The Man in the High Castle

In episode seven of this great new drama about life in America after Germany and Japan win WWII and divide up the country, an American art dealer says to an elite Japanese couple, “Better that Germany and Japan rule the world than semites rule the world.”

In episode eight, he attempts to sell them a fake Indian necklace made by a (1/8th) Jew. The sale is not going well until the wife holds it and says, “This necklace has woo. I can feel it. This is from someone who has known great sorrow.”

Dealer: “You know that this belonged to a noble man whose people were annihilated.”

This makes me think about how Americans view American Indians and how Germans have viewed Jews. I’d say that most Americans have a positive view of the noble Indian but in the 19th Century, they had no doubts that the Indians had to be subjugated.

The conventional wisdom is that Hitler and the Nazis despised Jews and thought they were vermin. The truth is closer to the opposite — they feared Jews because of their high intelligence and drive.

I’m rereading Paul Johnson‘s classic, Modern Times, where he writes:

Hitler’s aims can be reconstructed not merely from Mein Kampf itself, with its stress on the ‘East Policy’, but from his early speeches and the so-called ‘Second’ or Secret Book of 1928. This material makes it clear that the ‘cleansing’ process – the elimination of the Jews — was essential to the whole long-term strategy. Being a race-socialist as opposed to a class-socialist, Hitler believed the dynamic of history was race. The dynamic was interrupted when race-poisoning took place. The poison came, above all, from the Jews. He admired Jews as ‘negative supermen’. In his Table-Talk he said that if 5,000 Jews emigrated to Sweden, in no time at all they would occupy all the key positions: this was because ‘blood purity’, as he put it in Mein Kampf, ‘is a thing the Jew preserves better than any other people on earth’. The Germans, on the other hand, had been ‘poisoned’. That was why they lost the First World War. Even he was poisoned: that was why he occasionally made mistakes – ‘all of us suffer from the sickness of mixed, corrupt blood’.

If one simply replaces the term “blood purity” with “ethnic solidarity”, then Hitler’s fears make more sense. All that talk about blood purity seems absurd, but when I make that simple substitution in my mind, then I understand. Jews are better than other groups at practicing ethnic solidarity and Judaism gives Jews an evolutionary group advantage.

Hitler’s attitude reminds me of Rabbi Meir Kahane, who said in an August 27, 1985 radio debate with Dennis Prager on the ABC Talk Radio Network: “I don’t hate Arabs, I love Jews. And I intend to save the Jewish people, both from Arabs and from themselves.”

This is garden variety nationalism. Not all nationalists are like Hitler, just like not all Jews are like Dennis Prager, but Hitler was a nationalist. He was looking out for his group’s interests.

Kahane continued: “And if anyone in this room thinks that there is one Arab in Israel who would rather live in a country which is legally defined as the Jewish state, he has greater contempt for the Arabs than I thought that even liberals could have.”

People want to be free to rule themselves. They don’t want to live in a land ruled by another racial and religious group.

Kahane: “The problem is that the Arabs who live inside Israel hate Israel.”


Dennis Prager said about Kahane: “This is a Jewish fascist… His appeal is to those who suffered under Arabs, namely, Arab-Sephardi Jews.”

“Fascist” is a common term of derision given to those who support racial and ethnic nationalism.

Caller: “Mr. Prager, do you believe that the Arabs, if they have a chance to destroy Israel, will do that?”

Prager: “Most Arabs would.”

Caller: “Then from that standpoint alone you must admit that Mr. Kahane has a reason for doing that [throwing the Arabs out] because the Arabs will unite and destroy Israel the first chance they get.”

Prager: “Yes, but one of the reasons that it is important to have a Jewish state…is in order to preserve Judaism. But [if Israel] becomes like its Arab neighbors in moral outlook, then the only difference between a Kahaneized Israel and an Arafatized Jordan is the language that they speak.”

When I look at conflicts in terms of groups pursuing their group interest and their evolutionary advantage, history makes more sense.

Paul Johnson writes:

Spain had a long tradition of crude social engineering and internal crusades. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries it had expelled in turn vast numbers of Moors,
Jews and Protestants. By such macro-persecution it had avoided the
Reformation and the horrors of the Wars of Religion. The failure to adopt similar methods of drastic extrusion had permitted the French
Revolution to enter and thus crucified the country for fifteen years of
civil war, as Goya’s drawings bore eloquent testimony. Now the invasion by post-Christian totalitarian culture had brought another three years of martyrdom. On the Nationalist side, 90,000 had been killed in action; 1 10,000 Republican soldiers were dead; there were a million cripples; 10,000 had died in air-raids, 25,000 from malnutrition, 130,000 murdered or shot behind the lines; now 500,000 were in exile, half never to return. 104 The destruction of treasure had been immense, ranging from the famous library of Cuenca Cathedral to Goya’s earliest paintings in his birthplace, Fuentodos.

Franco determined to end the destructive process of corruption by
amputating the agonized limb of Spanish collectivism. His feelings
towards the Left anticipated those of the wartime Allies towards Nazism: he got unconditional surrender first, then de-Communized,
but in a manner closer to the drumhead purges of liberated France than
the systematic trials in Germany. It was not a Lenin-style totalitarian
massacre by classes: the Law of Political Responsibilities of 9 February 1939 dealt with responsibility for crimes on an individual basis (the only exception was Freemasons of the eighteenth degree or higher).

Strictly speaking, there was no death penalty for political offences as
such. But there was a great rage in the conquerors – the Interior
Minister, Suner, wanted revenge for his brothers who had been shot in
Republican prisons, and he was typical of thousands – and it was not
difficult to pin capital crimes on Republican officials of all degrees.
Mussolini’s son-in-law Ciano reported from Spain in July: Trials
going on every day at a speed which I would call summary …. There
are still a great number of shootings. In Madrid alone between 200 and
250 a day, in Barcelona 150, in Seville 80. ‘ 106 Some tens of thousands thus died, but the figure of 193,000 sometimes given for the total is wrong, since many death-sentences passed by courts were commuted.

Franco made it clear on 31 December 1939 that many long prison
sentences (fifteen years was usual) would have to be served: ‘It is
necessary to liquidate the hatred and passions left us by our past war.
But this liquidation must not be accomplished in the liberal manner,
with enormous and disastrous amnesties, which are a deception rather
than a gesture of forgiveness. It must be Christian, achieved by means of redemption through work accompanied by repentance and penitance.’

In 1941 the gaol population was still 233,375; scores of thousands of those who had run the Republic died in prison or in exile. Others were banned from a huge range of public or private occupations by a decree of 25 August 1939, which put the objectives of the purge before government efficiency or the interests of the economy. Thus ancient and traditional Spain, led by a man who regretted every second that had passed since the old world ended in 1914, sought to immunize herself from the present. The attempt did not succeed in the long run; but it gave Spain some protection from the pandemic which now overwhelmed Europe.

My home country of Australia has been a haven for Jews. They’ve been citizens since the state began but that does not mean Australia was always eager for more Jewish immigrants.


When the Australian government announced in December 1938 that 15,000
more refugees would be admitted over the following three years, the
Catholic Advocate warned that:

“If the present policy of admitting large numbers of Jewish immigrants
is continued, we are likely to be confronted by a rapid increase in
anti-Semitism. … The Jews are not simply an international religious
body like the Catholics: they are a nation with well-marked
characteristics, both mental and physical, with their own virtues,
vices and talents, and with their peculiar loyalties. … It is the
sense of this difference which has caused friction between the Jew and
his hosts throughout the ages, and which has constantly brought
tragedy to the Jews.”

Deeply concerned at increasing Jewish power and influence in
Australia, Stephensen [of Australia First] declared:

“The answer to Semitism is anti-Semitism; and when Jews gain too many
advantages for themselves, by their practice of self-segregation, they
invariably find (and surely should expect to find!) that the majority
of non-Jews will resent, and eventually will curb, the privileges
which the Jews have won for themselves by concerted sectional action.
That is what will inevitably occur in Australia sooner or later, if a
large colony of self-segregating Jews is allowed now to establish
itself in our community.”

For Stephensen, Jewish ethnocentrism and endogamy were at the heart of
the Jewish problem, and the solution to this problem was simple:

“It is well known that there are many Jews who are good citizens,
honest and cultured, despite the reputation of the generality of their
kind of being financially “tricky”, unscrupulous, and parasitical.
That there are intellectual and sensitive Jews is also as well-known
as that there are many “Flash Yids” who degrade and debase public
culture. No case can be made against Jews generally, except … that
their insistence on racial self-segregation is anti-social, considered
from the point of view of the community as a whole. We cannot concede
to them in Australia a right which, if conceded in perpetuity to other
types of immigrant … would lead to the sectionalizing of the community
and its disunification. … The remedy is that the Jewish Race should
abolish itself, by becoming absorbed in the common stream of mankind.
[Otherwise] we others, who are so strictly excluded from the Jewish
community, have at least a reciprocal right to exclude them from ours.”

No country in the 1930s wanted to take in large numbers of Jews. Hostility to the Jews was not unique to Hitler and the Nazis. It was widespread in the English-speaking world as well.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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