The Faith of a Liberal: Selected Essays by Morris R. Cohen

By Morris R. Cohen | Go to book overview

and those who suffer from oppression are inclined to use it themselves. Resistance to tyranny, unless modified by intelligence and humane spirit, is thus apt to generate more oppression than it can cure or remove.

Luther was a powerful trumpet who stirred the pulse of mankind. Erasmus was a delicate violin attuned to more subtle harmonies. Who shall say which is the more important in the orchestration of world history?


39
ZIONISM: TRIBALISM OR LIBERALISM?

CONCERNING QUESTIONS of race and religion, even more than those of politics, scientific knowledge is pitifully small and men's convictions are accordingly most intense. But the discussion of Zionism is beset with the additional difficulty that clear and honest thinking is subtly hindered by the fact that really plain speaking is almost unattainable. An exceptionally long history of struggle and suffering has left many sore and sensitive spots in the body of Israel, and the thoughtful non-Jew feels the necessity of excessive caution lest he touch any of these tender spots; while the Jew, no matter how emancipated, cannot completely overcome the effects of a traditional attitude which may put group loyalty above devotion to the simple truth. Self-respecting Jews also cannot help leaning backward in expressions which may risk their being identified with those who for their bellies' sake creep out of the Jewish fold. The discussion of Zionism has thus been largely left to those who are

____________________
Published in The New Republic, Vol. 18, p. 182 ( March 8, 1919).

-326-

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