in order to provide for a
"better future" for their children…the soldier who risks his life, or perhaps consciously sacrifices it, in battle…the man who devotes his life to some struggle for
"his people" that cannot possibly be won in his
lifetime … people (or most of them) who buy life insurance or leave
wills … are people who conceive of themselves, however unconsciously, as part of a great biological stream. Just as something of their ancestors lives on in them, so will something of them live on in their
children … or in their people, their race, their
community — for childless couples, too, conduct their lives and try to arrange their post-mortem affairs with concern for how the great stream is going to flow on. Most people, historically, have not lived their lives as if thinking,
"I have only one life to live."

If the past is another country, the past Wolfe describes is Carthage. Houellebecq is a New Regime Man. Deprived of parental affection, his mind poisoned by sex education, he is incapable of regarding women as other than erotic machines. He knows little of them and doesn’t care. His female characters are ciphers. His male characters are versions of his bifurcated personality: feckless and
sensual or monomaniacal and ascetic.

In 1971 the French intellectual Jean-François Revel published
Without Marx or
Jesus
. It would have a profound effect on France and on much of the West. In the
words of Joseph R.
Stromberg
, it celebrates

the Americans’s looming post-Christian and non-socialist society, which rested on a firm foundation of mass consumption by newly liberated individuals detached from all
tradition.

Houellebecq’s
mordant and often hilarious novels are Revel’s vision made flesh: a savage world of men without qualities, without love, without families, without community, deracinated and utterly alone. In
Whatever, the protagonist attempts to prove himself alive by persuading his even more pathetic colleague to murder a copulating couple. He
fails and goes mad, then his colleague is killed in a car crash.

In The Elementary Particles (also known by its somewhat-more-to-the-point British title
Atomised), Houellebecq makes a daring advance on Revel. While he agrees that materialism destroyed Christianity (for which he has a great nostalgia), he argues that the uncertainty principle of
Werner Heisenberg has destroyed materialism. God is dead, but so is progress. Consumer goods get better and better, but no one believes anymore that man gets better and better. Evolutionary theory is expiring from the effort to constrain a stochastic universe that cannot help but fly apart.
The Elementary Particles is an audacious work; it begins with two half-brothers at the end of their tethers and ends with the end of life as we know it.

Walter Pater declared, “All art constantly aspires to the condition of music.” Today it appears that all art aspires to the condition of pornography. While
Whatever is crude, and The Elementary Particles is frankly pornographic,
Platform is, as they say, completely concerned with sex. Its premise is that Western men and women can no longer enjoy sex with each
other and is an open endorsement of “sex tourism.” Only outside the West, Houellebecq argues, can women find men that are masculine as Western men used to be and men find women that are feminine as Women used to be. It all ends badly, in terrorism and mass murder. While there are many in the Orient grateful to exchange sex for money, there are others infuriated by this irruption of Western decadence into their societies. Violence, as Marshall McLuhan reminded us, is the quest for identity. It is the only weapon Islam has against the West’s manifestly superior and otherwise ineluctable technologies.

Houellebecq’s
penchant pornographique is distressing and confounding. Pure fantasy, it seems to be an attempt to concoct a substitute religion. As Tom Wolfe
writes:

Ah! At the apex of my soul is a spark of the
Divine … which I perceive in the pure moment of ecstasy (which your textbooks call
"the orgasm," but which I know to be heaven).

Here again Houellebecq is revealed as the child of his parents and of our age.

There are a lot of Houellebecqs about.
The Elementary Particles has sold 300,000 copies in France alone. His fansite
is dedicated to “all those who, deeply moved, have been transformed by a novel or a poem by
Michel and who have felt the need to share their discovery of this writer with someone dear to them.”

For all his disgustingness,
he is a great writer. Often compared to
Louis-Ferdinand
Céline
, he is better compared to Blaise
Pascal
. Never was it truer that “The last act is bloody, however charming the rest of the play may be.” Broadband Internet and ever-improving microwave pizzas are not much of an answer to the increasingly acute problem of existence. Definitely, it’s a problem.

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‘Jewish Lessons For Gentile Survival in a Diverse World’

A friend writes: Based on what I have seen of your videos, you were born to make a parnassa out of lecturing the goyim on how to survive in this world. You could be making many, many times what you will ever make off of youtube (which, at this point, may not be saying much).

“Jewish Lessons For Gentile Survival in a Diverse World”

“We Jews do it. And so can you.”
“Jewish Business Ethics For Asians”
“The Goyella’s Guide to Working in a Jewish Home”
The latter would be a short book of course, in Spanish.
You could offer a certificate in Jewish Domestic Studies for the gentile wishing to work for a generous Jew.
“What Every Shiksa Actress Hopeful Needs to Know About Judaism”
“How to Date the Jewish Millionaire”
All I ask is a cut of the action.

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‘American Pravda: Oddities of the Jewish Religion’

Many people asked me to comment on this Ron Unz essay. I read it. I see that the author keeps noting that he’s no expert in the subject. So, once again, I find it hard to take him seriously. I can’t recall an instance when investing time reading Unz was a good investment of my time. He’s a political activist. If he claimed it was raining outside, I wouldn’t reach for an umbrella before leaving for my walk.

Ron Unz writes:

Even with all of that due diligence, I must emphasize that I cannot directly vouch for Shahak’s claims about Judaism. My own knowledge of that religion is absolutely negligible, mostly being limited to my childhood, when my grandmother occasionally managed to drag me down to services at the local synagogue, where I was seated among a mass of elderly men praying and chanting in some strange language while wearing various ritualistic cloths and religious talismans, an experience that I always found much less enjoyable than my usual Saturday morning cartoons.

Judaism is a deep and complex national religion. It is not amenable to hot takes by the ignorant.

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Trump – Putin

Comments at Steve Sailer:

* Seriously – when did Vlad Putin become “the worst man in the world?”

Didn’t Barack Obama once boast that he would meet with any foreign leader, anywhere, with no preset conditions?

Didn’t the Democrats chastise President Reagan for calling the Soviet Union an evil empire? (And deny that the Soviets were any “worse” than the US from a realpolitik perspective)?

* The war between the Deep State and Trump is untenable now. Something has to give.

* I haven’t been following. But on the teevee this morning, CBS News’ reporterettes were casting their lot squarely in the “we’e overdue for a coup against Trump” bin.

* It was fine.

Despite all the fainting couches, it was something that needed to happen and it was about as successful as one would imagine- lots of vague promises of future cooperation where interests overlap and nothing where they don’t.

President Trump is right to call Russia a competitor. That’s where we are, and we should be okay with that; instead we are being pushed into re-declaring her the enemy and hoping for what? A cold war redux? A hot war, to switch things up this time?

Putin is not a good guy. He’s not even a very good autocrat. By those standards he’s pretty lousy, in charge of a lousy mess of a country. But its a lousy mess with natural resources and a stockpile of weapons with the capability of bloodying our noses and put a spanner in the works. Those are the facts on the ground. It’s a lot more sensible to start over with that in mind than to continue to antagonize the situation in silly ways.

* People shouldn’t comment unless they actually watch the whole press conference. I did and it was pretty damn bland. Putin said some stuff, Trump said some stuff, but it was basically all generalities. If Trump and Putin had been in a screaming match that devolved into a fist fight I’d still expect the press conference to have looked like it did. People are reading WAY too much into it.

* The left’s criticism, if I’m understanding it correctly, is that Trump didn’t publicly call Putin/Russia, in so many words, liars and cheats. Why do they think that’s the best or most productive way to handle this? Because to the American left insults, bullying and inflammatory language as negotiating tactics are not only appropriate, they’re practically required! The left has all the power in this country: they control the media, the academy, the courts and to a large extent the corporations, so they know that they don’t have to concede anything to their enemies, whom they can and do destroy with ease. In fact, “negotiating tactic” isn’t the right term: the left doesn’t negotiate; they declare.

But Putin isn’t some hapless college kid or police officer accused of “racism” or “sexual harassment.” He’s the president of a large sovereign nation with a vast nuclear arsenal. We use “diplomatic” as a synonym for “polite” for a reason: in this world, you have to treat powerful people with respect.

* Russians hacked Felonia Van Pantsuit’s* server, which exposed the Dems for the vile clods they are. And posted some silly Faceberg** ads. There’s your Russian “collusion”.

Impact on election results: Zero.

Hacking, and spying, is what governments do, and as much as they can get away with.

REALLY SCARY? A large percentage, approaching a majority, of Dems actually think the Russkis used their superhuman 4D hacking skills to diddle with the Diebold machines to tip the election. Good grief.

BTW – Where is that confounded server?

* TREASON is the new battle cry of the “resistance.” The “deep state” liberals, leftists, and Democrats have taken to Twitter (“Trending Twitter” the new determinate for what should happen in the world) to brand the Trump-Putin Summit as “The Treason Summit” and hundreds, if not thousands, of useful idiots are calling the meeting TREASON.

* You may not like Putin. He may not be very likable. He is, however, a serious and formidable man and he is the best ruler Russia has had in over a century. I have more respect for him than I have had for any President since at least Kennedy we have had, at least until Trump.

* The high proportion of Jews who, operating out of Harvard, designed and oversaw the looting of the Russian economy; the high proportion of the resulting oligarchs who were Russian Jews; the number of American Jews who got rich off this scam and later tried to cover it up is enough to turn anyone into an anti-Semite. That Putin failed to succumb to the temptation of exploiting these facts, which almost every Russian knew, but in fact reversed some of the anti-Semitism that had flourished under Gorbachev, is a further testimony to the man’s fundamental moral integrity. I’d trust him a lot more than any of the Clintons, Brennans, Crappers, Muellers, neocons, MSM bimbettes and fancy boys etc., who are so busily slurring him and Trump.

* Trump showed strength by fighting back against his biggest enemy, the deep state. Trump demonstrated that he does not fear the FBI, DIA and DOJ. It took a lot of courage to dismiss the “meddling” narrative generated by powerful US intelligence operatives who have targeted Trump. Most politicians would have avoided meeting with Putin until Mueller finished his “investigation” and they certainly would not have the strength to reject the conclusions of the FBI, CIA and DOJ while the investigations continue.

* Spengler writes:

I have no reason to doubt the allegations that a dozen Russian intelligence officers meddled in the U.S. elections of 2016, but this was equivalent of a fraternity prank compared to America’s longstanding efforts to intervene in Russian politics.

The United States supported the 2014 Maidan uprising in Ukraine and the overthrow of the Yanukovych government in the hope of repeating the exercise in Moscow sometime later. Then-Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland pulled whatever strings America had to replace the feckless and corrupt Victor Yanukovych with a government hostile to the Kremlin. She didn’t say it in so many words, but she hoped the Ukraine coup would lead to the overthrow of Vladimir Putin. Evidently Nuland and her boss, Hillary Clinton, thought that the Ukraine coup would deprive Russia of its Black Sea naval base in Crimea, and did not anticipate that Russia simply would annex an old Russian province that belonged to Ukraine by historical accident.

…American efforts to promote a democratic opposition to Putin have failed miserably, and as John Lloyd wrote recently at Reuters, the Russian president remains genuinely popular. This remains a source of perpetual frustration for the neoconservatives, who cannot fathom why dictatorships still exist. Russia is a brutal country that always has been governed by brutal men.

* Washington is going to unite to vomit Trump out of their system. He’s indigestible to them. That means the United States may very well experience the kind of craziness France underwent in the late ’50s and early ’60s. Units of the US military and law enforcement may not accept Trump’s removal from office. That may be what’s going on this time next year.

* BAP: By meeting to talk to Putin and lay ground for peace Trump BETRAYED the Real America (i.e., the 80% of the USA govt beholden to China, Saudi Arabia, various petty ethnic resentments, oligarchs, spooks and NGO’s who stand to lose status, power, influence, deals).

* The left has become psychopathic. I can no longer reveal my political beliefs in my community because I fear violence towards me/my dogs/my property. And, most of the violent people (or people who spew violent ideas or are turned-on by violence) are baby-boomer suburban women and men…privileged white people! I can’t wait to get out of this state ( a few more years) and live in a Red State where I can finally speak to people who are open-minded. It is mind-blowing that Progressives are now the unpredictable, violent, haters….but, they have shown their true colors these last 2 months.

* I have a theory about the West’s demonization of Putin. It wasn’t for any of the stated reasons: Crimea, his treatment of journos, Ukraine. It was for one reason and one reason only. Russia’s anti-LGBTQ propaganda law passed in 2013. And, just as crucially, the connection made there between the LGBTQ and pedophilia. That was a deal breaker for the West and the Deep State. If you know the people who tend to work in government, a hugely disproportionate number of them are gay. They simply can’t let this go. Imagine WW3 starting because of a gay Deep State conspiracy to fabricate a completely insane conflict with a nuclear power.

* Trump knows what he’s up against, knows that Putin is on his side more than his own Deep State is, and knows he’ll need all the allies he can get.

Is that why he took this Summit, and met for 2 hours alone with Putin, with no aides present, allegedly ‘without precedent’?

I wonder if he used an interpreter from his own side, or from the Russian side (or how good is Putin’s English)?

Is the volume of screeching in part because they’re really worried what Trump learned in those 2 hours?

Will they feel they’ve got to move before Trump does?

* I was interviewed by Susan Stamberg of NPR’s “All Things Considered” decades ago as a result of a letter I wrote them about their political bias. When a portion of the interview was aired, Stamberg had rerecorded her questions so that many of my responses were not to the questions she had asked, but to different ones that cast me in a different light. She had become quite heated during our exchange and I sounded heated in response, but she rerecorded herself so that she sounded calm and only I was heated. Finally, at one point she acknowledged that while everyone who worked at NPR was liberal, it was the liberalism of open-mindedness and willingness to give alternative views a respectful hearing. She evidently thought better of this concession and removed it from the aired version.

A firsthand lesson in the duplicity of the media.

* Steve Sailer: “I was interviewed once for about an hour by NBC News as a conservative film critic. They spliced about 30 seconds from me in with about 90 seconds from George Clooney, which made it look like I was arguing with Clooney, who is one of the all-time great talk show guests. Not surprisingly, I lost that debate with Clooney I didn’t know I was having.”

* It is obvious that Trump cut a deal with the military either during or even before he started campaigning. He allied with the Pentagon to tackle the CIA, FBI and others. His enemies aren’t getting a coup from the military. They won’t be getting help from the Mossad either, notice Trump is also very friendly with Israel.

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Tales Of The Gadolim

Marc B. Shapiro writes:

* Once R. Jacob David Wilovsky of Slutzk visited R. Meir Simhah of Dvinsk and told him that he wanted to also visit the Rogochover. R. Meir Simhah attempted to dissuade him, saying that the Rogochover would put him down like he puts everyone down. Yet R. Wilovsky visited him and the Rogochover did not put him down. He said to the Rogochover, “I heard that you put down everyone, but I see that you treat me with respect.” The Rogochover replied, “I put down gedolim, not ketanim.”

* R. Aviner speaks about a gaon known as the Radichkover who was quite strange. He would go into the restroom holding a copy of the Mishneh Torah. When he was told that this is forbidden, he replied that Maimonides himself went to the restroom! In other words, if Maimonides could go into the restroom then certainly his book can be brought into it. The Radichkover actually tells this story himself about bringing R. Reuven Katz’s book, Degel Reuven, into the restroom.[7]
When he died, people did not know how to eulogize him, because on the one hand he was a great talmid hakham, but on the other hand he acted in a very strange manner. R. Aviner tells us that R. Natan Ra’anan, the son-in-law of R. Kook, delivered the eulogy and said that his greatness was his love of Torah, and due to this great love he did things that were improper. “He sinned yet these sins arose from his love of Torah.”
It is obviously not very common that a eulogy mentions improper things done by the deceased. It is also understandable why, due to his unconventionality, the Radichkover reminds people of the Rogochover. For those who have never heard of him, his name was R. Yaakov Robinson (1889-1966).

* Michael Feldstein recently commented to me that in the last ten years or so he has seen something that did not exist in earlier years, namely, people standing for Parashat Zakhor. I, too, noticed this in my shul, but it has only been going on for a year or two. This year, no one announced that people should stand. Some just stood up on their own and pretty much the entire shul then joined in. Unless the rabbis start announcing that people can sit down, in a few years it will probably become obligatory to stand for Parashat Zakhor, much like it now seems to be obligatory to repeat the entire verse, whereas when I was young the only words to be repeated were תמחה את זכר עמלך. (I always paid attention to this as Ki Tetze is my bar mitzva parashah.) Today, if the Torah reader tries to repeat only these words, they will tell him to go back and repeat the entire verse. What we see from all of this is that customs are constantly being created, and they often arise from the “ritual instinct” of the people, without any rabbinic guidance.

NEXT BLOG ENTRY:

* … contrary to popular belief, the name Satmar does not come from St. Mary. The original meaning seems to be a personal name, and in popular etymology the word came to mean “great village.”[3] Yet even in the Satmar community some believe that the word comes from St. Mary, and because of this they pronounce it as “Sakmar”.

* In a lecture I mentioned that one of the old-time American rabbis met with the Satmar Rebbe and concluded that when it came to the State of Israel, you simply could not speak to him about it. He was like a shoteh le-davar ehad when it came to this in that no matter how much you tried to convince him otherwise, he refused to listen to reason. Someone asked me which rabbi said this. It was R. Ephraim Jolles of Philadelphia (as I heard from a family member). I don’t think his formulation is too harsh, as anyone who has read the Satmar Rebbe’s writings can attest. It does not bother me if he or anyone else wants to be an anti-Zionist. However, the anti-Zionist rhetoric found in the Satmar Rebbe’s writings, and those of his successors, is often more extreme than what we find among the pro-Palestinian groups…

If anyone wants to see the results of this rhetoric, here are two videos with kids from Satmar. In this one the children are being taught that the Zionists started World War II and to hope for the destruction of the State of Israel.

In this video children were told that Netanyahu was in the car and they were to throw eggs at it.

It is very painful to see how children are being indoctrinated with such hatred. Again I ask, if such a video surfaced from a leftist camp, there would be no hesitation in labeling it anti-Semitic. So why are people hesitant to conclude that Satmar is also involved in spreading anti-Semitism?

The general assumption is that the Satmar Rebbe hated Zionism and the State of Israel so much, that he was inclined to believe even the most far-out anti-Semitic canards against the State. I have always found this difficult to believe. Say what you will about the Rebbe, there is no denying that he was very intelligent. Thus, I have a hard time accepting that he could have really believed in Zionist control of the media and other anti-Semitic tropes found in his polemical writings. In other words, I think it is more likely that he did not believe in any of these things but said them anyway in order to convince his followers not to give up the fight against Zionism, a fight that had been abandoned by so many former anti-Zionists after the Holocaust and the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. In such a battle it was necessary to turn Israel not only into something bad, but actually the worst sin imaginable.

R. Nahum Abraham, a Satmar hasid and prolific author, has recently written that the Satmar Rebbe would deny things that he knew were true. He regarded his denials as “necessary lies,” in order to prevent people from being led in the wrong direction.[5] If the Rebbe thought that it was permissible to deny the truth of certain hasidic stories in order to prevent his followers from being influenced by them, isn’t it possible that he would exaggerate the evils of the State of Israel in order to best indoctrinate his followers with an anti-Zionist perspective?

This approach also would explain a big problem that no one has been able to adequately account for. How was the Satmar Rebbe able to have friendly and respectful relationships with people who, based on what he writes, he should have regarded as completely out of the fold due to their involvement with the State of Israel? This includes even men like R. Aharon Kotler who supported voting in the Israeli elections, which the Satmar Rebbe claimed is “the most severe prohibition in the entire Torah.”[6] Yet we know that the Satmar Rebbe respected R. Aharon and others who had a very different perspective.[7] Can’t this be seen as evidence that there is a good deal of ideologically-driven exaggeration in the Satmar Rebbe’s writings, and that not everything he says really reflects his actual views? After all, if he really thought that voting in the elections was the most severe prohibition in the Torah and the State of Israel was completely destroying Judaism, would he still be able to be on good terms with rabbis who instructed their followers to vote and be part of the State?

* I have said on numerous occasions that what currently passes as the standard approach to conversion was not the case at all in previous years. To begin with, among the rabbis there were different understandings of what kabbalat ha-mitzvot entailed, and the currently accepted view that a prospective convert must commit to become fully halakhically observant, as practiced today in Orthodox communities, was not the view of many, and perhaps not even the view of most. The notion that a conversion could be annulled after the fact was hardly ever put into practice, although even this is found on occasion and R. Baruch cites some authorities who speak about this very point. Thus, it is not, as has often been alleged, a modern haredi idea with no historical basis although, as mentioned, it was very rare…

Today, the assumption of many conversion courts is that if someone who converts is later seen violating halakhah in a serious way, we can assume that this person never really accepted the mitzvot at the conversion, and the conversion is therefore not valid. It is this argument which was hardly ever put into practice in previous years and now appears to be quite common, so much so that converts claim to feel that their conversions are always “on condition,” namely, that even many years after converting there is the possibility that the conversion will be declared invalid because of a lack of proper kabbalat ha-mitzvot…

According to R. Isaac, in places such as Spain and Portugal, where one could not practice Judaism openly, if a Jewish man marries a non-Jewish woman, and the woman chooses to practice Judaism, both she and her children are regarded as Jewish. How can she be Jewish when she never immersed in the mikveh and there was no beit din to preside over the conversion? R. Isaac says that there is no obligation to immerse in the mikveh when there is danger (as there would be in a place with the Inquisition looking to find Crypto-Jews). Although he does not elaborate, it is obvious that according to R. Isaac kabbalat ha-mitzvot in front of a beit din is not an absolute requirement. In other words, he holds that in a she’at ha-dehak one can convert on one’s own, without a beit din.

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